The soul slide is a prerequisite to learning the magic slide. Here, we’ll focus on the soul slide and not on the more advanced technique, though. Also, the soul slide is one of the quickest ways to stop on inline skates without brakes. Some skaters on YT have demonstrated that the quickest speed control technique on rollerblades is the powerstop. And the soul slide is the next fastest stopping method.
Also read: How to do the powerslide on inline skates
However, Bujie, our main inline skating expert, tells us that he prefers to stop with the soul slide and powerslide as opposed to the powerstop. To each their own. In this inline skating tutorial (for intermediate skaters BTW), Bujie will demonstrate how to do the soul slide on inline skates.
Peter, another Skating Magic member, will break down the process as best he can for your benefit. I’ll now let Bujue and Peter take over and teach you how to do the soul slide so you can skate more safely and enjoy this thrilling outdoor sport even more.
Peter, an intermediate level inline skater, takes over the blog post. And Bujie demonstrates on YouTube how to perform the soul slide. Asha also offers great instructional videos.
It’s a Soul Stop, Not a Soul Grind
The soul slide we’re about to show you isn’t the same thing as the the soul grind an an aggressive skater might do on rails and ledges in skate parks.
In aggressive skating, inline skaters need specially designed skates (aggressive skates) that feature smaller wheels and a tough grind plate and a soul plate where lots of sliding and grinding action happens.
The frame has two small wheels (middle wheels, usually 47mm in diameter). And only two wheels are in contact with the ground, for the most part.
But you can use urban skates, speed skates, aggressive skates with a flat setup, and even fitness skates and recreational skates with a heel brake to perform the soul slide.
Wheel size? Smaller wheels, larger wheels, and big wheels are OK for teaching yourself the soul slide. You can even do it on a rockered setup with wheels of different sizes. But it really doesn’t matter what type of wheel setup you have.
Whether you’re using new skates or an old pair pulled out of some attic, want to become a street skating pro, or want to join the rank and file of urban skaters, learn and practice the soul stop.
A large fall can happen unexpectedly, so wear protective gear. Put on a good certified skate helmet such as the Triple 8 Gotham or the S1 Lifer helmet. Also wear wide-coverage knee pads, elbow pads, and well-fitting wrist guards. If you’ve yet to invest in a nice pair of skating knee pads, here’s a list to check out.
And the best wrist guards for skating? The Fleximeter wrist guards come in massively endorsed, and here’s a list of wrist guards skaters of all disciplines like.
The Soul Slide is an Unnatural Stance
There’s little natural about the stance required when learning the soul slide. Everything from really deep knee bend to positioning your sliding foot at an angle of 45 degrees with the ground can feel pretty unnatural and exerting.
Your hip needs to be pretty flexible for this stance, and you need tons of strength to complete the slide successfully. Don’t freak out if you wind up with your hips hurting or feeling a little exhausted or uncomfortable. That said, the soul slide isn’t too hard once you learn the requisite mechanics and practice correctly and consistently.
Prerequisites to Learning to Soul Slide
Before you can learn the soul slide, master the one-foot glide and get your overall balance to a really comfortable place. Nearly all stopping methods on inline skates require you, the learner, to internalize this skill.
You must be able to not only balance correctly but also be able to shift your weight to different positions without falling over. You definitely aren’t ready for the soul slide unless you’ve mastered the basic skills of rollerblading.
Step #1: Shift Your Body Weight Correctly
Bend your knees real deep, keeping your bum as near to the ground as possible. Assuming this strange position requires tons of strength, but it’s doable. Place the bulk of your body weight on the back foot/support foot and very little weight on the front foot. Also, keep the chest up even though the upper body should lean a little forward.
Step #2: Do a Big Half Lemon
One drill you can do when trying to master the soul slide is practicing half lemons along a straight line. Do a series of half lemons while keeping the support foot on the center edge. Not on the inside edge or outside edge.
The purpose of this drill is to familiarize yourself with the motion that comes before the actual slide starts. You’ll have a hard time half lemoning if you have too much weight on that foot.
Do a big half lemon, creating lots of distance between this foot and the support foot. To make this happen, bend really low and relax your hip muscles so they can power the half lemons and not hinder the motion.
Step #3: Slide Diagonally Forward Until You Stop
The final step entails pointing the toe in while pointing the heel out. This move requires quite a bit of control to perform. If you push out the heel too hard, you’ll certainly lose control and possibly crash. Bujie’s been teaching me how to soul slide, and that’s a mistake he spotted and helped me correct.
This step involves the actual slide. To initiate the slide, stick your ankle in or out depending on what feels more comfortable. It’s a diagonal roll, but you’re also sliding forward.
I slide with the right foot, and one mistake I’ve been making is having the sliding foot a little too much to the side. But I’ve since learned the sliding foot should be in front of the rolling foot.
3 Mistakes Skaters Make When Learn to Soul Slide
There are three mistakes that skaters make when practicing the soul slide.
Mistake #1: Knee Bend isn’t Deep Enough
Mistake #2: Not Bending the Ankles
Mistake #3: Maintaining too short a distance between the sliding and supporting foot
Mistake #1: Knee Bend Not Being Deep Enough
Lots of skaters make this mistake and keep wondering why the soul slide proves elusive for them. When you fail to bend your knees deeply enough, the front foot assumes an angle that’s too steep, and this makes slides impossible. You’ll be frustrated forever unless you work on your stance and correct this mistake.
Mistake #2: Not Bending the Ankles
When it comes to executing the soul sliding phase of the soul slide, the ankles need to be bent either in or out. If you don’t bend your ankles enough, you’ll struggle with the sliding part of the technique.
Mistake #3: Not Creating Enough Distance Between the Skates
If the distance between the supporting and sling foot is too short, that means you’ve not bent your knees deeply enough. Which means you won’t slide as easily or at all.
Get Good on Both Feet
It’s normal for skaters to have a stronger side and a weaker one. And it’s natural to prefer learning stuff on your stronger side. But that’s not the best way to learn inline skating tricks of any kind.
Once you’re able to soul slide on your dominant foot, try soul sliding with the weaker foot until you can do it with ease. Practicing to become proficient on both feet is one of those things you do because they’re the right thing to do and not necessarily because they feel good.
Practice on Different Kinds of Surfaces
It’s best to learn soul sliding on a relatively smooth surface. But as soon as you good enough on that surface, find a different kind of terrain and practice there. Learn to soul slide on rough asphalt, on slick surfaces, on slopes, in skate parks, and even on wet surfaces.
I found I could slide easier on a wet road, but there’s many reasons not to skate in wet conditions or extremely slippery surfaces starting out.
Also, try putting this powerful stop to the test when going fast down hills and see how well it works. In my experience (Bujie agrees), the soul slide is one of the best stopping methods when skating down at high speeds. It’s a great trick to pull out of the bag when you have to do an emergency stop.
Inline Skate Soul Slide Tutorial: Conclusion
There you have it! How to do the soul slide on rollerblades. You no longer have to rely on the brake of your skates to stop. With the technique laid out in this tutorial, you should learn how to control speed on inline skates without a heel brake safely and fast.
Well, you’ll likely struggle at first. But if you keep applying the right technique and practicing like there’s no tomorrow, you’ll soon master this stopping trick. Happy skating!