I don’t wanna fall! Tips for an adult beginner skater.

My skating adventures as an adult beginner skater...
This is really for those grownups that have never done inline skating, are not very athletic, and are embarking  into the skating adventure for the very first time. Just like me.

Adult Beginner SkaterOne of the things that most scared me a few weeks ago when I was learning to skate for the first time in my life, was the idea of falling. I suppose it's easier for young people to not really care. I suppose that is a fear that any adult beginner skater has. But having a little bit of fear was actually good for me, since it made me want to use my safety equipment every time, but my joints, my legs, my back felt the tension, and it slowed down my learning process. When I took my first lesson, I remember the guy telling me: "You will fall. It's not a matter of 'if', but  'when'". And then he proceeded to teach me how to fall and how to get up from the fall. "First of all" - he said - "don't fight the fall". The worst thing you can do is start flapping your arms when you start losing your balance. That way you will most likely fall backwards and have no control over the fall. When you feel you are starting to lose your balance, bend your knees and bring your body and hands forward, that way, you might control the fall and go on your knees and wrist guards. I am, of course, talking about the very first few times you try to skate. If you are already going fast as the wind I don't think this instructions will help much, but to get to that point, you probably already fell a hundred times, and know how to do it correctly… and I'm sure you have the scars to prove it.

Now, the whole point of keeping your knees bent and your body shifted forward over your skates, is that you lower your center of gravity, and the fall will be a little easier. And always keep in mind that you should relax your body, so that the impact will be lessened.

The truth is, that it wasn't until I said: "Ok, I'll fall, it'll hurt, but if I'm prepared and protected, I will get up and keep skating". And that's when I started actually moving down the skating lane.

I also decided to protect myself beyond the wrist guards, elbows, knee pads and helmet. I wore long sleeves and pants with legs instead of shorts. Yeah, I bought myself padded pants, but I have to confess those stay in my closet.

I also tried to learn more about the equipment. I studied my skates. I learned to check them for loose parts and to clean my wheels and bearings. I figure I have to trust my skates to work great and do their job.

You totally have to somehow forget about your ego. Yes, falling might be embarrassing if somebody is watching, but that will only last for a minute.  What I do is smile at the kids that go by looking at me like: "What's that clown doing?" and I ask them if they want to teach me. And believe me, most adults that walk by would never dare to try on a pair of skates, or they would be skating through the park, not walking. I visualize myself swaying side to side and feeling the wind on my face just as those guys I see every day on my way to practice. I try not to see myself falling.

I am not at that stage yet. I still look like a robot covered with pads and wobbling every few strides, but I'll get there. I am now confident that I will fall, (which I haven't yet), and that confidence freed me, I'm not scared any more. It's just so exciting when I am able to actually advance a couple of dozen yards every day! Just go for it! But, oh… before you start, check with your doctor if it's okay for you to take up the sport. Be careful, and protect yourself in every way before you start, and then just let go and enjoy it. Good luck!!

Photos Courtesy of: shuttermoth, ken_mayer

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