I have been skating for over 5 years and have accumulated
quite a few tricks that I would like to share with you. I would right away
like to point out that I am not an agressive skater, i.e a skater who goes
in a pipe. I am also not a street skater in the sense that I dont "grind"
benches or do crazy stunts in stairs. I would like to call myself a plain
surface skater, and this implies that all my tricks occur on plain surface
and mostly with not much speed involved. These are tricks for the regular
normal skater to learn. And here they are...
Standing on your skates
This means exactly what it says. Is
this a trick or not? Well if you've never skated before simply standing
on your skates could be quite tricky. I suggest starting out on a
soft surface like some grass and just stand for a while and taking steps
in different directions so that even though you don't know how to skate
with your rollerblades you at least know how to walk with them.
Rolling on your skates
Rolling for the first time with your
skates can be quite nervy. Balance is what this is all about and to improve
it training is all what it is about. A good idea is to find a surface
that slants slightly and just roll until you stop. Then have a friend
pull you back up so you can do it all over again. Another good idea
is to practice the rolling some place where there are two things
to hold on either side - like two rails of some sort or two walls if you
happen to have access to a narrow corridor.
Skating with your skates
The skating motion is the one that
lets you actually advance on your skates by your own force. Skating for
example lets you go up a hill or go as fast as a biker. There is actually
a whole science on the skating motion but all you need are the basics.
Start by rolling a little with your feet parallell. Then lift one
foot and quickly put it ahead of the other foot before you loose your balance.
Then slide the feet back in parallell again and then lift the other foot
and put it slightly ahead. Remember that you need to be rolling down a
slight hill in order to do this. The next training step is: when
you lift the one foot forwards - push away with the other foot. (Picture
this like that familiar attacking motion you see in fencing) For the pushing
away to work you need to shoot forwards the foot with a slight angle, otherwise
if you shoot and push with feet in parallell you'll end up not going anywhere.
Realise that wheels slide forwards but not sideways. This is what
lets you both push and glide on your rollerblades - i.e this is what lets
I call this wavers, cause I can't think
of a better name. You've probable seen it before. It's when you push your
feet outwards and then pull them back in again in a repeated fashion -
like your feet are going in waves.
Turning on your skates is what you
use to change direction. Some are able to do this right away. Others just
go in a straight line until crashing into something (or someone). But how
do you do this? Well, if you've practiced wavers (the trick above), you
have a good advantage. Start by rolling forwards in a down hill slope.
Your feet should be in parallell. Next you simply push to the side with
one of your feet. This will make you turn to the other side. So to turn
right you simply push to the side with your left foot. And then vice verca.
If your feeling trouble with your balance put your feet wider apart.
Braking on your skates
You soon find out that being able to
stop on your skates could be nice, especially if you're heading right into
a busy intersection. To do this you'll use the brake cushion that is mounted
on the lower back of one of your skates. (If this is not the case you have
the other braking system which is much easier to learn.) To train
braking it's ideal to have a slight downhill. Now the technique.
The foot that you're gonna brake with you will first slide in front of
the other. (Just this simple move requires some balance so it is something
you can train on separately.). Then you will bend your knees and
your body slightly over the skates, sort of like sitting on your
skates. Now you're in the braking position. Now you want to tilt your foot
so that the brake cushion makes contact with the surface. As you
feel the brake cushion scraping against the surface you are actually braking.
In the beginning it's easy to loose your balance doing this. Just keep
trying it and your balance will eventually get better and so will your
If you feel you can brake but not efficiently enough, i.e
not quickly enough, here are some other tips... As you brake
you wanto push your body away from the braking skate - shooting the braking
foot forwards and your body backwards at the same time. Do it as if you
wanted to go the other way. Another thing is to really pull your
toes upwards when braking using the muscles in your ancle. This will cause
the brake cushion to be pushed down harder against the surface and you'll
Skating on one foot
Training this is a good way to increase
your overall balance (so you wont fall as often) and is a good basis to
being able to do a lot of other tricks. There is no real technique
to this - all you need is to just keep on training it. So start by skating
a little forwards so that you have a rolling motion and then just lift
one of your feet so that you're standing solely on the other foot. And
keep holding this until you loose your balance and is forced to put the
foot back on the ground. Be sure not to be rolling too slowly because as
with biking it is harder balancing standing still as it is rolling. Try
alternating with the feet. One usually finds one foot easier than the other
to balance on. The one foot that is off the ground - called the freeleg
or the freefoot - can be put in different positions. For example you could
stick it right out in front of you, you could have it hanging to the side
of you, and you could bend your knee and have it slightly behind you. Training
each and every of these will add to your repertoire of balance.
There is good intermediary trick that you can train prior to this trick.
It's where you get a little extra help with your balance by letting the
free foot contact the surface with one of its wheels. The free foot can
be placed either behind you touching the ground with its front toe wheel
or in front of you touching the ground with its heel wheel.
As you get better and can hold your balance for an extensive period you
can train how straight a line you can skate on one foot. Even though I've
been skating for 5 years I still have difficulties holding a straight line.
After a couple of metres my skate just wants to turn inwards. It makes
me suspect that it has a lot to do with the natural tearness to the sides
of the wheels, and not only my lack of balance.
Being able to skate backwards adds
a new dimension to what you can do on your rollerblades. Tricks that can
be done forwards can often be reused going backwards doubling the repertoire
of possible tricks. But first lets concentrate on the basics:
The technique used for skating backwards is different from that of skating
forwards. When skating backwards you don't lift your feet as you do when
skating forwards. Instead you repeatedly push the one foot and then the
other away from you making your skates go in half circles. When you're
really good you'll be wiggling from side to side like a snake.
A very good idea to learning going backwards is first to train wavers backwards
(wavers was one of the tricks described at the top). You will then be pushing
both feet away from you and then bringing them back in making you advance
backwards. When you've mastered doing wavers backwards it's an easy step
to transform that into skating backwards: instead of pushing both feet
away from you, push one foot away from you at a time. The faster
you can do this in succession the faster you will be going backwards.
If you feel that you've got the balance but the 'pushing away' just isn't
working; try using your toes more. Also try bending your knees and waist
Doing a circle
This is where you turn one of the skates
around to have one foot pointing forwards and the other foot pointing backwards.
This position, which is called the surf position, will make you naturally
move in an inner circle. This is similar to the way you commonly see girls
spinning on ice, holding their hands to their chest.
To do this trick you start out by skating forwards. Having a forwards motion
you then bring one skate a little further back. This is the skate that
will turn around and be pointing backwards as you're doing the circle.
To do the turning of the skate you simply lift your heel slightly and then
turn the foot inwards.
Girls are better anatomically built than guys for doing this trick. Guys
tend more to bend their knees than girls as they do this trick, thus ressembling
a surfer more. There are actually people who are capable of going in a
straight line when in the surf position. The coolness of the tricks you
can achieve with this capability has in the past made me spend several
hous trying to walk like Charlie Chaplin. Though still I cannot muster
Turning around means that you are able
to as you're going forwards on your skates to turn around and continue
backwards without stopping first. Turning around is good for example if
you wanto be going backwards fast. You simply skate forwards fast and then
turn around. If your turning around technique is good you'll be continuing
with almost the same speed backwards as you were going forwards.
There are many different ways for turning around on rollerblades. You can
jump up, spin around a half lap in the air and land with your feet backwards.
You can also turn around standing on one foot which is common among figure
skaters. However I will teach you the basic normal way:
The move used to turn around starts out the same way as the move to doing
a circle (described in the trick above). You slide the one foot backwards
and turn it around inwards. Now, instead of holding that position and going
around in a circle, you will then also turn the foremost foot around. Now
you will have two feet pointing backwards so logically you're now going
backwards (unless you lost all your momentum doing the turn around).
Slalom on rollerblades is great fun. It makes you feel alive.
Just wiggle your body from side to side and hopefully your skates will
do the same. Well, it's not quite that easy, but if you already know
how to turn (the trick described near the top), then slalom shouldn't be
a problem (that is if you know how to turn in BOTH directions). Just turn
left, and then turn right, and then left again, and then right, and so
on. Use some cones or draw chalk marks in the ground to create your own
custom made slalom course. The wider apart the marks are the easier it
will be, cause you'll have more time to do the turns. Another thing that's
interesting: you can vary:
Yes, there are many ways to do the slalom. The normal way is to just have
your feet in parallell, like when you're doing a normal turn. But you can
also have the feet in line - one foot in front of the other. And hey, why
not try it backwards. Or do it on one foot. Yes, one foot slalom is in
fact a great way to improve balance needed for a lot of other tricks, for
example the crossovers(described as the next trick). But even in itself,
one foot slalom is great fun to watch. But how do I do it?
The one foot slalom just needs a lot of practice. Turning on one foot is
something new so the body and mind needs to get adjusted to it. When you
get the hang of it you can use the free foot (the foot that is off the
ground) to help you turn. Just swing it in the opposite direction of the
turn. So to turn left, swing the free foot to the right, and vice verca.
Some do this with the free foot sticking out straight behind them. Others
have the leg raised in front of their body with the foot hanging down working
as a pendelum. ... But hey, first learn the normal slalom.
Crossovers is a very useful technique to learn. You can use
it to make the turn around a street corner that much quicker. Crossovers
consists of repeatedly crossing your outer foot over your inner foot, to
make you go around in wide circle. If you've ever watched speed skating,
crossovers is what speed skaters are doing when they're going in the curves.
Figure skaters are also seen doing crossovers a lot, going backwards in
big circles around the ice (yes, crossovers can also be done backwards).
You can do crossover turning left or turning right. As with a lot of tricks
one of the direction will feel more comfortable. A rule of thumb says that
right-handed people feel happier turning left while left-handed prefer
To get good at crossovers the key is is to train it a lot. As a beginner
start out by simply walking the crossovers in a circle, doing every step
in slow-motion with no real speed involved. The difficulty in crossovers
lies in the fact that as your lifting your outer foot to cross it, you'll
be going solely on your inner foot. This for many is a new experience and
tends to feel acward. There is a technique called sculling that you can
use to improve your ability to skating on your inner foot. In sculling
you use your outer foot to repeatedly push away (like when on a sled) while
the weight remains constantly on the inner foot, taking you around in a
wide circle. Once your balance has improved you'll be able to do
the crossovers more fluently and faster. You'll also feel a harmonic
accelerating motion as your doing the crossovers.
Doing the Hockey Turn
The hockey turn will make you look classy. The hockey turn
is like a normal turn, but instead of having the feet in parallell, you'll
have one foot in front ot the other. More precisely, for a right hockey
turn your right foot will be in the front and your left foot in the back.
Vice verca for a left hockey turn. Like crossovers (the trick descrbed
above), what makes this trick difficult is that during the turn, you'll
be leaning on your inner skate. In the beginning this will be a huge factor,
and you'll probably find yourself just coming to a halt when attempting
the turn. Just keep at it, and you'll eventually get it (maybe even a place
in the NHL).
What makes the hockey turn so neat is that it can make you turn quicker.
You can also hold the hockey turn position and go around in a circle until
you run out of speed. The hockey turn will also let you have more narrow
turns - make you turn on the spot. In fact, the hockey turn, if executed
well, can make you come to a complete stop - another way of braking.
Some other tips... Turn your body in the direction of the turn. Also
bend your knees slightly. For a quick turn: throw yourself into the turn;
let your skates come a little behind and then let them accelerate through
the turn to catch up with the rest of you. You can also train sculling
(described in crossovers) - It will improve your ability to roll on the
Wow, is this ever a fun trick. In crisscross you repeatedly
cross and uncross your feet like a scissor. Normally you'll do this trick
in a slalom course. Then you'll pass everyother cone with your feet crossed
and the others with your feet uncrossed. This is illustrated in the figure
below ('=' is your left foot and '-' is your right foot). Note that unlike
crossovers both feet stay constantly on the ground.
Wow, is this ever a fun trick. To come
Wow, is this ever a fun trick. To come
Mastering the 3-turns
3-turns is the name for a category of tricks where you turn
around on only one foot. Yes you heard me right: one foot only. It typically
looks like this: You're rolling forwards on one foot. You suddenly seem
to spin around. Now you're going backwards on the same foot. Your other
foot never touched the ground. How did you do this? Let's take this in
more detail: Roll forwards on your right foot. Next you're going to spin
a half lap clockwise. To do this you'll do the following all at the same
time: lean forwards so your weight is at your toes, swing your arms from
left to right, turn your upper body, turn your hips, and last of all rotate
your skate inwards. To rotate on your skate: lift the heel from the ground,
rotate the skate, and put the heel back on the ground.
This is a real difficult trick and the description above is not quite perfect.
Realise that during the turn your only contact with the ground is a single
wheel. This is what makes this trick difficult. A good tip is to first
train it indoors without the skates - standing still and then making the
turn on your sock. Next you can do the turn outside with your skates holding
on to a lamp post. 3-turns is very common in figure skating. In fact, during
a routine a figure skater normally performs upto 40-50 3-turns. However,
they do it so fast and smoothly that the spectators don't notice them.
The name '3-turn' actually originates from figure skating. It comes from
the shape in the ice that the skater creates when he does the turn: the
The 3-turn has many variants. You can alter the foot: left or right. You
can alter the direction you spin: clockwise or anti clockwise. You can
also alter the skating direction: forwards or backwards. When skating forwards
the turn will be on your toe wheel. Keep the other foot hanging behind
you. When doing it backwards the turn will be on your heel wheel. Here
your other foot should be pointing out straight in front of you. To help
you turn: put some lean on the skate. This is called skating on the edge
of the skate. The lean should be in the same direction as the turn. For
example, if your doing a forwards right-footed clockwise 3-turn, use the
outside edge. If your doing the same trick anti-clockwise, use the inside