The Fear of Falling
"I want to skate so badly but I'm terrified of falling"
This is probably the most consistent comment I get from new skaters. And trust me, I get it. I've been there. My first two months of roller skating I felt anxiety to the max every time I put my skates on because I did not want to fall. But one thing about roller skating is that falling is inevitable, and it'll even make you a better skater. So, I want to spend a moment to discuss falling and why you shouldn't be afraid of it.
Falling Doesn't Mean Your Failing
It's literally the opposite. Every time you fall, you learn from your mistakes. You reflect on what went wrong, and you adjust. And even if you don't really reflect what went wrong, your body somehow does. Muscle memory is an amazing tool, and your body will really try not to fall again. Sometimes you'll fall 20 times before you can get a trick down. And once you get it down, you'll fall again. But falling leads to growth. And honestly, it feels a hell of a lot better when you get a trick down after falling a million times then getting it on your first time trying.
Most Falls Aren't So Bad
I've been roller skating for 6 months and I can only recall a few falls that happened, and I've fallen dozens, maybe even hundreds of times. This may be because my memory is pretty awful, but also most of the time you fall you just get up and move on. It might hurt slightly but you won't be wounded in pain every single time you fall. You just get up, and keep skating.
Now I do remember the ones that really hurt of course, but even then I don't look back and think about how horrible the experience was, I just think about how funny it was. I had my worst fall last week when I fell on my tailbone, and yeah I really wish that wouldn't of happened, but it opened my eyes to how brief the pain of most falls are. Four days ago, I thought it was going to take me weeks to skate again. Now, I feel ready to go roller skating tomorrow! Unless you have a major injury, your body is probably going to heal very quickly.
How to Fall Safely
Now, I'm a new skater so please do not just follow my advice for how to fall safely. I'm going to briefly cover some things, but please watch some videos on how to fall properly. Here is a great video for reference!
For the most part, you'll be able to avoid the really horrible falls. The key is to avoid falling backwards. Okay, so now how do you do that. First, really make sure you're bending your knees whenever you skate. You never want to be standing straight up. Also, lean forward!!! Next, when you do feel like you're losing your balance go down low, this way if you do fall you'll be close to the ground and it won't hurt so bad. When you do fall, try falling on your thigh/ butt area, since this is a spot that had the most natural padding, so you're falling more on your side than forwards or backwards. If you have safety gear on, which you should be wearing if you're trying to learn a new trick, fall on your kneepads.
Do not try to catch yourself with your wrists. This is honestly a habit I've made that I'm trying to break, but really you shouldn't be using your hands to catch your falls. Your wrists are very delicate!
A great thing to do when you first start skating is to just practice falling. Start in the grass if you need to, and then move some concrete and practice there. Heck, even do a quick couple falls the beginning of every skating session to get your fall jitters out the way! A quick tip for practice falling though, don't practice on dark concrete. I did this my first week into skating and the cute cosmetic look of my white skates didn't last long.
And finally, get up quickly when you fall. If you sit and think about how scary it was when you fell, it's probably going to mess with you a little bit. Instead, train yourself to just get right back up when you do. That way, it won't feel like a big deal when it happens.
Falling Gets Easier Over Time
Like I said, I was literally anxious as hell about falling when I first started skating. The anxiety didn't go away quickly either, but now I'm kind of falling in love with falling? It honestly can be pretty fun sometimes, and it's really amusing to go back and see videos of yourself eat it. I don't think I've ever watched a clip of me falling and been upset.
Although I hope this post helped a little bit, you'll probably still be pretty spooked of falling. It probably gets very old hearing me say this; but time, practice, and patience are your best friends. You're really only going to get over the fear after getting used to doing it a lot, but I promise you it will get easier over time. It'll be something that just happens that you move on from. And I promise you, the fun of roller skating triumphs the pain of the bad falls!
Good luck skating, and happy falling!!!