For many, going backwards on a roller skate is difficult.
Learning how to skate can be tricky, so make sure you practice and wear safety gear in case you fall.
Before you try to skate back, you’ll want to be comfortable skating forward and stopping easily. Once you can do those things confidently, you can start getting the hang of doing the same thing in reverse.
Why do you need to learn how to roller skate backwards?
Skating backwards can seem unnecessary at first thought, but it becomes important if you become more experienced.
For instance, you could use it to change direction if someone bumped into you from behind.
Skaters who are better at skating can often skate faster. Skating backwards can distinguish between colliding with something or stopping in time at high speeds.
If you plan to manoeuvre stairs on skates, it might be good to try learning how to skate backwards first.
How Long Will It Take to Learn Roller Skating Backwards?
Skating backwards is a skill that you have to learn. It’ll take some time and practice before you get it right.
It could take around three months to master roller skating backwards if you already know how to skate forward.
Suppose you don’t have any experience in roller skating. It might be a good idea to learn the basics first before heading directly over to backward skating.
So, it will take about six months or so before you have the basic knowledge of how it works.
You can figure out how long it’ll take to learn this skill by looking at your consistency. For example, if you practice once a week, it’ll take way more than 3 months to learn.
All that really matters is how often you skate and how much time you want to put in.
Different Ways You Can Try To Skate Backwards
Here are some things I did when I first started skating backwards. Try them out to see which ones work for you. You can always switch things up as you get better.
I would recommend people to learn how to skate forwards first. If you’re confident enough, then why not try skating backwards too.
It takes a lot of courage and confidence, but if you’re relaxed, it’ll be much easier for you!
You’re more likely to try new things and learn new tricks when feeling relaxed.
Don’t forget your posture. Engage your core while you skate, too.
1. V-Shape Method
One of the ways to calibrate your skating is to have your feet in an inverted V or an A.
This will mean that the toes are close to each other and the heel is further apart, with about a foot between them.
If you struggle to get into this stance in your skates, try keeping one foot in this shape. Or even making a slight V from an H shape
You will start skating backwards.
You need to remember:
A is Reverse
H is Neutral
V is Forward
You can practice skating in all these positions by wearing skates at first slowly and then gradually increasing your speed until you feel and know the nuances involved.
2. Pushing Off A Wall Method
You start by facing a wall and then use your hands to push yourself back away from the wall.
This is a common method and is good for those who haven’t learnt to transition yet. Or you might have but are not very comfortable doing transitions.
To get the most momentum, push your back against a wall and use your feet to start backing up.
Alternatively, keep your knees soft and stay in a half-squat position.
You’ll want to stay low and take a “split stance” by stepping one foot out in front of the other, so you’re about hip-width apart. The pivot that foot left/right as you move along.
You can also put one foot in front of the other, in a straight line. You’ll find yourself coasting backwards.
3. Toe Stop Method
This involves simply using your toe stop to push yourself backwards.
This movement is one of the others that can be used to transition from one side of the body to another while in a split pose. With this method, you’d push yourself with your toes stop and then end up in your tran.
4. S-Shape Method
This is the best way to get started if you’re new to roller skating, and it’s also pretty intuitive. Just keep one foot in front of the other, step on the back right wheel and then sit on your left foot when you’re ready.
It’s important to make sure you’re weight is on your non-dominant foot. You don’t want to put too much pressure on the other toes or stop where you should be balancing.
Start tracing a figure of an S-shape on the ground by pressing down on your front foot while balancing yourself with your back foot. Be sure to stick to the “back” foot – that’s what you’re using to control how far you go back.
You don’t want your foot to slip back, and you might lose control.
If you’re not moving, try leaning more into it by moving your hips with the S. You’ll feel the flow of your favourite music.
5. Tracing A Circle Method
Initially, I thought roller skates were easy. But after a couple of falls, I found that they aren’t always easy to walk on.
Most people will teach you to take a V-shape when skating, and this same case applies to skating backwards. What I mean is…
Well, backwards skating is definitely a bit different than forwards.
Your heels are far apart, and your toes come close together.
There’ll be no forward movement in this position. You may feel the backward one even before applying any force to the wheels.
You start with your shoes, tracking a circle by pushing your heels and spreading them apart. Then, you point the heels towards each other and make another V-shape. Now repeat the motion of tracing out the shape.
Once you’re comfortable with this, you can use one foot at a time to trace the circle and alternate as you move.
Maintain good posture. Keep knees soft, butt out, core engaged.
Tips For Roller Skating Backwards
When you’re roller skating backwards, it can seem difficult at first. However, following these tips will help to make the experience better for yourself as a beginner:
- Push your dominant foot backwards and let the other foot help you control your turning
- Try skating backwards on familiar terrain. It can help you find opportunities in unfamiliar spaces and improve your movement skills without learning new tricks.
- Practice skating on flat and smooth surfaces until you gain the confidence to try other places. You can start anywhere that you’re comfortable.
- Practice standing or sitting on your feet to feel more comfortable and in control before you start skating
What To Avoid
1. You are wearing a skate roller that is bigger than your feet
Whether you’re talking about adult skates or kids, it’s best to wear a skate that fits well and has adjustable features for comfort and safety. This can be anything from clips to lace loops to buckles on the tongue of your skates.
2. Leaving your protective gear behind
Skating is a very popular hobby, but it can also have its dangers. You should be very aware of what type of terrain you’re skating on and how close you get to the edge just to be safe. Other important aspects you should keep in mind are keeping your weight centred, so you don’t fall (just the head needs to go over the handlebars)
3. Learning to skate by yourself
There are a lot of benefits when you join a skating club, especially one that offers lessons on how to skate roll. You’ll learn quicker, and it also feels more fun to be in a group of people.
4. Skating without knowing how to brake
Rolling down a street on this bright day? It feels great! But make sure you learn how to brake before long because you don’t want to be speeding uncontrollably while trying to enjoy this sensation.
The best way is to form a ‘V’ shape while skating backwards and make sure your left arm is as close to your body as possible.
Patience is the key to this strategy. Once you learn the technique, you’ll be able to perfect it. The rest is about practising and increasing your confidence to make it your own.
When you feel comfortable on your skates, you can try more advanced skills such as crossovers and swirls.
You should plan to practice your backwards skating as often as possible to get it perfect.
Trying this technique with your friends can help you improve your skills and make it more fun. It can also provide a confidence boost. Skating buddies are a great way to practice!