How to Balance While Skating – Full Guide 2021

how to balance while skating

Balancing yourself on roller skates is the first obstacle you have to overcome when putting on roller skates for the first time. Every sport starts with balance; walking, cycling, running, fighting etc.

When a new skater enters the skate rink for the first time, they won’t even be able to stand up. When they stand up, they will fall at least ten times.

Balance is the first skill they need to acquire before learning other tricks on roller skates. It’s also a skill that needs time, patience and practice. However, you can make the process go faster by following this guide and understanding what comes ahead.

Don’t know how to balance yourself on roller skates properly? We’ve put together a guide on how to balance while skating. This will provide you with all the grinds, techniques and tips to improve your balance fast.

What Does It Mean To Be Off-Balance?

In roller skating, being off-balance means putting your weight in one direction. You shift your weight either to the left or to the right. You might even lean back or lean forward too much. That’s the natural way things go when you’re a beginner.

Even if you balance yourself while standing up, you won’t be able to when you speed up. When people learn new tricks, they fall. The reason is that there’s a lot of weight shifting going on when we learn new tricks. As the roller skaters are not familiar with the process, they lose their balance and fall.

We see this happen all the time in our roller skating routine. People fall, which is precisely why you should wear a helmet and safety gear while roller skating.

Being in balance means you have to distribute your weight equally in all directions. 

How to Balance Yourself on Roller Skates? 

When you start, you will walk like a penguin. Balancing yourself is all about the stance and making yourself comfortable with the stance. This takes practice and dedication. You’ll have to overcome your fear of falling, because that will happen a lot.

To skate in a straight line, you need to learn to balance in two ways:

  • Balancing on both feet together – This is to move forward.
  • Balancing on both feet separately – This is to learn to push with your skates to increase speed and momentum.

Here are some things you can do to improve your balance as a total beginner.

Learn How to Stand Up

I see people at the skate rink who fall and can’t get up. It’s not only because they’re not used to having wheels under their feet, it’s because they don’t have good balance. They kick with their hands trying to stand up and then fall right back.

If you learn how to stand up from the ground on roller skates, you’ve already improved your balance.

Sit on the ground on your hips. Push upwards with your hands to get into a squatting position and then stand up. If you fall back, try again. Continue doing this till you can stand up from the ground by pushing your hands.

When you can do this, it means that you’ve got a grip of wheels under your feet.

Practice with a Railing or a Wall

At first, you won’t be able to walk without a railing or a wall by your side. To get a bit more comfortable with your wheels, I recommend holding on to a rail and stamping up and down with your feet.

Not only will it improve your balance, but also give you a feel of lifting your feet from the ground which is a valuable skill to skate forwards.

At first, you might feel like your skates are really heavy. This exercise will make them feel lighter. If you want to spice things up, hold on to the railing and try to jump. You could also try standing on one leg for 30 – 60 seconds to improve your balance on one foot

To sum it up, here are the three exercises you must try while holding the railing

  • Stamping your feet up and down
  • Jumping lightly
  • Standing on one leg

There you go. Do these exercises for 5 – 10 minutes and you’re ready to get off of the rail.

Practice Without a Railing or Wall

Don’t hold on to the rail too much or it will become a bad habit. I’ve seen skaters who had been skating for a month and couldn’t get off the rail because they had become too comfortable with it and can’t muster up the courage to leave it. Practice with a rail for an hour max.

When you start skating on flat ground, you’ll feel like a penguin. You’ll be dragging your skates and fall a lot.

For better balance, you need to learn the correct stance.

Learn the Correct Stance and Posture

The correct stance and posture will help you reduce the amount of falls considerably. It will help you to keep your weight in the middle so you don’t topple over.

Here’s the correct stance to roller skating in a straight line:

  • Keep your feet shoulder width apart
  • Stagger your feet. It means keeping your feet in a scissors position, one foot in the front and the other one in the back.
  • Squat down enough to be comfortable.
  • Keep your back straight, not too much forwards and not too much backwards.
  • Keep your eyes looking forwards and not down.
  • Don’t push into your heels or toes too much.
  • Keep your knees loose and bent
  • Keep your hands down.

Why do you keep your feet shoulder width apart? The reason is simple. It widens your base from left to right, which means, you’ll have less chances of toppling over to either of the sides.

That is also why you should stagger your feet. It stretches your base in the forward or backward direction.

Similarly, keeping your back straight and squatting down also helps you keep in balance. This stance is designed to keep your weight in the middle where it should be.

Here are some tips to get your stance down quickly:

  • Practice your stance without your skates on
  • Adjust your stance according to your falls
  • If you fall back a lot, lean forward and if you fall forwards, lean back a little.

Getting your stance down may sound boring but I assure you, it’s worth it.

If you did everything above in the guide, your balance is pretty much good. Though it’s not near as good as a pro.

Skate forwards in a Straight Line

The next step is to learn to move forwards. You have to keep everything above in mind when moving forwards.

When you move forward, your inertia usually makes you fall backwards. Try to keep your weight forwards when skating ahead. You should also look ahead rather than downwards. Swinging your arms also helps keep your balance while skating forwards.

Moving forwards requires two skills:

  1. Skating forwards by kicking – When you paddle your feet the right way, you create momentum and velocity which is what you need to skate.
  2. Gliding forwards by momentum – This is just skating by letting your wheels and momentum do all the work. This usually comes after kicking with your skates.

Gliding forwards is simple. You just need to maintain the proper posture and stance to keep your balance.

How to Move Forwards by Kicking

So you can glide forwards, but what good will it be if you can’t gain enough momentum to do that. In order to gain momentum, you need to kick your feet one after the other, and let your wheels gain some speed.

Practicing on the rail has probably given you the strength and balance to pick up and kick your feet.

Here’s how you move forwards by kicking.

  • Pick up your one foot and push it on towards the side against the ground.
  • Glide on the other foot and put the previous foot down.
  • Now push with the other foot and repeat the same steps.

By following the above steps, you will be able to gain the necessary power and momentum to move forwards.

Eliminate Bad Habits

I see people skating with bad habits all the time. There are people who couldn’t learn to balance properly even though they had been skating for a month or two. On the other hand, there are people who get the basics down in just a few days.

Talent isn’t the difference here, it’s technique. If a person is learning quickly, it means that he has the correct technique down.

Similarly, a person with bad habits cannot learn proper balance no matter how much he practices.

Here are some common bad habits that people develop while learning to skate.

  • Holding onto the rail for too long – If you rely on the railing too much, your legs develop muscle memory. When that happens, you won’t be able to skate without the railings easily. It doesn’t help your balance at all.
  • Not being able to lift your feet – I have seen countless people who keep on dragging their feet and are not able to push properly. The reason is simple. They can’t lift the skates up. So, you should get a grip and force your feet to lift up your skate.
  • Pushing with just one leg – This one’s a bit too common. Beginners push with one leg while dragging the other leg. This is a really bad skating habit that creates a huge learning block in your skating.
  • Leaning back too much – For some reason, new skaters fall backwards all the time. The reason is that they forget to bend their needs and keep their weight in the middle because they’re not used to that posture. You should practice your posture at home before coming to the skate rink.
  • Going all over the place – This is what every newbie skater does when they don’t listen to their coach. They ignore all the instructions and go with the flow. They’re feet are going all over the place and they don’t care. That slows down the learning process a lot.

So, if you want to get perfect balance fast, you need to get rid of all the bad habits at once. These habits can slow you down and temper with the perfect balance you’ve been trying to achieve.

These habits are the major reason you feel like you’re limping while you’re skating. They are the difference between the balance of a graceful skater and a person walking awkwardly with wheels on.

Grinds and Exercises to Improve Balance Fast

Do you want to improve your balance fast? Here are some grinds and exercises just for you:

  • Standing on one leg for 60 seconds
  • Squatting down while standing on one leg
  • Swinging your other leg when standing on one leg
  • Standing in the correct stance for 60 seconds

I recommend first doing these exercises without skates and then putting your wheels on. Keep in mind that these exercises are actually way harder with stationary roller skates as opposed to when you’re rolling forwards.

If you can do these exercises on the ground, on stationary skates and on rolling skates, you’re probably a master at balance by now. You just need to learn how to push which I’ve already taught you above.

Final Tips on How to Balance While Skating 

Still not confident in your balance? Here are some tips from a roller skater with 2 years of experience.

  • Practice, practice and practice.
  • Put on your safety gear and helmet.
  • Get out of your comfort zone and go all out.
  • Do not get afraid of falling.
  • Practice falling safely.
  • Do not get embarrassed of falling.
  • The more you fall, the more you learn.

Finally, these tips will help you overcome any obstacles you may face while learning to roller skate.

If you want more useful tips, tricks and juicy talk about all kinds of skating, check out our guides.

Good luck skating and have fun. Bye!

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