In previous entries, we have discussed knee bend, and pushing from skate to skate –now what we would like to do is devote an entry to just learning how to roll. If you have never strapped on a pair of skates before, it is a completely different feeling than simply walking around in your street shoes. For our beginner skaters –this entry is for you!
To revisit one of our earlier entries on this blog, the trick to learning how to roll is to start off slow. Start by walking with your skates on a carpeted area (most roller rinks have carpet surrounding the skating floor). Once you are comfortable with the idea of getting on the floor, go ahead and do so carefully. Be sure to generously bend your knees (especially if it is your very first time). From there, allow yourself to mimic that walking motion you practiced earlier on the carpet.
As you practice this walking motion, you may notice that your wheels begin to roll. Keep picking one foot up after the other, while again, bending both knees as you do so. The more you allow yourself to relax, stepping from one foot to the other, the more pressure your skates receive, and so, the more control you will have. It will also help to keep your arms out to the side like a tightrope walker –this aids with balance. As you begin to roll, you should feel more comfortable, but if you are not yet, that is okay too. For some skaters it takes a longer adjustment period than others.
What will also benefit skaters who are just starting out, is practicing on the wall. If you visit our facility, we have a carpeted wall at both ends of our rink. Some rinks even have walls all the way around the skating floor, while others may have no wall at all (if this is the case, some extra time on the carpet should get you more comfortable). When using the wall to help you roll, make sure your feet are facing straight ahead and are parallel with one another (so they don’t have a chance to bump into each other). Next, gently hold onto the wall with one hand, while leaving the other out for balance. Looking straight ahead, while bending your knees, begin to stand on one foot and then the other. Even tilt your head slightly over the skate you are standing on to distribute your pressure over each foot.
Practicing rolling while holding onto the wall a couple of times will help you feel much more comfortable with wheels on your feet. Once you feel ready, step away from the wall, and get going at a comfortable pace. Be sure that your skates do not get too far apart, because doing so will cause you to lose your balance. Skates should be kept about hip width apart at most. With these pointers in mind, as well as some of the other information we have provided in previous posts, you’ll be rolling around the floor in no time!