Have you just started learning how to roller skate and need help slowing down? Maybe you are tired of crashing into walls, falling into the grass or grabbing your friend to stop. If so, then this article on how to stop on roller skates is especially for you.
I am an avid skater who has been rolling for over 30+ years. I have taught hundreds of people how to roller skate since I was a teenager. Today, I’m going to show you the most common ways to stop on skates.
The 10 Best Ways to Stop on Rollerblades, Quads & Inline Skates
There are many ways to stop on skates. The list below has 10 types of stops from easiest to hardest. The first position on the list is the easiest and the last technique is the hardest.
Here are the 10 stops with a quick link to each one. I have recorded instructional videos for each method and wrote up a little step-by-step so you can easily follow along.
- Toe Stop Drag
- Take a Knee
- T Stop
- Slalom Stop
- Plow Stop
- One Toe Stop Going Backwards
- Two Toe Stops Going Backwards
- Power Slide
- Spin Out
- Hockey Stop
So, whether you are a beginner just starting out or a season derby girl, I hope you will learn something new. Let’s get started!
1. Toe Stop Drag
The first method of braking is learning to use the built-in toe stops while skating forward. This is by far the easiest and best way for beginners to come to a halt.
If you are on rollerblades, the toe stops will be located on the heel of the skate. On quads, the toe tops are on the front of the skates.
To use the stopper on quads roller skates:
- First roll forward.
- Next, take one foot and turn it to a 45 degree angle and drag your toe stop across the ground.
- Apply pressure to the toe stop.
- This will slowly cause your speed to reduce until you come to a complete stop.
To use this method on rollerblades:
- Begin by rolling forward.
- Next, take a single foot and lift up the front part of your skate pressing your heel stopper into the ground.
- Apply pressure to the toe stopper.
- You will slowly come come to a standstill.
Just make sure that your toe stops are hitting the skating surface and not the top of your boot. Otherwise, you’ll get scrapes and dings and ruin your boots. If you are afraid of scraping your boots, be sure to check out my best toe guards article. It will help protect your boots and make them last longer.
2. Taking a Knee
This next stop is also a great way for beginners to learn to stop on skates. However, it does have a single requirement. You must be wearing knee pads to perform this method of stopping. The upside of this method is it works great on quads, rollerblades or inline skates.
- To start, begin by rolling forward.
- Next, put both of your feet next to each other.
- Then, stretch your arms out into a T for balance.
- Slowly drop down to one knee.
- Let your knee pad scrape across the ground as you stand up on one foot. It’s like a rolling kneel.
- You will slowly come to a halt.
I personally prefer using stoppers over taking a knee, but some roller derby players and other skaters prefer this method when they first learn how to skate. It is a more challenging stop to do, especially if you are going fast on your skates. It really is a matter of preference and whether you have the knee pads required to perform this stop.
3. T Stop
The next method of slowing down on skates is called the T Stop. This is another great beginner technique and can be used on quads, rollerblades or inline skates. To learn this position, you must have good balance and be able to stand on one foot.
We call this method of stopping the T stop because of the shape your skates make when performing this position. In this method, you use the roller skate wheels on one of your skates to come to a standstill.
- Begin by skating forward. Remember to bend your knees – no mummies or Frankensteins, please. 🙂
- Lift a single foot off the ground.
- Turn your lifted skate 90 degrees pointing your toes outwards.
- Place the lifted foot down on the ground behind your rolling skate.
- Make sure not to clip the back wheels of your rolling skate.
- Apply pressure on your back foot until you come to a halt. The friction of the perpendicular skate on the ground brings you to a stop.
Note: The biggest downside to stopping like this regularly is that the added friction on your wheels can cause them to wear down and cause flat patches. This can eventually lead to your wheel making a thud sound as you roll, which is quite annoying. This happens when you wear down the wheel in one spot. You have to do this over and over again for this to happen, but I thought I would mention it. This is an effective stop, but should not be overused.
4. Slalom Stop
Next, we have the slalom technique. For those of your who have been skiing, this position will seem very natural to you. As you are rolling, you slalom from side to side until you come to a standstill.
- Begin by roller skating forwards.
- Next, with your feet parallel to each other, turn your skates to one side.
- Then, quickly change directions and go to the other side.
- Place your body weight on the the inside each time you turn.
- Your skates will slowly come to a halt.
5. Plow Stop
Performing a plow stop is another solid method of stopping on skates and is my personal preferred method today for stopping.
The plow stop uses a scissors style motion where you move your feet in and out. You can slow yourself down in either part of the scissor. Either when your feet go wide or when your feet come together.
If you are like me and don’t wear toe stops, then this is a great way to slow down.
- While roller skating forwards, bend your knees and have both legs parallel.
- Next, slowly widen your legs while keeping them parallel. You want your legs to be about 1-1/2 to 2 shoulder lengths apart (or more).
- As you widen your legs as far as they will go, push on the outside edge of your skate. This will slow you down with your legs far apart.
- Or, if that sounds too scary, you can turn your toes inwards while you continue to roll forward. This will make your feet come back together.
- As your feet are coming back together, bend your knees, lean forward a little and press down on the inside portion of your skates.
- This movement of pressing down and on the inside edge of your skate will allow you to come to a stop.
Note: Be careful to not bang your skates together if you are going fast or you will fall quite spectacularly. 🙂
6. One Toe Stop Going Backwards
Next, I’m going to show you how to come to a halt while going in reverse. This position and #6 are very similar and both require a toe stopper. You can not do this position on inline skates without a toe stopper.
On quad roller skates:
- Begin by roller skating backwards.
- Next, bend your knees and lean slightly forward in a regular skating stance.
- Press the toe portion of one foot down onto the toe stopper.
- You will slowly come to a standstill.
- Begin by roller blading backwards.
- Next, bend your knees.
- Press the heel portion of one foot down onto the toe stopper lifting your toe portion up.
- You will slowly come to a standstill.
7. Two Toe Stops Going Backwards
This braking position is similar to the first method that we discussed as they also rely only on the toe stops. However, for this stop, you use the brakes on both feet at the same time. This is really only a method I have seen performed on quad skates while going in reverse.
- Turn around and go in reverse.
- Bend your knees and lean slightly forward.
- Next, push the toes of both skates down at the same time.
- Your toe stoppers will slide across the ground until you come to a standstill.
Note: Please make sure you are comfortable stopping on one toe stopper going backwards before you perform this position. You can easily face plant. As always, go slow when first trying anything new out.
8. Power Slide
The power slide is an advanced technique. You need to be confident with your balance and your ability to backward skate. This method is really a backward T stop and can be performed in quads, rollerblades and inline skates.
- Turn around and go in reverse.
- Next, keep your knees bent and lean forward.
- Turn one foot 90 degrees and place it behind you pressing into your front knee.
- You will slowly come to a halt.
Note: It is important to understand the surface you are skating on an the stickiness of your wheels. You need some give in the surface or your wheel to get a good sliding motion. Otherwise, your back foot will jerk up or your front skate will crash into your T and down you go. Harder indoor roller skate wheels will work better for this stop than soft outdoor roller skate wheels.
9. Spin Out
The spin out technique is one of my preferred skating stops. This method slows you down by doing a quick wide spinning motion and looks cool. To perform this method you do need to know how to turn around, skate backward and spin at least 1 revolution.
- Start by skating forwards.
- Next, turn 1 foot 180 degrees and place it behind your front front.
- Keep your feet with a little distance between them. 1-2 skate lengths is enough.
- Lean on the inner edges of your feet. You want your momentum to start to take you into a wide circle.
- Use this wide circle and the pressing down on the inner portion of your feet to come to a halt. I often will spin my way to a standstill.
10. Hockey Stop
Last up, we have the hockey stop. At high speeds, I think this is the hardest way to come to a standstill without falling down. Some will argue the spin out is harder. It honestly just depends on the skater.
To perform this method, you are going to want to keep your speed low when first starting out.
- Start by rolling forwards.
- While at full speed, turn your feet in a curve.
- Press your parallel feet out in front of you and lean slightly back.
- Your wheels will slide across the surface until you come to a standstill.
This is really fun when you get good at it, and it looks really impressive. On a coated wood floor, you also can get a loud screeching noise when you stop in this way. As a teenager, I used to stop like this just to turn some girls head. The loud noise always makes people turn and look.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to slow down on roller skates. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned roller derby player, I hope you learned something new.
Until next time, keep rolling and get on out there and skate!
Want to Learn Even More About Skating?
Want more reviews on roller skates? Check out my Best Roller Skates page for a list of all of the quads I recommend. I also have pages for roller skates for men, roller skates for women and roller skates for kids where I recommend the best skates on the market today for each group. Or, check out my roller skates for beginners if you are completely new to roller skating.
Or, if rollerblades or inline skates are more your style, then check out my rollerblades for men, rollerblades for women or rollerblades for kids pages. Or, if you are completely new, check out my rollerblades for beginners page.