How to stop on roller skates and quad skates?

So Learning how to stop on roller skates is undoubtedly the biggest challenge to embrace when you decide to strap wheels to your feet. Unfortunately learning and mastering stops on skates is much harder than making them go (which at times is frighteningly fast!)

In this blog, we’ll explain the first stops to learn and practice on quad skates and a couple of drills to help you refine them.

Quads have traditionally been worn indoors with the Victorians starting roller skating in the mid-late 1800s – by 1880 London had 70 roller rinks!.  Later, the roller disco era of the 1970s continued to push the appeal of skating into the 90s and beyond. 

Now with a new pandemic-inspired wave of quad skaters hitting the scene, many or most of them are skating outdoors for their exercise during lockdowns and the necessity of getting some good old fashioned aerobic exercise. Read more about the pandemic quads boom here.

The thing is, outdoors = slopes.  Even tiny slopes on wheels can make you accelerate to speeds you are uncomfortable with, so that’s all the more reason to make learning how to stop your number one priority when you first begin to skate.

Top tip: I recommend when skating outdoors in quads and getting from A to B, the use of toe stops (as they are method #1 on my how to stop list). Without toe stops you’d need to be a very competent skater to safely handle street skating using much harder stops..

Toe Stop Drag

Toe stop drag on rollerskates - Skatefresh Asha

The Toe Stop Drag is the easiest way to stop on roller skates. This method involves balancing more of your weight on one leg to get the ‘drag’ light enough to drag but heavy enough to slow you down. 

  • Bend your front knee and balance more of your weight on this leg (about 80%)
  • Allow the toe stopper of the other skate to scrape behind the front skate and eventually slow you down.
  • You should also bend your back knee and the foot inside the sliding skate should be pointed like a ballerina (try it, it’s magic).

Top tip: If when you try this your toe stopper bounces along instead of slides along, it’s because the stopper is too heavy, so try shifting more of your weight on the front skate and bring your body upright, shoulders over hips.

Heel Brake Stop

Some quad skates have a heel brake at the back (similar to inline skates) which is much easier for steeper downhill slopes and emergency stops.

  • Begin with both skates together and bend both knees.
  • Place 70% of your weight on one skate and then roll the other skate (with the brake on the heel) in front of you and apply the brake when it’s just past the front wheel of the back skate.
  • Allow it to slide it along the ground keeping it at that position so the brake is near the front wheel of the back skate.
  • This will bring you to a stop faster and easier than the Toe Stop Drag because your weight is behind the brake.


T-Stop on roller skates - Skatefresh Asha

The T-Stop on quad skates is the essential method to slow down safely, but like the T-Stop on inline skates, it can be tricky to master so that it brings you to a complete stop.

The T-stop requires good balance and core strength to maintain this almost one legged posture while navigating the surface consistency, direction and deceleration. It’s a deceptively simple looking move which causes huge problems for most beginner quad skaters when asked to come to a complete stop using the T-Stop.

But I always say, ‘practice makes permanent’, and it’s worth training this stop at increasing speeds so that you always have it available to maintain speed control.

How to do the T-Stop on quads:

  • Similar to the Toe Stop Drag above this sliding stop has the majority of your body weight on the front skate.
  • Bend your front knee and keep your body upright with the majority of your weight on your front foot. 
  • Drag / slide your other skate behind you on either the two font wheels, two inside wheels or all four wheels flat.

Top tip: If you want a fool-proof method of learning and mastering the T-Stop on quads, get access to this FREE T-Stop lesson which is part of the Skatefresh Intermediate Quads Training Course online. Click “Free Trial T-Stop” on this link below to receive lifetime access to this lesson and begin your guided video training whenever you wish.

Plough Stops

When learning how to stop on roller skates the Plough Stop is a good one to know. There are two different versions of the Plough Stop on quads. 

Sliding Plough Stop

Sliding plough stop on roller skates - Skatefresh Asha

This move involves being balanced in the A-frame position; feet wider than shoulders, skates parallel, knees bent, body upright. Rolling like this until you stop is an option but it will take a while and importantly won’t decelerate you on a downhill slope.

The tricky part of the Sliding Plough is to apply pressure through the heels by angling the heels out and the toes in slightly. All of this whilst simultaneously resisting the natural joining of the skates.

You have to keep pushing your skates apart laterally after you apply heel pressure outwards. The tendency is that the skates roll closer together as you push out through the heels. This should stop you much faster even if your heels didn’t actually slide.

Note, the heels will slide much easier on an indoor surface than outside. More calls for indoor rinks! 

Stepping Plough Stop

This one begins also in the A-frame position with skates parallel and wider than shoulders. To apply the forces to reduce speed:

  • Lift each skate alternately and place each skate angled inwards (toes in, heel out) each time you change of feet.
  • Each skate will roll in towards the centre so each step should go slightly lateral in a sideways direction, again so your toes never come close to each other and trip you up. Remember, this will only work if you’ve correctly stepped with the skate pointing inwards)

Don’t run before you can walk… or skate before you can stop!

When you first start skating the very first priority should always be learning how to stop on quads or inline skates. Let’s get real about the risks and realise we wouldn’t be happy riding a bike or driving a car with no brakes. Let’s not do this on our skates!

All these stopping methods on quad skates can be combined together. For example, one of my personal favourite combos is T-Stop into Stepping Plough. The T-Stop slows me down 50% and then a few steps in stepping plough brings me gracefully to a stop. Sequencing stops can also help to spare the wear of your wheels in sliding stops. Stoppers are cheaper than wheels to replace!

I hope this helps create realistic expectations and motivates you to set stopping goals for yourself. Don’t be the skater who learns how important this is by having a nasty fall due to not being able to stop properly.

There’s too much fun to be had, practicing, improving and developing yourself and your skating.

Skate Well, Feel Alive. 

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