If you’re new to rollerblading, you may find that you have little problem getting comfortable with skating in a straight line. The real problem tends to present itself when it comes time to stop. However, there are many different ways to do this, and it’s not always as easy or straightforward as it may seem. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with different techniques– and maybe even practice them a bit– before you find yourself in a situation where braking is necessary. So how do we stop on rollerblades?
For those struggling to master the important skill of braking, we’ve created this guide. We will discuss how to brake using your skate’s built-in brakes, if they have them, as well as go over techniques for stopping on skates that do not have built-in brakes.
Most often, the easiest way to brake is by using the built-in brakes on your inline skates. Now, not all skates have heel brakes, but if you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea for yours to have them. Heel brakes do still take a bit to learn, though, so make sure you master this technique on how to stop your rollerblades before you set out.
To properly apply the heel brake, first shift your weight to your dominant or stronger leg and bend the knee. It should look like you are about to sit down.
Take the non-bent leg and position it in front of you. When your feet are in position, apply the heel brake on your non-bent leg. Be sure to only apply gentle, gradual pressure, so that you slowly come to a stop.
As the brake is applied, move your dominant leg in front of you to help preserve your balance. Soon, you will have come to a complete stop.
Heel brakes can be a bit daunting at first to learn, but once you do, this will become second nature. You can also use this same technique to slow yourself down a bit without stopping completely.
Once you’ve mastered the art of braking with a rubber brake, you can move on to more advanced techniques. These techniques are also helpful if you have a pair of skates that do not come with a heel brake.
- Plow stop. The plow stop is an advanced maneuver that involves pointing your toes towards each other and your heels away from one another. Basically, position your feet so that they are reasonably far apart– more than shoulder or hip-width. Line up your skates so that they are in a “V” shape with the toes pointed inwards towards each other. From there, crouch down while continuing to keep your toes pointed towards one another. This will eventually bring you to a stop, but it does take some amount of strength to prevent your skates from knocking against each other. You may also need to shift your weight back a bit if you feel yourself starting to fall forward as you slow down.
- T-stop. To practice a t-stop, place all of your weight on one leg and put the other behind you for balance. Once you get the hang of that, try positioning your back leg so that it is sideways– you want the skates to be perpendicular to each other. Place pressure on the back leg and allow the drag to stop you. When done correctly, the t-stop is an effective way to come to a stop very quickly.
- This method of stopping is much slower and more gradual, but it’s also pretty easy to master. To effectively windbreak, position your feet so that they are parallel to one another, directly underneath your body. Stick your arms straight out– the goal is to create drag that will eventually help you slow down and stop. Of course, this isn’t a good technique to use if you’re in a situation where you need to brake quickly, but if the goal is just to slow down or you’re still a distance from where you need to stop, windbreaking can be very effective.
If all else fails, simply run-out. This is another way to stop your rollerblades when you’re in a situation where your rubber brake isn’t working and you don’t feel comfortable or can’t pull off an advanced maneuver, your best bet is to find a patch of grass or gravel.
The grass is ideal because it’s softer if you fall, but either should slow you down. Steer yourself over to the grass or gravel and hold your legs straight while focusing on your balance as you begin to slow down.
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It may be necessary to fall on a harder surface, if, for example, you’re approaching traffic and don’t have time to slow down. For that reason, it’s a good idea to practice falling on the grass before you spend too much time on the sidewalk.
If you know how to fall properly, you’re less likely to get hurt.
Braking is arguably one of the most important skills you can master as a rollerblader. Make sure you are comfortable with at least one technique before you hit the pavement. Thank you for reading our article on how to stop on rollerblades!