How to Stop in Roller Skates for Beginners

Updated on August 8, 2016

Stopping in Roller skates is one of the most important skills you can have when roller skating.

It doesn't matter how good or fast you are on the track, whether you look the part and have the coolest tattoos, if you can't stop then you can't stop. You will be a danger to yourself and to others.

There are four main techniques that a beginner skater can master quite easily. Take your time, wear your padding and give them a try.

Take A Knee

As a beginner, taking a knee is the safest way to stop fast. Ensure that you have good safety gear on, especially quality knee pads.

  • You can slowly bend one knee and gently touch the ground with the knee
  • Folding your body around your knee to release the impact.
  • Keep fingers off the ground to avoid having them rolled over, use a clenched fist if needed
  • Start good habits and use your strength, not your hands to stand back up.

Dragging Your Toe Stop

The most common way to stop is by using your toe stop. The toe stop is the round rubber piece at the top and underneath the skate.

  • By dragging your toe stop along the ground you will cause a resistance to your forward skating motion, this will cause you to slow down, eventually reaching a stop.

Using your toe stop is very dangerous as the foot is dragged along the ground behind you bent awkwardly, leaving your ankle exposed to be fallen on, twisted and potentially broken.

Rollerderby skater taking a knee
Rollerderby skater taking a knee
Roller derby skater using a plough stop
Roller derby skater using a plough stop | Source

Two More Slightly Advanced Stops in Roller Skates

Plough Stop

Plough stops are a one of the fastest way to reduce speed and stop, and are very popular in Roller Derby.

  • Similar to a plough stop used in skiing, a plough stop in derby uses the same method
  • Gradually widen the legs, keeping the toes pointed inwards.
  • Push down with your buttocks and thighs, which will engage the correct muscles to stop faster as you pull your skates back inward.


T-stops have many names, but the most common is T-stops or tomahawk stop.

  • By gently dragging your skate on the ground behind forming a T shape with your skates, pressure is applied to the ground with the 2 outermost wheels. T
  • The skate is placed approx. 4cm horizontal behind a vertical skate, your horizontal skate is more often your dominant leg.

T-stops are best used as a method to slow down, to execute other stops. T-stops should not be used as the main method of stopping as they cause excessive wear and chipping to your outside wheels.

Once you've been skating a while and have mastered these stops there are even more impressive stops to learn like the baseball slide, the rock star, transition stop and many more.

Demonstration of T-Stops and Plough Stop for Rollerderby

Do you need to work on your stopping techniques because you are playing roller derby?

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