KaitLynn Markley/Courier Photo of a roller rink for HOWTO roller skating story. Taken off of rollerskating topic on Unsplash.com on Tuesday, May 13, 2020.
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Got time to kill and quads to build? Purchase some roller skates and hit the road. Roller skating is a great workout, an impressive skill, and a groovy way to spend extra time. 

To begin your magical journey to “Skatetown, U.S.A”, it’s important to first find a pair of skates. Because all of the roller rinks are currently closed, it would probably be wise to purchase street skates for outdoor roller skating. Outdoor skates have softer wheels than indoor skates, which helps them to grip better on asphalt or concrete for more control. High top skates, or dance skates, provide more support to the ankles than low top skates. 

It would also be smart to procure safety equipment, such as wrist/knee pads, and a helmet. Skating can be hard, and you’re guaranteed to take a dive at some point, so it’s always best to be safe. 

Once the skates come in the mail, they should be ready for you to use. 

Lace the skates up as tightly as possible without making it uncomfortable or cutting off circulation. Tight laces support the shins and ankles, and help prevent you from falling. 

To safely stand up on the skates, start on your knees, with one knee bent out in front of you. Using your hands to put pressure on your front knee, you should then push up into a standing position. 

While standing still, keep your feet in an “L” or “V” position, with your heels together. This will stop the wheels from moving. 

Posture and maintaining balance is very important when it comes to roller skating. At all times, beginner skaters should keep their knees slightly bent. This helps balance the pressure that your body weight puts on the wheels. 

If you struggle a bit in the beginning, don’t worry, it’s normal. Most people can’t just throw a pair of skates on for the first time and reenact the choreography from “Xanadu”. Balancing on roller skates does not usually come easily to beginners, but if practices occur often enough balance becomes almost second nature. 

Unfortunately, no matter how tight your laces are, falling is inevitable. For this reason, it is important for you to learn how to fall correctly and get back up to avoid sustaining serious injuries.

To practice falling, stand on the skates with your knees slightly bent. Crouch down as if you are sitting on a chair, and slowly lower yourself down to the ground. 

Obviously, falling does not normally occur under such controlled circumstances. If you are ever out skating and you feel out of balance, bend your knees and drop down into a crouching position. This will bring you closer to the ground, and make your tumble less severe. If you feel you are about to fall backwards and you don’t have time to crouch down or lean forward, try to fall on your side, so you don’t hit your head on the ground. 

Once you feel that you are able to confidently stand on your skates in a loose, balanced position, you can start to teach yourself how to move forward. Moving around on skates in general is all about the angles and positions that the skates are in.

If your skates are parallel to each other, you are going to start moving. It’s suggested that you start off by pushing both of the skates out and bringing them both back in. It helps to picture a sort of bobbing jellyfish motion. Repeating this motion alone can get you pretty far.

If you want to skate to a specific spot, look directly at it and your body will follow. Practice turning to the right by putting pressure on the inside wheels of your left skate, and the outside wheels of your right. Carefully lean your body to the right as you turn. Doing the opposite will help you turn to the left. 

From there, you can begin refining your motions and picking up your feet as you skate. Pick up one and then the other, pushing off of the ground each time. Music is very helpful during this stage, as you can teach yourself to push off of the ground on beat. 

There are many resources online that help explain the footwork in more detail. There are also in-depth tutorials on Youtube that can teach you how to do tricks.

So lace up those skates, put on some disco, and get practicing!

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