The Art of Falling in Inline Skates

Fall Knows No Season for Inline Skaters

Girl clings to pole while trying to roller blade

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It's always fall time for inline skating enthusiasts. Whether you are a new, an experienced or a competitive skater, fall time is not a season; it's a reality. This is because every skater must know how to fall in order to learn basic and advanced techniques and to survive the everyday imperfections in the sport, the skating surfaces, and the environment.

No one likes falling, but if you have decided to inline skate or elevate your level of skating, you are going to experience falls. Here's how to fall the smart way—and spring right back up.

The Right Way to Fall

Along with the joy, fitness, competitive and social benefits of your skating sport comes the harsh realities of falling while skating. If you accept these possibilities, you will also take the precautions needed for safe skating sessions.

  • Falling backward is dangerous for your head, back, hips and tailbone.
  • Falling forward is dangerous for your face and all of its related attractive parts.
  • The best falls keep the body slightly forward, keep arms, ribcage and your precious head away from the surface and sit you down using one side of your buttocks and the thigh, not the fragile tailbone area, to absorb the majority of the impact. The bone in your thigh is the biggest, strongest bone in your body, and since it is supported by lots of muscle and connective tissue, it is your best support system in the event of a fall.
  • Don't use your hands to help break a fall. Your wrist gear will reduce the chance of injury if you accidentally use the small parts to save the large parts. But always planning to use this method will just create a bad habit for the rest of your non-skating life - which can and will have falls in it, too.
  • It is possible to hit your head and other important body parts in any fall - forward or backward, so always wear a helmet in addition to wrist guards, elbow pads and kneepads while skating.
  • There are no great falling techniques, but there are good ones. A good fall leaves you conscious, alert, with nothing broken, major lump and abrasion-free and able to continue skating. That is the plan for everyone who loves to skate.
  • There are ways to prevent unnecessary falls.

Practice the Fine Art of Falling

There are many ways that you can prepare for the fall. Falling is definitely an art, and like any artist you must work to make your falls safe, fluid and even graceful. That may seem like a stretch, but if you watch a speed skater or figure skater stumble, fall, drop, roll and return to their feet in one continuous motion, it is impressive.

  • Go through the motions of falling without wearing any inline skates.
  • Go through the motions of falling with inline skates on, but not rolling. Try this on carpeting or grass first, then move to your skating surface.
  • Try falling while skating slowly.
  • Fall while rolling at a faster speed.
  • Develop a sequence of repeated practice falls while skating.
  • If you are a competitive speed or figure inline skater, consider learning to roll with your falls, to prevent road rash or floor burn skin abrasions. The roll spreads the impact over a bigger area of the body. This technique is only useful for advanced skaters who skate at high speeds or do aerial content.
  • Be sure to include a safe and quick return to your feet with each fall. You will need that skill for any competitive skating discipline where every second off your skates will be very important to your event result or score.

Be Prepared for the Fall and the Result

Before you start falling, always make sure you have:

  • Appropriate protective gear for your inline skating activity is the first step of preparation.
  • Thorough knowledge of the stopping and maneuvering techniques needed for your level of skating, the activity or the event will be important in preventing and controlling the severity of falls.
  • Knowledge of the possible common injuries, like abrasions, and the correct first aid treatment for them is essential. Most skating injuries are very minor, but no injury should go without attention.

Fall for Your Sport

Fall down a lot for your sport, especially if you are an inline speed or figure skater or any other roller sports athlete who may use minimal or no protective gear in competition. Falling is just like any other part of your sports training, and practice will make it better. Just bend your knees and sit down gently using some of the padding on your butt. Make sure that you are able to use some of that core strength your coach made you build to control your landing positions. Practice will help you relax, build your confidence and eliminate your fear of falling at the same time.

Most skaters in any sport or recreational activity will be able to develop at a faster rate and move to much higher levels if they take the time and make the effort to master the art of falling on inline skates.