Learning to stop can be the trickiest part for a beginner in inline skating. Many starters try to grab a nearby object like a tree or a car to come to a stop. However, this habit of relying on the nearest object is a nasty one that you should give up at the earliest in your journey of being a pro.
The earlier you master the stopping techniques, the better will be your learning curve and confidence. Using the brakes may seem difficult to master at first.
There are various other techniques that you can apply as a beginner to stop your inline skates without using a brake. Here is a beginner’s guide for 8 tips to help you master the art of stopping your inline skates.
1. The T Stop
The T-stop or the L-stop is a powerful stopping technique in inline skating. For this, you have to place the skate of your following foot perpendicular to your leading foot.
Allow the skate to drag behind you in this position for a while. As you move forward, the sides of the wheels of your following foot will scrape along the floor, eventually causing you to stop [source].
For better performance, try to maintain 90% of your body weight onto your bent leg as you move forward. Let the other leg simply drag behind you maintaining the T position.
The key to mastering the T-stop is to learn to control your trailing leg. To master this, try to practice skating on one leg. Try to hold the other leg off the floor for as long as possible. As you learn balancing on one skate, you will find applying the T-stop a piece of cake.
Next, you must learn how to orientate your legs to make a T-position while skating. The actual braking comes into play when you move your trailing foot 90-degrees towards the outside with your leading foot facing forward.
Practice the move in a stationary position to understand how you must turn your trailing leg. Feel the bending motion required to make a 90 degrees position.
Then, try the T-stop while skating. Start slow and gradually try to increase speed as you apply pressure. Maintain a lower stance for better stability.
As you build up muscle memory and learn to balance, you will be able to master the T-stop in no time.
2. The Plow Stop
You can slow down your pace and come to a halt by keeping your skates in a triangle shape as you tread forward. The Plow stop, also called the V-stop helps you slow down gradually.
For this, you need to spread your legs a little more than shoulder-width apart. Next, turn your toes inward as you skate forward. Brace yourself to avoid falling as your momentum slows down. You can use the same technique to stop when skating backward.
This technique may sound easier said than done. But once you have mastered the T-stop, this is another good one to learn. All you have to do is push down and outward with your skates as you lean forward. Dig your wheels into the ground to make them slide and stop [source].
3. Spin and Stop
When you are skating at an optimal speed that is neither too slow nor too fast, you can spin a leg out, making a wide circle, thereby allowing you to spin and stop.
For the technique to work, you need to widen your stance as you move forward. In other words, move your legs outward as you glide so that your feet are more than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward.
Gently rotate the upper body to take a 180-degrees turn in one direction. This movement and spinning motion of your body will slow your momentum, eventually forcing you to stop.
Try this stopping technique at a slow speed. Once you are comfortable with the motion, you can try the same at a higher pace. Remember to lean forward a bit as you spin around at higher speed to prevent falling backward.
4. Power slide
This technique is also called a hockey stop. For this technique, you make a transition from forward to backward by making a quick turn to your left or right.
Then, you slide sideways, making an L-stop and pushing your leg in that position until you come to a stop. In this case, your trailing leg pushes in the direction of motion for a while.
Make sure to bend your knees and maintain a lower stance for better balance. The technique may take some time to master. But it is a good stopping technique for relatively smooth skating surfaces.
5. Slalom Stop
This technique helps you gradually slow down and stop. For this technique, you have to first turn to your left. Then, take a sharp turn to your right.
The left and right movement will quickly slow down your forward momentum, eventually helping you to stop. You can apply this technique while skating at a high pace when you need to control or slow down your speed.
6. Wind-breaking Stopping Technique
This technique works great on a windy day, especially when you are wearing appropriate clothing like a jacket to catch the wind. For this technique, you simply need to spread out your arms.
The wind will do the rest for slowing your momentum. It can help you slow down quickly when you are skating too fast. Allow yourself to glide with the wind.
It will slow down your pace and bring you to a stop. However, here is a word of caution – ‘Never use the technique to stop in a hurry to avoid nasty falls.’
7. Step Stop
For this technique to work, you must either step forward or backward. In other words, you need to take a few steps in your direction of motion without pushing forward.
Lift one foot for a few seconds and put it back on the surface. Next, lift the other skate and put it back on the ground after a few seconds. Repeat the stepping motion as you glide and come to a complete stop.
8. Grass Stop
So here is the best technique for beginners to learn how to stop on inline skates. All you have to do is to skate onto a grassy patch of land, gravel, or dirt to allow yourself to slow down gradually, and eventually stop.
Also called running out, this method is best when you do not know how to use the brakes, or you have not learned any of the other stopping techniques. Just find a patch of grass, gravel, or dirt and skate over it.
The uneven and rough texture of the surface will slow down your pace and bring you to a complete stop. Again, even if you lose control and fall, the grassy surface will not hurt more like the stiff terrain of the pavement.
With all these techniques, you now know that it is possible to stop on your inline skates even without using a brake.
However, with all that said, I want to tell you that falling is a part-and-parcel of learning inline skating. So, while you try to master the above stopping techniques, you should also comprehend the art of falling safely on your skates.
Sometimes, when a fall is unavoidable, you can minimize the damage by falling gracefully. When you are unable to stop, a safe fall can prevent serious injuries. Here are some tips to have a safe fall:
- If you know a fall is unavoidable, try to bend your knees and lower your stance.
- Try to land on your knee pads or elbow to prevent and minimize the injuries. This approach will also help avoid hitting your face or head onto the ground.
- Never try to resist a fall with your hands or palms. You will instead end up having a broken wrist or bruised palms.
- Try to fall on a less damaging surface like a patch of grass, dirt, or sand. You will suffer less severe injuries than hitting on concrete.
- Most importantly, never practice skating without wearing your safety gear. It is even paramount to have a proper set of safety equipment when you are a beginner. Invest in a pair of good quality wrist pads, knee pads, and elbow pads. Always buy a certified skating helmet.
To conclude, I will say that practice is the key to perfection. So, practice as much as you can. Master your balancing skills before you even try to attempt any of the stopping techniques. Once you know how to balance on skates, you will feel more comfortable in operating them the way you intend.
Better confidence in balancing the skates will help you learn the stopping techniques more easily and quickly. Remember, mastering any technique in inline skating, weather balancing or stopping, takes time, patience, and practice.
Try to learn the right way of doing the rollerblading techniques under proper professional guidance and do ample practice to master the art of inline skating.
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