Roller Derby Books
Roller Derby Videos
Practice Tips for Beginning Inline Skaters
How to make your your first inline skating practice sessions productive
and fun. Last article in a four-part series called
"Getting Started on Inline Skates".
Before You Practice, Take a Lesson
Before you start practicing on inline skates, you should
take a skating lesson from a professional inline skating instructor.
You will be a much better skater, and much less likely to
injure yourself, if you take at least one lesson before you
try skating on your own. You can find a lesson by using one
of the inline skating instructor directories in our
Inline Skating Lessons and Instructors section. Please take a
lesson before you try skating
on your own. Attempting to skate without taking lessons is
scary and dangerous to yourself and others!
Things to Bring When You Skate
Protective Gear (Wrist Guards, Knee Pads, Elbow Pads)
Water or money for drinks
Money for phone calls, taxi, snacks
Phone numbers you might need
Pencil and paper for new phone numbers :)
Band-Aids, moleskin, blister kit, athletic tape
Elastic bands for tying back your hair
Blinkie lights if you might be out after dark
MP3 player or tape player if you skate to music
Your Very First Practice Sessions
The Rollerblade skate company suggest that
first-time skaters walk around on a flat, grassy surface before
they try skating on pavement. It's a good way for new skaters to
get the feel of their skates, and to practice standing and balancing.
You might want to start several of your first sessions this way.
When you feel you're ready, carefully move to the pavement and just
BALANCE on your skates, without trying move. Position your feet a
few inches apart, bend your knees, and balance your weight on the
balls of your feet.
When you're ready to roll, begin to skate gradually. Practice
moving forward but don't get going too fast. You should ease
into your first practice sessions. Don't push yourself too hard
and don't try to skate beyond your abilities. There's plenty
Warm Up Before You Skate
Warm up before each practice session. You will be less likely to
injure yourself if you begin each skating session with a few
Stretching Exercises and a slow five-minute warm-up skate.
When I first started skating, I always felt very unsteady when
I first put on my skates. It felt like I had never been on skates
before! After about 10 or 20 minutes, I always got my "skating
legs" back. It still happens to me, to a lesser extent, so don't
get discouraged if you experience the same thing.
Where and What to Practice
Find a large, flat, empty parking lot for your first practice
sessions. When I say flat, I mean VERY flat. The slightest grade
will make you gain speed faster than you expect, and you will
quickly find yourself skating out of control.
Practice the striding and stopping skills you learned in your
skating lesson. Skate and stop, over and over, until stopping
starts to become an automatic reflex. Later you should practice
skating and stopping in a gently sloping parking lot. For heel
brake instructions and other stopping techniques see
How to Stop on Inline Skates.
Bend Your Knees
It's very important to bend your knees when you skate. It keeps
your center of gravity low so you will be more stable and less
likely to fall. Bending your knees also adds power to your stride.
If you stand up straight, your stride is only about 1 foot wide
on each side, but if you bend your knees deeply, your stride is
more like 3 feet wide on each side. This longer stride adds power
to your skating, and your stride will be more productive with
less effort. (I learned this tip from Jay Etheredge, winner of
many U.S. speedskating competitions.)
Bending the knees is difficult for most beginners. Actually,
it's not really difficult for them to DO it... it's just
difficult for them to KNOW whether or not they're doing it.
They think they're bending their knees, but they're really
bending at the waist. To overcome this very common problem,
try bending your knees until you can feel the cuff of your
skates pressing against the front of your shins. If you can't
feel your skates pressing hard against your shins, you're
aren't bending your knees deeply enough.
Learn to Fall
Keep your weight forward on the balls of your feet when
you're skating. Always remember that you don't want to
fall backwards onto your unprotected back or tailbone.
Of course, most of us don't want to fall at ALL, but
when you can't avoid it, you should make sure you fall
forward onto your wrist guards and knee pads. For more
about preventing and handling skating falls see
How to Fall on Inline Skates.
Skate Every Day
Try to skate every day, even if it's only once around
the block. Your skating skills will develop quickly if
you make time for frequent practice sessions. Even 15
or 20 minutes a day will make a big difference.
Go Back to School
After you are comfortable with basic skating skills like
stopping and striding, take an intermediate class to learn
T-stops, slalom (turning) techniques, skating backwards,
and other more advanced maneuvers.
Skate on One Foot
Practice balancing on one foot at a time while you're skating.
See how long you can glide on each foot. This is a good way to
develop your balancing skills.
Skate to Music
Skating to music helps you develop an even rhythm, and it
helps you relax and forget to worry about falling down.
Skating to the beat of the music is fun! MP3 Players are
perfect for skating because they have no moving parts and
your music will never skip, even when you skate over cracks
Roller Limbo (you won't want to try this...)
Skate with Friends
Join a Weekly Group Skate
Find a Local Skating Club
Take an Organized Skate Tour
More of This Article
Visit Our 12 Skating Forums
Forums for discussing aggressive, artistic, beginning, hockey, fitness, recreational,
roller basketball, roller derby, roller dancing, rollersoccer, quad skating,
slalom skating, and speed skating.
10 Skating Forums at AskAboutSkating.com
Inline Skating for Beginners - Main Menu
Where to Find a Skating Lesson
How to Skate
How to Stop
Skating in Africa
Skating in Asia
Skating in Europe
Skating in Oceania
Skating in The Americas
Inline Skate Shop
Roller Skate Shop