Many beginner skaters when first starting out will ask themselves, is inline skating hard? And the answer: well, it’s not easy. But that can always change, with practice.
Attaching wheels to your feet is an altogether different reality to walking or running. No other sport you’ve done can prepare you for the unique feeling of wheels. Even skateboarding is very different, as at any moment you can just hop off. Inline skates are attached to your feet. Where they go, you go!
Some people are naturals who have few challenges starting inline skating, but most experience a fear of falling, which comes from your body knowing that it may not be in control of what’s happening, and that consequences hurt.
Learning to skate is like learning to drive
For experienced skaters, like experienced drivers, the activity comes as a second nature, and doesn’t feel difficult to do (though skating well obviously feels way more god-like, when you can do it, than driving does!).
But like drivers, they had to go through a learning process. Even the pros fall over!
The driver must learn to coordinate looking in the rear-view mirror, signalling, and then making a manoeuvre correctly from start to finish. This is a process that at first requires conscious effort and thought to do, before it becomes a habit.
Skating is much the same: the fundamental skills are hard to remember until you’ve learned them, and at the beginning are best learned in a safety-orientated and structured, progressive way, as the risk of accident is real.
Inline skating is hard when you can’t stop!
Ask any beginner skater and they will agree: it’s easier to move forwards on skates than to stop the same momentum.
For anyone just starting out, this can create the euphoria of effortless motion that turns into the panic of not knowing how to stop.
The relative ease of moving forwards comes from your anatomy and skate physics. When standing still, off skates, your feet are most likely in a slight “V’ shape with toes slightly pointing out from the heels.
This V position on skates will immediately create forward movement. Whether you want it to or not.
Knowing how to stop on inline skates is not at all obvious or intuitive. It will take some serious effort and focus in the beginning.
The easiest way to stop on skates is with the heel brake, because it uses just one essential position (the Scissor), and when done correctly can stop you quickly and in tight spaces. You must not remove your brake until you have mastered a range of other ways to stop.
Click the image below for a free in-depth video tutorial on how to stop with your heel brake. Nailing the heel brake stop straight off can make your early skating experiences a lot less difficult and scary. Click the Free Trial lesson in the floating bar near the bottom of this page:
It’s easy to get better with practice!
In a recent social media poll, we asked skaters to describe what they feel while skating. The most popular replies were: free/freedom, alive, flying, joy/happy, confident, carefree, ‘meditation in motion’.
With inline skating, it’s much easier for a beginner to reach a level of proficiency to feel these benefits than with other sports that rely on your balance and give you a feeling of flight, such as surfing or kite-surfing.
These can require hours and days of focused work to even stand up and begin moving. Most ‘adrenalin’ sports are also much more expensive than skating.
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Once you’ve bought some inline skates and protective gear such as kneepads, wrist guards and a helmet, plus some professional tutoring, whether in person skate lessons or online, that’s usually it for your skate costs. The rest is up to you in the practice time you dedicate to it!
I’ve had thousands of beginner students who’ve made great strides quickly.
Even just a few early lessons with a progressive learning model, and some later follow-ups to tweak technique, can launch you on a process of continuous, fun improvement while you bomb around your local park, seafront promenade, or cycle tracks.
Hit the buttons below for inline skate lessons for beginner, intermediate and advanced (online). If you’re looking for private skate lessons or group skate sessions in London and Brighton, we will hopefully be resuming these in the new year.
Beginner inline skate lessons (online)
Intermediate inline skate lessons (online)
Advanced inline skate lessons (online)