Tips: How to Stop! your Rollers

Ok, this title may sound dumb for experienced roller skaters. But not for beginners; and we’ve all been there.

So here are a few tips not to become an Unstoppable object. But 1st: be sure to wear all the recommended protective gear.  Falling on your butt hurts! 

Here it goes…

1. Using a Heel brake

How to go about it? You have an array of choices in the stopping category. But the first one to lears is this one, using the Heel Break. Not an intuitive maneuver, perhaps, but the most effective form of stopping once you master it.

New skaters should practice using their heel brake over and over, until using it becomes an automatic reaction.

Steps:

1.- Ready Position: this is a basic position, and is used as the starting point for many other manoeuvres. Bend your knees so that they are vertically above your toes. Keep an equal amount of weight on both legs. And hold your arms out in front of you, spread wide.

2.- Scissor your Skates: while distributing 80% of your body weight to your non-braking supportive skate, slide your braking skate one full skate length ahead of the other. By scissoring your brake skate fully forward, you will generate leverage to stop your body from moving forward. Maintain this position.

3.- Engage your heel Brake: prepare to brake by lifting the toe of your front skate, but you’re not actually going to brake yet. The aim is to get the brake brushing the ground, but softly enough that only a little braking friction is generated. Remember to keep your feet pointed straight ahead, your knees bent, and your back straight. Sit down gently by further bending your rear leg and pulling back on it to slightly increase the length of your scissor. Do this gently and slowly the first few times else you may be surprised at how powerfully your brake engages! The effect of sitting down will be to smoothly engage your heel brake, which will quickly slow you down.

2.- …And Brake:  ease on the sitting down motion until you’re stopping quickly, and then maintain that position until you’ve come to a complete halt.  Only then step out of the braking position and you’ll have made a successful heel brake stop.
Remember that your brake needs to have quite a lot of force applied to it to generate enough friction to stop you.


Why the ready position? 
Bending your knees gives you more control to absorb little bumps. Lowering your center of gravity and leaning slightly back is a counter to the desire of your body to keep flying forward while your skates slow in the grass.

Why the scissoring? The scissoring helps you with forward-backward stability in addition to your natural side-to-side stability.
Summary: Ready Postion, bend knees, scissor skates, lift toe.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdepFcxgq1I

 

2. T-Stop on Inline Skates

T-Stop positionSkaters perform a T-Stop by dragging one skate behind them until that skate causes enough friction to slow the skater down or make them come to a complete stop.

Before you attempt to make a T-Stop:

– Put all of your weight on your front foot.
– Make sure both knees are deeply bent and the front skate is facing straight ahead.
– Make sure your back skate is exactly perpendicular to the front skate. This will prevent you from spinning when your back foot touches the ground.

 

Start practicing the T-Stop by tapping your back foot on the ground very lightly. Exert only enough pressure to get comfortable with the feeling of touching your back foot to the ground, but not enough pressure to cause any spinning or stopping.

Slowly, as you gain confidence, start exerting more pressure on your back foot, until you find you are able to confidently slow yourself down, or even make a complete stop, by dragging your back foot.

Keep practicing your T-Stop at every opportunity, until you no longer find yourself thinking about how much pressure to apply to your back foot, because it all comes naturally.

One tip of advice;  the t-stop wears your wheels away quickly. Wheels are expensive whereas a heel brake is somewhat more affordable.
And it isn’t easy to come to a complete stop using the t-stop, as the slower you go, the less pressure you can apply to your dragging skate. Fortunately the t-stop blends very well into a spin stop, which is not only a more effective stopping method, below a certain speed, but also looks cool as well!
Summary: Drag a skate behind you.

 

3. Grass Stop

How about making use of that friendly grass on the side of the path to do a grass stop? No, a grass stop is not an enter-the-grass, start-running-until-your-feet-can’t-keep-up-with-you tumble. It is a smooth, effective way to stop when you can see in advance that you will need to stop and have a handy patch of grass on the side of the trail.

To perform a grass stop, follow these steps:

– Continue rolling forward on the pavement in a “ready position” as you angle toward the grass. The Ready Position involves bending the knees and lowering your center of gravity.

– Scissor your feet so that one skate -not the one with your brake- is ahead of the other skate. Both skates are still on the ground pointing forward with about four inches width between them. Don’t start spreading your skates apart.

– Roll straight into the grass, lowering your center of gravity even more and sitting back with your weight on your heels as you enter.
– Roll to a stop.

The best thing about the grass stop is that as you get better, you can use the “grass stop” to improve your skating in all sorts of ways. Crossing railroad tracks or skating through gravel patches on roads involves the same skills.

Summary: Scissor glide into the grass.

 

3. Slalom Stop

This stopping technique is not as hard on your wheels as most other non-heel brake stops. Your kinetic energy is mainly absorbed through bending the knees in each turn, and partly through some wheels scrub.

– For maximum stability, lean back on your rear skate and stagger your stance. The forward skate, although unweighted, acts as a guide for steering.
– To initiate a turn, begin by scissoring your legs. This will ultimately transfer the weight to the opposite skate, and requires a brief moment of weightlessness as your feet draw even.
– Your hips then lean and rotate as you sink and transfer weight to the inside edge of the other skate.
– Press on the rear skate until it has carved a full arc, with the lead skate nearly pointing back uphill.

A good rule of thumb is to remind yourself that you have to lead with the same skate as the direction you’re turning. If you’re turning right, you’ll lead with your right foot, and vice versa. Another way to look at it is to think to yourself “keep my weight on the opposite foot from the direction I’m turning.” It will come to you eventually.

Steps: Do successive, deep parallel turns until you slow enough to stop. It requires a pretty wide area.

 

Hope it’s useful. On my nex posts I will review some advanced stopping techiques.

Cheers, and keep practising! Remember, practice makes perfect 🙂

 

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