Many beginners start their roller-skating journey on a pair of quad-wheel roller skates. They learn all the basic skills for treading forward, balancing, and stopping. Once they master the basics, they feel the urge for taking it to the next level. And then the question pops up if it will be easy to learn inline skating after mastering roller skates?
To put it differently; if someone knows roller skates, will inline skating be easier? Surprisingly, many people find it easy to learn inline skating with or without the prior knowledge and experience of roller skates. Although many people expect roller skates to be easier to learn than inline skates, many children and adults start as easily on inline skates. With that said; prior knowledge of the skills certainly helps in mastering the complexities of an extreme sport like inline skating.
Let us examine the intricacies and requirements of both roller skating and inline skating [source] to figure out how prior knowledge of one can benefit the learning curve of the other.
A Word on Roller Skating
Roller skating is ideal for indoors. Roller skates may help you make sharp, tight turns in a rink. However, they may not offer the speed you may get with a pair of inline skates. The wider wheel size of the roller skates may not offer ample speed but does provide greater stability that helps beginners learn and develop better balancing skills.
Roller skates generally have wider plates that extend from the toe to the heel under the foot. Broader support under the foot does provide better stability but at the same time, it can result in backward and forward falls while the skater is mastering the skills. Further, the design offers higher chances for wheel clipping resulting in an instant fall or sudden stumble when the wheels of a skate eventually clip to the wheels of the other skate.
Roller skates are not meant for rough terrain or uneven surfaces like pavements with rocks and potholes. They are a go-to option for sports like Figure Skating or Roller Derby. Roller skating requires mobility and versatility, which is well supported by the quad skates. Roller skates are easy to maneuver and offer side-to-side stability, which is paramount in sports like Roller Derby.
Roller skating involves its basic lessons to master the skills of skating on quad roller skates. First and foremost, it is important to keep the skates apart by separating your feet. Inline skates comparatively have a much longer frame that extends behind the heels as well as past the toes, making them more stable and less prone to eventual wheel clipping.
A Word on Inline Skating
Inline skates are well accounted for their speed. They have taller wheels to gain momentum and maintain speed. Certainly, they are more stable at a high pace. Inline skates have a stable platform with a longer wheelbase, which works as a cushion for absorbing small bumps or cracks on the road. Further, a smaller profile makes it easy to dodge small obstacles and push away objects that may block your path.
Inline skates offer high ankle support with a heel brake, which makes eventual stopping easier. All a skater needs to do is to extend the foot with the brakes keeping the toe to the sky. As a result, the heel brake touches the ground keeping the skater to a halt.
You can use the toe stops by dragging one toe behind or by turning and engaging the toes moving backward. You can learn more advanced tricks to stop on both skates such as t-stop, hockey stop, ploughs, or power slides.
Inline skates require you to develop ankle strength since they have a single line of wheels that put pressure on the feet and ankles. However, they are more versatile to be used anywhere on any pathway such as parks, terrains, sidewalks or pavements. Inline skates are best for speed sport like hockey.
Roller Skating V/S Inline Skating
As a novice, you may find both roller skating and inline skating difficult at first. You may need to develop balancing skills, strengthen your legs, and empower core muscles. With practice and time, and as you develop muscle strength; you will find skating easier. You can start your skating journey with either inline or roller skates. The better way to determine which one works best for you as a beginner is to give each one a try.
Many people of every age prefer inline skates over traditional quad skates. One reason for this is because recreational inline skates offer better support for the ankles and feet when you pick one of the appropriate sizes, lace them up well and buckle them up properly. Also, the wheels extended to the front as well as rear offer better balancing during forward or backward momentum.
The big, thin wheels attached to a longer wheelbase in an inline skate are less sensitive to minor surface irregularities or cracks in the pathway. Inline skates offer better control for a group and individual fun or low-impact outdoor skating activities. They sound more practical when the idea is to experiment with some tricks requiring speed and adventure.
Yet, we have another pool of nerds who prefer traditional quad skates with a wider wheelbase to overcome the fear of balancing and side-to-side stability. Unquestionably, a flat platform under the feet offers a sense of security. Nonetheless, these traditional quad skates with wheels under the foot and wheel frame without any forward or backward projections are not a prime option for front and back stability or balance support.
An ideal choice would be to pick a pair of skates according to your comfort zone. The techniques for both the skates are quite similar and certainly transferable to any skating sport. Most rink classes for skating allow both roller and inline skates [source] for beginners.
In a nutshell, if you aim to master stunts, tricks, and similar advanced maneuvers; traditional quad skates offer more freedom with fewer skills. Inline skates, on the other hand, are suitable for literally any skillset. However, a novice may find it difficult to learn one foot turns, jumps, and spins on a rigid inline frame in comparison to a traditional quad frame, which has built-in cushions for steering.
No denial, both quad roller skates, and inline skates require stamina, balance, and strength. The degree of difficulty may vary from one person to another depending on their stature, ability to learn and readiness for the endeavor. The ideal skates for you will be one that suits your activity of interest. Forget easy or difficult if you prefer fun sports such as speed skating, aggressive inline skating, figure skating, or freestyle slalom.
Concisely, the type of sport you pick will determine the specific type of skates you start with as the type of training will require that specific type of gear. Some of the skating sports such as recreational inline skating or social quad skating are suitable for all age groups and various skating levels. Again, fitness skating is a preferably goal-oriented choice to achieve a physical, mental, or medical benefits.
Similarly, speed skating or inline racing are worldwide competitive disciplines while road or street skating is more of an organized group event. Marathon and freestyle slalom skating events are organized in different states to promote the art of skating. Many people take up dryland skating or figure skating as a recreational hobby. While others with a sporting spirit go for inline hockey or quad rink roller hockey. Some other forms of skating sports include:
- inline roller soccer
- roller cricket
- roll ball
- Inline basketball
- Aggressive stunt skating
- Vertical roller skating
- Off-road, all-terrain skating
- Nordic inline skating
- Kite skating
- Wind skating
- Downhill racing
- Rhythm skating
- Quad roller derby
It will be a good start to learn about the different skating styles and build up a foundation by indulging in recreational and fitness activities for training. With strong basic skills, you can steer your interest in any type of skates.
How Roller Skating Can Benefit Inline Skating?
When you set your foot forward in a roller skate as a beginner, you learn all the basics of balancing, which is easier to achieve on a wider quad-wheel skate. The training, tactics, and skills of balancing learned during roller skating can help your transition into the more extreme sport of inline skating.
The design of the wheels and the construct of boots in the roller skates offer you better stability and help you overcome the fear of balancing when you start your skating journey. Starting with a pair of roller skates help you quickly achieve balance. Once you master the basics, you can use your skills on a pair of speedy inline skates. All that remains to master is how to maneuver your body weight and move your feet on thinner wheels of inline skates.
Is ice skating harder to learn than inline skating or rollerblading? Both ice skating and rollerblading [source] have many similarities but there are also some differences in the skating surface as well as the construct of boots. Ice skates have blades at the bottom to make them easily slide over ice while rollerblades have a line of wheels for easy gliding on a rough surface. Undoubtedly, rollerblading is easier to learn than ice skating.
Rollerblades are specifically designed to provide firm support to the ankle and the feet. Their wheels extend to the front and rear, which helps maintain balance while treading backward or forward. The longer wheelbase provides better control. On the contrary, ice skating blades have a thin base and it is difficult to learn to balance on them.
Here are some other differences in the two skates which make ice skating harder to learn in comparison to rollerblading:
- Stopping – Rollerblades have built-in brakes in the heels which help you stop eventually. Further, you can drag your foot backward or take a sharp turn putting your bodyweight towards the back to stop on rollerblades. Ice skates do not have any built-in brake mechanism. You need to maintain your body weight towards the middle of your blades to help them shave the ice correctly and finally stop. Again, the act of balancing depends on how you shift your body weight on your blades. If you shift too much on either side, you will be out of balance, and suffer a hard fall.
- Balancing – A wider wheelbase of the inline skates provides a good balance and makes rollerblading easy to learn in comparison to ice skating. Rollerblades have multiple locking mechanisms to secure your feet in place. Ice skates with a thin blade underneath the boot make balancing quite challenging. You may suffer some falls before you master the art of balancing and stopping on ice skates.
- Surface – You require a layer of ice for ice-skating but you can rollerblade on sidewalks, streets or parking lots. Ice skating is certainly safer than rollerblading as a sport. Further, the surface is clean and even for ice skating. In rollerblading, you never know when you may encounter a hole, obstacle, crack, or uneven patch in the pathway, which makes it easy to lose control and suffer an injury. When you ice skate on an even surface, your legs and feet may feel better as there will be no sudden shocks but the difficulty to learn to balance is manifold. You may find rollerblades comfortable to learn than ice skates and they are not as difficult if you are skating over a smooth pavement devoid of rough terrain.
How does rollerblading compare to ice skating in terms of physical fitness? Both rollerblading and ice skating have the same aerobic value when it comes to respiration, heart rate, or calorie burning. Further, skills such as moving forward, sliding sideways, tricks, and other stunts are also more or less similar for these two extreme sports. The only difference comes in terms of the construct of boots and skating surface which makes one more difficult in comparison to the other.
How to choose a fitted pair of inline skates? Pick an appropriate pair of skates matching your shoe size. Your skates should fit quite comfortably. Your heels at the back of your skates must snugly support your ankles without any discomfort. Avoid skates that are too loose to fit as you may suffer a broken bone or sprained ankles when you fall.
Inline skates usually come in various types such as speed skates, multi-use skates, street or stunt skates, and cross-training skates. You may start with a pair of multi-use skates. Remember to try on a feel to check how it fits your feet.
You can check the fitting by standing up on the skate. See that your heels fit firmly and do not slide in the boot. Check if you can easily wiggle your toes. Also, notice and ensure that the skates have a thick inner liner with extra padding around the toes to ensure better comfort.
What safety gear should I purchase for roller skating or inline skating? You must have the following safety gear handy when learning roller skating or inline skating:
- Buy a protective helmet with a safety standard mark or Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certificate. Ensure that it fits properly on your head. You should look for a helmet with an adjustable chin strap. Tighten the strap for a snugly fitting.
- Get a pair of wrist guards to cover your hands. You can also pick wrist guards with ski pads to cover your palm.
- Buy elbow pads to protect the fragile elbow area during a fall.
- Get a pair of knee pads to protect against sudden injury during fall.
- Do not forget to wear appropriate protective clothing. Put on comfortable long-sleeved clothes that are breathable and easy to move in.
Kindly share some tips to help me ensure safety while learning inline skating. Consider the following pro tips to ensure safety during every inline skating lesson:
- Learn to fall gracefully – falling is an inevitable part of learning to skate. The first thing you should probably learn in any type of skating is how to properly fall as it may help avoid a major injury. Try to bend your knees, keep your arms out and gracefully fall forward with your weight on your wrist guards and knee pads. Make a glide to stop. Falling on your knee pads or wrist guards will save you from spraining a muscle or a severe injury during fall.
- Go slow – Do not rush to increase the pace. Maintain a moderate speed until you are comfortable. Going fast may sound fun but it is important to keep safe and avoid obstacles when you are learning the tricks.
- Stay alert – There may be other skaters around you. Stay attentive and make way for pedestrians, strollers, bicycle riders, children, and other peer skaters. Notice sudden changes around your vicinity and do not make your enjoyment a threat for the others.
- Continue practicing your skills – Once you find yourself being comfortable with gliding, balancing, and stopping; you can move towards learning more advanced elements of the sport such as taking turns, jumping over ramps, and grinding.