Tutorial Tuesday: Fundamentals of Falling

Updated: Jan 15

by Mel @troubleon8wheels

Hi everyone,

We have had a lot of 'how do I get started' requests... and something that will definitely give you more confidence is knowing how to fall. We know it sounds a bit daft, but if your body knows how to respond, then you will feel more confident.

We cannot emphasise enough though, to please skate only if you feel safe and confident to do so - we want you to be able to skate another day! We strongly recommend that you don't push yourself until the point of exhaustion - yes, we know how fun roller skating is, but tired muscles cannot protect you, so if you have gone from very little physical activity to allll the skating, please take care!

Top instructor tip: We never say 'one last time' or 'one more go' when skating anywhere as it changes something in your brain to make you try harder and more likely to injure yourself. It's better to decide, "Two more goes then I'm stopping whether I've nailed the thing I'm working on or not. I'll get it next time."

Wear the right protective gear.

You know you. However, if you are starting your roller skate journey, we strongly recommend wearing protective gear. Show your body some love and protect it accordingly. Also, there is still a pandemic happening and our hospitals are getting overwhelmed at the moment. Do you really want to be the person who has a roller skating accident that could have been prevented?

There are protective pad sets to suit most budgets and body shapes. The Moxi x Triple 8 pad set is available in sizes XS - XXL. We think it's cheaper to wear pads than to ruin your cute skating outfit (oh the time will come if it hasn't already) or ruin your knees.

Falling fundamentals: You are aiming to spread your weight and lower your centre of gravity as quickly as possible.

Step 1: Practise bending your knees.

Yes, bend your knees. It sounds easy, but we promise you it isn't. Try to touch your knees just above your knee pads but aim to feel where they are, rather than looking at them. Do your best to look where you are going. (If you look down, that's most likely where you are going.)

Step 2: Lower your weight while you're moving.

As you are moving, leave one foot out behind you to lower your weight down with more control.

Warning! This will probably scuff your skates! In our opinion, scuffed skates tell us that the owner is using them and working on improvement. Scuffed skates = good thing.

As you practise this, aim to keep your chest and shoulders high - look up rather than down.

Aim to keep your hands off the floor. Obviously if you are properly out of control and you do hit the floor with your hands, its not the end of the world as you are wearing wrist guards, right?

Whether you are or not, aim to fall with straight wrists - hands out to stop you falling is sure to result in some sort of wrist fracture, as the wrist bones are so thin and vulnerable. Wearing wrist guards will not stop you from breaking your wrist, it will just massively decrease the risk.

Step 3: Practise getting up again without touching the floor with your hands.

This will help to build strength in your legs and you are more likely to be able to save yourself before actually touching the ground (and save the scuffing!) Be prepared for it to take a few months to build that muscle though.

Step 4: Fall BIG

If you've ever played roller derby, you are trained to fall small. That means you take up the smallest possible space when you fall so that you are less likely to trip someone else and injure them, and they are less likely to injure you. This is a very necessary style of falling in this sport, however if you are not wearing protective pads (there will come a time, probably when the weather gets nicer), its important to spread out any momentum you've built up and fall big. really big. You've Been Framed big. It doesn't matter how silly you look, you will protect your body much better, get up and skate away. If you fall small, you will more likely concentrate the impact on small parts of your body and cause a shockwave through your bones. Yikes.

So, yes, a lot of people are very worried about how 'silly' they look when they fall. However it is something we think you should embrace. Falling is not a bad thing in roller skating. Practise falling though, and you will feel more confident in general. A more relaxed and confident you means you are also less likely to fall - see how this positive spiral works?

For more confident and experienced skaters:

If we ever get to skate indoors again - this is a slide fall called a baseball slide. Your legs end up in a number 4. Its really important that you do not sit on your wheels, as you can end up doing damage to your ankle and your butt! This fall is kind of an extension of the one knee fall, but you throw your weight slightly back at the last minute, so you end up sliding.

You absolutely need to be secure that your head will stay off the floor, wear a helmet if you're not sure! Also wearing 'slidey' clothing helps.

***Warning*** Please do not practise this one outside - you will grip the floor and bash your head!

Go forth and be proud to fall!

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