When a skater decides to begin skating on streets, it is I hope with a clear and rational understanding of their skill level and ability to control and stop their speed at will. Not being able to do this is not ideal even in isolated situations, but it is risky and dangerous in situations involving other road users, vehicles of all sizes, motorbikes and cyclists. If you cannot stop at the line separating one street from another, you are literally at risk of having an accident or collision.
I recommend that to street skate you must be able to stop, using whatever methods work for you. I also recommend using the easiest, most functional and effective stop, the heel brake if you are fairly new to skating or haven’t had the time or inclination to learn and master several others.
The skaters who choose to retain their heel brake while street skating have my full support and admiration. There are far too many skaters giving in to peer pressure and have removed their heel brake when their other stopping methods are nowhere near as reliable or successful. This is, in my opinion pure madness and the reason why skaters get hurt and injured when they begin to street skate. Skaters who do not possess sufficient stopping skills while skating on streets help to create an image of skaters as reckless and irresponsible. Most road users think we should not be there at all.
My professional opinion after teaching inline skating since 2000 is that, you should not remove your heel brake until you have the following stopping methods fluently in your repertoire. Please think very carefully about this, as your health and safety is at risk if you make the decision to remove your brake without having excellent alternatives. The unfortunate tendency for skaters to remove their brakes is the biggest threat to the sport.
If you have removed your heel brake then the following stops should be well practiced and regularly used:
You need to have full control of a T-slide (and Toe-Stop Drag for roller skaters) for quickly slowing down and controlling your speed in a group. This means that on a slope, using the T-slide or Toe Stop Drag you can stop the acceleration and maintain a constant, slow speed, despite the slope gradient changing.
You MUST also have a stopping method that can stop you on a downhill AND in an emergency situation. Unfortunately, the T-stop DOES NOT have this potential and too many skaters are relying on just a T-slide as their only functioning stopping method.
2. Plough and Stepping Plough Stop
The Plough and Stepping Plough stops are excellent methods for controlling speed on slopes and also for coming to a complete stop (whether on inlines or roller skates).
3. Lunge Stop
Check out my online How To Stop Intermediate Level course which includes the Lunge Stop. The pre-requisite skill to learn the Lunge Stop is to have a fluent Lunge Turn. Use this FREE online tutorial from the Intermediate course to learn and master the Lunge Turn. Just click “Free Trial” on the link above.
The Powerstop is recommended for emergency situations.
This video tutorial covers the Lunge Stop, Powerstop and Powerslide.
5. Backwards Powerslide
The Backwards Powerslide from a fluent forwards entry (or Backwards Toe Stop for quaddies) are perhaps the most efficient methods to stop quickly in emergency situations.
Not enough skaters are equipping themselves with the above range of stopping methods that actually work from their highest speeds. As a skater you are relatively unprotected compared to vehicles and the consequences of not being able to stop can be extremely serious.
When you have 2-3 functioning stopping methods that do not use the brake, it’s important to be able to combine them together in sequences that produce the best stopping for you. Here are some of my personal favourite stopping combos using 2-3 stopping methods;
- T-Slide + Stepping Plough
- Parallel Turn Slalom + T-Slide + Stepping Plough
- T-Slide + Forward entry to Powerslide
- T-Slide + Lunge Stop or Powerstop
- Parallel Turn Slalom + Lunge Stop or Powerstop
If you’d like help improving your heel brake stop so it actually works well enough to see you safely onto the streets, check out this FREE Trial lesson from the How to Stop online course, beginner level.
For a FREE Trial Lesson on the Intermediate level Spin Stop, click Free Trail on this page;
If you want to learn the Backwards Powerslide from scratch, click Free trial on this page;