There are a few things that really REALLY trigger an almost Obsessive-Compulsive reaction in me. Watching people roll a cable the wrong way is one of them.
There’s a couple of reasons why I react so violently to someone rolling a cable around their arm:
it damages the copper in the cable, reducing the cable’s life expectancy
it means the cable will almost never roll out without knots
This technique is how I was taught to roll audio cables about 24 years ago by Cameron Wade. This technique is equally as effective on on audio, coaxial, and CAT-5 cables, although coaxial cable does seem to be manufactured with an `attitude problem’ and just resists being rolled cleanly full stop. The following YouTube video demonstrates how I was taught to roll leads.
Now, I’ve been shown another way of rolling power leads (over on Art of Manliness). I’ve not tried it, so your mileage may vary. Another variant that I have used, primarily for long runs of heavy cables and fibre optic is to `Figure 8′ the cable on the ground; the end-result is the same (the lead has alternating half-twists cancelling out the kinks). The Fiber Optic Association site has a good explanation and pictures of this.