In all honesty, if I could go back and begin my skate journey differently, I think I would. There are a lot of things I rushed into learning - and although I love my little journey so far, I definitely can see the things I would change. One of the things I'm currently coming to terms with is that I can't redo the past 6 months, and that I'm happy I've figured out a lot of things along the way. I'm sure there will be plenty of more realizations as I continue roller skating, but for now.. here's a few of the things I wish I knew sooner.
1. Don't skip out on a day of skating just because you can
Okay, this is pretty simple and probably not what most new skaters find themselves frustrated with since a lot of new skaters jump onto the 365 Day Skate Challenge. But I skipped a lot of days where I could have just spent a few minutes drilling or just jamming out because I felt too lazy to do it. I'm not saying to never listen to your body, taking days off is a good thing, but even a few minutes on your skates can help you progress further. There's been a lot of days where I wasn't feeling super stoked to skate but I ended up unlocking a new trick or getting past a mental block that had really been bothering me.
2. It's not the end of the world if you don't skate today
Yes, this is the complete opposite of what my first point was. But I have a huge problem of letting myself take the day off... and then feeling incredibly regretful over it. And yeah, maybe I could have skated that day... or maybe I really was just mentally not feeling up to it. Either way, it's ok to take days off. The beautiful thing about skating is that it can be a hobby that you can do no matter what age you are. There's no reason to force yourself to skate if you really don't want to do it. Why beat yourself up over that?
3. Stop Rushing To Learn Tricks
I feel like social media has created this pressure to constantly be improving yourself in whatever you do. In the roller skating community, it's all about unlocking tricks. I'm not going to lie and say I'm not a part of this pressure, I love to celebrate and post when I unlock tricks - and I've honestly rushed myself to learn things I shouldn't have.
As Kim Manning sings in her Tiktok videos, it really isn't about unlocking tricks. You'll naturally be able to unlock tricks over time, but for now just really get down the ones you're practicing. If you're feeling iffy about your transitions, don't jump into learning the waltz jump. Really practice the basics and become the absolute master of those before you move into the next ones. I'm not saying never try to advance - if you're feeling daring one day and want to try out a cart wheel, why not? But don't beat yourself up because you're not able to master every single skating trick in your first hundred days of skating.
4. Strengthen your edges!!!!!
This is pretty specific, and kinda goes into the last one. But I can't believe that it took me so long to figure out how important edges are. I never really thought much about my edges - I understood how to use them when I needed them, but never really put in much thought. After practicing what Kim Manning advised to practice on her tiktok video, I really regret completely neglecting my edges the past hundred days. Having strong control and strength in your edges will make you a far better skater, and will also help you understand how your skates move even more.
5. Your toe stops need washers and you need to tie your laces properly.
When I was using my Riedell skates I had a huge problem of my toe stops falling out and I really didn't understand why. I would tighten them up at the beginning of my skate session and then they could fall out in the middle of it if I didn't stop to tighten them again. When I got my new skates I realized they had washers - which are basically little metal things that go in between the toe stop and plate. My toe stop still loses throughout my skate sessions - but washers are very important! You should have some for your wheels too. Also, there are different ways to tie your laces that we make your boot fit differently. My heel slipped a lot in my moon boots, so I tried a different way to tie my boots and its made a huge difference.
6. Embrace safety gear and learn to fall safely
One of the first things you need to become comfortable with to really become a confident skater is falling. No matter what, falling is inevitable and you need to get comfortable doing it. Just remember to try to get low when you feel like you're losing balance or that you could fall, and also try to fall towards your side, and never your back. You should avoid using your wrists/hands to catch yourself. Also, safety gear is important and you really should be wearing ti when you're doing anything particularly dangerous or something you're not used to.
7. Plateaus are just part of the journey
I honestly had no idea what was happening the first time I hit my first plateau. I was making so much progress my first month of skating and them bam - suddenly I hit this wall and I just did not find myself enjoying skating and I just didn't feel comfortable doing the things I really felt I had gotten down. The concept of trying new things was out the window - which really sucked because up until that point I felt like I was learning something new everyday.
But plateaus will come and all you can do is just wait them out. You could go skate on a trail, maybe get frustrated with crazy legs for a few minutes, or just take the day off entirely. It's times like these you need to take a step back and remind yourself of why you started skating at all. For me, it's become sort of a creative outlet. So maybe I'll take more moments to just dance to music when I skate. My favorite way is to go trail skating, it really takes the pressure of constantly feeling the need to progress and be better than you were a week ago.
8. Take Some Time to Skate On a Bike Trail
I'm still so sad I didn't find trail skating sooner. I went skating on a trail about 5 months into skating, and I still can't get over how peaceful it feels to skate as the sun rises and have
nothing to think about except going forward. If you want to get in some exercise or use your skates but really don't want have to stress about practicing anything, skating on a trail is definitely the best option.
9. Stop Comparing Yourself
With the big roller boom this year, there's probably a lot of skaters around the same level as you are. Which means they're likely unlocking similar tricks to the ones you're currently working on, and they may get those down faster than you will. It's times like this that you need to go back to point number 3, and remind yourself it's not about unlocking tricks or being the "best" skater.
We all have our own skills and strengths. One of the greatest things about being a roller skater is you get to watch other roller skaters. I probably consume way more social media than I should, but half the time I'm just admiring how talented other skaters are!
10. Take Advantage of the Moments When You Feel like a Dare Devil
One of the things I've learnt about myself is that on some days I'm going to feel like I can conquer the world and on other days it'll feel like the most simple tricks are impossible. I've learnt to not force myself to do things that I don't feel up to that day.
One of my favorite tricks is doing really high 180 jumps, but that's honestly not something I feel up to everyday. It's pretty exhausting to do, and not to mention can be kinda scary. So yeah, most days 180 jumps aren't even on my mind.
But for whatever reason, some days I will feel extra daring. So I really make sure I take advantage of those moments. In those moments I've learnt quickly to stop worrying about falling, and just trust my body. And yeah, sometimes I'll fall, but I can still get back up and try again.
Also, I want to note that in these moments I'm always wearing safety gear. I feel very comfortable doing high jumps, but I wouldn't try them without a helmet and safety gear. Safety is important!!!