Some would call it “having fun,” others “showing off.” Either way, there’s no arguing that learning tricks on roller skates or rollerblades pushes you to improve your balance and explore your potential.
Unfortunately, there’s no special, speedy recipe for learning tricks. As with all things, “practice makes perfect.” To be able to do tricks, you have to skate a lot and know by heart the basics of skating before you should attempt anything. This will mean practicing and becoming confident in such things as:
- standing steady in skates
- skating forward
- taking turns at speed
- staying stable during turns
The above aren’t the only things you should practice—you should even practice falling (carefully!) to reduce the amount and severity of injuries that may happen while you try to learn tricks. You can also practice your footwork by weaving between small cones.
Only when you’re absolutely sure you’re ready should you begin trying tricks. And when you do, make sure you have plenty of space to move. You don’t want to kick anyone or be kicked.
Skating backward always looks fun. It’s also a good place to start because all tricks will rely on your comfort in skates, and skating backward isn’t too departed from what you’ve already been practicing. It’s a great “step two” in building confidence and branching out into other tricks.
There are two easy ways that you can learn to skate backward. The first we’ll cover is the easiest.
- Find the flattest area you can.
- Balance your weight equally on each leg, but don’t lock your knees.
- Be sure you’re comfortable in a slight squatting position and not afraid to fall.
- Push your legs out to opposite sides and then bring them back in while making a slight figure-eight shape. You should start moving backward.
The second way to skate backward is by starting from a still position. Shift most of your weight to one leg while pushing off with the other. Push of one of your legs out and then bring it back in to make an S shape (half a figure eight).
This one is pretty easy for those who are comfortable with skating backward. That said, it does require toe stoppers on your skates so you can push off; if you don’t have those then you’ll have a hard time, especially if you’re still just beginning to work on tricks.
Start with the wheels of one skate on the floor and the other skate propped up on the toe stopper. Push off with the stopper and glide backward on the other skate. Alternate the positions of your feet so that the skate that was propped up is flat and the flat skate is propped up. Push off with the stopper and glide backward. Switch feet again and repeat.
Once you learn the motions, you can perform it at your own speed. Here’s a video to help you visualize, along with two other tricks you can try:
Never Stop Trying!
Anyone who’s ever learned to do tricks—or taught them to others—will tell you that learning them well takes time and dedication. You should, of course, be proud of yourself for completing a trick successfully. However, it doesn’t make you an expert, and no matter how cautious you are you’re likely to fall during a future attempt.
That doesn’t mean you should give up! Just be patient, wear your protective gear, look out for others, and remember that it’s all about having fun.