Soul Slide on Inline Skates Tutorial

I’m Bujie, and I’ve been rollerblading for the past 16 years. In this soul slide tutorial, I demonstrate step-by-step how to do the soul slide on inline skates.

I, Kevin Bujie, demonstrating the soul slide, my favorite stopping technique on inlines

The soul slide is essential to learning the magic slide, an advanced inline skating speed-control technique. This post will focus on the soul slide.

It’s one of the quickest stopping methods in inline skating, without brakes. Some skaters on YouTube have demonstrated that the quickest stopping technique on rollerblades is the powerstop. And the soul slide is the second-fastest!

Also read: How to do the powerslide on inline skates

I Prefer the Soul Slide and Powerslide

I prefer stopping with the soul slide and powerslide while other skaters favor the powerstop. To each their own. In this inline skating tutorial (for intermediate skaters, BTW), I will show you how to do the soul slide on rollerblades for your benefit.

I’ve demonstrated in the YouTube video above how to perform this rollerblade trick. Asha at Skatefresh, a respected inline skate instructor, also offers great instructional videos on various inline skate maneuvers.

It’s a Soul Slide, Not a Soul Grind

The soul slide I demonstrated in the video above isn’t the same thing as the soul grind an aggressive skater might do on rails and ledges in a skate park.

In aggressive skating, inline skaters need specially designed skates (aggressive skates) that feature smaller wheels, a tough grinding block (H block), and a soul plate where the sliding and grinding happen.

The frame often has two small wheels (middle wheels, usually 47mm in diameter). And only two wheels are in contact with the ground.

You Can Use Any Type of Rollerblade to Soul Slide

You can use urban skates, speed skates, aggressive skates, and even fitness and recreational skates with a heel brake to perform the soul slide.

Wheel size: smaller wheels, larger wheels, and big wheels are OK for learning the soul slide. You can even do it on a rockered setup with wheels of different sizes. It doesn’t matter what type of wheel setup you have.

Whether your dream is to become a celebrated street skater or to become a super-slick urban skater, learning the soul slide helps a great deal.

Gear Up!

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 are massively endorsed. And here’s a list of other wrist guards skaters like.

The Soul Slide is an Unnatural Stance

soul slide stance
Soul slide stance isn’t a natural stance at all

There’s little natural about the stance required when learning the soul slide. Everything from a really deep knee bend to positioning your sliding foot at an angle of 45 degrees with the ground can feel pretty unnatural and exacting.

Your hip should be pretty flexible for this stance, too, and you need tons of leg strength to complete the slide successfully. Don’t freak out if your hips hurt or you feel a little exhausted or uncomfortable afterward.

The soul slide isn’t too hard once you learn the requisite mechanics and practice correctly and consistently.

Prerequisites for Learning the Soul Slide

Bujie doing one foot glide before doing soul slide
Bujie doing one-foot skating, an important drill

Before you can learn the soul slide, master the one-foot glide and get your overall balance to a comfortable place. Nearly all stopping methods on inline skates require you, the learner, to internalize this critical skill.

You must be able to not only balance correctly but also shift your weight to different positions without falling over. You aren’t ready for the soul slide until you’ve mastered the basic skills of rollerblading.

Step #1: Shift Your Body Weight Correctly

Bend your knees deep, keeping your bum as close to the ground as possible. This position requires tons of strength, but it’s doable.

Place the bulk of your body weight on the back foot and very little weight on the front foot. Also, keep the chest up, even though the upper body should lean a little forward. See the picture below.

Step #2: Do a Big Half Lemon Drop

an inline skater doing half lemons when learning the soul slide
Half lemon: roll out and then in to complete a half-lemon trajectory

One important inline skating drill when trying to master the soul slide is practicing half lemon drops along a straight line. Do a series of half lemon drops while keeping the skate on the support leg on the center edge. You’ll struggle with the soul slide if your rolling skate is on the inside edge or outside edge.

This drill helps familiarize yourself with the motion that comes before the actual slide begins. You’ll have a hard time half-lemoning if you have too much weight on that foot.

Do a big half-lemon drop, creating enough distance between this foot and the supporting foot. To make this happen, bend low and relax your hip muscles so they can power the half-lemons while not hindering the motion.

Step #3: Slide Diagonally Forward Until You Stop

a skater completing a soul slide, placing the sliding foot in front of the other
Do a diagonal forward slide, rolling your ankle in or out to make things super smooth

The final step entails pointing the toe in while pointing the heel out. This move requires quite a bit of control to perform.

However, if you push out the heel too hard, you’ll lose control and possibly crash. I’ve been teaching Peter (one of our skater-writers here at how to soul slide, and that’s a mistake I spotted a few times and helped him correct.

To initiate the slide, stick your ankle in or out, depending on what feels more comfortable to you. The wheelbase assumes a diagonal orientation, and you start sliding forward.

Another mistake Peter’s been making is placing the sliding foot too much to the side relative to the supporting one. The sliding skate should be in front of the rolling one.

He still struggles to get into this awkward stance, but at least he knows it’s the correct position.

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Learning How to 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, making sliding impossible. Work on your stance to correct this mistake and stave off frustration.

Mistake #2: Not Sticking the Ankle In or Out

When executing the sliding phase of the soul slide, bend the ankle of the sliding foot in or out. If you don’t bend your ankles enough, you’ll have a hard time performing the sliding part of this rollerblade stopping method.

Mistake #3: Not Creating Enough Distance Between the Skates

If the distance between the supporting foot and the sliding foot is too short, you’ve not bent your knees deeply enough. And you won’t slide easily or at all.

Get Good on Both Sides

All skaters have a stronger side and a weaker one. It’s natural to prefer learning new skills on your stronger side, but that’s not the best way to learn inline skating tricks.

Once you’re able to soul slide on your dominant side, try soul sliding with the weaker one until you can do it with finesse.

Practicing to become proficient on both feet is one of those things you do because it’s beneficial, not because it’s convenient.

Practice on Different Kinds of Surfaces

Begin learning soul-sliding on a relatively smooth surface. Get good enough on that surface and find a different kind of terrain.

Learn to soul-slide on rough asphalt, on slick surfaces, on slopes, in skate parks, and even on wet surfaces.

Peter discovered he could slide more easily on wet surfaces. However, skating on slippery surfaces when starting isn’t smart.

Put this stopping method to the test when going fast downhill and see how well it works. In my experience, the soul slide is one of the best stopping methods when skating down a slope at high speeds. I always pull this trick out of the bag when making an emergency stop.

Inline Skate Soul Slide Tutorial: Conclusion

The soul slide is a super effective way of managing speed on rollerblades. You no longer have to rely on the brake to stop.

With the technique laid out in this tutorial, you’ll learn how to control speed on inline skates without a heel brake safely and quickly.

There’s a learning curve involved, but that applies to everything worth learning. Keep practicing the right technique, and you’ll soon nail the soul slide.