Perfect 7 Ways to Transition From Forward to Backward Roller Skating

transition from forward to backward roller skating

Whether you’re at the roller skating rink or outside by yourself on a warm summer day, roller skating is an enjoyable activity, and a great way to spend time and get some exercise.

However, with all the components of roller skating, including mechanics and correct techniques, transitioning from forwards to backwards while roller skating is one of the more difficult tasks that takes some practicing.

Although it’s tricky to master, and could take some time, here are some ways to transition from forwards to backwards and wow all of your friends.

Transition From Forward to Backward Roller Skating

There are many techniques for transitioning from forwards to backwards, with some being easier than others.

Beginner Techniques

1. Stepping Forwards to Backwards

The most basic technique and the one you probably see most beginners do is simply stepping from forward to back.

In order to do this correctly, you need to make sure that you are going at a reasonable speed so you do not fall over.

After your speed is set, look up and turn your head and shoulders slightly, so that you are already facing backwards. At the same time, put your weight on the opposite leg that you are turning from.

So if you want to turn left, shift your weight to your right leg, and vice versa.

Next, take the leg that does not have any weight and turn it away from you, so both of your heels are almost touching. If this is too difficult, focus on letting the hip, leg, and foot follow through.

After this, step around with the other leg that initially had the weight planted. While doing all of these steps, make sure that you continue to look towards the opposite direction while completing the maneuver.

This is important because if you look down at your feet at any point, it will cause you to lose balance and fall over.

2. Mohawk

Another transition that is great for new roller skaters is the mohawk transition. The mohawk is easy because it doesn’t require too many advanced mechanics and doesn’t take that long to learn and master.

Just as with the step forwards to backwards transition described above, take a few strides to develop a decent speed.

Then, lift up either foot in accordance to the side you want to turn. So, lift up the left foot if you’re turning left, or the right foot if turning right.

After, place your left heel against your right so both of your heels are touching, just like in the other transition we just covered. This step would be reversed if you wanted to turn to the right.

Finally, follow through with the back leg by pushing off and placing the leg you initially lifted up next to the other, successfully completing the mohawk forwards to backwards transition.

If you are having trouble maintaining balance with this transition, hold your arms out to the side. This will prevent you from falling over to one side and maintain a good, set balance. Also, when your arms are out to the side, you can use them to create momentum in your

Swing your arms from one side to the other as you are turning to preserve and gain speed.



1. Heel transition

If you feel like you have mastered the two basic transitions of stepping forwards to backwards and the Mohawk, and are willing for a greater challenge, then there are other methods that will make you look like an expert on the roller rink, at the park, or wherever you decide to blade.

The next method is called the heel transition. Similarly to the other methods, the first step is to look up while simultaneously turning your head and shoulders backwards.

Next, with whichever leg you feel more comfortable, lift up the toes and turn your foot away from your body. So if you lift your left toes, bring your foot to the left, and vice versa for the right. Once you bring that foot around, make sure the weight is distributed to the heel of the foot.

Lastly, glide that leg back while bringing your other leg around to follow through.

When you are following through with the other leg, try to have your weight on the heel, just as it was earlier in the transition.

Make sure to pay close attention to each specific foot movement when practicing, as the maneuver will be much easier to complete in the end.

2. Spread Eagle

The spread eagle transition is similar to the mohawk transition from the beginner section, however what makes it stand out and become an “intermediate” trick is the fact that it requires your feet to be spread farther apart, necessitating good balance and control, as well as flexibility.

Firstly, if you want to turn to the left, open with the left foot, and open with the right foot if you want to turn to the right.

When you open up with the respective foot, at the same time bring your front foot forward, so your heels are facing the same way, yet both feet are stretched out and far apart from one another. Simultaneously, raise your arms up and out so your body is the shape of a star.

After this, it may look cool to hold the spread eagle position for a while before completing the transition, because once again it will impress those watching, or maybe you just want to glide in that position and have fun.

Nonetheless, once you are ready to go backwards, bring the leg that did not initially open up closer to the other, while turning it so you are facing backwards.

3. 180 Jump transition

The 180 jump transition looks like a simple transition, however it is a complex move with a lot of important mechanics. It is important to complete each one correctly in order to successfully perform this transition.

The first step is to generate speed, because if you do a jump turn without any speed, you won’t go anywhere when you jump around.

Once that speed is generated, the next step in executing the transition is to make a slight bend in your knees. This not only helps with balance, but the knee bend also helps generate power in order to complete the 180 degree jump.

It’s important to keep in mind the amount you bend your knees, because the closer they are to a 90 degree angle, the harder it will be to jump up, turn around, and maintain the upright position, and therefore not fall over.

Although you may be generating a lot of power, safety is always the number one priority. Therefore, do not jump too high if you are not comfortable, and always remember that slight bend.

Next, once that power is generated, push off your roller skates and jump into the air. This should not be too high of a jump, but just high enough that it gives you time to complete a 180 degree turn in the air.

You are not going to be in the air for that long, maybe a second or less, but in that short time you should be thinking about the landing. Don’t try to push down too hard and crush the ground, try to be smooth and gentle with it because that will result in the most efficient and safe landing.


transitions 3

1. One foot turn

There are two advanced transitions, and the first advanced transition that we will talk about is the one foot turn. This is a difficult transition because only one foot is on the ground while the other is in the air, hence the name.

In order to perform this transition well, you want to be going at a moderate speed. Maintaining balance and a good upright position is especially difficult with this transition because only one foot is on the ground, and going too fast will cause you to crash.

Once you set your speed, start the transition by lifting up either foot. The foot you choose to lift up is all personal preference because each person will feel more comfortable on a different foot and turning to a certain side. When you lift your foot, it is key to have a slight bend in the knee and bring it behind you.

Next, with the foot on the ground, lift up the heel ever so slightly so that the pressure is on the 2 front wheels. At almost the same time, turn your entire body from forwards to backwards, sliding on the 2 wheels in the front.

Once again, it’s important that you transition right after you lift your heel up.

2. Two foot turn

Another advanced transition is the two foot turn, which is one of the hardest transitions to master mostly because it is very easy to do incorrectly.

It involves a quick two foot turn, and if your balance or footwork is even the slightest bit off, it will have you crashing and on the ground.

However, it is simple to ensure this doesn’t happen, as it only takes lots of practice and repetition. This transition is very similar to the 180 jump transition, however for this turn, you don’t want to come off the ground as much, if at all, which makes it a more advanced move.

First, as with the other tricks and transitions, gain some momentum and speed as you are about to enter into the transition. This is essential specifically for this transition because the two foot turn involves a very quick change from forwards to backwards.

After your speed is set, put the pressure on the front wheels of the roller skates. This allows an easy, fast transition. Then, quickly shift all of your weight and momentum so you are now going backwards. It should almost be like a quick jump from forwards to back, however you don’t want to get too high off the ground.

Coming off the ground too much will cause the jump to look like the 180 jump transition from the intermediate section.

If this is too difficult, hold your arms out to the side throughout the duration of the turn, as this will help with balance and help ensure you don’t crash.


With all of these moves, in order to avoid injuring yourself, it’s important to maintain balance. One way is to keep your chest up.

Although it may be uncomfortable at first, holding your chest up, as opposed to leaning over, helps with balance by keeping all of your weight centered.

Similarly, bending your knees will help with balance because it is a more stable position than standing upright. Most beginners and even some more experienced roller skaters have a tendency to throw their weight all over the place when they are skating, and this is typically because they are nervous.

The key to avoiding this is to stay calm and try to focus on keeping your weight balanced and under control.

If you follow these balance tips and practice regularly, then these 7 transitions will be easy to master in no time. It may be difficult to master all these moves at first, but by keeping a positive attitude, consistent practicing and striving for perfection, with time these transitions will become that much easier.

If you are still having trouble and making mistakes, here is a link that you can watch and learn from.

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