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In-line Skating FAQ: Stopping, skating backwards (2.1)

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Part15 - Part16 - Part17 - Part18 - Part19 - Part20 )
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Posted-By: auto-faq
Archive-name: sports/skating/inline-faq/part2

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
   _r.s.s.inline FAQ: Techniques - Stopping, backwards skating, etc._
   [LINK] -->
   (last changed Monday, 03-Jun-96 07:22:58 MDT) Table of Contents:
     * Stopping Techniques
     * Skating Backwards
     * Skating Downhills (and surviving)
The In-line Stopping Techniques File

   (originally written February 1992)
   Copyright notice
   NOTE: This list is arranged in order of increasing difficulty as per
   my experience. Your experiences WILL undoubtedly vary from mine. This
   list does not purport to be the definitive list of stopping
   techniques, but it does strive to be as complete and descriptive as
   It is not expected that everyone will learn, or even want to learn,
   all the methods discussed in this file. It is simply a catalog of
   techniques to choose from. Some techniques require more flexibility,
   some require more finesse, and some require more guts 8-)
   Good luck, and skate smart.
   _-Tony Chen (
List of stops:

  Beginner level
     * runouts
     * wall stop
     * windbraking
     * the brake-pad
     * V-stop/snowplow
  Intermediate level
     * advanced runouts
     * (regular) spinout/lunge stop
     * spread eagle spinout
     * crossover stop
     * slaloming/parallel turns
  Advanced level
     * T-stop (includes a picture tutorial)
     * toe drag
     * backwards T-stop
     * Stepping stops
          + backward stepping stop
          + forward stepping stop
     * reverse stop (forwards snow-plow)
     * backwards heel drag
     * toe-drag spinouts
     * heel-drag spinouts
     * curb ramming
     * power stop/power slide (includes a picture tutorial)
     * chop-stop
     * New York stop
     * "Wile E. Coyote" stops
   Combination stops
   Related topics:
     * falling
     * collisions with stationary objects
   The basic repretoire of stopping techniques includes the brake-pad,
   the T-stop, spinouts, and the power slide. This file should help you
   learn those basics and more. The basics should always be learned
   first, but once you progress beyond them, you'll likely want to learn
   different and/or more advanced techniques. This compilation should
   help guide you through this progression.
   Most beginner skaters should be able to handle the following set of
   stopping methods. These techniques keep both feet on the ground
   throughout the stop, and don't require fully independent leg action.
          If the path you're skating on has grass or packed dirt you can
          just skate off the path onto the grass/dirt. This will reduce
          your speed somewhat but watch out for the sudden change in
          speed! (hop-hop-hop-hop-hop). If you are truly out of control,
          at least you'll tumble in the grass and not on the road.
          To do this stop, simply skate towards a wall (or any reasonably
          stationary object, really) and use your arms to absorb the
          impact. At low speeds, this should be quite safe (make sure you
          turn your head to the side so as not to smash your face).
          You may or may not bang your skates, depending on your speed
          and how you hit. The key is to use your arms as cushioning
          springs (like doing a standing push-up.) One way to practice
          this is to stand a few feet from a wall (with your skates on).
          Now fall forward on your hands against the wall. You should be
          able to bounce slightly, while still avoiding banging your
          head. The faster your approach, the less bounce you can expect.
          A variation on the wall stop is the billiard ball stop. Instead
          of stopping against an object, use a fellow skater to push off
          and transfer your momentum to them. To be safe, warn the
          receiving person about your approach. It works well on flat
          surfaces and at low to moderate speeds. It's not recommended at
          high speeds and especially on people you don't know 8-)
          See the collision section for more extreme cases.
          Wind-braking is more for speed-control than outright stopping
          (although on windy days, wind-braking can stop you). Just stand
          up, spread your arms out and catch the air like a sail. You'll
          probably need to lean forwards slightly, to counter the force
          of the wind.
          The brake-pad is subject to much debate amongst skaters. Many
          people with ice skating and rollerskating backgrounds find the
          brake in the way, in the wrong place, or simply ineffective.
          However, for those of you who actually take the time to learn
          it properly, the brake-pad becomes a very versatile piece of
          equipment. Here are some of the benefits:
         1. you can use it to stop, even at very high speeds
         2. it allows you to keep both skates on the ground while
            stopping (good for keeping your balance)
         3. you can maintain a narrow profile (good for high traffic
            areas where cars or bicycles might be passing you)
         4. you can still steer
         5. the sound of braking can often alert others to your presence
         6. the brake-pad is the most cost-effective technique there is
            so far for in-lines
          To learn how to use the brake-pad, first coast with both skates
          shoulder-width apart. As you coast, scissor your feet back and
          forth a few times to get used to the weight shift. To apply the
          brake, scissor your skate so that your braking skate is out in
          front. Lift the toe of your brake skate and press with the heel
          too. Your body weight is centered and even slightly on your
          back skate when you're just learning it. The key is a straight
          back and bent knees.
          If you have trouble balancing or find your braking ankle a
          little weak, you can try the following trick: form a triangle
          with your legs (from the knee down to your skates) and the
          ground. This means putting your back knee either right behind
          or next to, the brake-foot knee to form that triangle.
          Eventually you'll want to be able to stop at high speeds.
          Basically, the more pressure you use on the brake pad the
          faster you stop. Maximum stopping power is achieved by putting
          your entire body weight onto the brake by lifting your back
          foot, and leaning onto the brake. This takes some practice but
          is very effective. It is possible to stop within 15-20 ft even
          when going over 20 mph. You may still want to keep the other
          skate on the ground for balance, however.
          Note that the amount of leverage (the amount of stopping power
          you have), is partially dependent on how worn your brake is. A
          half-worn brake will provide better leverage than either a new
          brake or a worn-out brake. Some people saw off part of the
          bottom of new brakes to avoid the annoying breaking-in period.
          One important point to keep in mind when using the brake-pad:
          You can still steer while braking. Just keep the brake-pad on
          the ground and pivot on your heel wheel slightly to go the
          direction you want. This is very useful while going down a very
          narrow and curvy path or while trying to avoid curbs,
          pedestrians, parked cars, trees, and the like.
          A brake-pad generally runs from $3 to $6 depending on what type
          you buy. Compare this with wheels which are $5.50 or more each
          and the freebie stops: runouts, wind-braking, billiard ball
          stop (freebies since you're not wearing anything down). Wheels
          are expensive, and the freebie stops are infrequently
          available, if at all, for the large majority of skating
          situations. The brake should be your standard stop, provided
          that you learn it well. (see "Wile E. Coyote" stops for a
          rather interesting variation)
          For a low-speed rolling stop, point your heels inward (for
          backwards) or your toes together (for forwards) and let your
          skates bang into each other. This might throw you in the
          direction you're going (depending on your speed), so take care
          to be prepared to lean forward or backwards to compensate.
          You can do a more exaggerated snowplow by spreading your legs
          out past shoulder-width and pointing your skates inward or
          outwards as before (and you won't bang your skates together.)
          Here, use leg strength to press your inner edges against the
          ground, and you'll slow down appreciably. This can work even at
          very high speeds.
          Skating off pavement onto grass. You can weave from pavement to
          grass and back to pavement to control your speed, especially
          when going downhill. To stop completely just stay on the grass.
          As you hit the grass, knees are kept bent, and one foot is
          ahead of the other. Nearly all weight is distributed on the
          foot that will hit the grass first, and you keep that leg real
          stiff, as if plowing a path for the trailing leg to follow.
          Very little weight is on the trailing leg. Muscles in the
          trailing leg are relaxed. The only function of the trailing leg
          is stability and balance. The leading leg does most of the
          Beginners are often intimidated by this procedure, but it is
          really a very simple physical feat. The hard part, if any, is
          simply understanding mentally what it is you are trying to do,
          as I explained.
          This is a lot of fun, too. I like to hit the grass full speed,
          and then skate as far down a slope as possible before the grass
          stops me.
          One important requirement is that the ground should be dry. Wet
          dirt or grass will clog your wheels and your skates will also
          sink into mud (yuck).
          This is where you skate into a spin to transfer your linear
          momentum into angular momentum. To do this, you sort of
          stop-n-hold one skate at an angle to act as the pivot foot and
          the other traces a circle around it (and you). It may help to
          think of having each skate trace concentric circles, with the
          pivot skate tracing the much smaller inner one. The pivot skate
          will be turning on its outside edge, while the outer skate will
          be on its inside edge.
          A spinout with your skates in a bent spread eagle position
          (i.e., heels pointed towards each other, skates at slightly
          less than 180 degrees). There is no pivot foot here, instead
          both your skates trace the arc.
          There are inside and outside spread eagles, where you skate on
          both inside or both outside edges. The above paragraph
          describes the inside spread eagle.
          A sustained outside spread eagle is more of an artistic skating
          move than a practical stop, although I use it occasionally to
          stop on flat surfaces.
          NOTE that all types of spinouts require a fair amount of room.
          Your forward motion is quite suddenly changed to angular motion
          so I'd recommend this mainly for low traffic areas where you
          won't have people running into you from behind when you do the
          This stop works both forwards and backwards at higher speeds. I
          call this the crossover stop because your feet are held in the
          position of a spread-out crossover. In this stop, you're going
          to be arcing to one side. The harder and sharper you turn, the
          faster you stop. If you tend to trip on your skates, spread
          your skates farther apart (forwards-backwards).
          The braking pressure comes from the turn. The harder you press
          with the outer edge of your back skate, the faster you stop. So
          if you're turning left, your right skate is in front, the left
          skate is almost right behind it (so that all your wheels are in
          line). Press on the outer edge of your left skate (your back
          skate) and on the inner edge of your right skate.
          There is also the inverted crossover stop where your feet
          positions are reversed: so you turn left with your left foot
          forward and right foot back (and vice versa for right turns).
          Watch ice hockey players just after play has stopped. More
          often than not, the circle around in the inverted crossover
          Both crossover stops are good for high speed stops but make
          sure you have plenty of open space.
          For skiers, this maps over very nicely. This is more of a speed
          control technique rather than a stop, but it's very useful to
          know. Explaining slalom turns can take an entire book in
          itself, so I will merely suggest that you find a skier or a ski
          book to show you how.
          One way to practice this is to find a nice gentle slope with
          plenty of space at the bottom, set up cones in a line, and
          weave through the cones.
   This next set of stops require good independent leg control. These
   advanced stops will require you to be skating only one foot for some
   portion of the technique.
          This stop uses your wheels as a source of friction. To do the
          T-stop, place one skate behind you, nearly perpendicular to
          your direction of travel. Bend a little in both knees to drag
          your wheels. You should think more of dragging the heel than
          the toe. Apply the braking pressure to your heel. If you drag
          the toe too much, you will end up spinning around. Keep your
          weight mainly on your skating (front) foot. As you learn to
          stop at higher speeds you will apply more downward pressure to
          the back skate (but your weight is still on the front skate).
          If you have a World Wide Web (WWW) browser, Check out Scott's
          picture tutorial on T-stops.
          NOTE: One particular phenomenon to avoid in the T-stop, or any
          wheel-dragging stop (such as the toe drag) is the "flats". If
          you T- stop or toe drag such that the wheels do not roll as
          your drag, you will end up with a flattened wheel which will
          not roll smoothly at all. In effect, ruining your wheel(s).
   _TOE DRAG:_
          Similar to the T-stop except you drag only the toe wheel
          instead of all four or five wheels. Unlike the T-stop it's not
          critical to keep the skate perpendicular to your line of
          travel. In fact, you're free to drag the wheel anywhere in a
          180+ degree arc behind you. Also, your toe can be pointed into
          the ground at pretty much any angle. (If you have old wheels,
          the toe position is a good place to put them if you want to
          avoid shredding your good wheels.)
          The toe drag is better than the T-stop in that you wear down
          only one wheel, and more importantly, you are also allowed much
          better control over steering, since you can still stop
          effectively even if the drag wheel rolls too much. The toe drag
          can stop you even when at cruising speeds, although at
          significantly longer breaking distance than the brake-pad or
          the T-stop since you are dragging only one wheel.
          This is a T-stop when you're rolling backwards. There are two
          ways to perform this stop. The first way is to stop by dragging
          the outside edge of your skate (i.e., toe pointed outward). The
          harder way is to point your toe inward, much like a reverse New
          York stop (see New York stop).
   These three stepping stops are essentially advanced low-speed stops
          ("advanced" since they require good independent control over
          each skate). They could also be called "pushing" stops, since
          most of the braking action is done by pushing a skate against
          your motion. Many advanced skaters will do this intuitively,
          but I will detail them here for completeness.
          This is like when someone pushes you from the front while you
          are wearing shoes. One foot automatically steps back to keep
          you from falling backwards. On skates then, while rolling
          backwards, you simply put one skate behind you, 90 degrees to
          the other skate, and hold it there so that your body doesn't
          roll any further. This is basically a very low- speed power
          stop/power slide, but without the sliding and scraping action
          of the wheels (see the Power Stop).
          The faster you are moving, the closer you are to doing a true
          power stop. This may be a good method to learn the power stop,
          gradually building up speed.
          A low-speed stop very similar to the backwards stepping stop
          except you're rolling forwards. This time you plant your skate
          90 degrees out in front of, or right next to the rolling skate.
          Your front heel will be pointing inwards (it's probably easier
          for most people to keep the toe pointed outward here). This is
          especially useful at curbs, like just before you accidentally
          roll into an intersection, in crowded indoor places, or if you
          just want to get a little closer to people you're talking with.
          This stop should halt you immediately. Once you plant your
          foot, your body should stop moving forward. You may find it
          easier if you bend slightly at the waist and knee to give your
          skate a better angle to grab.
          You can also use this stop in a sort of shuffling fashion:
          stop, roll a little, stop, roll a little, etc., until you get
          to precisely where you want to be.
          While rolling, point and lift one skate inward, and set it back
          down. Roll on it and push off slightly at the heel. Now lift
          the other skate, and do the same.
          Essentially you are skating backwards even though moving
          forwards. Keep doing it and you will eventually start skating
          backwards. This can be done even at high speeds.
          This is for rolling backwards. Similar to the toe drag except
          you drag your heel wheel. If you find your drag skate rolling
          sideways, apply more pressure to your heel wheel.
          Now that you can do toe-drags, heel-drags and spinouts...
          This is a one-footed spinout with an accompanying toe-drag on
          the other foot. The toe drag will be in the inside of the
          spinout. So for a right-foot toe-drag spinout, you will be
          carving a right turn. It takes a bit more balance and strength
          and will shred your toe wheel a lot. The more pressure on the
          toe, and the sharper/harder you carve your turn, the faster you
          At maximum effectiveness, it can stop you very quickly. The
          skating foot will be nearly doing a power slide (see Power
          Stop) and the dragging foot will be doing a very hard
          toe-drag. Done correctly at low to medium speeds, it takes up
          at most a sidewalk's width. At downhill speeds, expect to take
          up most of a car lane.
          NOTE that hitting a crack or rock during this stop really bites
          since you've got most of your weight on one skating foot. Look
          for any debris or holes ahead of you and be prepared.
          For this spinout, just plant one of your heel wheels on the
          ground out in front of you and spin around it. The only tricky
          part is that the pivot heel wheel may roll a little, so keep
          some downward pressure on it. It probably helps to keep your
          pivot leg straight and slightly locked to help stabilize the
          A variation on heel-drag spinouts is to use your brake-pad as
          the pivot.
          This stop looks pretty neat when going backwards, although you
          should be careful to protect your knees if you have to abort.
          To perform this backwards, start a heel-drag stop (you're
          skating backwards), carve the skating foot behind and to the
          inside, and you should spin around the heel wheel/brake.
          You approach the curb at around 90 degrees (i.e., straight on)
          and lift your toes enough to clear the curb. This should jam
          your wheels and runners into the curb. You should be prepared
          to compensate for the sudden change in your motion.
          An alternative curb ramming stop is to do a spinout near the
          curb and ram the back of your skate into the curb.
          Both these techniques cause quite a bit of shock to your skates
          (especially at high speeds) so if you really love your skates
          you may not want to do this stop too often 8-)
          This is one of the most effective stops, and also one of the
          hardest. To do this stop, you should be able to skate forwards
          and backwards well, and also be able to flip front-to-back
          There appear different approaches to learning the power stop.
          The end result should be the same, or nearly so, but both are
          detailed below. It is left to the reader to decide which one is
          easier to follow.
          One way:
          You can piece the power stop together by combining two things:
         1. flip front to backward.
         2. place one foot behind you and push the entire row of wheels
            at a very sharp angle into the ground.
          You can practice this by skating backwards, gliding, and then
          with nearly all your weight on one foot, bring the other foot
          behind you, perpendicular to your direction of travel (see the
          Backward Stepping stop).
          You should start out doing this while traveling slowly. Your
          wheels should scrape a little. If they catch, you need to hold
          your braking skate at a sharper angle. Once you get this down,
          you can practice flipping front-to-back, coast a little, and
          then stop. Eventually, the combination becomes one smooth move:
          just get the braking leg extended as soon as you flip.
          You can use any flip (mohawk, 3-turn, toe-pivot, etc.) for this
          stop. This stop is good for hockey, and a good stop when going
          backwards (especially at higher speeds). A power-stop using a
          jump turn is called a chop stop (see following section).
          The other way:
          The second method involves one continuous motion instead of
          two: Skate forward on an outside edge, while extending the free
          leg to the side. All weight is on the skating leg. The free leg
          is dragged along the ground. Now sharpen the turn on the
          outside edge of the skating leg (with its knee greatly bent),
          and swing the free leg in front. This continuous transition
          causes the skating leg to turn, so it's now skating in reverse.
          The key is to have all the weight on the skating leg. If you
          place any weight on the free leg, you will go into a spin and
          lose control.
          Some prefer this method because you do not need to go into a
          complete power slide to stop. At any point in the continuous
          motion, you can abort if something is going wrong. Only at
          higher speeds is it necessary to completely turn the skating
          foot. There is less risk of catching the free leg on an uneven
          surface because it is already extended and dragging before you
          swing around.
          If you have a WWW browser, check out Scott's power-sliding
          picture tutorial.
          For skating forward or backward at low to moderate speeds. This
          is much like the hockey stops done on ice except, since you
          can't shave asphalt, you need to jump and turn both skates and
          hips perpendicular to the direction of travel. Land with the
          skates at an angle (like in the power stop) and push your
          wheels against the ground. To maintain balance you can keep one
          skate mainly beneath you, while the other goes out forward to
          stop you.
          Most of the shredding will be done on the lead skate, where the
          inside of your lead leg should make a sharp angle against the
          Basically what this is, is a power stop using a jump turn.
          The jump isn't so much for air time as for lifting your skates
          off the ground so you can reposition them sideways. The lower
          the jump you can get away with, the less off balance you should
          be when you land. However, if you don't jump high enough you
          may not be able to place your lead skate at a sufficient angle.
          Caution should be used even more so in this stop than in
          The particulars of the jump aren't crucial. You can lead with
          one foot followed by the other, and land in that order; or jump
          and land with both feet at once. Pick whatever style you're
          most comfortable with.
          Harder than even the power stop, the New York stop is mainly a
          power stop but you don't turn your gliding foot! It doesn't
          appear that just anyone can perform this stop, since it seems
          to require quite a bit of knee flexibility. L = the track left
          by the left skate, R = ditto by the right skate

  ------ direction of travel --- >

  L----------------------   |
This stop requires your knee to be twisted inward (not a natural
position, by far), so if you can't do it, I wouldn't say it's a big loss
since it seems to have above average potential to cause injury if
done wrong.


This stop requires brakes on both skates and is very reminiscent of
cartoon charaters, Wile E. Coyote in particular 8-), when they stop
on their heels after going very, very, VERY fast (meep meep! 8-).


 Once you've got some stops perfected, the next thing you might want to
try is a sequence or combination of several stops.  These are definitely
more fun and a bit more showy.  These are some of the random combination
stops that I do.  You can easily make up your own.  (Sequences are denoted
with "->" and combos with "+")

                Crossover stop -> turn opposite direction -> toe-drag
                spinout. So for example, you can crossover stop to the
                left, ride your left skate and do a toe drag (right toe
                pivot) while turning to the right to complete the
        Double crossover stop
                crossover stop -> inverted crossover stop (or vice
                versa). This also traces out an S-pattern.
        Braking T-stop
                T-stop with non-brake foot + brake with brake-pad
        Braking toe-drag
                Brake with brake-pad + toe-drag on other skate. The
                braking toe-drag and the braking T-stop are the two of
                the most effective ways to stop that I know of when
        Braking spread-eagle
                Spread-eagle (follow w/ spinout optional) with braking
                skate in front + braking with brake-pad
        Braking glide stop
                glide -> reverse feet positions -> brake-pad. The effect
                is that of shuffling your feet quickly and stopping.
                (Glide: a heel-toe glide, one skate out, and one skate
                back; use only the back toe and front heel wheels. The
                back skate should be the one with the brake since the
                assembly gets in the way on the front skate)
  Related Topics
   Falling should be one of your last resort techniques, but everyone
   falls some time, so it's a good and safe thing to know. Falling can be
   practiced at low speeds to get used the idea that indeed, you can plop
   on your guards and pads, and come away safe as houses.
    1. One of the less graceful and more painful ways to stop is to
       wipeout into a face plant or another nasty, bloody occurrence. I
       daresay no one does this "stop" voluntarily. These stops work
       vicariously: If you see someone else do're likely to stop
       or slow down too 8-)
    2. At low speeds, a better (and less painful) falling-stop is to
       collapse your body in a way so that the primary scraping areas are
       the knee pads and your wrist guards/gloves. Bend your knees, fall
       on your knee pads and follow by falling on your wrist guards. Keep
       your wrists loose since there is still some risk of injury. See
       the collision section below.
   If you tend to fall backwards, your rear-end will probably be your
   biggest cushion (just how big, depends on you 8-). You should try to
   spread out the shock to your arms and over as much body area as
   possible (in general)...the less directly on your wrists and elbows,
   probably the better. NOTE however, that your tailbone is, after all,
   located in your duff and a hard fall at too sharp an angle will either
   bruise or fracture/break the tailbone.
   At high speeds, when you desperately need to stop, an outright
   collapse on your protection gear may not be enough. High speed falls
   are best when you take the brunt of the force with the entire body,
   save for the head (besides, you're wearing your helmet, right?)
   Rolling with the fall is a key to reducing the force of impact. So if
   you happen to be careening down a hill, if possible, turn sideways to
   your direction of travel and fall uphill (to keep you from tumbling
   further down the hill). When you hit, keep your body loose, with hands
   up near your face or over your head. With luck, and no other dangers
   eminent (such as approaching 18-wheelers or rolling off a cliff), you
   should be able to stand up, thank your favorite deity, wipe yourself
   off, and go take a lesson in skating safety and control.
   COLLISIONS WITH STATIONARY OBJECTS: Hopefully you will never ever have
   to use a collision as a means to stop, but if you ever do, keep your
   limbs bent and your body relaxed. Act like a big shock-absorber and
   cushion your contact with bending of the arms and legs. Locked limbs
   will only increase the shock going into your joints causing likely
   ligament/tendon tears or other damage.
  Bottom line
   Practically speaking, all the stops that require dragging the wheels
   will put a bigger dent in your wallet since wheels cost a bundle. If
   you don't use your brake-pad, harder wheels may slow down the wear on
   your wheels.
   Copyright notice
Skating Backwards

   From: (Bungle)
   Date: 9 Sep 1994 00:12:35 +0100
   The easiest way to start, is _slowly_. Build up in stages.
   Moving in this ----------------> direction
   _Stage one:_
   A simple roll backwards on flat ground, letting skates go apart, then
   back to the middle. Don't try and lift feet of the ground at any time.

               ___..___                ___..___
Right foot      ---''''        ````---..---''''        ````---..

Left foot       ---....___  ___....---'`---....___  ___....---'`
                  `'                      `'

   _Stage two:_
   Keep one foot steady (if you are better at right-handed cross-overs,
   this should probably be you left foot) and do more exaggerated shorter
   movements with the other foot. Push the foot out quite hard (with toe
   pointing inwards slightly) while putting most weight on the other
   foot. I find it easier to use the front wheels on my pushing foot.
   When pulling the foot back in, do not try to lift it, just pull it in
   slowly. Don't try to create motion from the inward pull. Motion should
   be from the out-push only.

         ,--...         ,--...          ,--...
Right foot     ,'     ```--...,'      ```--...,'      ```--...

left foot      -----------------------------------------------

   _Stage three:_
   Swap feet over.
   _Stage four:_
   Push with alternate feet.

         ,--...                      ,--...
Right foot     ,'      ```--...............,'      ```--.............

Left foot      ''''''````````.      ___--'''''''''```````.      ___--
                      `--'''                      `--'''

   _Stage five:_
   Move feet at the same time

                 ,--...          ,--...          ,--...
Right foot     ,'      ```--...,'      ```--...,'      ```--...,

Left foot       ___--''`.      ___--''`.      ___--''`.      ___
               '         `--'''         `--'''         `--'''

   _Stage six:_
   This is where you start trying hills, corners, crossovers, stairs, or
   whatever else takes you fancy.
   From: (George Robbins)
   There are several different ideas on the best way to get started with
   backwards skating, which means you tend to get a lot of responses, but
   no agreement.
   1) Start by pushing off a wall or fence, or turning from forward to
   backward while rolling. Just coast until you feel secure with the
   general idea. A helmet isn't a bad idea, by the way!
   2) Get your posture/balance right - your body should be upright, with
   your knees bent - if you lean forward while skating, this will seem
   like leaning backwards. If you lean forward you'll find yourself
   dancing on your toe wheels and then your nose.
   3) Get your feet at a normal track width - not neccessarily clicking
   heels, but less than shoulder width. Many folk spread out when the
   feel insecure, but you can't "stroke" from that position.
   4) At this point you can fool around a little - you can turn by
   leaning or keep yourself moving with a "sculling" motion - moving both
   feet out-in-out-in as if tracing coke-bottle curves.
   5) Next, you need to get comfortable with rolling on one foot, so that
   you can be pushing with the other. Just pick up one foot - half an
   inch is fine - and roll on the other. This will require that you get
   the rolling foot centered under your weight! (see 2 above). Practice
   some one-foot gliding and turns.
   6) Finally, you are ready to stroke - just push one leg out and to the
   side while you roll on the other, then at the end of the stroke, pick
   up that skate and set it back alongside the other. Alternate feet, and
   as you get the hang of it, you'll find that you can maintain and build
   7) Expect it to take a while for you to get comfortable, just try a
   little backwards action each time you go out to skate. You also want
   to get in the habit of looking over your shoulder to see where you're
   going, looking only at where you've been leads to surprises.
   8) There an alternate method of learning to stroke, which goes from
   sculling with both feet to sculling with one at a time and then
   getting a more powerful push with that foot. This may lead more
   naturally to the Hockey wide-track "C-cut" backward stride, where you
   roll/slide the foot back instead of picking it up, but that's more for
   quick maneuvering, not speed/distance skating.
Skating Downhills

   (and surviving!)
   by Tony Chen For whatever reason that you're tackling downhill skating
   (you want to cross-train for skiing, you like the speed, there's no
   other way around, etc.), you should never take it for granted that you
   can just "pick it up". Otherwise, the paramedics might be doing the
   picking (pieces of you) up.
   Note that skating downhill can easily exceed 30-35mph. Skaters have
   been clocked at over 75mph, so skating downhill should NOT be treated
     Ancedote: Back in 1992, while I was still at Princeton, some of my
     skating buddies and I rented skates for a whole group of our other
     friends who didn't have skates. We went over to a short campus road
     that was nice and flat so that everyone could get a hang of skating.
     After maybe 15 minutes of zooming back and forth on that stretch of
     asphalt, we decided to take the whole group down to the wide-open
     backlot behind the gym.
     One thing we forgot about: the only way to the gym was downhill on
     the main campus road. As the group turned on the main road (some on
     the sidewalk grass, others hanging on to the better skaters) one
     skater started rolling down, ever so slowly. By the time she was
     fully on the hill, she was already going fast enough to be beyond
     her control level.
     She continued accelerating for 20 or 30 yards, calling out for help.
     The road went by a dorm, so there was no grassy areas nearby.
     Nothing was nearby for grabbing. I saw what was happening and
     sprinted to the main road and then down the hill after her. I had to
     got her to grab my arm, and then I stomped on the brake. After a few
     seconds of brake screeching, we finally stopped.
     Okay, happy ending, no one hurt, and all that. The point is, it
     doesn't take much to get out of control when you're going downhill.
     My friend was probably only going 10 mph, but when you feel out of
     control it SEEMS like 50mph.
   Downhill skating should be attempted only after you've learned some of
   the basic skating skills: turns, braking, and balance. Braking means
   not only the heel brake, but alternative speed control methods like
   the T-stop, slaloming, toe-drag, and others. If you don't know how to
   control your speed, the ground hitting your face at 30mph will do it
   for you, so take your pick 8-)
   There are 6 main components for downhill skating:
    1. Safety and your gear
    2. Safety and the road
    3. Safety in your mind
    4. Braking ability and power
    5. Speed control
    6. Relax!
   _Safety and your gear_
          Although you should be wearing your helmet even for non-hill
          skating, it goes double and triple for downhills. Wiping out at
          even 15-20mph can cause major road rash and brain damage, so
          wear those pads!
   _Safety and the road_
          All skating equipment in the world may not help if the hill
          you're skating on is pothole-ridden, debris-covered, or just
          downright bumpy. Make sure you scout a hill on foot so that you
          know what to expect. If you're in a car, get out and walk. Your
          car will make the road seem deceptively smooth. Your skate
          wheels will feel every bump and crack, so take the time to know
          what you're getting into.
   _Safety and your mind_
          Even if you've got great equipment and scouted the hill, it
          won't make a difference if you go out and skate like a reckless
          maniac. If you know that there is occasional car traffic, you
          have to keep your eyes and ears open. If a car is about to pass
          you, get narrow, near the curb, and let them know you see them.
          Know where there are stop lights, intersections, and pedestrian
          crossings so that you'll be prepared.
          It helps if you've got other skaters watching out for traffic,
          both down and up stream. Not that I'm advocating that you have
          hordes of skaters on a hill, but if you're going to be skating
          downhill with others, watch out for each other.
   _Braking ability and power:_
          First, I would suggest a lot of practice learning to stop
          quickly using only your brake skate. _But before you try any of
          this, you must be comfortable using the heel brake_. If you're
          not, practice using the heel brake first, even if it takes a
          few days or even a week.
          Part I: flats
          + Find a good open area like a parking lot (no traffic, etc.)
          + Start at one side, skate as fast as you can towards the other
          + When you're halfway across, try to brake as fast as possible
          + Repeat until you can stop with all your weight on the brake.
            You'll have to lift your back skate and press into your
            braking heel.
        Part II: hills
          + Find a reasonable hill that has little or no traffic
          + Start at the bottom and skate up to the point where you feel
            comfortable skating down from
          + Coast down, braking as needed.
          + Repeat until you're comfortable with that heigh. Then do it
            again, but from a bit higher up the hill.
          The main thing to keep in mind is the leverage, with the pivot
          at your braking heel. You want to apply all the pressure into
          the brake. Also, make sure to lean back slightly, to counter
          your forward motion.
   _Speed control:_
          You won't always want to stop completely as you coast downhill.
          Most of the time you only want to keep your speed at a certain
          level. To do this, you want to apply your brakes every 5-10
          yards, or even more frequently if you need to. You can also
          apply the brake continuously, but at only half-pressure. If
          you've practiced your braking in step 1, then this should be no
          problem. The principle is that if your speed stays within your
          comfort zone, you'll be in better control.
          When you attain braking proficiency and speed control, then
          being relaxed while you skate downhill should come fairly easy.
          Being relaxed isn't just some Zen thing or a way to look cool.
          Keeping relaxed is critical for unanticipated bumps or debris
          on the road that could make you trip and wipe out. When you're
          relaxed your body reflexes can respond better than when you're
          all tense from fear of wiping out.
   Hopefully, when all is said and done, you'll be a much more adept
   skater when you've mastered downhill skating. Not only will you be a
   better skater overall, since many of the skills will transfer to other
   skating methods, but you'll be a much more confident skater.
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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM