Rollerblading can offer you legit health benefits; be it for fitness or fun. The higher heart rate, improved cardio activity, and enhanced muscular stretch combine to create a complete core workout in rollerblading. No wonder, the thrill of rollerblading attracts many new skaters every year to join the drill. Despite the fun, mastering the techniques of rollerblading may require patience, practice, and persistence.
One technique that seems challenging for many beginners is how to stop when rollerblading downhill. Stopping on skates when sliding on planes is always tricky for beginners, let alone skating downhill. So, the question is, which stopping techniques to use down slopes.
The good news is that rollerblading has different braking mechanism and stopping techniques that are suitable for different situations. Once you learn the basic stopping techniques, you can apply them to stop when moving downhills.
One thing to remember is that the braking mechanism for different rollerblades may vary in terms of shape, position, and design. Further, stopping on rollerblades require special moves that you must practice over-time to help your body play the drill naturally whenever you need to stop. The slope increases the speed of the skates multiple times and there may not be any emergency stopping lanes always available down the road. Therefore, your best bet to safe stopping is how better you know the techniques.
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The article introduces various stopping techniques available in rollerblading emphasizing the ones that you can use rolling down the hill. Further, the article offers some guidelines for the beginners that they must consider every time for a safe skating session.
Different Braking Types for Varying Situations
Different situations may require a unique braking type and a specific stopping technique. Here are the different types of braking mechanisms available in rollerblading:
One of the primary braking techniques in rollerblading is to stop with your rubber brakes. The end of one of your boots may have a brake attached to it. This braking technique works well for a narrow sidewalk or a wide road. You can effectively use your brakes to stop on dry ground. However, they may seem less efficient when the ground is damp.
You do not require extreme technical expertise to master how to use the brakes. It is one of the safest braking techniques that work equally well for beginners as for the pros. However, you should be careful when applying the brakes during bends and turns. It is not suitable to use an emergency braking mechanism in a bend.
Rubber braking can help you slow down and eventually stop while gliding on a steep downslope. To apply the brakes, you need to bend your knees, put forward the brake skate and pull back the rear leg keeping your feet not more than shoulder-width apart. Gently extend your knees and pop up the toe of your brake skate to apply firm pressure on the brake.
Resist leaning forward as it may reduce the power and effectiveness of your brake. Lower your body in a seated position as you apply the brake. Lowering the tush may further help in dropping your weight. You will eventually stop once you get into a seated position.
This mechanism can help you regulate your speed in soft downslopes but make sure to maintain a good safe distance. Never look down and keep your back upright. Do not lean forward. Keep your eyes on the road and hands forward. Gently apply pressure on the brakes as you move forward. Remember to extend your knees and lighten up the weight by lowering your butt.
You may notice signs of wear and tear in your rubber brakes after some use. If you do, it is time to replace the brakes with new ones. The wheels often do not wear as quickly as the rubber brakes.
The fish braking mechanism is more about limiting your skating speed by utilizing the width of the road. You can efficiently apply this braking technique on a wide road. The wider the road, the better you can keep a check on your speed by applying a longer fish braking [source].
You can use this technique in the extreme to progressively go down a slope or a wide road downhill by maintaining a slow to medium speed. You can eventually stop by applying this technique when moving up the slope. Although, using this technique for long may cause some wearing in the wheels of your rollerblades.
This technique is commonly used by many skaters. Some may also prefer a V-stop. You may find the technique comparatively more efficient than rubber braking. However, you may witness a proportional wearing in your skate wheels after some time. You can use this braking technique under any circumstances and even less space.
To apply a T-Stop, you need to drag one foot behind keeping your toes turned out and the skating wheels perpendicular to the direction of motion. Gently apply downward pressure with your foot until you come to a halt. Try a deep lunge position when attempting this technique for the very first time. Keep your shoulders in the direction of travel. Slide the rear dragging skate in the left or right direction to steer or compensate for a turning motion.
One thing that you must focus on while using this approach to braking is to maintain a good balance using your leading foot. The risk of falling is extremely low when you successfully execute the plan of action. The technique may take a little longer to be effective on a wet ground. You can use it in bends provided you can skillfully handle the balance using your leading foot when edging.
When you apply the technique while riding down a steep downslope, you may notice that you need to forcefully lean on your stopping foot to limit your speed or stop. This action may cause your wheels to wear out. When the ground is damp and the slope is steep; this technique may not apply efficiently.
You can effectively use the T-brake while moving down soft or medium downslopes to slow down or keep your speed in check. However, it is not the best option when you want to stop going downhill. Further, this technique is a wheel-eater and may quickly cause the edges of the skates to bevel.
Sports like Hockey require the skaters to powerslide a lot to move easily in the opposite direction. However, you cannot apply the powerslide technique while moving downhill as it requires the skaters to turn their back on the slope.
You can use this technique to stop when gliding at a slow speed. Since you do not apply intense braking to the wheels, you may not witness any apparent wearing over time. On the contrary, the edges of your wheels may bevel thereby sharpening their profile.
Further, you can use the hockey stop to take quick turns left or right. This technique is best for stopping over relatively smooth surfaces, however, you need to practice a lot to perfect. Give it a try when you hit the rink next time. First, keep moving comfortably in a straight line in any direction. Now, use it to make a tight turn towards the right, keeping your leading foot in the direction of turning. As in the case, your trail foot will eventually follow the path of your leading foot. Keep your knees slightly bent and maintain a lower stance throughout the whole maneuver. This posture will help in maintaining a better balance during the trick.
Snow Plow Braking
This braking stopping is highly efficient on both dry and wet grounds without a risk of falling. With that said, you may find the technique hard to apply on long downslopes. You may experience physical stress and strained thighs. Save the technique for even grounds.
Remember, you require the maximum spacing between your skates while applying a plow braking. Therefore, the technique is not suitable for sidewalks and narrow spaces. You can apply a plow stop using the outside or inside edges of the skate wheels.
You can use this braking technique to slow down when moving at high speed. Again, you may find the technique a little harder on your thighs. The only advantage of this approach is the reduced wearing of the wheels as they glide and not scrape on the road.
Soul Slide Braking
Soul sliding is a slight variation of plow braking. It is equally efficient on both wet and dry grounds without risk of falls. For this type of braking, you need half of the width required for a plow stop. You can use this approach for a majority of situations.
This technique is primarily efficient to stop in any type of downslopes. You can use it to stop or slow down when sliding at slow or high speed. This approach bevels the edges of the skate wheels causing a sharpening of their profile.
Double Soul Slide Or Sliding Snow Plow Braking
It is a more efficient variation of the soul slide. In this case, you use both feet to apply the brake at the same time. You require a good balance to master the technique. You must be able to measure the braking efficiency on each skate.
Save the technique for even grounds. You may eventually fall if you do not apply the same grip for both skates. Once you know the drill and practice well, you can use this approach for downhill skating efficiently.
Magic Slide Braking
This technique is highly efficient on both wet and dry grounds with minimal risk of falls. For this, you need to maintain half of the width as required for a plow stop. This helps in applying the approach to the majority of situations. In this braking technique, you maintain most of your body weight on the back foot.
This approach is useful on wet grounds as it keeps both your skates stabile on the inside edges. It is equally efficient on dry ground, however, some skaters may find it hard to apply. In essence, it is an ‘all-or-nothing’ technique that you can use to strongly slow down or eventually stop at slow or high speed.
Your boots may undergo a lot of wear and tear over time when you primarily use this technique for breaking. You can do flat spots on the skate wheels in case your skates tilt close to an angle of 90-degrees with the ground. Further, there may be prominent edge beveling and the wheels may acquire a sharper profile.
Parallel Slide Braking
It is one of the most efficient braking techniques but also the hardest one to master. Again, there is a high risk of an eventual fall if you fail to maintain your side balance while sliding. In this approach, the required space may vary according to the road, the people and the width maintained for a take-off turn.
You can efficiently use this braking technique on the wet ground. Further, it helps in regulating your speed when bending. When you launch with a parallel slide, you can naturally tilt your skates to slide and minimize speed. You can use this type of braking to strongly slow down or eventually stop at slow or high speed.
You may notice a lot of wearing in your wheels after a while. The angle of tilt causes the edges of the wheels to bevel thereby sharpening their profile.
Aggressive Snake Technique
You can apply this technique to control your pace or slow down while gliding at high speed. In this approach, you swiftly twist and turn in the right and left direction making sharp moves. This movement of the body helps in quickly dissipating the forward momentum.
Many skaters try to grab something or a peer skater when trying to stop. This habit is not only bad for the skater’s learning curve but can also lead to accidents or severe injuries. Although, it is good to keep a helper or a friend by your side when you are a beginner. Your friend can help you learn to stop when you are just beginning your skating sessions for stopping techniques. However, you should not be accustomed to using help while stopping every time.
Falling Down to Stop
It is important to remember that you cannot completely understate the possibility of a fall when you are a beginner to rollerblading. Falls may happen and sometimes it is advisable to fall deliberately when you intend to stop. You can control your fall when you are not moving very fast.
For a deliberate fall, you just need to bend your knees and try to crash on your pads. Once you master a fall, you get the required confidence to rely on your pads for protection. Further, this technique will help you reduce the fear of fall that influences the efficiency of many new skaters.
Tips to Master Various Stopping Techniques
Beginners often rush to try every new trick when they are learning the skills of rollerblading. Mastering stopping techniques may require time and patience. However, some common mistakes may make the learning curve steeper than expected. Here are some classic tips for the beginners in the field of rollerblading:
- Keep your knees bent when skating and stopping. Bent knees help in controlling your motion while skating or coming to a halt.
- Practice stopping techniques in a controlled area to begin with. Make sure the surface of the ground is flat or has a slight upward grade. Such a platform will help in controlling your speed when you strive to learn various balancing and stopping techniques.
- Learn to engage in the Panic Stop. It happens when somebody randomly yells “STOP!” and you try to come to a halt as hard as quickly as you can. It is an important skill to master in rollerblading as you may be exposed to similar situations while riding the pavements and public parks where you have to eventually stop without prior notice.
- Keep trying no matter how long it takes. You may not get everything right on the first attempt. But you should keep practicing the tricks until they become second nature while rollerblading.
- One important tip to learn roller balding is to work on your muscular reflexes. You should often visit a place in the neighborhood with crash mats to practice the Judo forward roll. Repeatedly practicing the drill will help you unlearn the natural reflexes of putting out an arm while rollerblading. In other words, your body must remember to roll when you fall forward instead of spreading out your arms to resist the fall. It will help you land safely when you cannot prevent a forward fall.
- You can prevent leaning forward during rollerblading if you pretend to be wearing a prom dress with a lower neckline. You certainly won’t be willing to let everyone view your assets. Such imagination plays with your brain and reminds you to maintain your posture.
- Practice using your knee pads whenever you fall. Your knee pads serve as a protective cushion to absorb the impact.
- Remember to maintain your stance and bend your knees while skating.
- Learn to use your heel brakes whenever possible. Also, try to maintain a controlled speed that you can maneuver effectively.
- Beginners should not only invest in good safety equipment but also include crash pads in their safety gear. These pads help skaters protect their rear ends if they ever fall backward on their tush. Being a beginner, you are more likely to fall often. You may save yourself from spraining your spine or injuring your back if you use crash pads.
- Another mistake that beginners often commit is to tense up their muscles during a fall or attempt to resist the fall. Such a practice may eventually break your arms or cause major injury in the bones. On the contrary, whenever you find yourself falling, you should try to fall on your knee pads. You can use your elbows to protect your face from debris.
- Remember to wear proper protective gear including knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. Never forget to wear your helmet during your rollerblading sessions. You can also grab girdles to protect your rear end, hips and tailbone. Never mind wearing extra pads when you are a beginner. It is better to stay safe than ruining your day with a nasty fall that may take days to recover.
- Another word of caution for beginners is about how they choose their skates and safety gear. Many new skaters often look for pleasing designs or high-tech brands. You should certainly not resist spending a penny to buy a good pair of skates and nice protective gear.
With that said, it is not wise enough to go for brand names or looks. Never buy a cheap helmet that appears attractive. Purchase a low weight light-colored helmet that has multiple holes for proper ventilation. Big vents and lighter colors will keep you cool for long. A lower weight, in turn, will be easy on your head.
- Many new marketers offer an amazing range of products at greatly affordable prices. Do some research online to familiarise yourself with the type and quality of skates and protective gear before you visit the retail stores. Remember to always purchase ANSI-certified products.
Almost all reputable dealers and major brands support the selling of certified goods. You should not trust a product that is not certified because in that case, you will have no guarantee of whether the gear will serve the purpose during a crash or simply break like an eggshell injuring your head as it hits the pavement.
- On similar grounds, invest in high-quality knee pads. Your knees are one of the most complex joints in your body. Also, the patella which is the little bone covering the front of the knee is very delicate and important. A severe injury in the knees may require surgery or laparoscopic procedure and may take months to heal.
should I do if I am gliding at a fast pace and cannot resist a fall?
when you cannot resist a fall, it is best to deliberately fall down
safely. Learn to fall on your knee pads so that they can serve as a
protective cushion as your knees hit the ground. Practicing such as
fall will prepare your muscular reflexes to act accordingly in a
similar situation and also improve your confidence while
rollerblading. This will further help you overcome the fear of fall.
Try to fall on a softer surface like on a patch of grass. Falling on
something which is not hard like concrete minimizes the impact of
Is it safe to purchase the safety gear online? Nowadays many reputable dealers and established brands sell their products online. Certainly, you can pick any of them to buy your safety gear online. Just remember to ensure that the products are certified and comply with your skating requirements.