By Rachael Gerron
Web Content Contributor
Roller skating is a sport that has gone in and out of popularity many times throughout its almost 300-year-old history. And like most resurging trends, you can thank Tik-Tok for bringing it back “in” during 2020.
Since I was a little kid, I’ve loved roller skating – back when the only “Tik-Tok” we knew about was the song by Kesha – which, ironically, my friends and I skated to every Friday night at our neighborhood skating rink.
Unfortunately, the skating rink closed in 2016, and since then, I’ve only been skating a handful of times. But, during quarantine, roller skating videos went viral on Tik-Tok, and it made me want to pick up this old hobby again. So, for my birthday this year, I asked for a pair of roller skates and started my journey of reviving one of my favorite childhood activities.
I am still at the very beginning of this process and learning the basics, but I thought it could be helpful to hear some advice on where to start.
The first time I went out with my new skates, I had no idea what I was doing because I had only ever skated in a rink. My session only lasted about 20 minutes because I started going downhill, towards a gravel parking lot, with no idea how to use my brakes yet. Needless to say, I fell… hard (with no knee pads,) and I didn’t go back out for about a week.
Here’s some advice so you don’t make the same mistakes I did!
Obviously, the first thing you need is a pair of roller skates. I bought mine from Impala roller skates online, but they’re sold in stores as well. These are great beginner skates because they’re more affordable than other, more professional skates, which are hundreds of dollars. They’re also hybrid skates, so they can be used outside and in a rink.
When purchasing roller skates, it’s good to size up from your normal shoe size. The Impala website also has a size guide, so you can be confident that you’re getting the right size when buying online. You can also find a store near you that carries Impala skates with their store locator.
And protection is just as important as the skates themselves! Be sure to get knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards if you’re skating outside. This way when you fall (which is pretty much inevitable), you’ll be protected from getting serious injuries. Not to mention, the peace of mind of knowing that you’re protected will also help you to skate more confidently for longer periods.
Once you have all of your gear, you’ll need to find a good spot to skate. I would recommend somewhere like a basketball court, tennis court, parking lot or parking garage. You just want to find a large, smooth, flat space to skate.
Eventually, I want to skate at a skatepark to learn tricks and to skate on ramps, but right now, I’m still learning the basics. Once I master skating forward, I’ll get more experimental. But for now, I’m sticking to somewhat secluded places where I won’t fall on my face in front of a bunch of seasoned skaters.
Youtube is a great resource if you don’t have someone teaching you how to skate. Before I went out the second time, I watched a bunch of videos on how to do the basics, like how to break (kind of important), and techniques I had never heard of, like “bubbles.”
Here are some videos I found helpful.
And finally, it’s important to stretch out your leg muscles, so you don’t get cramps. Every day is leg day when you’re roller skating, so treat your skating session like you would any other workout. Here is a good youtube video to follow to guide your stretches.
I hope this article was helpful for fellow beginners or even inspired someone to hop on the roller skating bandwagon too! So far, it’s been a lot of fun, and I’m excited to get back into roller skating in a new way.
Featured Image by Rachael Gerron