Roller-skating lesson No. 1: Take a lesson, or it might be a long day at the rink

Skating can be great fun and exercise, but if you’re not a pro, let someone teach you a few tricks.

I HAVE TAKEN more beginner lessons than I care to count, and yet there I was, realizing yet again a fundamental rule when taking up a new sport: Find help.

My previous attempts at roller-skating were driven by family outings. What I learned over several open-skate sessions is that skating forward on my own is possible, though more challenging with a kid hanging on. Stopping, however, was nearly impossible, kid or no kid. That’s what walls are for, right?

But in one hour at Lynnwood Bowl & Skate, the instructors taught me stopping (forward and backward), crossovers, turning backward, turning forward, skating backward, derby start and derby stop.

Lynnwood Bowl & Skate

Take a lesson. Trust me.

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I showed up at the regular weekend beginner classes. I was pleasantly surprised to find three instructors working with a range of skill sets.

I started with the beginners, where Alex Pearson taught us to walk forward with skates in a V-shape. I wanted to learn to fall. “Oh no; go low!” Pearson told us, and we brought our hands to our knees when a fall was imminent.

After he watched me skate, I was graduated to another teacher, Shaun Kelly. I told him I needed to learn to stop. He showed me a lunge, dragging the back rubber stopper on the wood floor. It was so straightforward, I almost slapped my forehead.

He showed me how to turn backward by skating forward on one foot, then doing a quick turn onto the other foot. Easier said than done.

We worked on crossovers, tracing circles in the middle of the rink. He reminded me to put all my weight on one foot and to get comfortable lifting the other, an important skating principle. He left me to practice.

I felt like I was back in my childhood ice-skating days, working on technique. I did a figure 8,…

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