We’ve done a few posts on helping you learn about roller skating and rollerblading, such as how to roller skate, and roller skating tricks. This time, we’ve decided to do a speedy one-stop shop for skaters who aren’t complete beginners anymore but still have some questions and need just a brief refresher that they can put into play alongside the experience they’ve gained.
How long will it take for me to learn how to roller skate?
It may seem like it takes forever, but most people can learn to skate in about an hour if they have a friend to teach them. Becoming skilled at skating, though, is going to take longer. If you don’t have a friend to help you it might take a bit more trial and error, but draw a ‘V’ one stroke at a time with your feet and you’ll get the hang of it.
How do I stand on my skates without moving?
The most secure way is to place your feet in a perpendicular ‘T’ shape, with the toes of one foot pointing forward and the toes of the other pointing to the side.
How do I skate without tilting back or falling?
Remember, when you first start off in skating, position your feet about shoulder-width apart and always stay slightly bent forward. This lowers your center of gravity and makes it easier to balance. Just be careful to not lean too far forward or you’ll fall.
If you’re finding your back starts to hurt, try bracing your hands on your thighs for added support. Practice standing upright near a sturdy table or chair on carpet, as carpet will make it harder for your skates to roll and give you more control over what they do and when; if there is no carpet, you still need to stay close to a strong table or chair, or within reach of the rails of a rink.
How do I skate faster?
This is, first of all, actually a matter of your comfort level. Increased speed usually comes automatically as you practice and improve your balance. If confidence isn’t a problem, skating faster involves rhythmically shifting your weight from one leg to the other and pushing off with the foot you’re taking your weight off of. Always make sure you’re looking only in the direction you want to go.
How do I turn while going fast?
There are a couple of ways to do this. The easiest is to lower your body a little and lean your weight onto the knee and leg that are on the side you want to turn (e.g., put your weight on your left leg for a left turn). First work at taking turns at a slower speed, then gradually speed up as you get better.
I want to stop without using the toe stop. How?
There are multiple ways. One is called the “T-stop” maneuver, which involves gliding along on one foot while dragging your other foot sideways behind it. It’s a particularly noisy move and adds unnecessary wear to you skates’ wheels, but it’s commonly used by roller skaters everywhere.
However, this move does take some practice; you have to apply a certain amount of pressure to your trailing foot for the move to work as desired, so too little and you won’t slow fast enough, while too much can cause you to fall.
I’m really good at skating. Do I still need all the safety equipment?
If you’re concerned about looking silly because everyone around you is going without protection, realize that they aren’t making the best choice. Professional skaters like speed skaters, trick skaters, and roller derby skaters take precautions suitable for their discipline and skill level because they understand how devastating an injury can be to their sport and don’t want to take the risk of coming to permanent harm. So reconsider being “cool” if it means increasing your chances of getting hurt.
But if the safety equipment hurts you or negatively impacts your ability to move, and if all you’re doing is skating around a rink, then no, you don’t need it (unless you’re particularly prone to falling). Still, the one piece of equipment you should always try to wear is a helmet. Head injuries are no joke.
If I start to fall, should I slide or just fall straight down?
Always turn your fall into a slide if you can. This will help lessen the force of impact so that you can get back up and keep skating.
How do I deal with a painful fall?
Always be sensitive to how you feel. If it’s just a small bruise or sore bone, take a few minutes’ time out from skating and lightly massage the injury. If after a little while you feel better, go have fun. Just be keenly aware of how the injury feels and stop if the pain increases.
If it’s a big bruise or cut or you’ve twisted a joint, you’re done for the next few days. Get some assistance with rising and leaving the rink; if you can, use your toe stops to walk so you have better control of your movement. Clean and bandage any open cuts, apply ice to counteract swelling, and don’t ask too much of your injured joints for a few days. If you get too physical too soon, you’ll worsen your injuries and increase your recovery time.
NOTE: If you have a blood-clotting condition, remember to be VERY attentive to the appearances of your injuries and immediately call for an ambulance if your condition worsens.
I’m over 60, but I want to skate. Can I still?
Of course! Just make sure you’re extra careful and wear protective gear, since older people are statistically more likely to be injured during physical activity; this goes especially if you’ve been mostly sedentary up to this point. It’s also a good idea to have someone nearby who’s ready to help you the instant you need it.
You’re On Your Way!
Hopefully, you can take it from here. There’s only so much we can do to help, after all! Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to becoming a good skater—you have to practice, practice, practice! But what you can rest assured of is that Mac’s Roller Rink will be here to give you somewhere to practice: We’re open Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons and evenings, and Sunday afternoons.