The 2020 pandemic quad skating revolution is here!
This year there’s been a huge increase in quad skating for beginners, with new ‘quaddies’ moving on from their few square metres of indoor-sheltered skate practice area onto car courts, park paths, bike trails, and other outdoor surfaces smooth enough for rollerskating. (Personally, in Brighton I particularly like the new Valley Gardens paths and square outside St Peter’s Church!).
The difference between quad skates and inline skates
Quad skates are what you might call ‘old style rollerskates’, with two pairs of wide wheels as opposed to the single line of narrow wheels found on rollerblades or inline skates. Stopping on quads is done with the two toe stoppers on the front, whereas inline skates have a heel brake on the back.
Another significant difference apart from the wheel shape and brakes is that quads have a shorter wheelbase than inline skates, which means it’s way easier to fall over backwards on quads, for instance if you straighten your knees and/or stick your butt out.
This makes it even more important to understand some basics when you get started: especially knowing what causes wobbles, and how and where to find your balance and stability.
4 basic positions every beginner quad skater should know
When writing tutorials on quad skating for beginners I always come back to four basic positions that every quad skater should begin with.
It’s best to learn each of the below positions statically on grass so you can verify that you are doing them correctly, and only then try to emulate that feeling while rolling, first slowly and then faster.
Notice if your form gets worse as your speed increases. This is completely normal, and is a sign you should slow down until you can master the form also at speed.
The ‘T’ position
Otherwise known as the ‘Safe-T’ position, this is the place to have your feet if you are wanting to stand still and not roll around.
Place the heel of one foot into the instep of the other at an exact right angle. Use your leg muscles to pull your skates together so they don’t roll apart.
Many falls happen when skaters are trying to stand still (e.g. while drinking, or looking at a phone) because they don’t know about the T position.
The ‘V’ position
This is your basic skating movement position. With your skates making a slight ‘V’, a pizza-slice shape with your heels together and your toes slightly turned out, you can create propulsion by transferring your weight from one skate to the other.
This not a position for standing still! Once you are in the V, it means you want to get moving.
The ‘Ready’ position
This is the most important position to become familiar with. The ‘Ready’ position has both feet absolutely parallel and one hand’s width apart, with knees bent until you feel your weight on the balls of your feet.
The Ready position is the beginner’s cruising and resting position, but also the starting position for every single manoeuvre.
It sounds simple, but rolling while keeping your weight on the balls of the feet and maintaining the narrow stance is difficult for many beginners.
Luckily you get a lot of time to practice in Ready, as it is where you go to relax in-between every set of beginner strides.
The ‘Scissor’ position
From Ready, shift more weight onto one skate by bending lower in that knee. Now roll the lighter skate forwards a skate length until the back wheels of the front skate are just in front of the front wheels of the back skate. This is the ‘Scissor’ position.
The weight distribution can be 60/40, 70/30, or even 80/20, depending on skill, with more weight on the back skate.
Beginners should aim to cruise and steer with a 60/40 distribution.
Scissor will eventually become your cruising position, overtaking Ready in importance once you are an intermediate skater. This baseline skill must be perfected in order to progress. Without the Scissor, you’ll be unable to use a heel stopper, execute a parallel turn, or pass over a rough surface.
Use these static and rolling positions to help you feel more in control of your learning, and less at the mercy of wheels that seem to go anywhere. Once you’ve mastered these positions, focus on learning how to stop. Ideally, stops should be mastered in this order: Plough Stop, Toe Stop Drag, T-Stop.
You’ll then be well on your way to smooth, controlled skating that feels safe, and is therefore relaxed and fun.
View all quads courses
If you’re looking for more tips and tutorials on quad skating for beginners, get your free trial video lessons on Static Preparations, Basic Movement, and the T-Stop at skatefresh.com.