Tutorial Tuesday: Fundamental roller skate skill - plough stop

A plough stop is a great first stop to master. We recommend that you have more than one way of stopping. It is really useful for slowing down as well as stopping. Being able to control your speed will greatly improve your confidence, particularly when you start skating outside more regularly.

The plough stop will also really tone your inner thigh as you practise!

You need to be able to perform a lemon / bubble confidently. With this movement in mind, the plough stop happens at the widest point of the lemon, where you push even wider. It is important to note that you are pushing out through your heel in order to plough stop. Once you can perform the lemon confidently, your body will want to start bringing your toes back together. Please try to fight that urge! Keep pushing out!

When you are practising your plough stop, we suggest that you keep pushing out until you have actually stopped. Hold the final position as this will build your muscle memory more quickly.

Give yourself time to prepare for the plough stop. We like to say (yes, out loud) "Lemon, lemon, stop," as you perform the movements to match.

Final plough stop position

This is wide and low. It is not a 'pretty stop' compared to other stops, however we teach this as a fundamental roller skate skill, as you are lowering your centre of gravity, and your body is performing a symmetrical movement, which makes it easier than some of the other ways of stopping. You need to also stick your bottom out and have your arms out in front to keep your chest high and for balance.

Resist the urge to check what your feet are doing and instead feel the movement of the heel push. Once you have come to a stop, then look! How wide are your feet? They should be wider than your shoulders, although this does depend how fast you are going. The faster you are going, the harder you will need to push.

Once you have got the movement unlocked, you can start to refine and improve your technique. Aim to push through the ground rather than skimming over the ground as this will cause you to stop more quickly. By understanding how to apply the laws of friction to your skating will put you more in control of your speed.


You aren't stopping - push harder through your heel, and really really bend your knees.

You fall forward - keep your chest and shoulders high.

You roll backwards - don't worry! If you have come to a complete stop and then roll back a little (on flat ground) you've actually got the final position correct. You probably just need to lean forward a little more. If you remember the tutorial about skating backwards - the key is just the position of your feet!

Suggested plough stop practise

Routinely practise your stopping, by spending 5-10 minutes on this fundamental skill every time you skate. This took many of our instructors 6-9 months to learn to stop from a high speed, and we are still learning how to perform this stop on the huge variety of different surfaces available to roller skate on. Start on flat ground before you challenge yourself on a hill!

Final tips

  • Wide and low

  • Look where you are going (not at your feet)

What other tutorials would be useful?

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