Most roller skaters skate as a sport in itself and glide along stretches of pavement or tracks as a form of exercise. There are, however, a couple of other sports in which roller skates are key pieces of equipment.
Roller derby is a team sport that involves skating on a track. Teams appoint a "jammer," who is a person who overtakes other players to score points. Each team tries to block or slow down the other team's jammer as they race along the track. It often involves heavy contact and the stability that roller skates provide is an asset.
Many people dance on roller skates. This is similar to how figure skaters dance on ice skates. Roller disco was a popular form of roller skate dancing in the 1970s, but more modern dancing exists. Dancers often compete in singles, pairs, or teams. Although rollerblades tend to be more flexible, their lack of stability can hinder dancing. Roller skates offer enough stability to allow creativity and grace.
As is the case with most roller skaters, the majority of rollerbladers partake in the sport as a leisure activity in itself. However, rollerblades are used as accessories in other sports.
Aggressive inline skating is like skateboarding on rollerblades. It involves doing tricks, turns, and jumps. Many aggressive inline skaters use skate parks as terrain. The same half pipes and rails that skateboarders enjoy come in handy for this sport.
Roller hockey existed long before rollerblades were invented, but most players these days prefer rollerblades to roller skates. Roller hockey is similar to ice hockey but is played on the pavement or in a gymnasium. Rollerblades feel very similar to hockey skates and involve very similar maneuvering.