How to Learn to Roller-Skate

Roller skates
A certified instructor can help you learn the basic skills needed to roller-skate. (Image: Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Roller skating is a fun, fast activity, and you can move forward, backward and even pair up with a partner once you have enough experience. Learning to roller-skate can be a daunting challenge; you are going to fall before ultimately gaining firm footing. But if you put in enough practice time and learn the proper form and technique, you should be off and rolling in no time.

Lessons Learned

Taking lessons from a certified instructor helps you learn the skills needed for roller skating. Instructors can teach you to stay balanced on the skates and steer clear of all the bumps and bruises that can come with falling. Lessons help you learn the proper technique for starting and stopping. As you practice with an instructor, you will gradually be able to build up speed while overcoming the fear of falling.

Protective Gear

Purchasing -- or renting -- roller skates is an important step for beginners. Wearing skates that are too big can cause you to fall, even if you are moving with the proper technique. Skates that are too small can hurt your feet and cause you to shuffle instead of skate. You should always wear a helmet, and elbow, knee and wrist pads can absorb the impact from falls as you learn to roller-skate. Wearing protective equipment also helps lessen the fear of falling and lets you fully focus on skating.

Body Movement

Learning the basic skating stance and movements are imperative for beginners. To start from the standing position, the heels of each roller skate come together and the toes are spread apart, forming a "V" shape. Relax your body and slightly bend your knees before pushing off with either foot. If you push off with the right foot, the right leg comes out to the side. As you get rolling, push off with the left foot and bring the left leg out to the side. Continue alternating with each foot, but you can choose to glide for a time before resuming the push process. Keep your arms out to the side for balance, and always keep your head up and your eyes open to avoid collisions.

Stop Signs

Roller skating is simply pushing off with each foot and letting the wheels do the work. Eventually, you have to stop, and there are two popular techniques that are safe and effective. Most roller skates have rubber stoppers attached under each toe. The stoppers act as brakes, and you can turn the toe of either skate down and drag the stopper. The more pressure you place on the stopper, the faster you stop. The "T" stop is also effective for new roller skaters. To execute the "T" stop, turn your strongest foot sideways and keep it behind your weaker foot. Touch the instep of your stronger foot with the heel of your weaker foot to come to a safe stop.

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