Inline skating is a great way to get and stay in shape. It provides cardiovascular exercise and uses major muscle groups while allowing participants to be active outdoors. Riding Inline skates is also a fun activity you can enjoy with friends and family.
Inline skate gear
You'll need inline skates, of course. Your skate selection should be based on the type of skating you plan to do. There are several types of skates: recreational, speed, aggressive (for those interested in doing tricks) and hockey. When selecting your skates, look for a proper fit to keep your feet and ankles properly supported and to provide control. For kids, choose skates that fit now, not oversized skates that the child can grow into; skates that are too large lead to frequent falls.
Protective gear is an important part of inline skating to protect you from injury. A helmet is a must, even for experienced skaters. Although you may be in control of yourself, you can't control what's happening around you.
Since a broken wrist is the most common inline skating injury, wrist guards are also a good idea. Most people hurt themselves when attempting to break a fall with their hands. Other protective gear you may choose to use includes knee pads, elbow pads and a crash guard-essentially a pair of padded shorts. These are great for beginners, who tend to fall on their backside.
Standing and starting
Simply standing on inline skates can be daunting. A good way to practice getting up is to put on your skates on a soft surface, such as grass. Once you're in your inline skates, get up, one foot at a time. Feel free to hold on to something to assist you. Now try walking around in your skates to get comfortable.
You're ready to start skating. While still near a soft surface, find a flat, hard surface and get into the beginning stance. This involves bending your knees so that you can't see your toes over your knee pads. Your skates should be shoulder width apart. Keep your arms out in front of you to help keep your balance. Put one foot on the hard surface, keeping your toes pointed outward. Now put your other foot on the hard surface, keeping your heels together while your toes point out. Your feet will be in a "V" formation.
Take a step forward with one of your feet. Remember that you're going to roll, which is a good thing. Don't stand up straight, or you will lose your balance. Take a step with your other foot, and repeat. You're skating! To build speed, put more pressure on the skates and use more force. Your strokes should be deeper and quicker, depending on how fast you want to go.
Assuming you don't want to stop by skating into a parked car, it's a good idea to have a few stopping techniques mastered. There are several to choose from. One, which may seem laughable but is very effective, is intentionally falling. If it is safe to do so, bend down and then sit as gently as you can. This works best when you feel out of control and stopping is a must. Having crash pads can be particularly helpful when using this technique.
Another relatively easy stopping technique is the T-stop. The T-stop involves dragging one skate behind you, with your toes turned out, so that your skate is perpendicular to the direction that you're skating. Apply pressure with the back foot until you come to a complete stop. The only downside to this is that it wears down skate wheels rather quickly.
You can also use the brake that comes on the back of some inline skates. To do this, keep your feet shoulder width apart with your brake foot slightly in front of your other foot and bend your knees. Extend your front knee (the one that is braking) and raise your toes, putting pressure on the brake. As you put pressure on the skate, lower your rear into a sitting position. The lower you sit, the more quickly you will stop.
You can also try a hockey stop, also known as the S-stop, which is simply turning quickly. This is effective but difficult to practice, as you must be going quickly for it to work properly.
Turning is a vital skill of inline skating. It is also one of the easier skills to learn. To execute a basic turn, keep your arms out in front of you a bit to help maintain your balance. Stagger your feet, with the foot that will be on the inside of the turn a little bit forward. Lean your body in the direction that you want to turn, taking small steps with your inside skate at the same time. Push off with your outside skate to complete the turn.
A parallel or slalom turn is slightly more difficult to do, but can be great for activities such as roller hockey. To begin, stagger your skates using a narrow scissors stance, with one skate nearly in front of the other. Assuming that you'll be turning left, keep your back, right knee slightly bent, and most of your weight on the back leg. Straighten your body and lift your left toe up, as if you were using the brake on the skate. (Eventually you will not need to lift your toe, but when you're practicing, lifting the front toe can make the turn easier.) Lean your back knee slightly to the left, and look over your left shoulder at the same time. Your body will follow your eyes through the turn.
Aggressive inline and hockey
Once you are comfortable turning and stopping, you can begin developing other skills. It is essential to wear a helmet for aggressive skating because performing tricks puts you off balance even more than recreational skating. The same goes for hockey, where players tend to be forceful.
Aggressive inline requires that you master several techniques each for turning, falling, spinning, jumping and stopping. You should be able to skate both forward and backward. Once you can perform these maneuvers, you're ready to begin practicing aggressive inline.
There are three types of aggressive skaters: park, street and vert. Park skaters perform tricks in skate parks, which may also be utilized by BMX bikers and skateboarders. Skate parks consist of ramps, bowls, rails and other elements that simulate objects you may find on the street. Street skaters stick to what they find in their neighborhoods and cities: stair railings, stairs, benches, curbs and walls. Vert skaters can be found on a vert ramp, which is a half pipe with a vertical slope.
Inline hockey requires that you be able to put into practice a couple of starts, including the crossover start and a V-start. You should be comfortable with the S-stop and a glide turn, and you should practice pivoting from front to back and back to front.
There's a broad range of people who ride inline skates, from fitness enthusiasts to hockey players to kids and adults just looking for a fun way to get around. Many of these activities use specialized skate designs, but there are some common features found on all skates that are good to know and understand when you're shopping, especially for kids inline skates.