Wondering how to NOT fall backwards on roller skates? If you’ve had a few painful butt falls I completely understand why you’d want to get to the root cause ASAP.
How to Not Fall Backwards on Roller SKates
Backwards falls are far more dangerous (and scary) than falling forwards. They can result in hand, wrist and head injuries because you’re generally not expecting a fall like that. They have a tendency to sneak up on you!
When your a beginner roller skater in the learning phase you should always wear protective safety gear including a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards. You may also want to invest in a pair of padded shorts to cushion falls.
In most cases, it’s actually a really EASY fix that comes down to correcting your body posture, position and weight distribution while on your roller skates. It takes some practice but you want to make sure that you’re starting with the right foundation. So let’s learn how to NOT fall backwards!
Why am I falling Backwards on roller skates?
If you keep falling backwards on your roller skates there is likely one main contributor but there are possibly other factors that could be contributing. We’re going to talk about them all to diagnose the problem and get you back on the path to success.
1. You’re not in the correct skating position
The positioning of your feet, knees, arms, waist and overall weight distribution are usually THE MAIN contributors to a backwards fall. The position of your feet, knees and waist will set up your weight distribution on your roller skates. In a nutshell, if you’re not in the correct body position your weight shifts to your heels. When all your weight is on your heels…you’re perfectly set up for those gnarly, backwards falls.
First, let’s talk about the correct body position…
First off, your feet should be shoulder width apart. Your ankles should be slightly bent. Your knees should be bent. You should be slightly bent forward at the waist so your weight is distributed forward. Your arms should be outstretched forward for balance and bent at the elbow.
If you’re not doing all of these things, your weight will not be distributed forward. As a result you will have more weight distributed on the back two wheels of your skates and that’s where the trouble comes. Remember! Weight on the heels equals falling backwards!
As a skating coach, most of the beginners I work with have the same two common body position problems (and you may have them too). Beginners skate with REALLY straight legs (lacking the bent knee) and they also aren’t bent at the waist (as a result, weight is distributed on the back two wheels or heels).
Straight legs and a straight back can send you on your backside quickly because all your weight is distributed on your heels.
Those straight legs can’t react to ANYTHING bad that rolls your way because they are completely locked. Think of those bent knees like springs that compress | bounce and react to what’s happening on the ground. If they can’t react you’ll be thrown off balance so to speak.
An upright body position (having no bend at the waist) puts additional weight on your back two wheels (or heels). The combination of straight legs and straight back often leads to many backwards falls for beginners.
My advice is to put on your roller skates and get in front of a mirror in your house. Reference the correct body position photos below you and try to duplicate that in front of the mirror. It’s best to look at your body from the side. Practice and memorize this body position before your next skate.
It’s also important to ensure that your feet & your eyes are aligned with the direction you are skating. Your arms should also be in the outstretched “ready position (just in case something happens…you’re ready for it).
2. Poor Balance or Stability
When you’re a beginner at roller skating, you’re usually a bit shaky in the knees and legs. Your roller skating balance and stability hasn’t fully developed yet.
This takes time, practice and some muscle development. This coupled with an incorrect skating position can also contribute to those backwards falls. There’s not much you can do about this besides put in the hours, develop those skating muscles and improve over time.
3. Ill fitting Skates
Make sure that your skates fit properly and aren’t too big or too small (you can read about how your roller skates should fit HERE). Skates (especially skates that are too big) can cause serious issues and potentially have you on your backside.
4. Incorrectly adjusted Skates
New roller skates from the factory are usually not adjusted properly which can and do cause problems. Check ALL of your wheels and make sure that your wheels spin freely and aren’t tightened down too much on the axel.
If the wheels aren’t moving or move very little when you spin them try loosening the nut on the axel with a skate Y tool. Start with a small amount at a time. You’ll know it’s correct when you spin the wheels they spin freely (with little resistance) and make several revolutions before coming to a stop.
5. Using the Wrong Wheels
You may be using the wrong wheels for the surface you are skating on. If you’re skating outdoors you should be using outdoor specific wheels. If you’re skating indoors you should be using indoor specific wheels. Using the wrong wheels on the wrong surface can lead to problems.
6. Not Skating in Safe, Flat, Smooth Areas
The local skate park is definitely not the place to cut your teeth. Rough pavement with expansion joints, bumps and divots are also not the place to start your roller skating journey as a beginner. These are all hazards that can have you on your backside quickly.
I often times see quad skaters practicing in areas that are completely out of their element when they don’t have basic skating skills developed. When you’re a beginner find places to practice skating that are at your skill level.
When you’re a beginner you should be at the roller rink or practicing on the smoothest, level surface you can find. If you want some ideas for where you can go then check out our long list of places to practice skating in your neighborhood.
Some people start skating in and around their home. They work on balance on the carpet or in the grass in their backyard. They may even have their first skate in the kitchen or in their garage.
7. Getting “Ahead” of Your Skates
Another problem I see is that new roller skaters are often attempting advanced roller skating moves before they have the basics down. Don’t try to skate backwards until you’re really good at skating forwards. Don’t try complex turns until you know how to stop…etc etc.
You have to slowly build upon your skills. Master the foundations and feel completely comfortable before moving on to more advanced moves. If you want a systematic approach you can try our FREE Better in 30 days Roller Skating Challenge. You’ll get lots of FREE printables to help you make a HUGE improvement in just 30 days.
I hope that you’ve learned how to not fall backwards on roller skates! 95% of the time, making small adjustments to your body position and weight distribution will fix the problem of falling backwards on your roller skates. Weight distribution is really important to learn because it will be important when you learn more advanced skating.
A glue gun in one hand, a whisk in the other- that's me in a nutshell! I'm the heart and soul behind acountrygirlslife.com. I've been crafty since childhood so I'm your go-to girl for everything crafty, delicious, and DIY. From clever crafts & printables to mouth-watering bakes- I believe in sprinkling a little handmade magic into every day. I'll help you find your creative niche at home!