How to roller skate (for beginners)

Written by rachel spradling
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How to roller skate (for beginners)
The best place to skate when learning is at your local roller rink. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

The first patent for roller skates was submitted in 1760 by a Belgian named Joseph Merlin. By 1883, roller skating was a popular American pastime. Today many towns have a roller skating rink, and if you want to learn to skate, this is the easiest place to start.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Long socks

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  1. 1

    Find the location of your local roller skating rink and go there. Bring a pair of long, medium-weight socks to wear under your skates. Buy a ticket for rink time and a skate rental at the rink.

  2. 2

    Rent a pair of skates in the same size as your normal shoe size. Tell the rental attendant you are a new skater, and he or she will tighten the wheels so they won't roll as easily -- this will make it easier to skate.

  3. 3

    Lace up your skates tightly. If they are loose around your ankles, you could hurt your ankles when skating. Carefully walk to the rink entrance and, hanging onto the side rail, step onto the rink.

  4. 4

    Keep one hand on the rail and move in the same direction around the rink as the other skaters. Shuffle your feet in small steps, and keep your eyes forward -- try not to look at your feet. Keep your knees bent and relax your body. Once you feel confident with the shuffling motion, take small, gliding steps. Keep hanging onto the rail with one hand while you skate until you feel balanced on the skates and are used to the feel of the rink floor.

  5. 5

    To turn, lean into the direction in which you would like to turn. Bend your knees and extend your outside foot slightly for balance. Glide through the turn rather than shuffling your feet.

  6. 6

    Drag the rubber toe stop on the front of one of your skates on the floor to slow down. The harder you push down on the toe stop, the faster you will slow down. Press your toe stop down firmly into the floor to come to a stop.

Tips and warnings

  • Expect to fall down a few times. If you fall, get your feet underneath you and grab the rail with one hand. Pull yourself up to a standing position.
  • If you want to learn more quickly than you could on your own, check if your local rink has classes or instructors.

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