A New Inline Skater?

Taking a lesson with a qualified instructor.

Ask your skate retailer for the IISA certified instructor they work with,
or call (214) 749-4054 for a name & number the instructor in your area.

  • A lesson is the best way to stop. Learn to stop before you start! A certified instructor will show you how to control your roll by explaining how to effectively use your new skates' brakes.
  • A lesson builds confidence. Certified instructors will help you to gain a basic understanding of the skills involved in inline skating, creating a foundation of solid skills that will increase your confidence on skates.
  • A lesson provides a model. How many times have you asked five people the same question, only to receive five different answers? Lessons from certified instructors guarantee you will develop a consistent framework on which you can build. Instructors not only demonstrate proper technique, but can replicate any problem you might have so you can see differences in body position.
  • A lesson will allow you to build your skills. Once you have got your foundation, learning more advanced skills is much easier. All more difficult skills, whether hockey, racing or floating along, are a combination of fundamental skills.
  • A lesson is not just for kids. Whether you are seven or seventy, there is no better way to improve your skating than by taking a lesson. In 1995, 87,000 people over the age of 55 inline skated. A lesson with a certified instructor is the best & safest way to work your way into your new sport.
  • A lesson is safe. After learning a few simple skills with your mind at ease, you will soon be doing what you thought you were afraid to. Certified instructors endorse the use of full protective equipment and will show you how to fall (simulated, of course) & get back up using the gear as protection.
  • A lesson provides focus. A certified instructor will help you practice your skills in a fun way. Doing the same thing over & over by yourself may help a bit, but chances are you will get bored & who knows if what you are practicing is right. Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.
  • Lessons produce safe skaters. Once you have new skills & confidence under your belt, you will be a safer skater, able to maneuver through the streets & trails with control. You will have more fun & enjoy the surroundings or conversation of a friend & the walkers & bikers will be happy that there is one less flailing skater sharing the path!
  • Lessons produce educated skaters. A certified instructor will not only teach you to skate better, but also will be able to suggest places to skate, teach you the IISA Rules of the Road, suggest wheels & bearings for the type of skating you need, tell you about inline magazines, & possibly hook you up with other skaters for group skates, competitions or just chillin' out.
  • There is always more to learn! Inline skating offers a smorgasbord of disciplines including racing, hockey, aggressive, fitness, freestyle & skate-to-ski. Lessons will introduce the basics of all these disciplines & one sport can grow into six fun, healthy activities! So What a you waiting for? Call the instructor nearest you for a lesson...Do it today! .........

Click here to see the Getting Started Page

A Story Of A New Inline Skater

When you are a wife, mother & full-time employed who aspires to skate, you just do not jump into a pair of inlines & roll happily into the sunset. You know something as ordinary as walking down the street can mean scraped skin or a pulled muscle. Get aboard a pair of skates & you may as well write your will.

Unless you get a few pointers first, maybe in a course with a qualified instructor on how to operate inline skates & not commit recreational suicide in the process.

The "How not to ... Crash Course" is taught in Honolulu by the engaging Tim Temple, president & skate instructor extraordinaire of The Wheel Thing. In four meetings, Temple teaches beginners about balance, stopping, control & how to fix yourself when out of control. "Just as important as knowing when something is right," says Temple, "is knowing when something's wrong." Like if your skates are higher than your head or if a tree threatens a full frontal attack. Learning the fundamentals, he believes, results in safe, sane skaters who are less likely to crash.

Our first class meets in the courtyard of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Campus Center in a little grassy patch sheltered by a big tree. Present are Temple & seven of us students. There is also an instructor-in-training on Darth Vader wheels wearing a sleek, racing style helmet that I find especially intimidating. But then, to me, Pat Boone wearing leather is intimidating.

After preliminary introductions & the ceremonial signing of the waiver, Temple asks why we are taking this class. My favourite is the lovingly vindictive, "I have to beat my husband at this." Unwilling to confess that I'm here "working," I say that I want to add another form of exercise to my skimpy repertoire.

Then the hardware is distributed - skates & safety gear (pads for knees, elbows & wrists). At first I balk at putting on the bulky gear, but fears of leaving my skin all over the pavement overcome fears of looking geeky, so I earnestly suit up. I am transformed into RoboHack-bruise-resistant part-human, part-machine, as graceful as a manual typewriter. For added inspiration, Temple says that he always wears safety gear, because as skilled & agile as he is, there is always the unexpected. "Think of it as wearing a seat belt," he says. Skates have seat belts?

Decked out in our body amour, we form a little circle in the grass where our skates are mercifully stationary. As far as I am concerned, just standing on those eight little wheels without falling over is a major accomplishment. Now I am getting somewhere.

We learn the "ready position", toes pointed outward in a "V" position, knees bent, body bent slightly forward at the waist, arms outstretched for balance. It is a skater's most stable stance, we are told. "Your weight should be on the balls of your feet," says Temple. I assume the position & wonder if Kristi Yamaguchi started this way.

Then Temple gets us moving. "Now we do the duck walk," he says, as we form a line & take tiny, tentative steps around the tree, still in that slightly bent-over position. My heart leaps into my throat when I step on a smooth patch of dirt & roll nearly a whole inch. Quack!

After two more ducky processions around the tree, we are almost ready for the first solo flight. "What do you need to know before you start skating?" Temple asks. The number for 999? My classmates answer with an unrehearsed yet resounding, "how to stop!"

We go through the motions of stopping, bend & bring knees close together, place hands on right knee, apply pressure to right (braking) heel as you push it slightly forward. Easy enough when you are standing still.

Now Temple deems us ready to hit the pavement, extending a sturdy hand to help each of us off the grass onto the cold, hard concrete. He does not buy my "I have to go to the bathroom" chickening out routine. I am suddenly on the pavement, beginning to roll. I immediately put my stopping skills to the test ... & I stop. Mission accomplished. Can I go home now?

"Remember the duck walk," says Temple to my classmates, who are scattered about the courtyard in varying degrees of mobility. The sum of lots of duck steps, I discover, equals forward rolling motion of the accelerating type. I soon have my stopping technique nearly perfected.

At the end of the two hour session, my hair & clothes are soaked, my mind & body spent. I managed to skate around a little, not fall & have some fun at the same time. That night I dream I am effortlessly skating slalom down a black-top hill as big as Diamond Head. Hey ... it could happen.

Subsequent classes meet in a car park. The area we commandeer is flat, clean and, except for the couples parked in their erstwhile private smooching stalls, has hardly any traffic to speak of. We are soon in the company of graceful speed skaters warming up for sidewalk road trips. Other recreational skaters also converge in the area, gliding & turning peacefully.

Lessons include variations on the basic turn & stop: crossover turn, quick stop, turn on stop, spin stop, parallel turn & emergency stop. I mention these techniques only in passing because I attempt them only in passing. While my classmates seem to undertake each new maneuver with relative ease, I am still getting used to the rolling sensation. But I can stop better than all of them put together.

Temple assures me that his class allows people to go at their own pace yet challenges those ready to move on. "Practice is important," he says, "even if it is just one time between classes."

Roll On

Fast forward four weeks. (Not too fast!) While I have learned how not to crash, I have taken a few falls. A twig once stopped my wheels in mid-roll & rattled my psyche so badly that I promptly lost my balance. I fell forward, arms extended & landed on my sturdy wrist guards. Did not hurt a bit.

I have learned the basics & I intend to get better. I go to the park two or three times a week, suit up like RoboHack & tool around for an hour or so. Each time I practice, I find my skate legs quicker & have more time to try other things beside my still favorite manoeuvre, stopping. It also helps that someone is usually there from the Inline Skating Association to offer pointers & keep me company.

Also, each time I skate, I develop more confidence in my abilities. One of these days, I will circle the entire sloping parking lot without once thinking about my funeral arrangements.