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Beginning Skaters Forum This is the place for beginning skaters to ask questions and share their stories. We would love to hear about your experiences learning to skate. No question is too dumb!

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Old February 16th, 2012, 12:00 PM   #1
Rattybabe
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Default Can anybody learn to skate?

I went to the rink last night - it was my second time on skates for over 20 years.

Seeing the way some of the people skated, made me wonder if I would ever have the ability to skate like that.

I am joining a roller derby team in the next couple of months, and I'm really determined to make a go of it, but I'm worried I will never make the grade!

Is skating something anyone can learn, or do you need a natural ability? On the plus side, I was still skating better than some of the people there, but I cannot begin to imagine being able to do cross-overs and stops etc!!
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Old February 16th, 2012, 12:50 PM   #2
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practice... practice... practice... Roller skating requires getting out there and doing it. The more you do it, the better you will get at it.

I see a lot of people at the rink that slap on a pair of skates, hit the floor and 5 minutes later they are putting their shoes back on because they couldn't magically skate backwards, spin or do any fancy moves, so they give up.

You cannot expect to be an expert right away, everyone will fall at some point but you must get out there and skate. The more sessions you can go to also helps speed up learning. If you can only skate once a month, it will take longer time.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 12:53 PM   #3
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As well as derby, I plan to go to the rink once a week, and I'm getting some outdoor wheels next month so I can get out in the evenings.

I also need to work on my general fitness, as I'm very unfit and unflexible!
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Old February 16th, 2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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Just don't get discouraged. You will go through periods where you feel like you are stuck in a rut and wonder if you will ever get better, then there will be times where that move you have been trying forever to get just magically happens one day and you feel on top of the world.

Skating for me has a zen like feeling. When I am skating, I am content and happy and life stresses just fade away and when I am not skating, all I think about is getting back to the rink to try that move that seems so easy in my head
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Old February 16th, 2012, 01:41 PM   #5
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Skating is all about practice. For me once a week just would not be enough. This week I think I'm going. To make it to the rink six days. Ok so that may not be feasible for you, but it is the amount of practice that I need for art and speed and then one day just for me to go around bounce and rex.

The oth thing that really helped me is a drop in lesson. I don't know what they have at the rink near you, but we used to have an adult olnlylesson where two or three teachers would skate around teaching you what you wanted from derby, rexing, dance, figures. It was an eclectic class. Sadly that rink closed.

The more you skate, the fitter you will get. I have gone from a size 16 to a size 8 (old navy jeans) and lost 20 pounds. So my theory is that I have gained a lot of muscle and lost a lot of girth . I do not "exercise" just skate.

Good luck and practice practice practice

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Old February 16th, 2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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Skating is not as popular in the UK as it is in the US.

There's no lesson available around here, so what I learn will be from Derby. I can't afford to go to the rink more than once a week on top of Derby, so I'm going to have to make the best of skating outside.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 02:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rattybabe View Post
Skating is not as popular in the UK as it is in the US.

There's no lesson available around here, so what I learn will be from Derby. I can't afford to go to the rink more than once a week on top of Derby, so I'm going to have to make the best of skating outside.
And in the UK, you're damn lucky to even have a rink!!

(but that's fine, because it's the same as everybody else on the island )
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Old February 16th, 2012, 03:29 PM   #8
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The people that skate good have lots of time invested to get there. You help yourself by skating whenever you can, depending on space and surfaces. You will get better the more you skate. Practicing new things as you progress will also make you a better skater.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 03:34 PM   #9
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And in the UK, you're damn lucky to even have a rink!!

(but that's fine, because it's the same as everybody else on the island )
That is very true! I'm lucky that I have 2 within a half hour drive. The one I went to last night was really crowded though, so I am going to the quieter one next week!

I have a cycle path next to my house, so will be skating on that, but we are moving soon, so I will need to find somewhere outdoors near there.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 04:07 PM   #10
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That is very true! I'm lucky that I have 2 within a half hour drive. The one I went to last night was really crowded though, so I am going to the quieter one next week!
Definitely go to the quieter one so you can focus on what you are doing but I also recommend not avoiding the crowded rink once you are comfortable on your skates. Your skill level will improve tremendously learning how to dodge little kids and others and you will start to build an intuition that will definitely help you in derby by anticipating what other skaters are going to do.

I have gotten really good at looking at someone skating and predicting what they are going to do, whether it be turning right or left, falling down... etc. This ability has saved me numerous times from winding up on the floor.

My wife one time was taken out hard during a speed skate contest. A dad, not good mind you on inlines took her out from behind because he was skating way beyond his level and plowed into her.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 04:12 PM   #11
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TBH, I was quite pleased with the way I did handle the crowds. It was an adults only night, and it wasn't the fast skaters I had to worry about - it was the really slow ones! Still, it also made me realise that I wasn't doing badly having not skated for 20 years, as I was still managing to overtake people!

I also think my new skates helped - turning is very easy with my Avenger plates!
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Old February 16th, 2012, 10:12 PM   #12
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I took up skating again about 18 months ago (inlines) and swapped back to quads about 12 months ago. Although I'm not great, you do eventually learn with practice. And then things you think you'll NEVER learn, one day you just "get it". I still can't go backwards properly or gracefully, but I'm getting there slowly (because it's not a big thing for me..so don't really practice so much).
Outdoor skating is great, I think it really helps your indoor skating and derby a lot.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 01:03 AM   #13
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To me, a LOT of derby skaters do NOT look very impressive at a session. And I am talking very decent derby players. In fact, a while back I went to an Angel City derby bout. I saw some skaters that I had seen around sessions when they were fresh meat. They were not good skaters at all. But some months had passed since I had seen some of them, so I wondered since they are now bouting, if they got a lot better. Just watching them warm up, I could see that they did not seem a lot better. But guess what? They bouted JUST FINE. They were very effective because they worked together in 2 or 3's. Not a one of them, of the fresh meat I was familiar with, had any stand out individual skills, but they worked smartly and together. It is a TEAM sport, after all.

So, you may or may not have what it takes to be a stand out skater at session, or within the team. Only time will tell. But luckily, that does not mean that you cannot be a good derby player.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 01:55 PM   #14
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Skate outside? Ewwwww

I'll confess it is almost outside season. Gotta get ready for the marathon...And go back to derby practice which is outside, starts in two weeks.

And napa here I come.

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Old February 17th, 2012, 02:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rattybabe View Post
Seeing the way some of the people skated, made me wonder if I would ever have the ability to skate like that.
If you had the same thoughts as a baby, you would still be crawling.

You see, balance and any other motor skill needs to be repeated until the subconscious in the brain says "okay, I've got it now" and does it on its own without you even thinking about it. That's why even-though everyone can run, a baby can't. First it's brain learns the balance needed to crawl. Then to sit, then walk, then run.

Same with driving. While we can drive down the road talking on the phone, eating, scanning the surroundings, all the while subconsciously slightly moving the steering wheel slightly in back and forth adjustments to maintain staying in lane. You do this without even thinking about it. A new driver on the other hand is concentrating very hard on these steering movements thinking about staying in the middle of the road.

Skating is the same thing. It even gets to a point where you can hit a stone at 25+ mph outside and instinctively flail around and have your feet land in the exact position to recover and not fall. All it takes is time on wheels.

ANYONE can do it, and I believe even people with physical balance problems.

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Old February 17th, 2012, 03:52 PM   #16
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I agree with BWI completely..as I work with with girls who have never skated before but have decided to play derby...

I will say this..yes, you can play derby and not be a good skater...but you will never be able to play derby well or be as good a derby player as you can be with out skating skills..and derby demands a specific set of abilities on skates..

all of which you can teach your self..if your willing to pay attention, work hard, fall down..and (the single most important skill in derby)...get back up and skate!

PM me..or talk to anyone who plays and they can help guide your "program" I belive you can defiantly teach your self..(I am self taught) and may even be stronger for it..good luck!
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Old February 17th, 2012, 11:16 PM   #17
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I started at 38, never been on wheels before. I was a nervous wreck to begin with, which was initially a major problem. But I practice lots and have gotten steadily better, and more comfy.

Even when I haven't been trying to improve. it just happens!

Some people do learn faster than others for sure, but the only limit is the amount of practice you are willing to put in. That amount of practice needed to achieve anything is probably FAR larger than you'd imagine at first, so don't sell yourself short, by saying "I can't do this" too early.

+1 for skating outside.

+1 for learning slalom cone tricks.

+1 for learning figure skating elements.

+1 for skating other sorts of skates, e.g. ice, inline or even skiing. The core skills are transferable, and each time you switch you get to learn to skate all over again! Which sounds counterproductive, except it's not, because you learn to distill it down what really matters, and more importantly you learn to really listen to your body and feet and your momentum and balance, which as a "live in my head" person I particularly struggled with at first.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 11:18 AM   #18
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Thanks everyone - I'm determind to do this, and you've all helped me to believe that I CAN!!!!
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Old February 20th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWI-Sheldon View Post
While we can drive down the road talking on the phone, eating, scanning the surroundings, all the while subconsciously slightly moving the steering wheel slightly in back and forth adjustments to maintain staying in lane. You do this without even thinking about it.

Now I'm glad you live in Maryland, I don't have to drive near you!
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Old February 21st, 2012, 01:34 AM   #20
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Now I'm glad you live in Maryland, I don't have to drive near you!
Yeah, Baltimore, around 26 states away.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TMBX0dTrLQ&feature=fvsr
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