Is Roller Skating A Sport?

Is Roller Skating A Sport

 The history of roller skating could be dated as far back as the 17th century when the very first roller skate was invented by Joseph Merlin from Belgium. The early roller skate models were distinguished by the arrangement of their wheels which was the single straight-line mode. 

This has since then been followed by a series of technological improvements such as the introduction of ball bearings, toe stops, and heel stops among others. In recent times, people seem to adopt the method of skating to and fro nearby places as an alternative means of transportation. Some also see it as a form of exercise. 

Irrespective of these, roller skating is enjoyed as a recreational activity by people of all ages. This has given rise to the question of whether roller skating is a sport or not. 

Well, is it? We are about to find out.


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What Is A Sport?

The word "sport" encompasses two major things without which the term may cease to exist: competition and physical activity. 

By implication, a sport is an activity of competitive nature that involves the use of skills and physical prowess. You cannot engage in sports without undergoing any physical activity. The latter as used in this context refers to bodily movement. But, can we say that all sports have a competitive nature? Maybe, maybe not. 

While most sporting activities could have their own "competitive sides," they can also be engaged in for fun and relaxation. Sports that are played for relaxation are more often than not categorized under "individual sports." These are sports that can be enjoyed alone, with or without a partner, and for recreational reasons. 

Competitive sports are also known as organized sports. They are played for formal reasons and are usually organized by a governing body, with the aim of entertaining people (the audience). It also involves two or more teams that try to outdo one another. 

When people participate in organized sports, there is usually a price at stake which also forms the basis for the competition. Thus, all physical activities are sports but not all sports are competitive.


When Does An Activity Qualify to be Called A Sport?

An activity can be described as a sport when;

  • It involves physical movement.
  • It requires the use of strength.
  • Energy is expended.
  • It has a competitive nature or is engaged in for recreation.
  • It improves physical fitness.
  • It contributes to the development of mental well-being.


What Is A Recreational Sport?

When the reason for playing is not related to contests but limited to mere participation, having fun, and socializing, then it is a recreational sport. 

This doesn't mean that the sports perceived as competitive cannot be played as recreational either. For instance, a football game between Manchester United and Liverpool is competitive. However, it doesn't mean that participating in a football match with your friends on a warm Sunday afternoon means you are competing with them.

Recreational sports are the most widely accepted type of physical activity worldwide. This is because while some participate in them on a professional level, there is an equally large population that exploits the same sport to meet their personal fitness needs. 

Recreational sports include one-man activities such as cycling, swimming, skating, and so on. Quite some team activities can also be played for recreation. These include football, basketball, relay races, and so on. More often than not, it depends on the perspective of the people participating in it.

In some parts of the world, participation in recreational sports is underrated and often perceived as activities meant for professional athletes alone. However, this is not so. Engaging in casual sports activities can go a long way in maintaining both physical and mental health. This could also help in cutting down on health care costs. Irrespective of age and gender, participation in recreational sports is a cheaper and healthier option to prevent the occurrence of serious diseases like diabetes. 

Is Roller Skating A Sport


 Can Roller Skating Be Considered A Sport?

A very effective way of answering this question is by checking to see if roller skating, as physical activity, meets the eligibility criteria of being a sport. 

  • Does roller skating involve any bodily movement?
  • Does it require the use of strength?
  • Is energy given off?
  • Can it be engaged in for recreation?
  • Can it fit in the professional athletics world?
  • Does it have any positive impact on physical and mental well-being?

With regard to what has been discussed so far, it's obvious that roller skating meets all the eligibility criteria. Hence, it can be considered a sport. 

Roller Skating involves moving on surfaces with the aid of roller skates.  

These are shoes designed to enable the skater to move easily on wheels. The shoes could also be designed with special attachments or bindings that fit onto them. As discussed earlier, the maiden design of the roller skate was an inline skate design. Following technological advancements, the inline skate design was later replaced with the Quad skate design which consists of four wheels.

Roller skating has always had the reputation of being not just a recreational sport but a fitness sport. The record has it that an hour of skating can help you burn up to 600 calories of fat, thereby reducing the risks of heart disease and weight-related diabetes. One of the best parts of participating in it is that it isn't age-restrictive. 

Both the younger and older generation can take advantage of it for building balance, coordination, and cardiovascular fitness. 

Under normal circumstances, roller skating should be done on specially designed platforms like roller rinks and skate parks. In recent times, the use of sidewalks and bike paths is becoming increasingly popular for roller skating.


Types of Roller Skating

1. Speed Skating

This is a form of ice skating in which the participants compete in a race. It is a competitive game that involves traveling over a specified distance on skates. Speed skating can be classified into long track speed skating, short track speed skating, and marathon speed skating. 

2. Roller Derby 

Roller Derby is a team sport consisting of two teams of 15 players each. The game idea involves two jammers, one from each team, who score points on behalf of their teams. The jammers are easily distinguished from the other members of the team by wearing a star on their helmets. There are also four blockers who skate in a counterclockwise direction on the rink. The other team members help out by hindering the jammer from the opposing team.

3. Roller Hockey 

The term Roller hockey encompasses the different types of hockey games played on a quad or inline skates. These include Quad hockey, Inline hockey, and Inline skater hockey. 

Quad hockey is also referred to as rink hockey, hardball hockey, or roller hockey and is played using quad-designed skates, curved sticks, and a ball. Just as the name implies, Inline hockey is played using inline-designed skates, traditional ice hockey sticks, and a puck. 

Inline skater hockey, on the other hand, is a European version of inline hockey in which a ball is used in place of a puck. Unlike the conventional hockey game which is a stick game played on an ice rink, roller hockey is a ball game played on a plastic-tiled rink using wheeled skates. While ice hockey is a winter game, roller hockey can be played anytime.

4. Artistic Skating

Artistic roller skating has to do with people performing while wearing roller skates. Quad skates are usually the preferred option for this sport. 

The various classifications of Artistic skating are discussed below. 

Dance (or Original Dance): This involves one dancer or a couple performing a musical medley with a preset theme. It is usually done in two sections. In the first section, the performers have to compulsorily perform a set dance. In the second section, they are allowed to choreograph an original routine.

Free dance: Here, the performers are allowed to choose their preferred music. Free dance can be performed by an individual dancer or a dance couple.
Figures: This is a one-man activity and it involves the dancer performing in line to a figure circle line on a specific edge. 

Couples Compulsory Dance: This involves two people who dance sequentially to a piece of music with a rising tempo. Here, the dance steps are preset and no jumps or spins are allowed.

Solo Compulsory Dance: This is directly opposite to the Couples Compulsory Dance and it involves only an individual performing a preset routine to a piece of music with a rising tempo. No jumps or spins are allowed here as well. 

Freestyle: Freestyle allows the performer to choose their preferred piece of music and also gets the liberty to decide on the routine. This style of dance involves jumps and spins.  

Pair (or Duo Free): The only difference between this and the freestyle artistic dance is that it involves two people.
Quartet: Just as the name sounds, a quartet is played by a total of four skaters. It is a synchronized skating routine and is done on ice. 

Is Roller Skating A Sport

5. Aggressive Inline Skating

Aggressive inline skating is also known as trick-based skating. It involves freestyling and performing tricks with a pair of specially designed roller skates. These skates have been modified with grind blocks between the wheels. The wheels also have a large surface area for better grip. 

Aggressive inline skating usually takes place with a lot of flips, jumps, and spins. A rink isn't appreciated for this purpose. Instead, aggressive inline skaters make use of skate parts or the streets.

6. Jam Skating

Jam Skating encompasses different skating styles. It is a combination (jam) of acrobatics, dance, and various other skating types.

7. Street Skating

This is the most common type of roller skating seen on major New York streets today. Here, it is more of a social gathering where the skaters are not committed to a specific skating technique and only do it for fun and relaxation. It is also known as Group Skating.

Is Roller Skating A Sport
Bottom Line

Roller Skating is a fun activity that can be enjoyed anytime and in any season. It is also a great form of exercise for the performers in which body coordination is of the essence. This helps to stretch the leg and thigh muscles, improve blood circulation and prevent major heart-related diseases. Depending on the type, it also offers a great form of entertainment for spectators and onlookers.