Roller skating isn’t just reserved for waiters at American diners.
It’s a vibrant sport with a wide community and a lot of depth. While it might not seem like it at first glance, mastering the art of moving around with wheels attached to your feet isn’t easy.
The first time you don the skates, you might feel like Bambi on ice, but once you get the hang of things we’re sure you’ll learn to love skating.
Superprof has many roller skating tutors keen to teach you how to overcome your skating nerves, so if you want to speed up your progress working with one isn’t such a bad idea.
The purpose of this guide is to give you an idea of how you can get involved in roller skating in the UK. We’ll cover everything from the best roller skating UK spots, the top roller skating events, and the basics such as the best roller skates for beginners.
We’ll even touch upon how you can woo your partner with a roller skating date and make the most of couple skating.
So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in and answer the questions ‘where can I skate?’ and ‘how can I make the most out of roller skating?’
Where are the best places to skate?
Roller skating requires a hard surface of course, since you’ll have a tough time trying to glide along grass!
But where should you go as a beginner?
The rink is obviously the most popular location for roller skating, since it’s purpose-made for skaters to come and show off their skills.
If you haven’t come across one of these before, it’s basically a large hall with the kind of hard glossy floor you would expect a school gym to have. This is intentional of course because it allows roller skaters to glide along with ease, whatever their experience level.
The benefit of going to a rink is that if you just want to give roller skating a go you might be able to hire some equipment there to save yourself the expense of buying your own skates.
Plus, many roller skating rinks will put on weekly events for different age groups. These events could be relaxed skating sessions for all ages or even exciting roller disco parties that allow you to let your hair down as you skate around.
Generally speaking, the roller rink is inexpensive, but it will be an investment of money.
How much exactly?
Typically, you can expect to pay around £8-10 to skate for an hour or more at a roller skating rink. The price will usually vary depending on your age and other factors, and spectators might have to pay an entrance fee too.
This isn’t a lot of money to enjoy the sport, but if you want to seriously improve your skills then you should consider this as an ongoing investment. Think of it like a £10 a week subscription - it could be worse.
As such, if you just want to try roller skating out and don’t want to part with more cash just yet, then you might prefer some of the other options listed below.
If you want to skate for free, you have several roller skating places available to you.
The most popular of which - although at times risky - is the car park.
Providing the car park is empty, you should be able to practice at your own pace, assuming that the surface isn’t full of potholes.
Then there are the basketball and tennis courts.
Obviously, you want to be respectful of those playing, which means you should steer clear if there are matches on, but if the courts are free and empty then you could go for a quick spin.
If you have access to a school, you might also be able to use school tracks, though make sure you have permission to do so.
Finally, there are the cycle paths. If you feel confident enough to be around cyclists and other fast-moving commuters, then you could glide around the city on these paths.
If you want to venture abroad and are wondering what the best cities are for getting your skate on, then read on for some of the most popular skating destinations.
The appeal of these cities for roller skating stems largely from the fact that they are urban environments that welcome all kinds of skating activity, and offer up a wealth of sights to see as you glide around the city.
New York city is hands-down the best place to head if you want to skate with some incredible views along the way. You’ll feel as if you’re skating through a movie set as you sail past the towering skyscrapers and make your way through Central Park.
Barcelona is a top European destination for skaters, so the next time you pack your bags for a sun-soaked holiday in Spain make sure to bring your skating gear.
Paris is an urban destination favored by many skaters, too, with its stunning sites and the big urban skating scene there.
Which roller skates are best for beginners?
Picking out the best roller skates can be a tall order.
There are various factors to take into account, such as the size of your feet, the durability, the type of wheels and more.
Here are some of the most important factors to aid your decision-making process:
Inline vs Quad Skates
In case you didn’t already know, there are two types of roller skates that are differentiated by the number and placement of wheels.
There are the traditional quad skates which have four wheels - two on each side - and a toe stopper in front which acts as the brake. Then there are the inline skates which have just three wheels one in front of the other in a straight line.
Most beginners will start off with quad skates, since inline skates are more difficult to master and are better for maneuvering at high speeds.
Quad skates provide you with a good amount of stability and the toe stop brake at the front makes it easy to stop whenever you need to.
There are also aggressive skates that are used in inline skating to execute highly difficult skills and maneuvers.
The construction of your skates is important for durability and for the type of skating you want to do.
For example, if you invest in hard boots, you can rest assured that they’ll be more robust and provide extra stability but they won’t offer the same maneuverability as softer boots.
With regards to the truck and plate, the material will determine how stable you will be and how easy it will be for you to turn at speed.
Couple roller skating
Skating alone can be difficult, so skating in tandem with a partner may seem impossible at first, but we assure you it isn’t.
Skating with a partner doesn’t have to be that much more challenging than it is for you to skate alone, it’s just different.
The first thing you need to do going into couples skating is eradicate the images of lifting your partner overhead and performing acrobatics as you skate. This is competition skating, and trying this will likely end in injury.
At its core, what couple’s roller skating requires is an ability to skate close to another person without leaning on them for support.
You need to be confident enough in your own ability to move in a straight line and turn that you can do so in close proximity to your partner. If you haven’t quite mastered moving around in skates yet then we strongly recommend you get up to speed first before you attempt to skate with someone else.
Roller skating events
There are all kinds of roller skating events out there, running from disco parties in rinks to marathon-style races, so whatever aspect of skating it is that you enjoy, we promise that there’s something for you.
If we turn our attention to UK-based roller skating events, there are many events up and down the country at all times of the year.
While it’s not an event per se, the roller nation club in London is essentially a night club where you go and party the night away while skating and listening to music. The club has regular events such as roller disco, soul skate, and more.
If you’re more interested in roller skating for fitness, then why not try one of the many roller skating fitness classes offered by sports centres around the country?
This is a great way to get a solid workout in with a trained coach who will teach you how to roller skate and shed some calories.
There’s even a skater’s marathon that takes place annually in London called the Roller Sport Marathon.
The event was created by the organisers in an effort to boost London’s status as a place of sporting greatness, as well as to encourage young people to give roller skating a go.
It’s a fun way to spend a day with your family and also get to show off your skating skills as you race to the finish.
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