How to stop and powerslide when inline skating
One of the first things you learn when you start skating is how to stop. Crashing into stuff is an effective but not really good way to do so. That’s why you need to learn how to do it in the very beginning. Later you will gain enough confidence to try some tricks or skate faster. This will require more advanced ways of stopping.
First of all, never go skating without protective gear. Having the wrist and elbow pads, knee pads and helmet will keep you safe from minor injuries like scratches and bruises and, in some cases, even fractures. If you are a beginner always have a coach or an experienced skater with you. Don’t go down steep slopes if you are not a confident skater.
Beginner level – heel brakes
Heel brakes are a very useful feature that can be found on many beginner level skates. You need to practice a bit so you know how to use them properly.
There are two kinds of heel brakes – the traditional and ABT (Advanced Braking) brakes. They are both placed on the back of the skate, and the only difference is in the way they are used.
- When using traditional brakes you need to bend your knees slightly, draw back your left leg, and push forward your right leg. It is important to keep the skates parallel and to keep the gap between those parallel lines as small as possible. Don’t lean forward or you will put your weight in front of the brake and will most likely fall down, but rather keep your back straight. When your feet are 4-6 inches apart in „scissor“ lift the tip of your right foot, extend your knee and put a firm pressure on the brake. Bending your left knee to put more pressure on the brake also helps.
- The ABT brakes are easier to use because the brake is pressed by the back of the calf when you point your toe and push it forward. It can also be adjusted to the desired height to be more or less sensitive to that position of the foot.
Heel brakes are a great way to help beginners to stop but they act as a crutch. When people get used to using them they rarely try different types of braking, therefore limit themselves from some tricks or different types of skating.
T-stop is a more advanced way of stopping than using heel brake, but it is not too difficult. The worst part of learning this technique is keeping the balance (learn about balance here). The technique itself is not too difficult to master – you need to put your braking foot perpendicular to the front foot and let it slide. The friction between the wheels and the skating surface will slow you down. If you want to slide for a longer time you need harder wheels, because soft wheels have a better grip and won’t let you slide. They also tend to wear down quickly.
This is more effective way of slowing down when you are riding at high speed. You need to set your legs wide apart and turn the toes inward. Don’t let your feet touch. Balance is really important here.
The power slide is an advanced level stopping technique. It takes a lot of practice to get it right but it can get you to a complete stop very quickly and it looks really cool. There are two types of powerslide: forward powerslide and backward powerslide.
- Forward powerslide – to do this correctly you need to do the Mowhawk turn first. When you get your right leg opposite of the way you are going turn your left leg so it is perpendicular to the way you’re going. Don’t put your weight on the braking leg since this can cause you to lose balance and fall.
- Backward powerslide – when you are going backward you need to put your weight on your front leg and move the braking leg to a perpendicular position. This will cause you to slow down and stop.
This might sound ridiculous but it is actually really effective if you realize that you won’t be able to stop properly and are about to hit something. Just fall on your knees. Controlled fall is much better than running into some object that’s on your way. You need to practice safe falling too but when you learn how to do it it will come in handy sometimes.
Learning how to brake will ensure safer and more pleasurable strides. It will take some time to learn but it pays off. There are many more stopping techniques that you can try and when you start feeling confident you can even combine some of them. Stay safe and enjoy your ride!