What is Roller Skating?

roller skating

Roller skating is an activity that requires both balance and coordination. The sport itself consists of strapping skates onto one’s feet and rolling across a hard surface. These skates are made up of four wheels that are fastened onto a shoe-like product. Roller skates come in two different designs, known as quad or inline skates. Quads have two wheels in the front and two wheels in the back, whereas inlines have all four wheels in a vertical row.

Roller skating can be done for leisure, exercise, or competition. This sport can be performed in many settings. Some of the most common places to practice skating include indoor roller rinks, parks, residential neighborhoods, and skate parks.


roller skating history

Roller skating has a long history of both trial and error. Roller skates were first introduced by inventor John Joseph Merlin. The year was 1760 and Merlin’s design was deemed both clever and flawed. The major design flaw was that it did not include any type of brake. Merlin’s initial invention spiraled and influenced future inventors with like minds.

Over a century later in 1863, the world was introduced to both quad skates and roller skating rinks. Thanks to the inventor James Plimpton, roller skating was completely revamped and marketed as an entertaining hobby for both men and women. This is something that has translated throughout time. It is still true today that roller skating is a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy.

Playing Surface

Roller Skating Playing Surface

Roller skating is distinctive in the fact that it does not require one specific playing environment. This sport can be practiced on hard sturdy surfaces. This means that roller skating can ensue nearly anywhere. The most popular places that roller skaters use are skates parks, public parks, and indoor roller rinks.

Roller Skating Equipment

Roller Skating Equipment

There are few pieces of equipment necessary to obtain in order to participate safely in roller skating

Here is the essential roller skating equipment you should have:

  • Elbow Pads
  • Helmet
  • Knee Pads
  • Roller Skates
  • Wrist Guards


Although roller skating is mostly a leisure activity, there is a competitive side to this sport which is called roller derby. Competitive roller derby is considered a full contact sport. The game consists of two teams going head to head with the main objective being to score points by racing around an oval track.

Each team is allowed up to five players on the track at once, bringing the total to ten players between both teams. These players are split into two positions. One player from each team will be known as the “jammer,” while the other four will take the title of “blockers.” The main  objective for the jammer is to score points by lapping their way past the blockers. While in contrast, it is the blocker’s main objective to prevent the opposing team’s jammer from passing them.

Rules and Regulations

Roller Skating Rules and Regulations

Considering there are not many rules surrounding leisure roller skating, there are a few on the sport’s competitive roller derby side. While roller derby is full contact, there are still rules regarding the use of the competitor’s bodies.

Here are the most important roller derby skating rules you should know:

  • Do not utilize your appendages in order to make brute force contact with the opposing team. These include your head, arms, hands, legs, and feet.
  • Competitors are not allowed to initiate contact to the opposing competitor’s head, back, or legs.
  • Plays that are illegal or dangerous will always result in a penalty for the player at fault.


Roller skating is a sport that requires balance and a certain degree of endurance. Although there are not many specific strategies involved in this activity, there are some techniques that are worth learning in order to become an efficient skater. These techniques surround the categories of tricks, jumps, and even different types of maneuvering methods.

Here are the most important roller skating strategies you should know:

  • Crossover Backwards
  • Crossover Forward
  • T Stop
  • Pivot Turn


Roller Skating Lingo

Here is the common lingo and slang in roller derby skating:

  • Blocker: The players who form a pack. There are four from each team on the track at a time.
  • Established Position: Where a player is located on the track.
  • Jammer: The player that scores points for a team. There is one from each team on the track at a time.
  • Linking: When skaters interlock their arms in order to create an obstacle for those trying to score points.
  • Pack: A large group of blockers from either team. Blockers must be a close distance from each other in order to be considered a pack.
  • Trip Through The Pack: When a jammer breaks through the pack of blockers in an attempt to score points.


Roller Skating Players

Roller derby skating is creative in the sense that players get to express themselves in many aspects. Many athletes choose to take on personas that include spunky names and flashy costumes.

Here are the most famous roller derby skating players you should know:

  • Bonnie Thunders (Gotham Girls Roller Derby)
  • Christy Demons (Victorian Roller Derby League)
  • Fifi Nomenon (Texecutioners)
  • Stefanie Mainey (London Roller Girls)


There are roller derby skating leagues in nearly every state. The sport is so popular that these leagues span across six different continents.

Here are the most popular roller skating leagues in the Tri-State region that you should know:

  • Albany All Stars
  • Central New York Roller Derby
  • Connecticut Roller Derby
  • Enchanted Mountain Roller Derby
  • Gotham Girls Roller Derby
  • New Jersey Roller Derby


The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association holds competitions annually. These international  tournaments put some of the best roller derby leagues on display, placing them head to head in order to declare a champion. Unfortunately, due to Covid 19 they have not been able to conduct these tournaments since 2019.

Here are the most recent tournaments in roller derby skating:

  • International WFTDA Playoffs: The top 28 leagues in the world are invited to compete to earn their spot in the championships.
  • International WFTDA Championships: The top ten leagues compete for the international title of WFTDA derby champion.


What is Roller Skating?

Roller skating is a leisure activity in which individuals wear skates in order to roll across a hard surface. Although it is mostly a pastime, roller skating can become competitive through the participation of roller derby.

What skills do roller skating require?

Considering that roller skating involves strapping wheels to one’s feet, it takes a lot of balance and coordination in order to perform. With time and practice it is very much possible to possess these skills.

Some of the more popular roller skate brands include Moxi Skates and Impala Skates with skates ranging in price from $99.00 to $449.00.

Do I have to wear protective gear when roller skating?

Yes, skaters are always encouraged to partake in gearing up prior to engaging. When choosing to wear protective gear, you’re protecting your body from injury and enhancing your experience by being and thinking safely. Practicing safety is always the first step to any sport.