The very idea of aggressive inline skating gives goosebumps to many. Some think it is an extreme sport which is fun but extremely difficult to master. Others find it scary to perform tricks at high speeds that the sport requires. Yet there is a different school of thought according to which the sport is zen for adrenaline junkies. People love to keep pace with the wind and perform amazing tricks on wheels.
So, how to start aggressive inline skating? Anyone who has some familiarity with roller skates or a background in ice skating can easily learn the tricks of inline skating in no time. However, a sports background is not a compulsion. You can start your skating journey with aggressive inline skating. It may take a little more time and a lot of practice. Once you learn the basics and understand the technicalities, you can easily switch to advanced tricks.
The sport requires patience and practice to master the grace and precision to perform advanced tricks. Inline skating was huge back in the 1900s. Now, the trend is coming back with more and more people switching to aggressive inline skating. This article provides in-depth knowledge about everything you need to know to learn aggressive inline skating [source].
Aggressive inline skating is a specialized form of regular skating that emphasizes on spins and grinds. You can easily learn the tricks in no time but mastering them may take a little longer. The most important thing is to learn the intricacies and practice them well. As a beginner, you should focus on maintaining the correct stance and learning all the basics in the right form.
Further, you should precisely know the purpose of taking up aggressive inline skating. Knowing the purpose keeps you focused and motivated towards giving your best efforts. Every person takes up inline skating for a purpose. Some focus on fitness, others on recreation, and some may take up skating as a cross-training platform for some other sports. Different skating styles may require a special type of skates, which are tailored for that particular usage pattern. Once you know where and how you will use your skates, it becomes easier to purchase a suitable pair.
Getting a Pair of Inline Skates
You need a nice pair of inline skates to start aggressive inline skating. You may already have a pair of skates in your closet which may not be aggressive style. However, that doesn’t matter at the beginning of your skating journey. In case you do not have a pair ready to use, it is time to buy one.
Different types of skates not only vary in their specialization but also in price. Aggressive inline skates can be a little pricey. So, clearly make out a budget for how much maximum you can spend on your brand new pair of skates. Make certain that your selected skates provide ample ankle support. You do not move your ankle while skating. But if you wear a pair of skates which do not offer proper support for your ankle, you may end up injuring them badly if you fell on them incorrectly.
Here are some great tips to help you buy a nice pair of skates:
- Consider the usage – You may use the skates on streets, ramps, or skateparks depending on the type and style of skating you prefer. Certainly, some skates may work better than the other for a particular form or situation. Buy a pair of boots accordingly to make the most out of your skating experience.
- Consider comfort over brand – One mistake that the newbies in the field of skating often commit is to go after brand names while purchasing their very first pair of skates. Experts of the field often suggest prioritizing comfort over brand name. According to them, comfort must be the primary criteria governing your purchase. A branded pair of boots may look classy to sight but they will not do any good if they are not comfy to wear or do not offer proper support. Look for skates that make you feel comfortable.
- Try on the skates of your friends before buying your pair – You may have friends who have the same boot size as yours. You can always borrow their skates and try them on to check the comfort and fit before you buy your own. Test the skates for balance, sturdiness, stability, and flexibility.
- Choosing a size for adults – Many of the retailers advise customers to buy one size bigger than their actual foot size. However, the concept may not work the same for every other brand. Some manufacturers create skates according to the boot size. Some sizes from a different manufacturer for the same boot size may be small, narrow or vice versa. Always try on your skates and make sure you buy a pair that fits properly and comfortably in your foot. Never purchase skates that are too big or too small.
- Choosing a size for kids – Most of the parents prefer to buy a larger size of skates for their kids to compensate for their changing needs as they grow. They make their kids wear those large size skates with a pair or two of thick socks. Some may add an insole to adjust the extra space. Skates may be an expensive investment for many. Despite that, buying large-sized skates is not recommended by experts. In place of that, you can purchase adjustable skates that can adapt to the current size of the growing feet of your kid every time. These skates are equipped with interchangeable components, which you can easily replace as required.
- Explore the type of boots before finalizing a pair – Different boots may have a solid or semi-rigid shell. Beginners often prefer rigid shells as they offer better support. However, street skaters often seek flexible boots to support precise tricks. They pick skates that are light in weight and more open in style. Another aspect to check in boots is the tightening. Experts recommend boots with metal micrometrical buckets as they offer better shock resistance.
Nowadays, you may find many skates with an overboot, which is an outer skin fabricated with synthetic leather to cover the shell. These overboots do not serve a purpose other than adding aesthetics. The design may look more appealing however it will not protect you from toppling over and may rip instantly as you fall. Look for skates, which are more flexible and complement your discipline or the type of tricks you intend to perform. Rigid skates are more suitable for ramp skating; however, semi-rigid flexible skates will work best for sliding.
- Analyzing the Intricacies – As a newbie, you may not be familiar with the technical terms of internal components of your skates such as frames, liners, bearings, and screws, which may make a huge difference to your performance. But it is always good to learn a little about them before you make a purchase for your skates.
Most of the semi-rigid skates often have a liner integrated into the shell. However, they are difficult to maintain, wash, or change when worn out. Always select skates with detachable liners for easy maintenance and quick replacement.
Different types of skates may use varied frames according to their usage. Two-wheeled freestyle frames are primarily designed for street skating. They have wide H-blocks with grooves to support easy slide on rails and walls. Some designs may even have anti-rockers to absorb the sudden blow. They are ideal to use in parks but not suitable for ramps.
Beginners may prefer four-wheeled flat framed skates. They offer better speed on the ramps. In these skates, the H-block is like a coping tube to support easy stall without stopping in parks and ramps.
Look for the precision of balls according to your skating style while choosing bearings. ABEC is the standard norm to choose the precision of ball bearings. According to experts, select an ABEC 3-5 for street skating and 5-7 for skating on ramps and skateparks. Smooth riders with ample experience may select bearings above those numbers. However, beginners must look for the recommended mapping only.
The same is true for the wheel size. Ideally, the wheels of recreational skates may vary between 72 – 76mm. These wheels may vary in the levels of strength. In case, you are skating indoors, you can opt for a harder wheel close to 85A. Wheel size for outdoor skates can be around 75A.
The purpose of screwing in skates is to protect against shocks and friction. Make certain that all the screws in your skates are well secured and set inside. Particularly check the screwing of the frame and soul plate. Further, opt for 8 mm axles as they do not twist easily in comparison to the 6 or 7mm counterparts. Again, opt for metal-bearing spacers in place of plastic as they are more durable and sturdier.
- Opt for skates with wearing parts that are replaceable and easy to dismantle – Make certain that you can easily replace the main wearing parts such as wheels, bearings, soul plates, and frames. Look for customizable skates that can be entirely dismantled.
- Compare before finalizing a purchase – Different skates from varied manufacturers may have various features. Compare them for flexibility, comfort, cushioning, weight, customization, the width of soul plates, and the existence of protective reinforcements in the face of failure.
Taking Up Your Skating Lessons
Once you have your pair of skates ready, it is time to learn the drill. You can start with some basic tricks first. However, if you do not have prior formal training for using inline skates, here are some points to consider before you hit the rink:
- Always start practicing in a flat, dry, empty area that is devoid of people and obstacles. Practicing in such an area will help you avoid any accidents with passersby or unexpected fall due to hazards. Remember to choose a nearby area in your locality, which is at a distance from the busy, crowded lane.
- Start with basics first unless you aim to run a marathon. Even simple tricks like standing and balancing on skates can be tricky if you are a complete novice to the art of skating. Ask help from friends and co-skaters or use the support of a wall to stand on your skates for the very first time. Keep your feet a few centimeters away making a V-position. Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid sudden fall.
- Do not jump to advanced tricks before mastering balancing. You may feel the sensation that you may fall or slip anytime when you are a beginner. Evenly disperse your weight on both skates and try to take baby steps, one at a time. You do not have to be quick. Start slowly to avoid disbalancing and toppling over.
- Glide slowly in the beginning, only after you have learned to walk on your skates. Slowly push one foot slightly forward shifting some weight on that foot. Focus balancing on each leg when you change foot. Keep practicing the form until you can balance yourself consciously.
- Learn to use brakes. Learning how to stop correctly without toppling over is as important as balancing on skates. Try different stopping techniques so that you do not end up crashing into some person or obstacle and not suffer injuries. Slow down your speed before hitting the brake pads.
- Keep practicing the stance and tricks. It is important to maintain the correct posture while skating to avoid undue pressure on your joints and muscles. Learn to maintain the correct stance. Practice balancing and stopping techniques before you switch over to more advanced tricks. Look out for other people and obstacles when you start skating on pathways and busy lanes.
- Always wear safety gear. Being a beginner, you are more likely to fall before you are through with the basics. It is extremely important to wear complete safety gear including helmet, knee pads, and wrist pads to reduce the impact of a sudden fall that may cause an unlikely injury.
Learning the Tricks
Once you know how to balance, glide, and stop on skates; you can try some other simple moves like backward skating, jumping over things, and so on. You can also try increasing the difficulty level gradually. Learn to challenge your limits by placing obstacles such as empty recycling bins and traffic cones in your skating path. Try jumping off the curbs, or jumping over big and small objects. Once you are comfortable jumping over obstacles, you can further increase the complexity of the trick by mixing it with other moves such as doing a 180 turn after jumping over the object.
Visit local skateparks and rinks to further polish your skills. Start practicing on small flat ramps first. Also, try some tricks with a half or quarter pipe. Learn to go up and down on the pipe. You call it airing out of the ramp. Try some other simple tricks like grinding. Remember, you will require aggressive style skates for this trick. For this, locate a ledge or curb. Approach the obstacle maintaining a slow pace. Jump over as you reach the obstacle so that the center of your frame slides across the surface shifting your balance on the leading foot.
In case, you do not slide across the obstacle, try either of the following:
- Try taking out the middle two of your four wheels from your skates. You do not need those wheels to roll. Do not remove the small supporting wheels. They do not touch the ground and help in grinding.
- Apply wax to the surface of grinding. Some people apply candle wax to the surface; however, it is advisable to apply special skating wax, which is commonly used for this specific purpose.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while grinding:
- Keep your knees slightly bent while doing grinds to maintain your balance.
- Learn to stop completely on skates.
- Master balancing before trying any of the advanced tricks.
- Do not rush out of your skill level until you are completely prepared and equipped for a new advanced trick. If you do try the tricks without proper skills, you may end up getting seriously injured.
- Tightly fasten up the straps and ensure that your skates fit properly and comfortably.
- Try to practice with peer skaters.
- Once you learn the basic sliding and balancing, try other fun stunts like fast skating and balancing on one foot.
- Seek help from someone familiar with the tricks you intend to attempt.
- Remember that falling is a part and parcel of learning inline skating.
Grinds require ample balancing skills, agility, strength, and stamina to execute the skills. These tricks involve more technical footing than the basic counterparts. Many evaluators judge participants in skating competitions based on their ability to creatively combine and execute variations in tricks. Integrating grinds into lines generally, involve prime technical tricks. Skaters who think out of the box can use any resources from the environment to creatively execute the tricks.
Building Strength and Developing Stamina
Aggressive inline skating is an extreme sport that requires inner strength, stamina, and ample balance to perform the tricks with precision. You can try a basic workout every day to improve your basic skating skills as a beginner. Practicing the basics of moving, balancing, turning, and stopping will instill more self-confidence and help you perform better.
You can try some off-skate exercises to improve core muscle strength and develop endurance. A full-body workout or warm-up before and after the skating session may provide a more positive skating experience.
Here are three exercises [source] to help you improve your balance on skates:
- Sumo goblet squats – Many times, skaters especially beginners complain of strained groins. This strain is often caused by strength imbalance between inner thighs and outer hips or glutes. When the inner thigh muscles are not strong in comparison to groins, they develop pain and strain. This exercise helps in strengthening your quads and glutes muscles and also improves hip mobility. For this, keep your feet more than hip-width apart so that your toes are pointed slightly sideways. Hold a dumbbell at chest height. Squat down until your thighs come parallel to the floor. Press down and stand back. Keep your back straight and your chest up. Repeat several times.
- Single leg deadlifts – This exercise targets your hamstrings and glutes. For this, hold a dumbbell or some weight in each hand and stand on the right leg. Extend your left leg behind keeping your right knee bent. Reach halfway down with your dumbbells pressing your right heel into the ground. Return to a standing position. Repeat several times.
- Stir the pot – This is a challenging yet easy exercise for the core muscles. For this, you should acquire a plank position keeping your toes on the ground placing your feet hip-width apart. Rest your forearms on a stability ball. Flatten your lower back by tucking in your pelvis. Brace in the entire core muscles. Move your arms clockwise rolling the ball in small circles. Breath smoothly and complete several repetitions. Stay stable and move your arms only.
Remember that your stance is vital to maintaining balance. Do not keep a rigid vertical posture while skating. Instead, learn the correct stance for skating which is a comfortable squat position.
Familiarize yourself with the rules of the road when you are ready to hit the lanes. With persistent practice and regular exercise, you can master the tricks of aggressive inline skating in no time.
How can I learn to balance on skates? First and foremost, learn to maintain the correct posture. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart keeping your knees slightly bent. Gradually lower your backside and lean forward to achieve a comfortable squat position. Maintain this stance for the entire duration of skating and practicing balance. Check full article about How To Keep Balance On Roller Skates
Shall I take out the middle wheels to grind? First, you must learn to skate smoothly. Visiting skateparks may help you learn the correct jumping position. Once you know the stance and are familiar with the basic moves, you can try grinding.
How can I perform backward skating? When you move forward on your skates, you maintain a V position to avoid a fall. In backward skating, you maintain a reverse V or A-position to maintain balance.
How quickly can I learn aggressive inline skating? It solely depends on your skill level and ability to learn quickly. Most skaters feel comfortable after 1-2 months of thorough practice. However, you should remember there is no need to rush the normal learning process. Start slow, move smoothly, and keep practicing until you master balancing and stopping techniques. Once you are comfortable, you can switch over to other advanced tricks.
I have prior experience with roller skates. Can I easily learn aggressive inline skating? A prior experience certainly helps in understanding the technicalities involved in different tricks. With that said, aggressive inline skating involves much more balancing and practice than roller skating. You can certainly learn the tricks with a little practice and persistent efforts.
I am new to aggressive inline skating. I am not able to maintain focus. How can I skate without worrying about falling? You should start training with a proficient partner or an experienced trainer. They can help you master balancing without letting you fall. They can help you learn to maintain balance until you acquire the necessary skills of doing it alone.
List some variations of soul grinds. Here are some variations of basic grinds that skaters often perform [source]:
- Makio – Both beginners and pros can perform the one-foot soul grid trick alike. In this trick, the skater performs the grind using the soul foot and grabbing the other. Beginners often start learning to grind with this technique as it allows the skaters to hold non-soul foot onto the ground until they are comfortable.
- Soul – In this grinding technique, the skaters rest the soul plate while the front-foot slides with the H-block aiming the obstacle.
- Acid – In traditional soul grind, the front foot points towards the obstacle. In acid soul, the front foot points away from the obstacle.
- Mizzou – The soul foot stays in front while trailing foot points away from the obstacle and rests on the H-block.
- X-Grind – This trick can be performed in two ways. In either case, it is performed on the souls of the skates.