The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When You Take Up Roller Skating
Taking up a new hobby is like starting a new job. Everyone around you knows what they’re doing while you’re still trying to figure out if the shoes you wore are acceptable. But when you push through the initial frustration, you reach a point of relief. You speak the lingo. You know the routine. You just get it. If you've recently decided to start roller skating, here are a few mistakes to avoid as you get into the groove.
Buying roller skates too big. Choosing the right size for your roller skates is even more important than choosing the right shoe size. Why? Because unlike your regular sneakers, your skates need to give you enough support to keep your feet and ankles from getting injured while skating. Not having enough room in your boot — or more commonly, having too much — can put you at a higher risk for injury. That’s not exactly how you want to start your new hobby. Check out our roller skate sizing guide here.
Getting the wrong kind of skates. If you’re just starting out, you might not even realize there are different kinds of roller skates. Speed skates, jam skates, what are those? But choosing the right style of skate is important. The difference between a low-cut skate and a high-top skate, or between small wheels and large wheels, are not matters of preference, but of performance. The sales clerk at your local skate shop should be able to give you personalized insight based on your skill level what kind of skating you want to do.
Not wearing protective gear. Let’s get this out of the way once and for all: yes, you need to wear protective gear. You may feel dorky and out of place, but it’s better than nursing a fractured wrist for two months because you didn’t want to stand out (true story). On the same note, make sure that you’re wearing your gear the right way. It’s far too common to see rookie skaters with their knee pads upside down or their helmet backward.
Learning by yourself. It's a cliché but it's true: everyone starts as a beginner. That girl landing perfect spins at the rink? She didn't start there. She had to work for it, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Better yet, find a friend who already skates and ask them to practice with you. The best way to get better is to train with someone who already knows what they're doing isn't afraid to give you some pointers and will cheer you on when you need encouragement.
Being terrified of falling. Falling is going to happen. It’s inevitable. But doing everything in your power to avoid hitting the pavement is not going to help you in any way. In fact, it’s more damaging than helpful. By practicing how to fall until it doesn’t even phase you, you’ll become more confident in your skating overall — plus you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more the next time around.
Not learning how to stop. Once you get past the initial fear of falling and you’ve learned how to glide on your skates easily, it’s normal to feel like you’re on top of the world. You don’t look like a newborn horse anymore, you’ve stopped doing the awkward arm circles every time you lose your balance; you’ve got this thing down pat. But beware: false confidence is incredibly dangerous, especially when you’re on wheels. Learning how to stop is just as important (if not more important) than learning how to skate. Take the time to practice abrupt stops, because you will need them at some point.
- Outdoors Staff