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Roller Skating: A Beginner’s Guide

Whether you’ve been enviously eyeing off your friendly neighbourhood roller skating girl gang, or if your TikTok ‘For You Page’ is full of effortlessly coordinated pros, the thought may have occurred to you to try your hand at roller skating. You wouldn’t be alone in this idea, with hundreds of people taking up the somewhat retro hobby over lockdown for something new and fun to do! 

If you’ve decided to learn to roller skate, it might seem overwhelming to begin with. But don’t let your fear of falling on your caboose hold you back! Roller skating is great exercise, gets you outdoors in the fresh air and opens up an awesome new social circle to explore with Rollerfit classes, skate rink events and derby teams all at your disposal.

Some of the Active Truth team have given roller skating a spin, and we’ve put together our top tips to help get you speed skating in no time!

Step One: Get Protected

Safety first! When you’re feeling a little wobbly on your wheels, getting kitted out with protective gear is the best place to start. Why not head down to your local skate shop to get fitted for some pads to help protect your joints from bumps and grazes. 

As you get more confident, it’s still best practice to keep wearing your protective pads on the regular. It can be pretty easy to take a spill, whether you’ve tried a new trick, encountered some uneven surfaces or if anything unexpected crops up, you’ll be ready for it!

Perfect Your Posture

Finding balance on your new wheels might seem a little tricky at first, and you may naturally find yourself stiffening up whilst you’re a little unsure of yourself. This is super common among beginner roller skaters, so don’t stress! Take a deep breath and relax, and remember to keep your knees bent! This will help you keep your movements smoother and easier to make. 

Aim to keep your hips in line with your shoulders, and your heels in line with your hips. This will become easier over time as you get more confident, but spend these first few weeks thinking about your posture so you are starting off with good habits! Try filming yourself so you can see exactly how you’re positioned when you’re on the go. 

And perhaps most importantly, keep your shoulders relaxed and your head held high. If you keep your sights set on the direction that you are skating in, this helps naturally align your posture and keep your body moving in the right direction. 

Learn To Fall Safely

Falling might seem scary when you first learn to skate, and we’re sorry to say that it is inevitable! But you’ve already done the right things by pulling on your protective pads and keeping your posture in check. 

If you feel like you may be headed for a spill, bend those knees and get as close to the ground as possible. This will reduce the impact of your fall and help you keep in control of where you land. 

Try your best to fall forward and let your wrist guards and knee guards absorb some of the impact. If you do find yourself on the way to a backwards spill, use your arms to protect your head, tuck in your chin and do your best to get low before you fall. 

Location, location!

Now this one can be a little tricky, pending your lockdown restrictions, or what you have access to at home. But if you’re just starting out learning to skate, you won’t need too much room! All you need is a nice, flat surface, free from any obstructions. A garage or driveway is perfect for this, as the flat (and hopefully consistent) surface gives you an easy platform to learn the basics. The bonus of using your garage is you’ll have some walls to grab onto if you need to regain your balance… and your neighbours won’t see you stack it. 

Most Importantly…

Don’t forget to have fun! Buddy up with another roller skating beginner (or perhaps join a friend who is already a pro!) and replace your afternoon walk with an adventure on wheels. 

As with any new hobby, consistency is key. Even a fifteen minute daily practice will have you confident and coordinated in no time!