So you want to learn how you can stop on inline skates without a brake? Well, we can help with that.
In fact, the first tip about knowing how to stop on rollerblades is to avoid relying on other objects- this should go without saying, but you don’t want to learn to stop by reaching for the nearest tree, car, or dog stretching your hands out… even though this appears to be how most beginner skaters like to stop.
Having said that, there are a few ways to stop on rollerskates. You can use a brake, of course, you can use a footbrake, or you can use your feet. But since inline skates don’t always come with a brake, knowing how to stop without the brake or the said nearby objects is important.
The sooner you master stopping skills, the more confident you will be. So, one of the very first things you should know in the early stages of learning is how to brake.
The good news is that stopping on inline skates is relatively simple; all you need to do is understand a particular stopping technique and then practice it.
The T-brake is the most commonly used brake technique in inline skating, and we’ll go over it in detail below. You’ll realize it’s named after the shape of your skates and legs i.e. how they appear to make – a T. It’s fairly simple to learn; we’ll share a few tips to help pick it up easily.
How Do You Stop On Rollerblades Without Brakes
Now, one of the most common questions we hear from inline skaters is about stopping their skates. And as already mentioned, the most common type of skates do not have brakes, so it’s important to know some ways to stop.
T-Stop (T-Drag) Stopping Method
This is one of the most considerable stopping methods you can apply. To do a T-stop (also known as L-Stop), you simply need to place your skate perpendicular to your leading leg or rather the dragging foot so that it drags behind you, gliding the side of the wheels along the surface.
Well, this sounds like one sure way to damage your wheels. And guess what, it will once your wheels have had enough of the scrapping! But this is all part of the game.
Besides, you can choose to re-arrange the wheels to even out the wear on either side.
Note that to perform the leg drag braking, you will have to be able to skate on one leg, at least for a short distance. In this case, you’ll e skating forward, exerting most of your body weight on one bent leg and letting the other leg dangle behind you and rather to the side.
Although it is called T-Stop, it’s not immediately behind you, as a T would be, but more like an L, dragging along the floor to make you slow down.
They call it a T-Stop, but your braking foot will be somewhat to the side, like an L, rather than actually being behind your leading skate (leading foot). Here are some more tips to help you master it:
Learn How To Balance On One Foot
Now, if you want to find the T-drag easily, you first need to have control over your trailing leg so you don’t end up making a futile spin and falling on the floor. This will also help to exert different degrees of pressure to brake slowly or rapidly as necessary.
And to do all that, you really need to know how to skate on one foot.
It turns out that the best way to learn the L-brake method is to practice while stationary before actually attempting it. You can try this while skating by holding one foot off the floor for longer periods until you are practically able to roller skate on one leg.
Note that 90% of your weight will be supported by one leg, so you must be at ease with this. The more stable and balanced you get on one skate, the easier this will be. This is more like the foundation and if you make it up really well, then the L-brake will be a piece of cake.
Orientate Your Legs In The T-Position
Next up, you’ll need to adapt your legs to the T-position. So let’s address this position clearly.
What we mean by T-position is that while one foot is facing forward, the one dragging behind will be twisted 90 degrees to the outside, with the toe end pointed away from you. The dragging foot (scrapping skate) is the one that does the actual braking.
Technically speaking, it forms a shape closer to an L than a T. The braking skate will not be dragging directly behind the leading foot as in a perfectly capital T. Instead, it will be slightly to the side along its own motion plane, which appears to be more like a capital L.
Your trailing skate in this case will be the bottom or rather lowest horizontal part of the L. This trailing skate (trailing leg), which conducts the braking, will be following somewhere behind your leading foot.
When you are in the stationary (fairly straight-up position), the trailing skate is precisely behind the leading skate; it may be a foot behind it and a few feet when you start moving.
Be sure to practice on stationery several times to improve your ability to skate with your trailing leg twisted for a reasonable distance, as it is necessary for a full 90 degrees posture.
You’ll realize that as long as you have enough pressure down, you won’t always need to make it exactly 90 degrees.
But it’s good to try and make it a complete 90-degree angle, just in case, especially when starting off. Begin by simply putting your feet in that position and then focusing on balance.
Improve Your Speed Gradually And Apply Pressure
It’s best to start slow, extremely slow. Actually almost from a standpoint. And then work it out by repeating, trying to get faster each time. The point here is to get your legs used to the motion. You can do this by standing still and orienting the trailing skate so that it scraps along the skating surface while simultaneously exerting some downward pressure.
Note that the actual inline brake motion is provided by the pressure you apply to the trailing leg. So, allow the (opposite leg) dragging leg to be heavy and push down onto the ground. This way, you will create more friction, which will help you come to a stop.
As with any inline skating skill, you should begin with what you can accomplish and make little improvements to create muscle memory and balance. So start slow, and once you’re able to keep most of your weight on one leg, do it. Then turn the trailing foot and practice the brake. Then repeat that at various speeds.
Identify the Right Foot for The Leading Skate
This should be obvious. You should be able to tell which skate makes the most sense to you. If you’re like most people, then you should feel most comfortable leading with your left skate (left leg) and braking with your right foot.
This is probably because you have better control over your right foot, which is required for dragging the skate. That said, though, it could be better if you can actually brake with either leg. But that’s not so important and there’s no need to go jumping into it right away.
For now, just get one leg working perfectly.
Keep Your Stance Low for More Stability
An excellent approach to stopping without brakes is to keep your knees fairly bent in the leading skate and to distribute your weight more across that leg. You don’t always have to keep your leg straight when doing this.
In fact, you’ll eventually be able to perform this stopping technique in a variety of stance depths, which will vary subject to how fast you are skating.
For instance, when skating slowly, you might find it more practical to T-brake while standing directly straight up. Meanwhile, when moving fast, you’ll need to get your stance much lower to pull the braking skate further behind you and bend your front leg slightly more.
To avoid tripping, try not to get your legs too far apart or too close unless you’re doing splits.
Pro Tip: Do not push the skate down too hard. Instead, do it little by little, placing your brake foot down, gradually slow, much like you would with a car. Then after getting the grip on the ground, start dragging it, digging it further.
What To Do If You Have A Heel Brake
How do you stop inline skates using heel brakes? Well, if your skates actually have a heel brake, it’s still worth it to learn both the heel stop and the T-drag. You never know when you’ll need to use skates without brakes, so learn how to stop the T-stop as soon as you can.
Also, the T-drag is easy to perform just like the heel brake. Plus, it provides a more powerful brake. And who knows, after you’ve mastered the T-stop, you might just want to remove your heel brakes.
However, because the heel brake is the suggested stop for beginners, here’s a quick rundown on how to execute a heel brake in case you haven’t learned how to do it yet:
Now, in this case, you’ll have to lean forward slightly with your knees bent and then push the heel brake out in front of you. The extended leg should have its toes pointing forward up so that when you press forward and downwards, you bring the brake contact with the surface.
Start by keeping the arms in front and bend your knee slightly to counterbalance, then just push the braking skate in front of you. Make sure you’re comfortable on your leading leg before pushing down hard with the heel.
How To Stop Rollerblades Using the Plow Stop
This is one of the most suitable stopping techniques for those interested in ice skating. To perform the basic plow stop, you first need to get your shoulders, knees, and hips in the correct alignment. Your knees should be slightly bent and springy.
This posture helps to achieve some sort of stability and balance necessary to come to a complete stop without getting your stance out of whack, which could make you fall.
In that low position, begin to push both inline skates outwards, so that they follow an arc-like trajectory. You don’t want them to glide out in a straight line.
However, you’ll need to push your heel out gently at the outermost point on the arc. The resultant ankle movement will make your toes go inward, facing each other. The inline skates will converge at the toe, and you’ll finally come to a halt.
Your knees should come together in the same way as your inline skates do, but not so close that they touch or collide. Also, do not let your inline skates spread too far out, or you’ll end up losing stability and bang your head into the ground.
It’s good to note that the plow stop works the same way whether you’re halting roller skates or rollerblades. In fact, the plow-stop method is so effective that most roller derby players often use it to provide some resistance during play.
Overall, the plow stop is one of the simplest and most novice-friendly skate-stopping maneuvers around.
Power Slide Method
The Powerslide, also known as the parallel slide or hockey stop braking is essentially a slide that you control till you come to a stop.
It isn’t the simplest approach for inexperienced rollerbladers. However, like with anything else, the consistent, focused practice eventually leads to great success. This method basically involves two parts: transitioning to backward roller skating and sliding to a smooth, safe stop.
But how do you power slide to a complete stop on inline skates?
Well in this method, you begin by sliding forward and then turning your body and feet 180 degrees at some point such that you end up facing the opposite side you came from. Having said that, keep in mind that your body and feet should not turn at the same time.
Instead, start with your body, beginning with the left shoulder and then the right. After that, lift and turn your left skate, then the right one, turning your head to get in the direction you’re traveling in.
The method may appear simple to do, but many novice skaters are unable to complete this step probably because they are plagued with inner self-doubt when it comes to blading backward.
But there’s no shortcut to mastering this super-effective method; you need to know how to convert to backward rollerblading first.
In this skate-deceleration technique, your weight is initially evenly distributed between both feet. However, as you start to move your left shoulder and elevate your left leg, the weight shifts to your right skate. And as you lift your right foot, your weight moves to the left, finally distributing evenly until you place your right foot on the surface.
The Power Stop Method
Generally, the simplicity of the slowing method is more important than the intricacy of the stopping technique. This is especially true when performing the fundamental power stop mostly because the movement isn’t all that complicated.
However, mastering a basic power stop necessitates the use of extra “equipment” in addition to your roller skates, such as a couple of objects to act as your focal points. You can use pebbles, rocks, or two plastic cones.
To practice, start by taking broad turns around the first cone, first in one direction and then the other. Check that your feet are properly placed, parallel to each other, and as near together as you can. Continue practicing around the cone until you feel comfortable and build up confidence doing the moves in either direction.
Once you’ve mastered rolling around the first cone, you may place the second cone a considerable distance away from the first. Remember, the important thing is to leave enough space between your feet to do the bends while rotating your weight between them.
As you progress, your curves will gradually tighten, and this is when you should pay close attention to how your weight changes.
When approaching a cone, for example, move your inside foot/skate towards the cone, shifting your weight on that leg as your outer skate gets along its smoother arc.
Power stops should be practiced between the two cones, switching sides until you are comfortable with the moves. It is also worth mentioning that power stops are a good technique to practice slides.
The Powerstop/Drag Stop Combo
Here, you’re combining two stops in one halt: the power stop and the drag stop. So you can’t really learn this inline skate slowing technique until you first master the drag stop.
This method can be somewhat difficult to learn and can take but the good news is that any dedicated inline skater can master it.
To perform this combination stop, start easy by moving at a pace you are comfortable with and then begin dragging the outer foot as you approach the cone.
When you’re extremely close to the cone, keep the outer foot gliding in an arc like in the powerstop. Meanwhile, the inner foot, like the powerstop, strives to point toward the cone.
This may appear challenging at first but with enough practice, it should get easier and more comfortable. It’s not even so much a matter of perfecting this slowing-down approach as it is of enjoying the feel for it. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
So start working. This is a really efficient halting technique, probably more effective than most other stopping methods discussed.
The Slalom Stoping Method
A slalom stop, similar to skiing, allows you to gently slow down to a complete stop even at high speeds. However, depending on your skating speed, you might expect a longer braking distance.
This is one of the easiest methods to execute, but there are a few key points to remember. To avoid losing balance, for example, try to lean forward slightly while keeping your knees bent.
Make a sharp turn to the right (or left) with both feet while inline skating, followed by a sharp turn in the other direction. Then, repeat the action until you reach a full halt. The abrupt changes in direction, as well as the alternation of left and right bends, will swiftly reduce your forward speed, bringing you to a complete stop.
Aside from halting, this method is useful for speed management since it gradually slows you down while allowing you to regulate your pace. You don’t want to lose control or slide sideways while inline skating.
Whether you are a beginner or more advanced, it is important to know how to stop on inline skates. Now that you know the correct way to stop, you can keep yourself safe while enjoying the sport. You should always wear protective gear when skating, especially a helmet and elbow pads to prevent injuries and also to improve your rollerblading skills.
Remember you can also purchase inline skates with a brake. But if you’re looking to improve your inline skating skills or you’re not ready to spend on a new pair of roller blades, you can always practice the techniques discussed above before heading out for a serious skating session.