How to stop inline skate – Beginner Level
The basic repretoire of stopping techniques includes the brake-pad, the T-stop, spinouts, and the power slide. This file should help you learn those basics and more. The basics should always be learned first, but once you progress beyond them, you’ll likely want to learn different and/or more advanced techniques. This compilation should help guide you through this progression.
Most beginner skaters should be able to handle the following set of stopping methods. These techniques keep both feet on the ground throughout the stop, and don’t require fully independent leg action.
- If the path you’re skating on has grass or packed dirt you can just skate off the path onto the grass/dirt. This will reduce your speed somewhat but watch out for the sudden change in speed! (hop-hop-hop-hop-hop). If you are truly out of control, at least you’ll tumble in the grass and not on the road.
- To do this stop, simply skate towards a wall (or any reasonably stationary object, really) and use your arms to absorb the impact. At low speeds, this should be quite safe (make sure you turn your head to the side so as not to smash your face).You may or may not bang your skates, depending on your speed and how you hit. The key is to use your arms as cushioning springs (like doing a standing push-up.) One way to practice this is to stand a few feet from a wall (with your skates on). Now fall forward on your hands against the wall. You should be able to bounce slightly, while still avoiding banging your head. The faster your approach, the less bounce you can expect.
A variation on the wall stop is the billiard ball stop. Instead of stopping against an object, use a fellow skater to push off and transfer your momentum to them. To be safe, warn the receiving person about your approach. It works well on flat surfaces and at low to moderate speeds. It’s not recommended at high speeds and especially on people you don’t know 😎
See the collision section for more extreme cases.
- The brake-pad is subject to much debate amongst skaters. Many people with ice skating and rollerskating backgrounds find the brake in the way, in the wrong place, or simply ineffective. However, for those of you who actually take the time to learn it properly, the brake-pad becomes a very versatile piece of equipment. Here are some of the benefits:
- you can use it to stop, even at very high speeds
- it allows you to keep both skates on the ground while stopping (good for keeping your balance)
- you can maintain a narrow profile (good for high traffic areas where cars or bicycles might be passing you)
- you can still steer
- the sound of braking can often alert others to your presence
- the brake-pad is the most cost-effective technique there is so far for in-lines
To learn how to use the brake-pad, first coast with both skates shoulder-width apart. As you coast, scissor your feet back and forth a few times to get used to the weight shift. To apply the brake, scissor your skate so that your braking skate is out in front. Lift the toe of your brake skate and press with the heel too. Your body weight is centered and even slightly on your back skate when you’re just learning it. The key is a straight back and bent knees.
If you have trouble balancing or find your braking ankle a little weak, you can try the following trick: form a triangle with your legs (from the knee down to your skates) and the ground. This means putting your back knee either right behind or next to, the brake-foot knee to form that triangle.
Eventually you’ll want to be able to stop at high speeds. Basically, the more pressure you use on the brake pad the faster you stop. Maximum stopping power is achieved by putting your entire body weight onto the brake by lifting your back foot, and leaning onto the brake. Note that you will still need to have one wheel on the ground (the rear wheel of your brake skate). When you lean back on the brake, you’ll need that single wheel to be your pivot.
This takes some practice but is very effective. It is possible to stop within 15-20 ft even when going over 20 mph. You may still want to keep the other skate on the ground for balance, however.
Note that the amount of leverage (the amount of stopping power you have), is partially dependent on how worn your brake is. A half-worn brake will provide better leverage than either a new brake or a worn-out brake. Some people saw off part of the bottom of new brakes to avoid the annoying breaking-in period.
One important point to keep in mind when using the brake-pad: You can still steer while braking. Just keep the brake-pad on the ground and pivot on your heel wheel slightly to go the direction you want. This is very useful while going down a very narrow and curvy path or while trying to avoid curbs, pedestrians, parked cars, trees, and the like.
A brake-pad generally runs from $3 to $6 depending on what type you buy. Compare this with wheels which are $5.50 or more each and the freebie stops: runouts, wind-braking, billiard ball stop (freebies since you’re not wearing anything down). Wheels are expensive, and the freebie stops are infrequently available, if at all, for the large majority of skating situations. The brake should be your standard stop, provided that you learn it well. (see “Wile E. Coyote” stops for a rather interesting variation)
- For a low-speed rolling stop, point your heels inward (for backwards) or your toes together (for forwards) and let your skates bang into each other. This might throw you in the direction you’re going (depending on your speed), so take care to be prepared to lean forward or backwards to compensate.
- You can do a more exaggerated snowplow by spreading your legs out past shoulder-width and pointing your skates inward or outwards as before (and you won’t bang your skates together.) Here, use leg strength to press your inner edges against the ground, and you’ll slow down appreciably. This can work even at very high speeds.