One of the most interesting things about rollerblades is that you are able to get a tremendous amount of control while achieving a high rate of speed. You really do. You are able to execute quick turns. You are able to achieve a high rate of speed fairly quickly. You are able to do a lot of things that you normally cannot do or do a poor job on when using roller skates.
With that said, one of the biggest challenges with rollerblades given the high rates of speed involved is stopping. This might seem like a basic function but this can make all the difference in the world especially when it comes to your safety.
Now, keep in mind that the breaking systems in rollerblades are quite different from roller skates. In fact their position, the way they’re shaped, and the way they’re designed are quite different from each other. How do you move your body to make sure that you break at the right time?
The good news is given how popular rollerblading has become in the United States and other parts of the world, people have come up with all sorts of moves that enable them to quickly stop even after having reached high rates of speed without having to use the breaks. This is a testament to the tremendous amount of creativity and resourcefulness out there.
There are clever people located all over the world who love to rollerblade and thankfully they share their experiences. While there are many techniques, they really are permutations or variations of three basic moves. You only need to know the basics of these three breaking moves and you are well on your way to breaking without needing breaks.
This doesn’t mean that you should just take off the breaks on your rollerblades. That would be a disastrous idea. Instead, for some reason or other that you cannot use the breaks mounted of your rollerblades. You just need to execute thee moves. Actually, you can work with these moves in conjunction with your breaking hardware to maximize the chances that you would stop at precisely the right time.
There are three basic techniques you can use to break on your inline skates without access to breaks. These techniques are the plow stop, the T-stop, and the heel break. Again, these moves are actually just condensations or summarizations of many different variations.
If you were to take all these different variations and then reduce them to their core basic moves, you can basically end up with three breaking techniques. These are different enough from each other to form their specific categories. Everything else is really a variation of these three basic breaking moves.
The Plow Stop
If you’re very familiar with skiing or skating on the ice, you would notice that when you come out from your power box, you are going to be a little bit further ahead. What you then do is you pull your legs together and reposition your toes. You position your toes so that they are forming an inverted V in front of you. You do this very quickly and you pull in your toes together.
When you do this, you end up crouching down and you sit back in that seated position. What you’re doing is you’re pulling your weight and centering it near the stop so that all the force goes through the stop and gets dissipated very quickly. When you assume the seated position, you then pull the skates in a forward position at that point.
So you basically crouch down in a seating position, pull your toes together, and then once you start breaking, start pulling your skates forward. This takes quite a bit of getting used to. It’s not a default move by any means, but if you practice this enough times, this can become fairly routine to you. The best way to do this, of course, is to practice with skis or ice skating. Those were the sports where this was discovered.
To break in this position, you start off in a T-position. You then push your foot forward and your foot will then straighten at that edge part. You then have a nice firm straight leg that is positioned. Make sure that it’s straight and you don’t let your ankle slide down or otherwise break the position.
Keeping your leg straight and in a T position, you push your hips and shoulder forward and once you do this, the forward motion of the rest of your body will put your foot beneath you. It would start to slide and then the most forward motion will keep pushing forward until you get hit the t stop position.
The Heel Break
The heel break is when you bend your knees and you bend your arms. You do this to counter balance your legs. You then push one of the skates forward to lift your toe. You do this when the skate has a breaking element at the back. Even if it doesn’t, if you do this, it dissipates the energy to the extent that you start slowing down.
Now, it is very important to do this when there is enough space in front of you. Make sure that you’re always aware if there’s enough space to do this move. The heel break is not going to work that well when you have a short space because you’re going to slam into something and you’re going to run out of surface and end up on grass.
Ending up on grass might not be too bad if you have proper protective gear but all that grass smears and stains can get old and annoying really quickly so once you lift your toe, make sure that you crouch down and you assume a sitting position. This shifts your center of gravity and then you create a nice chair space.
Just make sure that you don’t do this too quickly. You don’t want to bend too quickly so far ahead. By the same token, you don’t also want to stand straight up very quickly. Bend your knees and then push your foot forward.
Once your foot is forward, start breaking with your heel. Put it down and then this will take a lot of the impact and there should be enough friction to slow you down sufficiently. Once you start slowing down enough, sit down to maximize the breaking and then push really hard with your heel. This should produce a quick hard stop.