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Learning How to Stop for the Beginner Roller Skater in Roller Derby

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Anne lives and works in Tasmania and believes Tasmania is one of the most beautiful states in Australia. Ideally set up for a road trip.

Learning how to stop is one of the most important skills you need when learning how to roller skate.

It doesn't matter how good or fast you are on the track, or 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.

Technique #1: Taking 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.

Technique #2: 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 create 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.

Roller derby skater taking a knee

Roller derby skater taking a knee

Roller derby skater using a plough stop

Roller derby skater using a plough stop

Two More Slightly Advanced Roller Skating Stops

Here are some advanced techniques to keep in mind.

Technique #3: Plough Stop

Plough stops are one of the fastest ways to reduce speed and stop; they 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.

Technique #4: T-Stop

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 two outermost wheels.
  • The skate is placed approximately 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 and 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.