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How To Roller Skate Smoothly – This guide is all about roller skating in the first place. And who is it for? It is for people who just got a pair of skates, don’t know what to do and don’t want to get hurt, people coming back to skating and need fundamental revision, and people trying to teach others how to skate in an easy-to-understand approach.
Fired up and ready to skate? Let’s get started!
What To Prepare
Newbie or pro, equipping yourself with essential gears should be the top priority for preparation. Especially if this is the first time you are on the roller skates, make sure you have the full set of protection with the right size.
Notice two triangles on the sides of the helmet? Put them right over your ears. All the roller skating helmets come with a dial in the back that allows you to make sure the helmet is snug.
It should be right over the eyebrows, giving you enough room for seeing while still being able to protect your head. After locking the helmet trap, there should also be enough space to put two fingers through it.
Knee Pads And Elbow Pads
Most pads have the mark of right and left, and to distinguish, knee pads are bigger than the elbow pads. For the knee pads, loosen up the straps and put them on like the socks. So you may need to take off your shoes to make it easier to wear. Once you pull it one, stretch the two velcro straps and bring them around back. Repeat with the other side.
Then do the same with the elbow pads. Don’t over tighten the straps, or else your flexibility and ability to balance while skating will be compromised.
They should just be tight enough so that in case you fall, they are in the right place for optimum protection effect.
Loosen the power strap, the laces, and the buckle. When your foot is inside, kick your heel back to make sure it is snug enough. Now position the tongue right in the center and between the liner. Tighten the laces, knot them, lock the power strap, and finish by locking the buckle at the top.
While wearing the guards, the hard plastic part of the guards must be on your palms. There are also straps around them, so go ahead and tighten them. Again the correct order for wearing gears is Helmet – Knee and elbow pads – Roller skates – Wristguards.
How To Roller Skate – Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1 – Correct Your Posture
Let’s start with a pilot checklist from head to toe.
- Chin – Keep it up parallel with the surface/rink. You will have a better view of what is going on around you and thus keep your balance better. At least if it is just for a quick pose, it’s better with your chin up and not buried in your chest.
- Shoulders – Spread them nice straight across, and belly – keep it tight. Your core will thank you so much if you have the correct posture for skating. Easy tip to locate your core – take your belly button and shove it back to your spine.
- Arms – Put them straight out with the palms down. If your palms are open, you may end up turning and losing your balance.
- Hips – Drop them low, so your knees are bent properly, and your legs are still flexible.
- Feet – Put in the V position, with heels together. If you think skating is all about controlling your feet, your skating skills are going anywhere. It’s not like walking on the skates, but instead, transferring your body weight side to side to initiate the motion.
Now every time you are about to skate, if you have all part of this list ticked, you are ready to go.
Step 2 – Keep Your Balance
Struggle on the skate wheels? That’s a good sign; you are trying. Once you master how to keep your balance on the roller skates, moving on them will take much less effort to learn.
First, notice your knees, relax them, and never try too hard to keep them straight. Your very first instinct will do everything it takes to keep the knees straight because you think it’s gonna save you from falling. But it’s just not the right way.
From the V position, try to place for feet apart with shoulder width. And the hips down low, try to squat so your knees can start bending a little by little.
Always keep the squat until you find it possible and comfortable standing up. And whenever you feel like falling, drop it low again, this may save you some pills to recover.
While keeping the balance, keep your toes pointing out and heels sticking together. When you need some rest from rolling, bend your toes stoppers in a forward direction.
During the squat, you can start to raise your arms in front of you and keep your elbows near your sides at the same time. By closing yourself together like this, you will focus your gravity down low. And even if you fall, this position will minimize the hurt.
Step 3 – Learn How To Stop On The Skates
Learn how to stop before learning how to move? Yes, safety first. You will figure out how to get yourself moving with less effort than how to stop. And here are three easiest ways to stop on roller skates.
Run Into Solid Object
The first way to stop – run into stuff. It’s recommended to learn skating on a rink or areas with no traffic. And there should be many walls near you to practice stopping.
When you are skating then a wall just appears in front of you, don’t panic. You just need to “embrace the stop,” and there will be no fall or at least falls with no harm. How to embrace the stop? When approaching the wall, put your arms out, bend your knees, then bend your elbows the moment you touch the wall.
While you are skating, get down low, spread your legs a little wider than your shoulders’ width, bend your knees at the same time, and squat down. By doing this, you will shift and focus your gravity downward to the surface.
Important note: Your knees have to bend over your big toes, and you will be driving your body weight from your knees to your skates over the ball of your foot.
Again, the first motion is getting your arms out (but no need to make them parallel to the skating surface). Right next, bend your knees, shift your body over to one side in about a 30-degree angle. Now extend the other foot and drag it using force from your toe to stop.
If you want to pause the speed with less time dragging, go for the T-stop. So instead of dragging the toe’s force onto the surface, place the other foot quite right behind (almost perpendicular to) the foot holding your shifted body weight. Then try to apply pressure on all four wheels on the back foot to the skating surface.
Step 4 – Learn How To Skate Forward and Backward
In order to roll forward, knees bent, toes point out, then pick up one foot at a time. You will need to transfer your weight from one foot to another, and voila, you’re moving. Big note – If your toes are pointed forward, you will not be going anywhere but will just be moving in the same spot.
Get more familiar with the move? Try to push the back foot a little bit more when shifting your weight. And glide longer ways onto the front forward foot.
For rolling backward, your toes need to be pointed together. So this is a rule of thumb, forward – toes out, backward – toes in. Again, set your knees and hips low, then push your butt backward.
Watch out for what is behind you. Start with a slow walk first; you can then take a longer step. Remember: Core, thigh muscles are tight, and toes are pointed in all the time.
Whenever you feel out of control, drop your hips, bend your knees to gain the balance again. And if you normally find yourself falling backward when trying to move, put your hands on your knees, start low. And keep practicing until you feel comfy standing up.
Step 5 – Practice, Practice, Practice
There will be (a lot of) falls, fails, and frustration. Those YouTube footage of phenomenal roller skaters motivated you at first and now demotivate you. Your progress is sluggish, and you are just not in the mood for it.
Learning a new skill takes time, patience, and goodwill. Roller skating is no exception. It is going to be very awkward to even get yourself together on roller skates.
Give it time, take a break, come back later, practice, repeat, just don’t quit. Don’t push yourself too much, if you are exhausted, that’s it, that’s enough, recharge yourself for the next time. And keep moving forward!
What’s Next When You Get Better
Make Sure You Master The Basics
See some good signs of improvement in your skating skills? Don’t jump right in the tricky techniques just yet. Make sure you feel totally confident and comfy moving and especially stopping on the skates.
For instance, plow stop, T-stop, Toe-stop, knees/hips reaction, moving forward and backward should be very smooth and consistent every time you do them. Underestimating the basics will take you even more time to learn the tricks. Start low and be steady!
Relax On The Roller Skates
As you now feel good on the skates, you should look effortless while skating. Try to have more trust for your feet, it can be very hurtful at first, but once you feel the beat of skating, you are ready for the tricks.
Cut loose from the tension, convince your brain that you can make it through. Then you will finally get your mind off the skates and feel much more enjoyable every time skating.
You don’t feel the need to manage to get the balance, because you already feel balance on skates. It’s no longer time to concentrate on not dying; it’s time to speed up. Bend down lower, focus more force on the back foot to push you further and faster. And every time you shift the body weight from one side to another, push harder and glide longer.
Learn The Tricks
If moving and stopping are all a piece of cake, challenge yourself with new tricks. Try turning, cruising, crossover, and then move up to short cuts, scissors, and spins. And because we are supposed to talk more about how to roller skate, these tricks should be in another writing.
Simple Tricks To Leverage Your Roller-Skating Skills
Before skating, always check your skates and gears. This habit will free you from possible accidents. More chances to practice, why not?
When skating forward, keep your shoulders slightly in front of your hips to have more balance in the motion.
If you are getting better at skating, one way to tell your brain to trust your feet is by listening to music. Give the brain something to do; your body knows how to move you around much better than you think.
Never stare at the obstacles. Your eyes will steer you to where they are seeing. So train yourself to see where you want to go, concentrate your skating effort on the empty and smooth spots, never a tree, hole, people, or any wannabe-obstacle.
This instruction hopefully will rescue that Bambi-on-ice feeling for anyone still struggling with roller skating. The key takeaways are chin up, shoulders straight, knees down, arms out, relax, practice, and have fun. So how to roller skate? You show the move!