Have you always wanted to in-line skate, but it just seemed a bit too scary? Then, why not try STROLLER-SKATING? It's easy, and you have a stroller to hang onto! Also, if you have a baby or toddler to put in the stroller, you have an excuse to Stroller-Skate! (If you don't have any kids, or your kids have outgrown strollers, you can still Stroller-Skate --just use an empty stroller or put a doll or stuffed animal inside if you think you might look silly skating with an empty stroller.)
There's all sorts of places and ways to Stroller-Skate. Try a city park with a flat sidewalk or basket ball court. The large strollers, rather than the cheap umbrella strollers seem to give the beginning skater more stability, but an umbrella stroller works just fine too.
Beginning Stroller Skating Techniques
The first techniques you need to master are forward skating and stopping. I recommend first doing a series of forward swizzles (put your heels in a "V", bend your knees, then while keeping 2 feet on the ground, push yourself a little forward, and then close up your toes, and then repeat). To stop, do a swizzle, but then turn to the left or right and put your weight a little forward on your front skate. Then, try gliding on one foot at a time from that "V" position; you should look like quite an experienced skater by now; don't forget to keep holding on to the stroller, arms slightly bent and in front for balance! If you lose your balance, just hold on to the stroller with 2 hands and you won't fall.
Slalom Down Hills or Use Your Heel Brake
Once you've mastered skating forward on a flat surface, you are ready for more complicated techniques. Remember, that even small hills can be dangerous, so just slalom down those hills with your stroller. You can always use your heel brake to stop, but with a stroller, the slalom technique seems to be easier. Think of downhill skiing, but put your weight on the outside skate, turn your toes in, and bend a little forward. Don't let go of the stroller no matter what, especially if a baby is with you!
Try Going Backwards
Going backward is great fun when you Stroller-Skate. You want to pull, not push the stroller as you go backward. Look behind you every few minutes to make sure you don't run into anyone. First try backward swizzles (reverse the forward technique by starting with your toes together, and finishing with your heels together; then try back half swizzles by using one foot at a time. You should look like a pro by now.
Stroller Skating Tricks
If you can use a basket ball court or smooth parking lot surface, you can practice forward and backward cross-overs, turns, and tricks. One move that is sure to impress onlookers is the Stroller-Skate Spiral. Glide on one foot, hold on to the stroller, and hold the other leg in a horizontal position over your head. This move is guaranteed to bring attention from all directions! This move even seems to be easier when you go backwards, but don't let those who just watched you in awe know that secret!
Turning around quickly is one thing that will impress onlookers too, and with the added support of a baby or toddler and a stroller, you should be able to turn around on one foot. Just push the stroller in a straight line, hold on to it with one hand, and turn from forward to backward, then back to forward again. Then, once you have someone's attention (their mouth might be open as they stare at you by now), jump in the air on two feet! If you want, make a turn of one hundred and eighty degrees as you turn in the air. (By now, you should have more than one open mouth staring at you!)
To sum things up, Stroller-Skating is a safe and fun way to enjoy in-line skating, and every beginning non-skater can do it. It's also a great way for moms or dads to get out with their kids, and new moms will find it a fun and easy way to lose those extra pounds gained during pregnancy.
About the Author
Jo Ann Schneider Farris, About.com’s
Figure Skating Guide and the author of HOW
TO JUMP AND SPIN ON IN-LINE SKATES, is a professional figure skating coach
She put on her first pair of ice skates in 1964 and her first pair of in-line skates in 1987. Jo Ann is a U.S. Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist, a United States National Medalist, a Certified Advanced Level 4 Coach with the International In-Line Figure Skating Association, and has coached figure skating since 1983. She is also owner of the Jump-Spin Skate Company.
Jo Ann and Family and Friends Stroller Skating 1994
Jo Ann had three "excuses" to Stroller-Skate: son, Joel Benjamin Farris (born in August of 1994) daughter, Rebekah Abigail Farris (born in April of 1996), and daughter, Annabelle Deborah Farris (born in July of 1999). Her husband, Dan Farris, became an expert Stroller-Skater.