A Complete Guide To Skating

It’s a combination of arts and sport. Skating is like gliding on the surface. It goes beyond a ‘sport’ and captures imagination. Every turn, flip, jump or any other freestyle move is a reflection of one’s expressions, emotions and passion! That’s what skating is all about- the art and sport of ‘feeling free!’

Skating is an intense, popular sport that requires agility, balance and coordination. Invented in the 18th century, the sport has evolved to include roller, figure, ice, inline and various other kinds of skating styles.

Artistic and freestyle skating are mediums to express while competing. International Skating Union is global governing body, while Roller Skating Federation of India is the national governing body. Anup Kumar Yama and Avani Panchal are two major players in this field.

Gliding, Twisting and Turning- A Description of Skating

Gliding on the floor or in an ice-rink requires depth, precision, body balance, coordinated movements, control, agility and physical strength. All of this comes together with Skating, a popular sporting game that involves skates or gliding equipment with wheels. Skating is well-known, widely practiced sport around the world. Millions of children learn it every year. Thousands of them go on to compete in national-international tournaments.

For the purpose of sports and tournaments, two specific forms of skating are followed- roller skating and figure skating. Roller skating involves traveling on surfaces with gliding wheels. It is a lifetime fitness sport that builds cardiovascular endurance in young and old alike.


Once a recreational activity, roller skating has evolved into a quintessential sport, currently bidding for a place in 2020 Olympics. However, it has been played during winter Olympics, Special Olympics and in Asian Games.

The second popular form is figure skating, a sport that can involve teams, individuals or duos performing on figure skates on ice. The sport, which was first introduced in Olympics, 1908 has several disciplines. Outside of Olympics, tournaments can involve synchronized skating and four skating.

A relatively new sport for Indians, roller skating in particular is the field where the teams have witnessed success. Anup Kumar Yama and Avani Panchal have won medals for India in Asian Games when the sport was included in 2010. India even ranked among Top 5 in the medal table tally for skating. Special efforts have been made to popularize the sport within the country, to regulate it and develop champion players.

Exploring the Depths of Skating

Skating is a relatively newer sport, but for something as new as skating, the origins are relatively unknown. We explore it below.

  • The first recorded performance on roller skates was witnessed in 1743. The first skate invention, which can be considered as an inspiration for modern skates was seen in 1760 when John Joseph Merlin created the first line of inline skates. These skates included small wheels.
  • The popularity of roller skating soared when they were first used for ballet in 1818 Berlin.
  • A year later, the first roller skate design was patent. However, these skates were not manoeuvrable. This was also the period when inventors began to improve their skating designs
  • 1857 saw the opening of first roller skating rink. The rink first opened at The Strand in London.
  • The quad-skate was developed next. Designed by James Leonard Plimpton in the New York City, the first quad-skate was so successful that Public Skating rinks were opened in 1866, three years after the development of quad skate.
  • The design and style of the skates evolved over the years. A significant change was noticed in 1900, when Peck and Snyder Company patented inline skates with two wheels. Two years later, a public skating rink was opened. Called The Chicago Coliseum, this rink has over 7000 people waiting to enjoy the sport on the opening night.
  • 1979 was the year of remarkable development, when skates were redesigned for the purpose of ice-skating and ice-hockey training. These redesigned skates were heavily promoted years later by a company called Rollerblade. Inc.
  • The same company developed Active Brake Technology in Brakes to increase the effectiveness and safety of the skates. This change took place in 1993.
  • During 1980s-1990s, rollerblade brand of skates became so popular that its versions were produced in India. The country saw an upsurge in inline skates, which led to the popularity of the sports among children. While Roller Sports in India have been governed since 1955, the acceptance of the game came only after the development of Rollerblade skates.
  • Over the years, speed skating, roller skating, roller hockey and figure skating have become the most popular types of skating in the country. Ice Skating and Figure Skating is popular in areas like Ladakh, Kashmir and Shimla. A number of outdoor and indoor ice skating rinks have been developed in the country.

Development of Rules


The rules for different kind of skating events vary. Some of the rules pertaining to roller skating, figure skating and other international skating sport championships are discussed below.

  • For roller skating competitions, points are given on the level of skills. Maximum time for each skater is 90 seconds in level I. Skaters must attempt at least six of the ten skills and perform them in any order. A level II free-styles singles skater should perform 7 of the ten skills listed in level II. The level III player should perform three listed spins and three listed jumps to be scored. For level IV, skaters must attempt a combination of jumps and spins with skills for a maximum time limit of three minutes.
  • For roller skating free style events, pairs can have their own music selection. In either of the levels for free style, pairs must attempt a minimum of six items. Score is usually given from 0-100 based on the manner of the performance. Players are encouraged to add footwork to the performance.
  • For speed events, race starts with the gun or whistle and timers start their watches accordingly. Disqualification is possible, if a skater intentionally blocks, shoves, trips or hits another skater, if the skate is inside a pylon, if the skate is broken and it’s impossible to continue or if the skater receives physical assistance after the starting gun or whistle.
  • For figure skating, a certain set of skills have to be displayed by pairs, teams or individual on the base of their level.

Keep these factors in mind while skating

Skating championships have several levels and players are supposed to perform certain skills for each level. The major skills are listed below.

  • Free Styled Singles Level I Skills– Minimum of 6 out of ten skills have to be performed. This includes- roll forward on two feet in straight line, roll backwards, forward and backward scissors, cross in front, cross in behind, one foot inside-outside or forward edge in semi-circle, one foot backward edge or flat, three or more strokes, toe-stop stop.
  • Free Styled Singles Level II Skills- Minimum 7 of ten skills. This includes- bunny hop, two foot jump, spread eagle, Mohawk turn, shoot the duck or single legged sitting glide, forward spiral, spread eagle, two foot spin, one foot spin, t-stop, backward cross pulls.
  • Free Styled Singles Level III Skills– Five Jumps and spins are to be displayed. Spins include- any edge upright, any edge sit-spin, upright change upright and two foot spin. Jumps include- bunny hop, single Soochow, half or single flips, half or single mapes, waltz jump, Mohawk jump.
  • Free Styled Singles Level IV Skills- At least five jumps, three spins and three jump combination.
  • Pairs Free Style Level I Skills– Players must attempt a minimum of six items. This includes- contact scissors face to face, contact stop, contact team spin holding hands, contact cross in fronts, shadow two foot jumps, two foot spins, one foot upright spins, assisted two foot jump, assisted shoot the duck and assisted arabesque.
  • Pairs Free Style Level II Skills– Contact arabesque that is face to face or side to side, contact Mohawk jumps, assisted arabesque with woman backward, hip lift, stag lift, throw waltz jump, shadow waltz jumps, contact camel spins, pass over lift.

The norms of Skating


  • For artistic roller skating events, the competitive surfaces should be 70 feet wide and 170feet long. The surface can be made of wood, tile or smooth cement.
  • For speed roller skating events, 100 meter official championship tracks are used.
  • For roller skating hockey events, playing floor length to width ratio must be 2:1. The maximum size should be 35 meters by 17.5 meters. Floor markings should be appropriately done to avoid hassles.
  • Skaters must choose to wear quad roller skates with four wheels on two axles for roller blading events.
  • For artistic events, female skaters are supposed to wear leotards and sheer hose or tights. Male skaters should wear jumpsuits or stretch pants.
  • Protective gear such as knee pads, wrist guards and helmets are recommended for all players.
  • For speed events, competitors should wear shorts and matching shirts or one piece. They should not wear uniforms that are bare-midriff.
  • Helmets are required for speed events. However, wrist guards and knee pads are option.
  • For roller skating hockey events, the hockey stick must be constructed of durable tubular plastic and must be a maximum of 1.14 meters long. The ball should measure 9.75 inches in circumference, constructed of flexible, soft fabric so that it doesn’t bounce.
  • Hockey skating players must have required equipment, including helmets, facemasks and proper shields that ensure their safety.

Players must also choose the right kind of skates for their sporting event. Some of the popular skate types are discussed here.

  • Roller skates are the most popular type of skates. They roll along with four wheels. They have a special variety called the quad styled because the wheels are arranged in a way that’s similar to a typical car.
  • Inline skates have typically two to five wheels. While the wheels in quad skates are two at the front and two at the rear, inline skates have wheels arranged in a single line. Their recreational versions come with boots which offer foot and ankle support.
  • A special type of roller hockey skates are designed with the inline theme. These skates are crafted to hold abuse, extra wear and tear that’s quite popular in this form of sports.
  • Artistic Skates are designed for freestyle skating, dance skating or figure skating. They have smaller wheels and a good grip with soft, rubber toe top so that the skates can be adjusted to different height and to get the right kind of jump. They also have same type of boots as ice skater and they may feature lightweight, durable plate.

Know the Governing Bodies

These are the organizations that control the themes and laws of the game.

International Skating Union

Founded in 1892, International Skating Union is the governing body of ice skating, figure skating, speed skating and other kinds of skating events. The organization is located in Lausanne, Switzerland. Currently, it is headed by Ottavio Cinquanta.

The skating union is known for implementing some sweeping changes in 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. The organization sanctions and designates several skating competitions, including but not limited to World All-round Speed Skating Chamopnships.

It is also responsible for organizing short track speed skating championships, along with figure skating, junior figure skating, synchronized skating and four continents figure skating championships. Olympic winter games however, are not considered as ISU Championships.

Roller Skating Federation of India

Roller Skating Federation of India is the country’s governing body for roller skating. The organization, which was established in 1971 has since then conducted 51 National Championships for all age groups. Indian Team is 2nd in Asia. The governing body has also ensured that the team participates in major international or national events.

Ice Skating Association of India

Ice Skating Association of India is a governing body that handles ice skating, including figure skating. The organization is affiliated with the International Skating Union along with the Asian Skating Union. The governing body was established in March 2002. To promote ice skating in the country, the association has several state member affiliates, offers training and development services at major ice-rinks and conducts national level competitions to boost participation and athleticism.

Championships held for Skating

If you are thinking of practicing your skills in skating and are motivated to participated, then check out these competitions.


World All Round Speed Skating Championships

This is a series of speed skating events that are held annually. Organized by ISU, these events are used to determine the best all round speed skaters in the world. The organization has held championships for men since 1893 and events for women since 1936. Since 1996, events for men and women have been held at the same time and at the same venue.

Figure Skating at Olympic Games

5 events are played every four years in Figure Skating at Olympic Games. Organized since 1908, these games include ice dancing, men’s and female’s singles, pair skating among other events. The world championships are held before deciding the participants and the teams that could compete at the main event.

Roller Sports at Asian Games

Roller Sports have been played in the 2010 Asian Games in China. The games included artistic and speed events for men, women and teams in pairs. India was one of the participating nations, which won fifth rank among the participating countries. Roller sports are now being considered for Asian Games, Commonwealth and Olympic games.


Asian Roller Skating Championships

Every year, Asian Roller Skating Championships are organized by the country to promote the sport throughout the world. The skating championships include over five different kinds of events include roller skating and freestyle skating. Pair skating championships are popular as well.

National Roller Skating Championships

For years, the federation has successfully organized junior, sub junior and senior skating events in roller/inline hockey, artistic skating and speed skating categories. These events have over 1500 sportspersons from over 20 different states.

Personalities making a Mark in Skating

These people have marked a niche for themselves in skating.

Anup Kumar Yama

Anup Kumar Yama

A competitor for India, Anup Kumar Yama is an Indian roller skate athlete. He has won two bronze medals in 2010 Asian Games. These games, held in China showcased India’s capacity at roller skating. The medals he won were in men’s single free skating championship and pairs skating events. Yama was born into the family of athletes and has competed in the games since he was a child. He has also won several events at Asian Roller Skating Championship in categories like freestyle, figure, combined and dance artistic skating.

Avani Panchal

Avani Bharat Kumar Panchal is a young skating athlete who competes for India. She is a roller skating champion who bought laurels to the country by winning a bronze in pairs skating category at Asian Games 2010. She was paired with partner Anup Kumar Yama.

Beautiful, elegant and refined, skating is like a swirling dream, and if you are a dreamer who wishes to become a skater, then get in touch with YoGems who can help you achieve the greatest of heights in this sport!



Shivangi Gupta is a Content Writer Expert at YoGems. With years of experience in writing blogs, articles and guides, she writes about every sport. Also, she is good at sports and expert in shooting and won numerable awards at various events. She started receiving shooting training under her father at the age of 6. To get updated with her posts, stay tuned to the website.