Welcome to Inline Skating, or at least my take of it. If you do not know why I am starting skating, I suggest you read my previous blog about Roller Derby, which explains it all!
For skating, quad or inline, you will need skates, make sure that they fit properly! I made the mistake of buying inline skates that are too small and had to take them back for a bigger pair, same story with my helmet (I am starting to think I am too hasty and I buy without thinking, yeah that's it). Inline skates should fit comfortably, like a pair of sneakers, if you straighten your toes; they can touch the front of the boot, no more! You don’t want cramped-up toes, or a boot that is loose for that matter. Ill-fitting skates can cause foot cramps and a lot of falling. Also, make sure you get all the guards available to you, especially a helmet. The guards available and recommended for skating include: a helmet, wrist guards, elbow guards, knee guards, and for the extreme, gum guards. Make sure the guards fit snugly, not too loose and not tight enough to cut off blood circulation; also make sure the helmet fits on your head nicely and does not move around too much.
To start skating find a nice flat and smooth surface, with lots of space, no traffic, minimal obstacles to bash into/onto/over, and preferably a wall/railing/grass next to it. To begin with, you really do not need the added scary element of a hill. Stay as far away from hills or any inclines for that matter, even the smallest rise will prove a challenge and a potential threat to your own safety and bravery.
Once you have found your ideal spot, sit down (on the grass or a carpet) and gear up! Once you have put on and fastened all your safety devices, and strapped on your skates tightly it is time to get up… on your own. To get up get on your knees, lift one leg up under your body and place the skate on the ground, putting your hands either on the ground around it or on the knee itself, push yourself up on it, balancing your weight, bring the other skate up and setting it down securely next to it. Find your balance. Once you are standing on your own two skates bend your knees a bit, and lower yourself a little but, putting your hands out in front of you for balance. This is the ready position. This position is the most stable, causing you to put your weight down correctly and to recover from potential balance loss. Now to duck walk, in the ready position simply walk on the skates (legs hip-length apart), get comfortable in your skates, and learn how to balance yourself nicely.
Once you are ok with walking around, you can approach the hard, smooth, and flat surface. Put your skates in a ‘V’-shape, gently get onto the surface. Stand on the smooth surface in the ready position, skates in a “V”, now slowly move one foot forward, pushing slightly on the back foot to propel you, bring the other skate forward pushing on the one you have just rolled forward. Don’t try to go fast, you are learning, and if you are a beginner like me, you are scared! You are actually skating now, so just get use to that motion. You can go faster if you are more comfortable. Remember to balance your weight.
To recap with the help of http://www.getrolling.com/ :
Stand with both heels together and toes out in a "V" stance of about 45 degrees. Sink about 3" to get into the skater's ready position: ankles, knees and hips are bent but your upper body is upright, not leaning forward. Keep both hands in front where you can see them to prevent a backward fall.
Here's how to test your stance:
- Try to lift your toes inside the boots. Success means your weight is properly over your back wheels. If there's too much weight too far forward, you won't be able to lift your toes. Skating this way will cause feelings similar to shin splints, so try to avoid it (but it's a common first-day problem).
- What do you see when you glance down? If you see toes instead of knee pads, your knees are too straight or you are bending forward. Straighten up so your shoulders are directly above your hips and heels.
- Lift one skate and set it back down so that its back wheel is within an inch of the other skate's center (your arch).
- Lift the other skate and advance it just enough so you can set the heel wheel down next to your arch.
- Now lift your eyes to a destination several yards away and waddle like a duck toward it, keeping the "V" shape with your feet.
- Without tipping at the shoulders, concentrate on shifting your weight from one skate to the other between each waddle. If you can relax and not fight it, you will begin to glide a few inches at each step. That's skating! If you have any ice or roller skating history at all, now is the moment the familiar feeling will kick in.
- If you feel unstable, relax into a coasting ready position until you're ready to try again.