How to stop on rollerblades safely

How to stop on rollerblades safely
18/01/2024

To experience the sheer delight of rollerblading, mastering the art of proper braking is crucial. Acquiring diverse braking techniques empowers skaters to glide effortlessly, execute dazzling tricks, and steer clear of potential injuries. In this article, we'll guide beginners on essential knowledge to grasp before embarking on their inaugural skating adventure.

A few tips for beginners

For individuals lacking rollerblading experience, it is advisable to opt for adult or children's inline skates equipped with a standard brake when making a purchase. This minor feature plays a crucial role in facilitating a cautious and controlled stopping experience.


The next crucial factor to take into account is safeguarding the head, elbows, and knees. Given that training often involves potential injury risks, it becomes paramount to prioritize safety by investing in protective gear such as helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads. Furthermore, we strongly advocate for the use of specialized gloves to provide wrist protection, ensuring the safety of your hands during inline skating activities. This becomes especially crucial when considering the safety of children partaking in roller blading. It is essential to meticulously assess the quality of the protective gear, considering factors like the density of the protective material, the reliability of fastenings, and the absence of defects. Choose protection items that fit appropriately, ensuring comfort and no interference with the skating experience.

Before buying rollerblades for yourself, take the time to delve into the intricacies of skating. Make sure to acquaint yourself with braking techniques, as this knowledge will not only make the learning process easier but also enhance your overall enjoyment of the activity.

When initiating training for the first time, novice inline skaters should adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Steer clear of rough terrains and hills.
  2. Maintain a slow and gradual pace.
  3. Progressively acquire proficiency in various braking techniques, with emphasis on reducing speed using the brake lever and mastering emergency methods of slowing down.

It's also essential to develop the ability to balance on one leg while riding. This skill not only enhances the execution of tricks and adds flair to your skating but also contributes to mastering correct braking techniques.

Given that the utilization of the built-in brake is a fundamental aspect of mastering inline skates, it is advisable to commence your training by focusing on this skill.


Reducing speed by using the regular brake

While this technique may appear straightforward, it does have its nuances. To come to a halt, the skater employs the following steps:

  1. Advances the foot with the brake forward, slightly bending it at the knee, and shifts the body weight to the opposite foot.
  2. Slowly straighten the leading leg, gradually lifting the toe, allowing the brake lever to make contact with the ground.

Deceleration occurs through the frictional force between the braking component and the road surface. It is crucial to apply gentle, gradual pressure against the pavement to prevent potential falls.

Additionally, pay attention to your body posture by leaning slightly forward, supported by extending your arms in front of you. This approach helps minimize the risk of falling. Once you have come to a complete stop, you can then straighten up.

An essential detail to note is that the standard brake is not intended for high-speed driving or emergency stops. Utilizing it in such situations could lead to a loss of balance and potentially result in a forceful impact.

If you find yourself frequently using the brake lever, it's advisable to ensure timely replacement. Over time, the brake may shrink due to the effects of high friction.

Methods of emergency braking

While navigating the terrain, individuals may encounter diverse obstacles like architectural structures, vehicles, animals, or fellow pedestrians. Therefore, acquiring proficiency in emergency braking techniques is essential. Several methods include:

  1. Ass-stop (Buttocks Braking): Tightly pressing arms bent at the elbows to the body, the roller groups themselves, squats down with knees wide apart, and lands on the asphalt with their buttocks.
  2. Grass-stop (Jumping onto Grass): Transitioning from skating to running, the roller leaves the asphalt and heads onto a grassy area.
  3. Falling on Protective Elements: Bending knees and elbows, the rollerblader attempts to land with the protection of kneepads and elbow guards.
  4. Stopping with an Object to Hold Onto: Approaching a pole, bench, clothesline, or even a passerby and grabbing onto it for support.

If the only available object to stop is a person, it's important to warn them by shouting for support. This approach ensures that your sudden stop won't be an unpleasant surprise, reducing the risk of injury to both parties.

When approaching a building, it's advisable to make contact at an acute angle rather than a right angle. While there may still be bruises and scratches, this approach minimizes the risk of more severe injuries that could occur in a head-on collision.

Performing emergency braking entails inherent risks, given the unpredictable nature of events. It should be reserved as a last resort when neither the brake lever nor alternative methods of slowing down prove effective. To reduce the likelihood of finding yourself in such a situation, focus on mastering technical stopping techniques.

Technical methods for reducing riding speed

Not only do these techniques ensure safe braking, but they also contribute to an exhilarating and entertaining riding experience. The most common variations include:

  1. V-stop: Known as "plow" braking.
  2. T-stop: Slowing down on a straight trajectory, with the toe of the supporting leg pointing forward while the weight is fully transferred to that leg. The second leg, perpendicular to the movement, acts as the brake from behind.
  3. Slowing down with a snake: Executing a snake-like motion to decelerate.
  4. "Stomping": A distinctive stopping method.
  5. Power-stop: Bringing the rollerblader to a halt with a backward turn.

Additionally, there is a technique known as "hockey-style," which is suitable for experienced skaters. Each method has its own nuances, and we will delve into the specifics of each in more detail.

V-stop on skates

V-stop, also known as "plow" braking, is a technique often mastered early due to its simplicity. To execute this maneuver, individuals spread their legs wide and draw their toes toward each other without allowing them to touch, as contact may result in a fall. Maintaining a straight back, athletes use their arms to stabilize their bodies during the stop.


T-stop on skates

T-stop involves reducing the pace of movement on a straight trajectory, making the skill of riding on one leg beneficial. The person stands on one limb, designating it as the supporting one, with the knee bent to avoid potential loss of balance. The trailing leg is extended backward, and the foot is placed at a right angle perpendicular to the direction of movement. Leaning slightly forward with arms stretched out in front, the blader smoothly touches the ground with the skate to come to a stop, gradually straightening in the process.


Reducing speed as a snake

To execute the "snake" or slalom technique, a small hill and a spacious area for maneuvering are essential. The descent from the hill involves navigating a winding path.

The roller initiates turns by bending the supporting leg at the knee, extending the other leg in the direction of the turn, and subsequently switching their positions for the next maneuver. The body is slightly bent, directed towards the outstretched leg.

Deceleration in the "snake" is gradual and occurs over a series of maneuvers. More seasoned athletes can execute sharper turns, enabling even faster stops.

Deceleration with wheels follows a principle akin to applying the regular brake: the wheel of the toe on the back skate comes into contact with the skate on the heel of the front skate.

"Stomping"

A highly secure and uncomplicated stopping method, reminiscent of the "plow" technique, involves the skater smoothly shifting their weight from one foot to the other, resembling the movements of a bear. The skates are positioned at a 45-degree angle until they eventually come to a complete stop.



Power-stop - a stop with a turn backwards.

Ideal for seasoned skating experts on freeride skates, this technique is reserved for true aces in the art. To execute the stop, the roller swiftly pivots backward, shifting their body weight onto the leg while in a squat position. With arms outstretched, they maintain balance by aligning their body with the supporting limb.

While keeping the other leg positioned to the side, the foot is angled perpendicular to the movement at its maximum inclination, effectively applying brakes to all wheels of the skate.

Hockey-style braking

This technique is also among the most challenging: the roller must execute a slight turn and swiftly pivot both skates perpendicular to the axis of motion. Furthermore, the rollers need to be angled for a prompt stop.

This technique demands expertise, making it suitable solely for seasoned athletes.

Mastery of roller skating might initially appear challenging. Nevertheless, as you become adept at braking with precision, you'll find yourself capable of executing impressive tricks and developing a genuine passion for this dynamic recreational activity.

Professional freestyle slalom skater since 2006. Inline skates instructor. In the top 20 world best slalom skaters in the world at WSSA rank 2012-2018. Co-founder of InMove skates club and store in 2011. Event organizer of slalom and freeride competitons under WorldSlalomSeries. Creating helpful inline skates tutorials for beginners on YouTube channel InMoveSkates.

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