Roller skating is the act of walking on wheels. More than 6 million Americans of all ages skate on in-line wheels or rollerblades. This internationally popular sport is not only fun but also a very fine form of aerobic exercise.
Anybody can enjoy this sport and even a two-year-old can learn to skate. Although it depends on each person’s ability, usually it takes a beginner about six weeks to learn to skate. While learning to skate, it is not uncommon that the teacher may be able to teach you without any safety gear; however, it is advisable to wear it.
The first and the foremost step in learning to skate is to overcome the fear of falling. This is done by learning to fall without getting hurt as is done by the stunt skaters. They do it expertly, hop right up, and then again do their next stunt. To minimize the hurt while falling two things are important, one, to wear the safety gear, and two, to skate in the balance zone.
With proper gear, if you fall forward you’ll fall on your kneepads and slide on your wrist guards, and if you fall backward, your wrist and elbow guards will minimize the impact. And it is always required to wear a helmet because even if you learn to fall well, there are chances of hitting your head.
Skating in the balance zone means that body posture while skating, where your chances of falling are the minimum. To find your balance zone, you need to practice on the grass with a partner, facing each other, and holding hands. While doing this lean forward onto the balls of your feet. As long as you don’t need your partner’s support you are balanced, once you do, you are out of the balance zone.
Now you need to do the same, leaning backward on to your heels. Always skate in your balance zone, however, if you are going to fall don’t fight it, but teach yourself to regain your balance. First-time skaters are advised to walk around on a flat, grassy surface before they try skating on the pavement. It’s a good way for new skaters to get the feel of their skates, and to practice standing and balancing. You might want to start several of your first sessions this way.
When you feel that you’re ready, carefully move to the pavement and just balance on your skates, without trying to move. Position your feet a few inches apart, bend your knees, and balance your weight on the balls of your feet.
When you’re ready to roll, begin to skate gradually. Practice moving forward but don’t get going too fast. You should ease into your first practice sessions. Don’t push yourself too hard and don’t try to skate beyond your abilities. Also, it is important to warm up before every session.
The next important thing to know is when to stop before you get into trouble.
First, it is important to be aware of your ability level. Second is to be aware of where you are and what is going around you, in most cases, if you are skating in control and paying attention, your basic stopping and turning skills will be enough to get you out of the problem and third you need to use your common sense.
However, even then if you have a problem stopping it is advisable to take a lesson. Many problems are created mainly because skaters try to do things that are beyond their capabilities.
One very common exercise to sharpen your stopping skills is as follows:
In a large open space (such as a parking lot) with at least one other skater, move around, practicing your other basic skating skills (striding and turning). At any time one of the skaters can yell “stop” and all other skaters stop as quickly as they can. Increase the speed of your skating as you become more comfortable with your stops.
The other thing which we need to know while skating is how to react when falling forward and backward. Forward falls usually occur when the skate strikes an object and stops, but the upper body continues its forward motion. Initially, it is good to practice falling forward on your bed, with your protective gear on, so that you are used to the type of fall and ways to minimize the hurt.
Falling backward occurs when you start feeling your skates slipping out from under you. The moment this happens tries to regain your balance and resist the urge to flap your arms. Keep flexed forward, elbow bent, close to your body, and out in front.
Injury prevention is a very important aspect of all sports. You can prevent many roller skating injuries by following a few simple rules. Use the appropriate gear designed for skaters, including wrist guards, elbow and knee pads, and a helmet, to prevent bruises, broken bones, and head injuries. Learn how to brake on a flat driveway or empty parking lot.
Brakes pads wear down with use and should be replaced before excessively worn; ask your salesperson for replacement guidelines. If you are a beginner, make sure you are comfortable, starting and stopping on flat surfaces before attempting to go up or downhills. Also, try to skate on surfaces that are relatively free of small debris. Driveways, sidewalks, parks, and empty parking lots are usually ideal. Avoid skating on the streets if possible.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that in-line skating- popular new sports can be hazardous- if skaters do not wear helmets and stop safely. CPSC estimates that approximately 100,000 consumers annually receive hospital emergency room treatment associated with in-line skating injuries. Most injuries were to the wrist, arms, and legs. CPSC recommends the use of safety gear to prevent the occurrence of such injuries.
Roller skating is a safe, healthy sport when safe skating rules are followed. One of the most important things to remember is to always skate safely both inside and outside of the skating center. Be aware of other skaters and objects in your path. When skating outside, always wear a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. Obey all traffic laws and do not skate on the streets.
Do not skate outdoors at night. Go indoors at night for skating, roller skating centers are open in the evenings. Safety gear is optional when skating inside a rink because the skating center floor is smooth and well-maintained.
Many skating centers have skate shops that can examine your skates for safety! And, if you need help learning to skate, ask your parents to help you find out what types of skating classes are available at your end.Many skating