So you used to skate and you were really good.
Or you used to be able to do heaps of sick tricks as a kid.
Or you saw people skating and it looked so easy.
Then you got roller skates or inlines and you went outside or you went to the rink and, well… turns out you suck.
All The Gear & No Idea?
If you can’t roll or you roll too fast or the whole thing just makes you fall on your butt, keep reading.
Step 1. The Gear. Check that your gear is set up correctly.
Assuming that you invested in proper skates (not toy ones or el cheapos) then you’ll need to make sure that you have the right wheels and bearings for the job.
Yes, it makes a difference.
Make sure your wheels can spin freely and that nothing is too loose or wobbly.
If you have quad roller skates make sure your trucks and wheels are adjusted correctly and your toe stop is tight.
If you have inline skates make sure you have laced and secured them correctly.
Step 2. The Idea. Readjust your expectations.
There's a few reasons why you might find skating difficult if you're coming back from a long break including fear of falling, unrealistic expectations, general fitness, your sense of balance and centre of gravity.
Skating is as much a mental game as it is a physical one.
If you’re not confident and you keep landing on your botbot, get some protective gear to help with a. confidence and b. falling down.
Yes, there is such a thing as bum pads - check them out.
Fizz Kid to Whiz Kid
Back in the day you were a whiz kid but now you feel like you're more of a fizzer than a whizzer.
It’s time to seek the help of a professional.
If you live somewhere where there is a local roller rink then you can go there for group lessons.
Some places also offer private lessons so have a look around and see what’s out there.
Lessons are super helpful, especially when it comes to stopping techniques (am I right?).
If you don’t have any access to real life lessons then your next best friend is the internet.
Youtube and social media have all manner of skate lessons and tutorials that can be taken at your own pace and level.
New Skates, New Friends
Let me tell you something; being bad at skating feels a bit less crap when you can share the experience, face to face, with another person.
If you are new to skating it can be really helpful to join a local skating group or club.
There are social meet up groups in most major cities as well as community groups for skate park skaters, leagues for roller derby, inline skate clubs and more.
Some groups even offer cheap or free lessons.
Don’t be scared to meet new people and get outside your comfort zone.
A few motivational words here and there can really help you to flourish as a skater and you’ll meet some new friends along the way.
Be open to new experiences and new people and don’t take yourself too seriously.
After all, you are wearing wheels on your feet!
Embrace the Suck
OK, before you throw your skates away, set them on fire or put them on Gumtree let me share a secret with you.
It’s OK to suck.
The first time you’ll suck.
The second time you’ll suck slightly less.
Then your third time a bit less.
Just wait til your fourth time! Oh wow.
On your fourth time…well you will still suck but it will be a bit less than your third time.
Just like every other hobby out there, you only get better with time.
Nothing beats time on skates - nothing.
No one is naturally an expert at skating.
A lot of the skaters that you look up to, follow on Tiktik or watch on YouTube started off in the same boat as you.
And then they kept going and they got better.
Stick With It
Skating is super fun and can look really easy – once you have the skills to make it look that way.
It is one of the most humbling sports (probably because when you make a mistake you fall spectacularly) but it’s also super rewarding.
Working on and nailing a new skill is just as exciting for experts as it is for novices.
The thing that sets great skaters apart from good ones is the resilience to get knocked down but get up again.
Be prepared to suck, embrace the suck, be the suck.
At the end of the day sucking at skating is an opportunity to grow, expand your horizons, swallow your pride, commit to a hobby, make new friends and feel proud of yourself for sticking with it.