Whenever you start with a new sport or activity, it’s easy to get carried away. You spend a lot of money, read all the guides, but then your motivation fizzles out over time.

Roller skating for beginners is no exception.

You start to think ahead several years and take a look at expert-level skaters and what skating moves they can do. You see them jumping and performing tricks mid-air, sliding and gliding around effortlessly, and making it all look easy.

Well, we hate to be the bearers of bad news but the reality is that for most of us, it takes several days or even weeks before we even get comfortable standing in a pair of roller skates for beginners.

That’s because roller skating is unnatural.

Learning how to roller skate for beginners can be a tall order, so you can put thoughts of roller skating accessories aside for now.

Standing on shoes with wheels built-in is not something many of us are familiar with, and as soon as our feet start moving away from our body it’s easy for panic to set in.

So surely tricks are out of the question for beginners, right?

While we wouldn’t recommend that the first thing you do when you pick up a pair of roller skates is trying to catch air time, there are many tricks that are accessible to beginner-level roller skaters.

Intrigued?

We thought so! 

If you’re looking for tutorship why not give Superprof a try, so you can find a roller skating tutor near you and fast track your progress.

Let’s take a look at all the tricks and maneuvers you can work your way up to as a beginner once you’ve learned how to rollerskate:

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What Maneuvers are there?

kid skating
If you want the skills this kid clearly has, then you're going to have to work hard at it and practise a lot. Source: Unsplash

To kick things off, we’re going to go over some of the basic maneuvers you’ll need to learn if you want to be able to pull off stylish tricks while skating. It isn’t just skate accessories you need to impress your friends.

Master the following moves, and you’ll have a solid foundation from which you can learn all sorts of tricks and more advanced maneuvers.

How long they will take to learn will depend on your ability level, balance, and aptitude for skating.

Each of these maneuvers assumes that you already know how to skate forwards in a straight line, so if you’re not there yet, come back to this article when you are.

Skating in Reverse

Once you can skate forwards, you can skate backward (in theory).

It’s as simple as inverting your feet as they would be when you skate forward.

So whereas your feet are in a ‘v’ shape when you normally skate, with your toes facing outwards and your heels close together, to go backwards you want to turn the ‘v’ inside out so it’s facing backwards.

Instead of having your heels together you want to bring your toes together, and your heels should slide apart facing different directions to create a ‘v’ that faces the opposite direction to where you’re facing.

In this position, while squatting down slightly with your knees bent, apply pressure with the front of your right foot while your left foot hovers above the ground and then repeat the same on the other side.

This will allow you to move backwards, though be careful, since this will be unnatural to begin with. Make sure you go slowly at first and look over your shoulder frequently to avoid colliding with an inanimate object, or worse, another beginner skater.

Crossover Turns

Crossover turns allow you to veer off to the left or right and turn around when you need to.

As such, it’s an essential move to add to your repertoire early on, unless you only ever want to skate in a straight line!

To perform this maneuver, we highly recommend that you head to a skating rink or a car park where you have a lot of room to practise. You’re not only going to need space to move into in front of you, but you’ll also need space to your left and right.

Once you’re comfortable skating forwards, cross your right skate over your left foot and turn your body to the right. Now slide your right skate backwards to generate momentum which will allow you to turn.

Jumps

Now we’re getting to one of the more advanced maneuvers for the beginner skater: jumps.

Whatever type of skating you do, be it on a skateboard, roller blades, or something else, jumping is challenging because it requires you to stabilise yourself after a heavy impact with the hard ground.

If you’re unable to steady yourself as soon as you land, you’re in trouble.

As such, when you first attempt to jump with your roller skates we strongly suggest that you don’t propel yourself high or far in the air and that you have someone with you in case you take a fall.

When you feel ready, and you have a space to practise in, start gliding forwards as you normally would. When you feel the jump coming on, bring both of your skates together while entering a squat position with your knees bent slightly.

Now hop up into the air and do your best to stay low to the ground when you land.

We say hop rather than jump because if you propel yourself too high into the air you’ll make it much more difficult to stick the landing. Start with a bunny hop and then you can build up to more advanced jumps, like the one-footed skip which we’ll get into next.

Beginner-friendly Tricks

skating in a park
Head to a park like this one if you can, as you'll need a large space to practise the various skill moves. Source: Unsplash

Now the real fun begins!

When you feel confident in your ability to move in every direction, turn, and jump, then you can start trying out some of the following roller skating tricks that are accompanied with roller skating tips.

The Skip

Now you’ve mastered the hop and the jump, it’s time to try out the skip.

Without skates on, skipping is a simple matter of jumping but landing on a single foot rather than both.

This move is considered key for developing your skills as a roller skater because it’s one of the easiest ways to transition.

But how can you pull this off when you have wheels attached to the bottom of that foot?

Well, the first thing you should try before leaping forwards like a graceful frog is some basic drills.

While this might not sound enjoyable, to land on one foot with confidence you’re going to want to start somewhere.

One of the best drills is to hop on the spot landing on your right leg and then your left leg, so you’re essentially jumping from side to side.

As you do this, you should try to land with your knee slightly bent.

Another advantage of doing this drill is that you will build muscle in your legs which will help going forward.

Once you can do this drill with ease, place a strip of tape or a piece of string on the ground and try to clear it with a skip.

As you can imagine, over time this piece of string can turn into something a little taller, until one day you are able to clear objects around knee height.

The Yoga Pose

One of the simplest ways to impress your friends is to master the one-footed skate since this level of balance will enable you to pull off all manner of tricks.

If you want to seem as if you have finesse and grace beyond your years with skating, then this yoga pose skating trick is a great place to start.

Essentially what this looks like is normal skating, except one of your knees is bent and your other leg is crossed over and resting on that knee.

To build up to this, you need to work on your balance and skating on one leg.

The basic drill to build up confidence for this trick is to stand on one foot on the spot and raise the other slightly off the ground. Keep your arms out for balance, and try to hold each foot off the ground for as long as possible.

Once you get more comfortable, lean over to one side as you have a foot off the ground to practise staying stable when you lose balance.

When you’re finally ready to skate, glide forwards with your other foot raised just an inch or two off the ground, so you can put it down quickly if you need to.

The Superman

The Superman is a great trick to build up to and one which will surely mark your transition from beginner to experienced roller skater.

So what does it look like?

Well, imagine what Superman would look like if he were wearing roller skates. Body close to parallel with the ground, with one leg pointing backwards and the opposite arm pointing forwards with a closed fist.

man jumping in superman pose
The pose should look a little something like this, but with less air time. Source: Unsplash

This is a tough trick to learn, we’re not going to lie, but it’s well worth it we promise!

Just like with the yoga pose trick, you’re going to need to spend a lot of time working on your balance and your one-footed skating technique.

Once you feel comfortable, you can try to skate with one leg raised behind you. Then try skating on one leg with your arm in front of you. Finally, try and put the two together while simultaneously leaning as far forwards as you dare.

 

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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.