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How to get into roller skating

So you want to get into skating? Here's how!

Artistic roller skating is one of my greatest loves and longest. I have been skating for 17 years and competing for 16, 2 days a week every week is quite the feat!

Now, I’m by far not some amazing skater. I started skating at 6 years old. I don’t compete internationally and haven’t taken a test for 8 years! I compete nationally 3/4 times a year.

I hope t

Table of Contents

Which discipline is right for you?

Throwback to 2012 (16 years old)

You might just want to skate around without choosing a discipline, and that’s fine! You would probably be restricting yourself to skating discos and no training.

These are some of the disciplines:

  • Artistic skating – Dance
  • Artistic skating – Free
  • Artistic skating – Figures
  • Inline skating
  • Roller derby

These are all completely different, some clubs may cater to the first 3. It’s most common for dance clubs to dabble in free and not figures, and free clubs to offer figures but not dance. Each club is different.

What's the difference?

  • Artistic skating – Dance: This one is pretty easy to explain. Dance is exactly what it says on the tin, you have set patterns and set music. This could be Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot etc! This is also my one and only discipline. 
  • Artistic skating – Free: Free is, simply put, spins and jumps. You make up your own choreography, choose your own music and dance your heart out. This is similar to ice skating.
  • Artistic skating – Figures: This is a little harder to explain, especially since I don’t do it and never have I have at least some free experience) Figures are circles on the floor you have to skate directly on, change from forwards to back, change foot etc.
  • Inline skating: I don’t really know about inline skating, I know you can’t compete with people on artistic skates (quads) or join their clubs (in most cases) from my research I don’t think you can compete in any kind of official competition in the UK. Anyone who does, feel free to correct me! Inline skating is quite big in China and Japan.
  • Roller Derby: If you’ve never seen roller derby, it looks brutal. I’m not sure on this but I think you can compete in the UK, I think that roller derby is racing mostly? Either way, it looks HARD.

So, the rest of this post will be about all 3 Artistic roller skating disciplines:

What costs are involved?

Roller skating is not a cheap sport. The costs include:

  • Skates £600-£800
  • Tights £20+
  • Dresses **
  • Wheels £40+
  • Hair accessories £10+
  • Competitions £20+
  • Training (club dependent)
  • Travel (location dependent)

There’s probably more I haven’t thought about! High quality skates cost around £600-£800. I’ve had 5 pairs since starting, so that’s pretty much a new pair every 3 years. 

**Dresses are really dependent on so many factors! A good quality, slightly gemmed brand new dress would be from £80 up. Mine usually cost around £250. 

I actually gem dresses myself now so it’s cheaper for me!

Where can you skate?

In the UK to compete, you need to be a part of a FARS registered (Federation of Artistic Roller Skating) club. You can find them all here.

Each clubs costs are different and I wouldn’t want to get into that, I pay about £18 a week for 2 training sessions and an annual fee but I can’t remember how much that is!

Some tips for learning in lockdown:

Useful tips

  • Wear protection: Knee pads, a helmet, wrist guards etc. All useful! You will fall. It will hurt. That’s okay! Failing is how you learn.
  • Bend your knees: Skating is much easier when you bend your knees. 
  • Focus on your arms: Where your arms are is important for your balance. You should skate in a ‘T’ position with both arms within your peripheral vision. 
  • Watch YouTube videos: I’ll pop some videos under the “Useful links” list.

Useful links

I hope you enjoy roller skating and can get into a rink ASAP! Always happy to answer questions or help with anything.

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