Falling is inevitable when skating. Throw in a trick like skating backwards and it gets even more likely.
When learning to skate backwards you may find yourself falling backwards but why do you fall back when skating backwards?
In this article, I will tell you all the answers to this question, but also tell you how to prevent these falls from occurring in the future. Half the battle is understanding why the problem occurs, but that is useless if you don’t know how to fix it either.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!
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Why Do You Fall Back when skating backwards?
Getting right into answering your questions, we have the answer that is often overlooked but actually plays the biggest role in the problem.
This is simply natural human instinct, not to fall, but to stand in the posture that leads to falling backwards.
Instinctively as humans we rely on a center of gravity for our body that is behind the midpoint of our waist. Since a majority of our weight is above our waist, but it leans back, this causes us to naturally want to lean back when skating.
With our head controlling arguably most of our balance, it often does fall under this mantra of naturally leaning backwards. So with our head and shoulders leaning backwards when skating, this makes skating backwards even more difficult.
Since we are already skating backwards, and our body naturally wants to lean back as well, this causes some major issues. Two things are going backwards here and both of those things are our body and balance, which makes for a bad combination.
So to be clear, you really fall back when skating backwards, because our body naturally leans backwards as it is human nature.
Now this instinct to lean backwards and then the action of falling does not make it any easier. Since we mostly fall backwards with our body weight, that makes it even harder to recover, especially on roller skates.
By this I mean, once you lean back your feet are going to shift forward. This shift in weight is only exaggerated further by being on roller skates since your feet will fall further forward than without the skates. So you fall here because your time to correct your falling motion is even slower than it would be normally.
Now that you fully understand why people fall back when skating backwards, it is important to know how you can fix this!
How to Prevent Falling Back
Well the easiest answer here of course is to simply lean forward and get yourself to fight your natural urges.
The problem here is that this sounds a lot easier than it actually is, since you have naturally been leaning backwards for all your life.
The number one tip we have that can really help is to keep your elbows in front of your body at all times. It will be difficult to think about your elbows, so rather focus on keeping your hands in front of your body at all times.
This will be the easiest way to focus on not falling back, and you won’t feel goofy while doing it.
Another way this helps prevent falling back, is because if you do fall then you will now fall forward. Since your upper body weight is now shifted forward, any falls will also be forward of course.
This should be less painful especially if you are wearing the proper padding like elbow guards and wrist guards.
These falls will often take more time and you can recognize that you are falling quick enough to brace yourself for impact.
One final tip is simply to try your best to keep your body aligned perfectly straight.
So your head, shoulder, knees, and toes will remain in one straight line which helps you with your balance. Hmm, if only there was a song that could help you remember that piece of advice.
Now that can be especially difficult when skating backwards, so we do recommend the elbows and hands trick before anything else.
What To Do When You Lose Your Balance
If you are reading this article and still reading at this point, it is highly likely that you are just really tired of falling by now. Well you are in the right section here as we will guide you in the right direction to gather yourself properly when you lose your balance.
The advice that we have for you here when you lose your balance is to first get your hands back in front of your body.
Then if that does not help you regain your balance, throw your hands forward so you will at least fall forward instead of falling backwards for once. Again this fall will be quick since you are skating backwards, so you might want to practice to get this in your mind.
A drill that we have found for you to help you practice this fall is known as the “Oh, no! Go Low” drill. The drill was designed by Trish Alexander who is the head of the Skate Instructors Association and director of the Skate Journey Skate School in Bellevue, Washington.
This drill gives another option which is to squat down low when you are starting to lose your balance and simply grab your knees. After practicing this technique it will help steady you and increase your stability as a result. Here is how the drill works:
1) Stand up in your skates. (You can try it first with your shoes on.)
2) Wave your arms in the air above your head. This is what beginners typically do when they lose their balance. I call it “windmilling.” Doing this will make you feel unbalanced.
3) Reach down and grab your knees. Your balance will be restored.
4) Practice this drill until it becomes second nature. And then try it on flat ground while moving.
Roller skating backwards is a neat trick but if you find yourself falling backards when you do skate backwards, you might want to check your balance and posture.
Remember you need your arms or elbows forward, knees bent and core engaged.
Make sure to practice this drill and you will be a pro in no time! We hope you found this article helpful and make sure to check out our other articles on skating backwards.