When you go to a skate park, it might be intimidating to see all the kids and teenagers gliding around and doing all sorts of cool tricks.
Especially, if you are past your youth years then taking on skating can seem almost impossible. If you see yourself in such a situation and wondering – “Can anyone learn to roller skate?” Then the answer is yes.
Anyone no matter what the age can indeed learn roller skating. It’s a sport enjoyed by people of all ages all over the globe. If you can stand on your feet you can roller skate.
It will however take some practice before you start gliding like a pro. So, if you have the determination and will to keep practicing you can surely learn how to roller skate.
In this article, I will extensively explain to you why anyone can learn to roller skate, how you can learn it and some tips on how you can learn it as efficiently as possible. So without further ado, let begin.
Is There Any Age Limit for Learning Roller Skating?
The simple answer to this question is “No”. Yes, roller skating is a youthful sport. Most of the people who do roller skating are mainly young people. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to roller skate if you are a bit older. There is no barrier or age limit for learning roller skating. If you search online, you can find plenty of people even in their 60s or 70s doing roller skating.
Whether you’re worried about your 5-year-old kid or your old parent who is interested in roller skating, you can rest assured. As long as they can walk and run, they can learn to roller skate. No matter the age or gender, with enough practice anyone can learn to roller skate.
It’s better to start learning as early as possible. If your kid is interested in the sport, buy them the proper equipment and safety gear and introduce them to a good instructor. You can teach them yourself if you are good at roller skating. But make sure that your child can walk and run comfortably before they start learning roller skating.
For older people, it’s better to consult with a doctor. If you are above 50 years old and have any kind of health issues, ask your doctor or physician if it may cause a problem. If the doctor gives you permission, you don’t need to worry about anything else. Though you have to be extra cautious. Any kind of injury at old age is a serious risk. Keep another person with you to help while skating.
If your physical condition is not that great, just stick to casual skating. No need to do anything fancy. Just listen to some music and skate around. It’s a great way to relieve mental stress. It will keep your body active and you will have a lot of fun as well.
But no matter the age, if you keep trying, you will eventually learn to roller skate. Don’t let your age determine what you can or cannot do. If you want to learn, just grab a pair of skating shoes and safety gear and hit the rinks.
Also check this post: Am I Too Old For Inline Skating?
Is Roller Skating Hard?
The difficulty of learning roller skating depends a lot on the person. The faster you are able to learn how to balance on your skates, the faster you will learn roller skating. Most people can do it within an hour or a few hours of practice. While some might take a few days. Once you’ve learned your body balance, the other stuff comes naturally.
When you’re just starting out, the learning curve may seem very high. Balancing properly on roller skates is not easy. You can lose your balance easily with even the lightest touch. Expect to fall a lot. Try to fall on your back so that you don’t get hurt. Falling face first is not a good feeling and you can easily cause bad injuries. Practice on a grassy field or on carpet till you get the basics down.
Balancing properly is the most important thing to learning roller skating. All good skaters have a really good grasp on their balance. Stay positive and be confident. Hold on a rail or wall and try moving. Don’t let the embarrassment of falling get to you. Keep practicing until you get it right.
With proper practice, you should be able to learn the basics within a few hours. Younger people tend to learn faster as with every other sport. If you want to learn all the cool tricks with your roller skates, it will take some more time. Some tricks can even take months or years of practice to master.
If you feel dizzy or any kind of muscle pain, you should take a break. Take some rest and get back to practicing when you feel better. Try to take some time off your schedule regularly and practice. Regular practice will help you learn a lot faster. If you take long breaks between practice sessions, you may have to learn some things all over again.
The main thing is to keep trying. Don’t give up, no matter how many times you fail. Practice for a few hours regularly and you will be a great skater in no time. Learning by yourself can take some time. If you can find someone who can instruct you, you will be able to learn roller skating a lot faster.
Basics of Roller Skating
Now, you’re probably wondering about how to learn roller skating. Well, the best method would be to hire an instructor or get help from a friend who’s good at roller skating. But you can learn by yourself too. Here are all the basics of learning roller skating:
1. Get Your Skating Equipment
The first thing you need to learn roller skating is obviously a pair of roller skates. You can either buy them or rent from your local roller-skating rink. You need to make sure that the shoes fit you properly. Try on different sizes but it’s normally the same as your regular shoe size.
If your shoes don’t fit you properly, you won’t be able to balance properly. They will also cause painful blisters. You can try putting on two pairs of socks if your shoes are a bit loose.
The next thing you need are safety gears. Chances are when you are just starting to learn roller skating, you are going to fall a lot. Helmets and knee pads are must haves. You should also wear gloves and elbow pads. Using proper safety gear will save you from most of the injuries and also allow you to practice for longer which greatly reduce the learning time.
2. Finding the Right Balance
First thing you’ll need to learn is balancing properly on roller skates. Balancing on roller skates is not easy. Especially, on inline skates. You should start out on a carpet or grass so that you don’t get hurt if you fall. They have higher traction than smooth surfaces. So, you won’t be rolling automatically on your skates. This will also remove some of the fear of falling.
To balance on roller skates, you should start by bending your knees and lean slightly forward. You need to go down to a half squatting position. Your feet should stay shoulder width apart. Try to stay relaxed. Try to slowly walk forward like a duck. Move forward one step at a time. Maintain your posture so that you don’t lose balance.
With some practice, you should be comfortable doing this. When you are confident about your balance, move on to the next step.
Check our in depth article How To Keep Balance On Roller Skates.
To practice gliding, you need to find a smooth and flat ground. Get into the right position with your knees bent and lean slightly forward. Stay low and extend your legs. Push back in a sideways motion. You should be gliding now.
While one skate is gliding, bring the other one and put it down close behind your gliding skate. Push with this one in the same way as the previous one. Keep repeating this process to keep on gliding.
For your first few pushes, you may notice that you’re not moving at all. This is because your pushing motion is not correct. If you’re trying to push straight backwards like walking, you won’t be able to move at all. Make sure to push sideways. Move your body weight to the pushing leg to get a fluid gliding motion.
Try to keep your balance on a single skate while gliding. You may not be able keep it for long at first. But with enough practice, you can glide with a single push for multiple seconds. If it seems hard for you, practice beside a rail so that you have something to latch on to.
Speed will come naturally with practice. As you get more comfortable gliding with your skates, you will be able to increase your speed and fluidity of gliding.
Now that you know how to glide, you need to learn the breaking process. There are a lot of methods for breaking with your roller skates. If your roller skates aren’t too old, there should be a rubber brake on the toe of your roller skates. As a beginner, I’d recommend that you use those.
Stopping using your toe brake is easy. Get into the squatting position and extend the foot you want to break with a little behind. Make sure you can hold your weight on one skate. Put pressure on the toe you’re trying to break with. Keep dragging and putting pressure till you come to a stop. The harder you press on the brake, the faster you’ll stop.
But there are ways to brake without using the toe brakes. To do this, you need to spread your legs and push down on your roller skates. Bend your knees to a sitting position to put more pressure. Move your toes a little inwards. And you should come to a stop. Again, the better you can put pressure on your skates, the faster you’ll stop.
Make sure you check this: 8 Tips to Stop Inline Skates Without A Brake [Beginners Guide]
Roads aren’t straight, neither are they endless. So, you’ll have to turn at some point. Shift your body weight to the side you want to turn. If you want to turn left, shift your body weight to the left foot. Look at the direction you want to turn to. Bring your right foot in front of the left one in a crossing motion. When you’ve finished turning, bring the right foot back to its initial position.
And that’s all the basic stuff you need to know to ride freely on skates. Stay confident and practice a lot. Find a skate park and meet other skaters as some of them might be eager to give you some pointers on improving your skating. Maybe they’ll even teach you a few cool tricks.
Tips on Learning Roller Skating
If you are having a hard time learning skating don’t be discouraged. Every skater had to go through the initial high learning curve of skating. You just have to push through it. However, there are some tips that I’ve learned in my years of skating that I think would’ve helped me learn a lot faster if I had known them back then. Here are a few of them –
Warming up is important for any kind of sport. And roller skating is no different. It will help you prevent injuries and make your practice sessions more efficient.
You should jog a little, stretch your body before you start skating. This will also mentally prepare you for all the moving around that you are going to do.
- Take enough time to rest
If you feel any kind of pain in your body or feel tired, you should take some rest. If you keep pushing your body for a long time, you will run the risk of injury.
If it’s your first time exercising in a long while, it’s normal to have some muscle pains. But if you’ve been exercising regularly, it might be a sign to stop.
- Don’t rush
If you’re making any progress, don’t feel stressed. Take your time. Not everyone can do it at the same speed. Keep trying till you get it right.
If you’re not feeling good about it, take some time out. Do other stuff and come back to practice at a later time. Remember, practice makes perfect. If you keep practicing, you will eventually be able to do it.
- Safety first
Remember to put on your safety gear. You can get some serious injuries if you don’t have your safety gear on.
If you fall, they will keep you safe. And don’t try to do something out of your comfort zone. If you try something too difficult for you, you may fail and get injured in the process.
- Take care of your gear
Keep an eye on the condition of your roller skates. Check for any defects regularly. Clean them every once in a while. Make sure all the screws are tightened properly.
Lubricate and clean the bearings. Softer wheels wear out faster. So, check if you need to replace them.
- Avoid downhill roll
Downhill skating is scary and difficult for most people. Braking during a downhill roll requires a lot of effort and practice. As a beginner, you should avoid doing any kind of downhill roll. It may turn out to be too difficult for you to handle.
- Keep your eye on the road
You should always keep your eye on the road. Simple bumps on the road can throw you off balance and make you fall.
So, train your vision so that you can notice these and avoid them in time. You should also try to keep track of your surroundings. You don’t want to hit another skater or something else.
- Get connected with the community
If there is a community of skaters in your local community, join up with them. They can teach you a lot of things and help you learn. Skating feels better when you have friends to skate with. So, get connected and make some roller skating friends.
- Stay confident
One of the most important things for learning roller skating is your attitude. Don’t worry about injuries. Stay positive and move confidently.
Don’t worry about what others might think. Having a positive attitude will help you learn a lot faster. Don’t be bothered by your failures and look forward to accomplishing your goals.
Roller-skating is a great way to learn new skills and have fun. It connects people together. Don’t worry about whether you’ll be able to learn to skate or not. The thing that matters is whether you want to learn. If you do, just grab a pair of roller skates and get started. With enough practice, you’ll be gliding all over the place in no time.
Try to get a good grasp on the basics first. Learn to balance, glide, break and turn. Then move on to other more complex things. Always remember to maintain your posture. Learning the cool stuff will come naturally later. I hope this article was able to help you understand why can anyone learn to roller skate no matter who they are or what their age is. Good luck with your new found hobby and farewell.