To get better at roller skating, you need to put in the hours and spend as much time as possible practising.

However, there’s only so far you can go if you don’t know some of the basic principles of skating such as what constitutes good posture and how to rollerskate correctly.

That’s why we created this skating for beginners guide which should help teach how to roller skate for beginners so that you can speed up your progress and decrease the likelihood of frequent falls.

With that being said, it’s always good to learn with a tutor, so check out the Superprof website where you’ll find roller skating tutors in your area that can help you up to your game quickly.

There are several things you should know when you first start on roller skates, and we’re going to go through each step in this guide so that by the end of it you should be ready to glide around gracefully and save yourself a lot of trial and error based learning.

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What are the Basics?

Skater adjusting skates
First things first, you need to get comfortable moving around on wheels and adjusting your boots for the perfect fit. Source: Unsplash

Before you even put on your roller skates for the first time, or daydream about all the roller skating tricks you’ll do, there are a few things you should know.

If you have a solid grasp of the basic skating moves then you can likely save yourself from needless cuts and bruises which can dampen your enthusiasm for the sport.

The basics include everything from how your posture should be to how best to learn to move on roller skates for beginners.

Posture is Everything

If you ever get tired of your parents telling you to walk upright or work on your posture, just remember that it’s because they know how important it is.

Many of us these days walk like zombies with necks craning to see our phones, and the result of this will likely be back and neck pain down the road.

The same goes for skating, except with skating the posture is important to ensure you maintain good balance.

Perfect posture in roller skating looks somewhere in between walking upright and squatting.

That means you want to have your knees bent slightly, but your back as straight as possible. Your feet should be around shoulder-width apart.

Walk Before you Skate

The expression about how you should walk before you can run applies to the sport of roller skating.

While the end goal is of course to glide around effortlessly, you can’t get there unless you feel comfortable on the skates.

To get comfortable on the skates, you’ll want to learn the duck walk.

That’s right, you’ll need to make like a duck and waddle slowly if you want to take your skating ability to the next level.

How?

Simply have your feet facing outwards and take baby steps with each skate, rolling a little to the side with each step.

Slow and steady wins the race here, so try not to get ahead of yourself.

If at the end of the session all you’ve done is walk like a duck, don’t worry, it’s progress even if it might not feel like it!

Stop in Your Tracks

The last thing you need to know before you try to catch air time and attempt all kinds of tricks is how to stop.

Before you put on the skates you might assume that stopping is easy, well we’re here to tell you that it isn’t.

If you don’t have the right technique, the chances are high that your only option for stopping is to jump in a nearby bush - and we don’t recommend that!

To come to a complete stop, the first thing you should know is that the brake is located at the toe of the skate.

That means to activate it you’ll need to place one of your skates in front of the other and press the toe of that foot firmly into the ground.

The more pressure you apply, the quicker you’ll come to a halt.

Gear Up

Any kind of fall in skates can be disastrous, so make sure you have the right protective gear. Source: Unsplash

The worst thing you can be as a beginner skater is overconfident.

Yes, the chances of you hitting your head may be small, but wearing the right protective clothing like a helmet is a good habit to form as you never know when you might take a tumble.

Plus, if this really is going to be your first time on roller skates, you might be surprised at how difficult it can be to keep balance with wheels under your feet.

Protective gear doesn't need to incur a significant cost, but it does need to be robust.

So what equipment do you need as a beginner to start skating?

Skates

Your first pair of skates don’t need to be anything special, and you can probably get a pair for £50 or less.

The main thing is that they fit comfortably, as the wrong fit can lead to ankle sprains or worse.

Helmet

While you might think it isn’t necessary or you see others skating without helmets, you should absolutely invest in one and wear it whenever you skate.

It’s not worth the risk to skate without a helmet, and rinks will require you to wear one anyway.

Knee Pads

Protecting your knees is key, and all it takes is a couple of knee pads.

This will make any impact with the ground less painful, and trust us, you’re going to hit the ground more than a few times.

Wrist Guards

It’s natural whenever you fall to put your hands out to protect your head, yet in doing so you put your wrists at risk.

The solution?

A supportive pair of wrist guards.

Skating Tips

uneven steps sign
In the beginning, everywhere you go it will feel like you're walking on uneven steps. Source: Unsplash

Now you’ve learned the basics, what else is there to know about skating for beginners?

You Should Fall Over

Yes, that’s right, while learning the basics will help you form an idea of what the activity should be like in theory, there’s no guarantee that it will be like that in reality.

The hard truth of the matter is that you’re going to fall over. A lot.

That’s just the nature of any type of skating, especially when you’re just starting.

After all, it isn’t natural to have wheels under your feet and be in constant motion.

Why are we telling you this?

Well because it can be a good idea to embrace this early on to avoid frustration. Know that you are going to fall over a lot and you won’t feel as deflated each time it happens.

It could be that you have perfect balance and barely fall at all, which would be great, but you still need to prepare for the worst.

In fact, many skaters recommend that you get used to the feeling of falling by knowing how to do it well.

There’s a right and wrong way to fall if you want to avoid injury, so here’s what you need to know to soften any impact with the ground:

  • Falling Forwards 

When falling forwards, it’s important to remember that you’re wearing knee pads and wrist protectors.

Why?

Because these are what will soak up the impact and protect you from getting badly injured. As such, if you find yourself falling forwards make sure you land on your hands and knees.

  • Falling Backwards

The idea of falling backwards may be terrifying at first, but more often than not it just means you’ll end up with a sore backside.

The helmet will protect your head, and most of the time you will be able to tuck your head as you fall and put your hands out to save your back from a crash collision with the ground.

Skate with Friends

If you’re skating for fun, which we assume you are, then it’s always more enjoyable to do it with friends, family, or a loved one.

There are also a lot of additional benefits to skating with others.

You can show off your roller skating accessories for a start!

While skate accessories might not be one of your top priorities when you start out, over time you might decide that you want to show more personality with your skating attire.

Having friends around is useful so that they can be there for you when you hit the deck. On the off chance that you seriously injure yourself, you’re going to want to have someone nearby who can give you medical assistance or call for help if necessary.

Even if you just take a light tumble, it’s always nice to have someone around to help pull you back up to your feet.

Chances are if you skate with friends you’ll have a lot more fun doing it which should make it easier to stay motivated and you’ll probably spend more time practising as a result.

Sometimes when you’re skating on your own it can get frustrating, especially if you’re falling a lot or just feel like you’re having an off day. When you’re with a friend or family member though, we’re willing to bet that even if you don’t feel 100% or are down on your skating ability you’ll still enjoy yourself and want to try again soon after.

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Samuel

Sam is an English teaching assistant and freelance writer based in southern Spain. He enjoys exploring new places and cultures, and picking up languages along the way.