Inline Skating Styles and Disciplines

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An Introduction to Inline Skate Cross

Inline Racing on an Assault Course. © All rights reserved by Seba News

Find An Inline Sport That Is Just Right For You

The inline skating disciplines include many recreational, fitness and competitive activities, and can even be used as a form of green transportation. Inline skating is a great option for anyone who is looking for a sport, because it can be done at almost any location and at nearly any time of day. When you have your own skating equipment, most paths, parks, courts, driveways and trails will provide wonderful free training areas. The kind of skating that interests you will determine the type of training, skates and gear you will need.

Use this guide for a brief overview of inline skating sports. If you are not sure that your interests will be dedicated to a specific skating discipline, start by building a good foundation in recreational or fitness skating activities.

Skate cross is an extreme skating race that follows four inline skaters as they charge around a skatepark laid out in a track design.

If you would like to try extreme or aggressive skating in a race format, skate cross or bladercross might be the right sport for you.

The skate cross racing format is pretty simple. As many as four inline skaters start a race from the top of a narrow, inclined assault course - dodging obstacles and each other along the way - and whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner.

Since many aggressive skating stunts and structures are used, safety and the use of protective gear and protective clothing is recommended. Stunts, tricks, and maneuvers through an assault course require a very advanced level of skating skills and a thorough knowledge of how to fall safely.

Skate cross activities are attractive to thrill-seeking aggressive and urban inline skaters of all ages who like to participate in skate cross competitions. Occasionally, quad skaters participate in skate cross activities, too.

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An Introduction to Recreational Inline Skating

Discover Social Activities on Inline Skates. Photo © Jan Rysavy,

Inline skating includes recreational and social activities, as well as local transportation. Learn about the fun and benefits of recreational inline skating.

Inline skating for fun includes many social activities for skaters of all ages and skating levels. It is the most popular form of inline skating and is perfect for almost everyone, including skaters from other disciplines. Recreational skating can be as simple as a roll around the block or a ride down a local bike trail.

  • Skating party weekends

  • International skate festivals

  • Weekly group skates

  • Individual street skating routes

  • Urban trail or path skating

  • Rural trail or path skating

  • Indoor skating at rinks, centers or arenas

Recreational inline skating can be done alone or as part of a group or family activity. If you need someone to skate with, some of the best places to meet other skaters include online message boards, Internet chat rooms for athletes, roller skating clubs, weekly group skating events and organized skating and travel tours.

If you think you would like rolling on a city path, a tour on a country road or even entering a fun race at a festival once in a while, recreational skating is good choice. As soon as you find suitable inline skates, master your basics and can glide and stop, there will be an activity in this category that is just right for you.

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An Introduction to Inline Fitness Skating

Skate Your Way Into Good Health. Photo © Bonnie Schupp,

Inline fitness skating can help you get or stay in shape and have fun while you are doing it.

Inline fitness skating combines serious skating for medical, mental or physical benefits with fun skating for pure pleasure. Fitness skating is a great low-impact replacement for running, because you can burn lots of calories without wear-and-tear on your joints. Regardless of your fitness program, fitness skating can be of great benefits as an addition to your existing exercise routine.

  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Weight loss and maintenance
  • Stress reduction
  • Aerobic cardiovascular fitness and endurance
  • Anaerobic muscle development

Inline fitness skating is one of the easiest to get to, low-impact, high aerobic sports you’ll find. Since it’s fun and provides opportunities for socialization and networking, most fitness and recreational inline skaters roll for longer periods of time than participants in other similar activities.

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An Introduction to Street Skating

Street Skating is a Social Tour on Wheels. Photo © Joerg Reimann,

Street skating is a group activity done with inline or quad skates on public roads. These events usually have pre-planned routes and supervision for safety.

Street skating is a group social, tour or sometimes fund raising activity done on quad or inline roller skates along public thoroughfares. Street skates are usually organized by a host group, club or team and have pre-determined scenic routes as well as rules for safety and road etiquette.

Most street skating events are free and many are recurring social activities for the participants. Street skates in tourist destinations are often used as a safe way for visitors to see the sights, meet locals with a common interest and get a little exercise, too. Street skating organizers usually welcome most skating levels as long as the skater has enough stamina to keep up with the group and can maneuver and stop safely.

Since some street skates include hundreds of participants, skate patrols often help supervise the group members for the safety of the skaters.

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An Introduction to Inline Speed Skating

A Sport for Those With a Need for Speed. Photo © Michael Klenetsky,

Speed skaters share one thing - the need for speed.

Inline speed skating is a very competitive international sport that can be conducted using short or long distance races that are held on a variety of surfaces including rinks, sports facilities, outdoor road circuits and banked tracks. In this inline sport the athletes wear high-tech inline speed skates and aerodynamically designed skin suits which are both designed to facilitate speed. Safety helmets are always worn and gloves are added for road competitions.

People choose inline speed skating activities for many reasons:

  • Speed skating is fun
  • Speed skaters want to achieve fitness goals
  • Racing has social benefits
  • Medals can be won and records can be broken
  • There are many opportunities to travel
  • Speed skating can be a family activity
  • Racing is an on-going challenge
  • Racing fulfills a need for speed

Speed skaters can join a team, skate with friends or skate alone. Equipment and gear can be expensive, but new entry level skates or carefully selected used equipment is affordable. Your team will tell you where to get skinsuits and other official gear. You should learn the basics first, then enjoy years of skill development and athletic achievements as an inline speed skater.

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An Introduction to Inline Marathon Skating

Marathon Skaters Are All Over the World. Photo © Lya Cattel,

Over 2,490 years ago Phidippides ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to alert the city about a military victory. His trip would have been easier on inlines.

Marathons are sweeping the whole inline skating world. There are training programs designed to help athletes prepare to skate marathons, and many marathons have thousands of inline skating participants. Although marathons attract many competitive and professional skaters, the majority of marathon participants are recreational and fitness skaters.

Much like inline speed skating, inline marathon racing is a great low impact aerobic activity. Inline marathons are usually conducted using 26 mile distance races, although some events offer half-marathons to accommodate new skaters and youth.

People choose inline marathon skating as their sport for many of the same reasons that they choose speed:

  • Marathon skating is fun
  • Marathon skaters want to achieve fitness goals
  • Racing has international social benefits
  • Medals can be won and records can be broken
  • There are many opportunities to travel
  • Marathon skating can be a family activity
  • Marathon skating is an on-going challenge
  • Marathons also satisfy a need for speed

Marathon participants can represent a team or sign up as an individual. Equipment can be expensive, but new entry level skates or carefully selected used equipment is affordable and marathon sportswear and gear is available from many skinsuit manufacturers. You should learn the basics first, then enjoy all of the local, regional, national and international marathon skating opportunities.

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An Introduction to Inline Figure Skating

Learn About Figure Skating On Dry Land. Photography © Raniero Corbelletti -

Inline figure skating is a roller sport which includes competitive and cross-training activities for ice and roller sports enthusiasts.

Roller sports include inline figure skating on skate frames that support 3 or 4 wheels in a line with a rubber toe-stop or toe-pick, mounted on figure skating boots. The popularity of inline figure skating has grown with the development of high quality inline figure skating equipment that allows skaters to perform difficult maneuvers.

In this skating sport, the competitors execute the same program requirements that ice skaters use - only on inline skates. Inline figure skaters around the world are now performing double and triple jumps, a range of spins, interesting choreography and all of the senior level dances while using inline skates. Ice figure skating federation members often use inline figure skating for cost effective off-ice training. Many inline figure championships are combined with roller figure skating, since both disciplines can use the same type of skating surface with similar free skating, dance and creative events.

Roller and ice enthusiasts choose inline figure skating for many reasons:

  • Inline figure skating is fun
  • Inline figure skating can be done on many surfaces at many locations
  • Inline figure skaters can achieve cross-training goals
  • Inline figure has competitive opportunities
  • There are opportunities to travel
  • Inline figure can be an on-going non-competitive activity

Inline figure skaters can join a club, skate with friends or skate alone. Inline figure skates are expensive, but new entry level skates or carefully selected used equipment is affordable. You should learn the basics first, then benefit from cross-training or competitive activities in inline figure skating.

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An Introduction to Freestyle Slalom Skating

Perform Tricks, Stunts and Dance Around Cones. Photo © Lance Brown

Freestyle slalom skating is a competitive and fun sports activity that can be skated on a variety of surfaces.

Freestyle slalom skaters perform tricks, stunts and dance-like maneuvers around a straight line of equally spaced cones. This sport is good for skaters with rhythm and fast, precise footwork. Skaters choose freestyle slalom as their sport because it is fun and can be skated on a variety of surfaces as either a competitive or non-competitive activity.

Freestyle skating has four main elements:

  • Freestyle Slalom
  • Speed Slalom
  • Free Jump
  • High Jump

Freestyle slalom can be done with inline skates or quad skates, but today the inline executions are the most popular. Beginners can learn on recreational skates with the heel brake removed, but will eventually need slalom skates.

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An Introduction to Inline Hockey Skating

Inline Hockey is a Popular Year-Round Sport. Photo Courtesy of Federation International de Roller Sports (FIRS)

Inline hockey is a good recreational or competitive sport for skaters of any age.

Inline hockey is a lot like ice hockey. But no ice is needed since the game can be played on many smooth surfaces that allow the puck to slide and provide traction for inline hockey wheels. The game is played by two teams, consisting of four skaters and one goalie, on a rink divided in half by a center line, with a goal net at each end of the rink. The game is played in three 15-minute periods.

Inline hockey is a good recreational sport for adults or kids of any age or gender who want a team activity that requires a combination of speed, maneuverability and quick thinking. In order to play either recreational, cross-training or professional inline hockey, players need special inline skates and other gear:

  • Inline hockey skates
  • Elbow pads
  • Helmet and protective gear
  • Hockey stick
  • Hockey puck

Inline hockey is known as a recreational or competitive sport, but it can also become a training option for ice hockey players during the off-season.

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An Introduction to Aggressive Inline Skating

There Are Three Aggressive Skating Categories. Photo © Serega,

Aggressive skaters enjoy finding ways to defy gravity in any way humanly possible.

Aggressive inline skating is a form of inline skating where stunts and tricks like jumps, grinds, slides and flips are the foundation for all of the skating maneuvers. Aggressive skaters slide on edges and ledges, jump over barriers, fly around and onto structures, rotate in the air like gymnasts and defy gravity in any way humanly possible. These maneuvers can be very dangerous, which is what gives this skating discipline an extreme, sometimes called "X," sport classification.

There are three types of aggressive inline skating. Vert skating includes aerial stunts and maneuvers in a half pipe structure that becomes vertical at the top. Street skating is when city street, plaza and campus objects or architectural elements are used as skating surfaces and take-off points for aggressive tricks. Park skating uses special areas at indoor and outdoor skate parks for aggressive stunts.

Aggressive skating and safety are an unusual combination, so more attention should be given to the use of protective gear for this stunt based sport. Skaters usually wear long loose jeans which look cool and allow unrestricted movement, but the heavy fabric weight also provides an extra layer of protection from abrasions. Special skates and boots have been developed to accommodate sliding the skate surface on rails and ledges. These stunts, tricks, and maneuvers require a very advanced level of skating skills and a thorough knowledge of how to fall safely to perform them properly and with some degree of safety.

Aggressive inline skating activities are attractive to younger skaters and thrill-seekers who do it for recreation or participate in extreme sports competitions.

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An Introduction to Urban Inline Skating

Skating for Thrilling Urban Transit. Photo © Zenon Ziembiewicz, stock.xchng

If your aggressive skating leaves the park and is used more like alternative transportation, you are an urban skater.

Urban inline skating is a discipline that merges aggressive and recreational skating. Urban skaters use aggressive maneuvers to travel through cities on a combination of streets, sidewalks and available structures to reach a destination using the shortest or fastest methods possible.

Urban inline skating is also called free skating or free riding and incorporates aggressive styled tricks including sliding, grinding and jumping. They use firm boots for good support like the aggressive skaters, short frames for maneuverability like slalom skaters use, but often need bigger wheels for a little more speed since they are really using these skates for transportation.

Like aggressive skating, safety and the use of protective gear and protective clothing is recommended for this stunt based form of transportation. Loose jeans will allow unrestricted movement, and the denim fabric will provides an extra layer of protection from abrasions. These stunts, tricks, and maneuvers through the city will require a very advanced level of skating skills and a thorough knowledge of how to fall safely.

Urban inline skating is a great activity for young or young-at-heart thrill-seekers who can do it for recreation, transportation and a unique way to get away from urban traffic. It is important for urban skaters to know their own local laws governing traffic and safety issues for inline skaters, bikes and other human-powered vehicles.

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An Introduction to Off-Road and All-Terrain Inline Skating

Skating Beyond the Smooth Road. Photo © GateSkate, Inc.

Off road and all terrain skating is a combination of mountain biking, skiing and inline skating squeezed into one roller sport.

Off-road and all-terrain skating are good activities for those who need an exciting inline skating sport without becoming an aggressive inline skater. Off road and all terrain athletes use special skates with over-sized and often pneumatic wheels that allow them to skate on dirt paths, sand, mountain trails and rocky roads.

Off road inline skating is exciting and fun for people who want to try skating on a variety of outdoor landscapes.

  • People who love extreme sports
  • Skaters who like new adventures
  • Anyone who enjoys skiing or mountain biking
  • People who enjoy off-road activities

All terrain inline skates include several types of skate with a soft or hard boot and a reliable closure system. There are also models that are attached to your shoes or boots. Most all terrain skates have a long wheelbase and pneumatic wheels that can roll over many surfaces. Some models even come with a hand activated braking system for speed control easy stopping. These off road inline skates ride over smooth or rough terrain and let you go where inline skating could not go before.

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An Introduction to Nordic Inline Skating and Cross-Skating

Cross-Country Skiing On Wheels. Photo © Val Thoermer,

Nordic inline skating is also called Nordic blading or cross-skating, and it is the cross-country skiing of roller sports.

Nordic skating, sometimes called cross-skating, is inline skating with special poles to help your skates go faster. Nordic skating uses a technique very similar to the technique that cross-country skiers use. The pole thrusting, which can also be used for cross-country walking, adds extra speed to inline skating, helps to build upper body strength, increases calories burned, and provides a great backup plan for skaters who want to use the poles for extra support and to assist safe stopping.

Whether you are a new or experienced skater looking for an activity or a freestyle skier looking for off-season training, Nordic skating is a good workout for almost all of the major muscle groups.

  • Nordic skating can be done on almost any surface, on-road or off-road.
  • There are special inline skates for serious Nordic skaters that are like a skate-ski.
  • Most other fitness or off-road skates will also work, depending on the skating surface.

As the name suggests, Nordic inline skating activities were developed in Finland. In Germany and Northern Europe popularity is growing because of the range of fitness benefits. At this time, Nordic skating is not a big competitive activity. But many fitness enthusiasts will enjoy the all-around exercise benefits that this discipline has to offer.

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An Introduction to Downhill Inline Skating

Downhill Skaters Need Advanced Skating Skills. Photo © Marcio Eugenio,

Thrill seekers, skiers and speed demons will like downhill inline skating.

Speed enthusiasts, thrill seekers like Jean-Yves Blondeau and athletes looking for cross training activities for skiing are good candidates for downhill inline skating activities. Downhill inline skating is a variation of the inline roller sports that is similar to the Alpine downhill ski racing and one of many gravity sports. The biggest difference is that these racers cover a downhill distance on paved mountain roads using inline skates instead of skis on a snow covered mountain.

Technical Downhill

Technical downhill skating requires inline skating down steep city streets. This downhill discipline is done with or without using ski poles and demands perfect turns on each curve of the road to prevent skidding.

Downhill Inline Racing

In downhill inline racing, four to six racers start each race at the same time, so drafting and passing strategies are a very important part of each race. Any athlete who chooses a downhill inline skating discipline should understand that advanced skating skills are required, including turning, braking and balancing at speeds that can easily reach 35mph and in some cases have gone over 75mph.

Downhill Governing Bodies and Organizations

There are several downhill sports governing bodies and organizations. The International Gravity Sports Association (IGSA) is the world sanctioning body for extreme gravity sports racing, including street luge, downhill skateboarding, classic luge, inline skating and gravity bike events. The International Inline Downhill Association (IIDA) is the organization that was established as the world sanctioning body of inline downhill skating roller sports. The International Downhill Federation (IDF) is a democratic, non-profit organization that regulates and promotes the downhill skateboard racing sports. The International Downhill Racing Association (IDRA) is a grassroots nonprofit organization for downhill street luge and long skateboard enthusiasts.

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An Introduction to Inline Kite Skating

Kite Skaters Use Wind Power to Travel. Photo © Bob Childs and

Kite skating began around 1990 and is one of the extreme inline skating sports that really allows you to fly on round wings.

Kite skating is an extreme inline skating activity that lets a skater travel at speeds of up to 60 mph using wind power and a strong kite. In 1992, kite skating pioneer Bob Childs built a pair of special skates using Rollerblade boots and scooter wheels called the Wheels Of Doom. He has been participating in kite traction events that used to cater to kite buggies ever since. Today, this skating sport is done on parking lots, dry lake beds, fields and beaches at events all over the world.

Kite skating will appeal to skaters who want to try skating on a variety of outdoor landscapes, love extreme sports and enjoy off-road activities. The popularity of this sport is growing, and it is most popular in America, Europe, South Africa and Australia. There are currently no national or international events, but kite skaters travel around the world to participate in kite buggy events.

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An Introduction to Inline and Roller Soccer

Roller Soccer is an Exciting and Fast Game. Photo © digitallex

When soccer is played on inline or roller skates it becomes roller soccer.

Roller soccer is a version of regular soccer that uses quad or inline skates as the footwear of choice. The addition of skates makes roller soccer faster and more exciting than regular soccer.

Roller soccer is a good game to try on inline skates, since the basic game is easy enough for almost any skater with good basic skills to be able to control the ball. Roller soccer games are played with a standard soccer ball in indoor or outdoor rinks. The level of player contact is similar to off-skate soccer, but the speed of the game will remind you of hockey. Parents sometimes worry, but roller soccer can be a very safe sport when properly supervised. Especially since there are no sticks or rails used.

In addition to a smooth indoor or outdoor playing surface with goals, new players need good basic inline skates and sturdy protective gear:

  • Inline skates with a shorter wheelbase
  • Elbow pads
  • Helmet and protective gear
  • Soccer ball

The sport is played all over the world, and since it is not a contact sport, males and females can comfortably play in the same games together. Inline soccer players can organize an official team or drop in for recreational games. Equipment isn't expensive, and almost anyone can enjoy local, regional, national and international inline or roller soccer skating activities.

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An Introduction to Inline WindSkating

You Can Try Inline WindSkating with a Skate Sail. Photo © Jamie Budge,

Wind power allows anyone with basic balance on a skateboard or inline skates to wind skate with light weight skate sails.

A combination of surfing, sailing, skating and skateboarding lead to the development of wind skating. This sport was created by Jamie Budge of the WindSkate company, a surfer and skateboarder from Santa Monica, California. Budge’s idea was to use a thin plastic skate sail with a 12-foot mast and eight-foot wood or aluminum boom that is manipulated by hand. This configuration works in any parking lot, playground or other large smooth area that can catch a good wind. Not every steering maneuver that works for a sail will work for wind skating, but if you fold and unfold the sail, pump into the wind, arch against the sail and tack into the wind the sail will propel you along at about 20 miles per hour. Skaters have even been clocked at speeds as high as 55 mph.

Anyone with basic balance on a skateboard or roller skates can assemble a sail and learn to wind skate in just minutes with these feather weight skate sails that weigh just 6 to 8 pounds. The lightness of the sail and the low friction of your skate wheels make it easy for skaters with intermediate skills or higher.

Wind skaters are usually outdoor athletes who like like fast sports and enjoy road and open area skating activities. Wind skaters should not be confused with kite skaters, who are a little more extreme, skate on rougher terrain and use off-road and all-terrain skating equipment.

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An Introduction to Inline Roller Basketball

Shoot Some Hoops On Your Inline Skates. Photo ©

Inline basketball is fun and provides a challenging moderate impact aerobic activity and roller sport.

Tom LaGarde, an ex-NBA player and Olympic gold medal winner, started playing roller basketball around 1992 in the United States. Then, in 1999 six Dutchmen came to New York and developed the first team to participate in the official Rollerbasketball World Championship that was not U.S. based. Teams from the Netherlands and Portugal came to the championship the following season, and in Germany skaters were experimenting with basketball on inline skates. The sport continued to grow on inlines, and now thrives in Germany, the Netherlands and other countries as well.

Inline basketball (also still called roller basketball) is almost the same as regular basketball – only it is played on inline skates. Inline basketball is a good recreational sport for adults or kids of any age or gender with good basic skating skills who want a team activity that includes a combination of speed, jumping, maneuverability and fast thinking. Much like off-skates basketball, inline basketball is a social activity as well as a competitive sports challenge. Inline basketball can be played outdoors on courts, lots and streets or in any gymnasium or sports center with enough space for the court, two baskets and two teams of four players each.

In addition to a smooth indoor or outdoor playing surface with baskets, players need good basic inline skates and sturdy protective gear:

  • Inline skates with a shorter wheelbase
  • Elbow pads
  • Helmet and protective gear
  • Basketball

Inline basketball players can represent an official team or drop in for recreational games. Equipment isn't very expensive, and almost anyone can enjoy local, regional, national and international inline basketball skating activities.

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An Introduction to Roller Cricket

Cricket is a Fast-Paced Skating Activity Roller Cricket. Image © pictafolio,

Roller cricket is a good competitive sport option for adults or kids of any age.

Roller cricket combines skating with cricket skills and has produced many new roller sports youth participants. In this game, all athletes play the batting, bowling and fielding positions on inline or quad roller skates. All that is needed is skates, balls, bats and a playing surface. This skating sport is a good competitive option for adults or kids of any age and can provide a good fitness skating workout or recreational option, too.

What Do You Need?

In addition to a smooth indoor or outdoor playing surface with markings, new players need:

  • Either inline or quad roller skates
  • Sturdy protective gear
  • Cricket balls and bats

The basic concept of a skating cricket game is very similar to that of off-skates cricket. The bowler delivers the ball, overarm, to one of the batters who will try and hit the ball to score runs. The team that scores the most runs is the winning team.

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An Introduction to Inline and Quad Roll Ball

Roll ball is a Growing Sport that Youth Love. Image © International Roll Ball Federation

Roll ball is an unusual mix of handball, basketball and roller skating, that is popular popular at schools in many cities in India.

Roll ball was created by Raju R. Dabhade in India, and today it is a great sport for recreational, school and competitive activities on either quad or inline skates. The sport is suitable for play all over the world. Roll ball players can organize an official team or drop in for recreational games. Equipment isn't expensive, and almost anyone can enjoy local, regional, national and international roll ball skating activities.

The objective in roll ball is to score goals while skating on inline or quad roller skates on a court that is similar in size and shape to a basketball court. This game can be played in an ice skating rink, too.

Roll ball players need good basic inline or quad skates, sturdy protective gear, a ball and a smooth indoor or outdoor playing surface with goals. If the game will be played on ice, then ice skates are required.

  • Helmet
  • Game attire is determined by the climate
  • Knee pads
  • Inline, quad or ice skates

The International Rollball Federation (IRBF) is the IGB for roll ball competitive sports activities.