How to Make Sharp Turns on Rollerblades: An In-Depth Guide

When you are a beginner, you may find it difficult to get a hold on the different rollerblading techniques. Turning on your skates is the next big thing to achieve after mastering the balancing technique. However, with proper practice and consistent efforts, you will find it is much easier to make turns on rollerblades.

So, how can you make sharp turns on rollerblades? First, you must learn the basics of turning on rollerblades. Once you are well-versed with basics, you can try different techniques of taking a turn while rollerblading and see which one works best for you. The primary requisite to turn around smoothly on your rollerblades is to lean your body onto the side you want to turn. You are not supposed to turn the rollerblades. Instead, you should learn to shift your weight and tilt to turn while rolling on your skates.

Many intermediate skaters can take swift turns while maintaining their speed. For this, they place their foot towards the direction of turn a little forward and lean to take the turn.

They lift the other foot to place it in front relative to the position of the previous foot while still leaning. They gradually lift and place the foot in front relative to the foot that was placed forward earlier. They repeat the stunt to complete the turn. Taking sharp turns requires you to have remarkably good balancing skills.

Using Your Wheel Edges to Take Sharp Turns

Remember, before you start practicing any turning techniques on your rollerblades it is important to follow safety tips and take precautions. You should always wear your protective gear as you may get hurt when you fall. Try to take small turns before you switch to the big ones.

Rollerblading can be more fun if you stay safe and enjoy the drill. Start slow and eventually you will find yourself moving faster and getting better over time.

Learn to play with your edges to take sharp turns on your rollerblades [source]. Skating techniques involve a skillful command of using the edges of your wheels. Edges often refer to the inner and outer sides of the wheels. You can easily draw a circle on the skating surface if you skate on one edge. All you need to do is to put your weight on one edge while taking a turn and leaning your body at the same time.

Inside and Outside Edges

You can count 4 primary edges on your wheels including the left outside edge, the right outside edge, the left inside edge, and the right inside edge. The inside edges are positioned in-between your feet. You commonly use them in inline skating during each push.

The outside edges are located towards the outer sides of the skates. You primarily use these edges to take turns as you lean towards the inside. Many slaloms, artistic, and speed skaters use the outer edges of the skates to execute a double push or cross-overs.

Apart from these two, you have the neuter edges, which represent a 90 degrees position of the wheels when they rest on the middle edge using neither the outside nor the inside edge.

If you stand straight and set-up the frames correctly, your skates naturally acquire that position. In case, you notice any different observations, you should check the following:

  • See if your skates are tightened properly. When they are not tied up correctly, they leave too much space for the foot to roll towards the outside or the inside of the wheel.
  • Check the setting of the frame. It should neither be on the extreme inside or extreme outside as it may hurt your ankles and be uncomfortable for your feet in a resting position.
  • Check if your morphology is affecting your position. Look for signs such as lack of tone in your ankles, supination, pronation, and knees bent towards the inside or outside.

How to Use Wheel Edges to Take Turns?

You can use the inside and outside edges of the wheels to try different turning techniques such as a cross-over. For a cross-over turn, you need to alternatively or simultaneously use the inside and outside edges.

As you cross your legs to perform the trick, push the inside edge of your inner and the outside edge of your outer foot to the turn. In other words, you need to make a double push to make a crossover turn.

Basic to Advanced Turning Techniques

Once you understand the basics behind turning on wheels, you can try your hands on some of the following turning techniques [source]:

  • A-frame turn – It is a primary mode of turning on rollerblades. Many skaters easily master the technique in no time. It is easy to maneuver and you can effectively turn using this technique. For this, keep your legs shoulder-width apart so that your legs form an angle resembling letter A. keep moving forward keeping your balance on the inner edges of your rollerblades. Put pressure on your left leg to take a right turn. Apply pressure on the right foot to turn left.
  • Lunge turn – It is a complicated turning technique that can help you maneuver your move and take turns at any speed. For this, keep the front leg towards the side in which you want to take a turn. For example, keep the left leg ahead for a left turn. Balance your weight on the leg placed ahead. Keep it half-bent. Stretch the other leg behind as much as you possibly can, holding it in a straight position. In other words, both the front and rear legs should be angled as you take a turn in the direction of motion.
  • Scooter turn – This technique is based on the Scooter move. You should practice mastering the movement using both of your legs. The technique resembles rolling on a scooter. In this, you keep your supporting leg ahead and bend it at the knee. You have to lean on the leg as you move forward. This leg will help in setting the direction for your turn. You keep the pushing leg behind your supporting leg. The pushing leg makes the move and sets your foot at a sharp angle with the supporting leg. Try to lean on the inside edge of the rollerblades as you make a push.
  • Parallel turn – It is a basic turn, which lays the foundation for many other turning techniques like criss-cross and crossover. In this technique, the idea is to place the heel of one leg against the toes of the other. Once you are in position, you can take the turn. For a successful parallel turn, your rear leg must make a bigger arc in comparison to the front leg.
  • Forward crossover – It is one of the best turning techniques while accelerating. In this, you can take a turn without losing your speed. On the contrary, your speed may rise as you take the turn. In this technique, you start to turn left by taking your right foot forward and placing it over the left. While rollerblading slowly, push with the right foot until the left foot comes in front of the right foot. Do not trip over the left foot. Keep it out of the way. Repeat the same to turn right except switching your feet. You can go around in circles to change directions every now and then until it becomes the second nature.

Mastering the Turning Techniques

The basic principle for mastering the turning techniques in skating is to start with the inside edges and move gradually to your middle edges. You can learn more advanced techniques as you switch to the outside edges. Concentrate your efforts on the ability to skate on your outside edges to take swift sharp turns. Here are some pro tips to help you master the techniques [source].

Parallel Turns

You may have a hard time learning parallel turns no matter how vigorous efforts you put in. many skaters end up doing a one-footed turn when trying to make parallel turns. The idea is to learn how to use your inside skate to carve a turn. Once you get the trick right, you can easily make a parallel turn in no time.

Although you can practice both sides, it will be wiser to start with a right parallel turn. For this, start a slow pace, scissor your right foot forward keeping the rear wheel of your forward foot even with the front wheels of your rear foot. Keep the two close together.

You may find that the position initially drifts you towards the left. After some practice, you will be able to keep a straight line. Now, gently squeeze your legs together by applying downward pressure to make a smooth turn towards the right. Pivot your torso in the same direction as you squeeze your legs. Be quick and lean to the right putting more weight onto the left leg. Now, you can make a successful parallel turn.

Crossovers

The instructions to perform a crossover may sound simple: you just need to do a parallel turn thereby crossing one leg over the other. However, doing that may be more challenging for a learner than it sounds. Sometimes, your body may just refuse to take the drill. Here is how to fix it. First, take a quick parallel turn maintaining your speed. Second, try crossovers on the left.

You can practice crossovers without skates. For this, move laterally and cross over. Keep your feet flat, parallel to the floor. You can initially practice crossovers with your skates on a non-rolling surface. You can practice indoors on a carpet or outdoors on the grass. Again, move laterally while you cross over. Try to land with all the wheels touching the ground.

You can use a railing to comfortably hang on to practice crossovers. For this, grab the railing with both hands and cross over. Keep going back and forth to learn the trick from both sides. Once you are comfortable, you can try the trick without a railing. Keep practicing in both directions as you coast parallel to the railing. You can always grab the railing if you ever lose your balance. The real deal in doing smooth crossovers is shifting your weight on your inside skate while skating on your outside edge.

One-Foot Gliding

An elementary exercise to polish your turning skills is to practice one-foot gliding where you try to coast in a straight line for as long as you can. The idea is not to achieve the perfect balance but the ability to restore it whenever you start to lose your balance. The main issue in doing so is that you often lose your balance towards the outside edge and you cannot break your fall with the other foot.

In order to maintain balance, you should shift your weight towards the back and steer your skates using the rear wheels. If you maintain the correct form, you can practice the skill with ease. Also, check your wheels for any signs of wearing. Get a good pair of racing wheels to help improve your stride. You can wave your arms to restore the balance point as you skate forward on one foot. The more you practice, the quicker your support muscles will adapt to the drill.

T-stop

Many skaters find the T-stop extremely hard to learn. For this reason, many pro skater advice to save the technique for later once you learn the basics of turning on skates. If you risk practicing T-stops without polishing your balancing skills and adapting a correct posture, you may end up learning some bad habits that may take forever to correct. Before you learn T-stop, try to master gliding on one skate.

The most common problem with the T-stop is that it drags and pushes your skates to turn right. In order to master the trick, you must learn to drag your left foot. The idea is to slow down which may increase the tendency to turn. You can effectively neutralize the same by pressing down hard on the outside edge of your leading foot. Pressure on the outside edge of your front skate causes a turn in the outside direction and will cancel any turning effects on the rear skate.

If you perform the T-stop technique on smooth pavement, you may achieve a relatively high speed. Drag the wheels of your right skate at an angle of 30-75 degrees using the inside edge.

Lean left to counter the turning direction at moderately high speed. Keep your face straight forward. Gently press your legs towards the inside as you drag the foot. Bend your knees a little and lean forward.

Alternatively, you can drag your rear skate at an angle of 90 degrees. However, you may find the position less stable because of a wider lateral distribution of your weight. You need to shift the position and balance of your body in this case.

For a perfect T, you need to move the rear skate directly behind the front one when you come to a halt. An increase in the angle of the rear skate maintains it at an angle of 90 degrees when you finally stop. Shifting your foot backward will help to move your body weight backward and slow down.

Another challenge may be to perform T-stop on a damp ground. In this case, the outside edges would not grip the surface and you will have to drag your rear skate on the center edges. Further, a lack of grip implies lower traction even at low speeds. Therefore, you should always drag the rear skate at an angle.

Tips to Improve Your Skating Techniques

As with any other skating techniques, practicing the right exercises can help you polish your turning skills. Some of these exercises can be done indoors, others are best suited for the outdoors. The following exercises can help you improve your skating skills [source]:

  • Moving in a line – In this, you keep one foot right in front of the other. Try this exercise by altering the position of your rear and front foot. It will help you improve your balance when you perform stepovers.
  • Stepovers – In this, you lift one foot over the other and push it back. Practice this indoors on a carpet or outdoors on the grass. You should be able to move in circles as you do stepovers in either direction. This exercise can greatly benefit in polishing your turns on the rollerblades.
  • One-legged skating – every turning technique requires you to keep your balance. Practicing one-legged skating not only assists you in mastering various turning techniques but also saves you from toppling over at times. For this, drag your rear foot behind on the front wheels while you balance your weight on the front foot. You can lift your back foot once you are comfortable balancing on one foot.
  • Spins and turns – You must have tried heel-to-heel turns. They may sound easy but solely depend on how comfortably you can skate in a line. In this turn, you pick one foot, make a 180 degrees turn, and take the foot down. The idea is to create a curve to help turn your feet. You can make sharp turns by moving in speed. However, you may risk a fall if you perform the turn at a slow speed.
  • Jump and jump-turns – This technique demands a remarkable balance. A combination of jumps and turns can definitely put you off balance. You should try practicing both individually first and then combine the two. Start with tiny jumps over small obstacles. Gradually increase the height for the jumps. Once you can land comfortably, try to jump with one foot. Combine with jumps to further elevate the challenge.

Practicing these moves will turn you into a pro in no time. You will be able to balance yourself while taking turns or treading in speed. However, remember that all good things need time to be effective. Stay patient, practice enough, and give yourself the required time to master the tricks.

Related Questions

Suggest some fundamental tricks for roller skate transitions. The following are some of the fundamental tricks to master roller skate transitions:

  • Coast on a single foot – Practice gliding on one foot as you may require the skill for a brief moment while making transitions or taking turns.
  • Skating backward – This trick helps you restore balance while you make transitions and change position or land on your skates backward while taking a turn.
  • Looking behind – As you tread forward, coasting in a staggered stance, try to look behind you. Change your forward foot as you alter the shoulder check.
  • Toe rolls – Tread forward, skating in a staggered stance. Gradually lift the heel of the back foot. Keep changing the feet to try it on both skates.
  • Heel rolls – Skate forward, maintaining the staggered stance. Gradually lift the toe of the front foot. Keep changing the feet to try it on both skates.

How to avoid accidents on rollerblades while practicing new techniques? The best practice if you ever feel like losing your balance while skating is to restore everything to the previous position. Try to lower your body by bending your knees. Once you achieve the stance, everything else will sort out to help you restore the right balanced position.

You normally witness a fall in rollerblading when you try to shift your body weight by leaning backward, towards one side, or forward on the front skate. The idea is to keep your core tight, centered, and balanced. Keep your legs right underneath your torso, neither too close nor too far from each other. Maintain a shoulder-width distance between the skates.

If you cannot avoid an accident or cannot refrain from a fall, it is advisable to land on your protective pads and rollover rather than hitting the ground hard. Try to land on one side and get down as low as possible before you hit the ground.

Tom

Hi there, my name is Tom and I have been roller & inline skating since I was a little kid. Learning the sport at such an early age allowed to me gain a lot of experience and try different types of skates. It took me a lot of trial and error to learn some of the roller skating tricks so I decided to share my journey with you guys!

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