How to Ice Skate for the First Time: Everything You Need to Know
What to Do Before You Get On the Ice the First Time
No matter what your age is, if you are in fairly good health, you can ice skate and have fun doing it. I always recommend that adults try ice skating at least once or twice because so many just stand on the sidelines out of fear of falling or "looking silly" as one mom said.
You may be shocked by the workout that you get, particularly when you always thought that skating was for kids and figure skaters never seem to break a sweat. When you go ice skating, even if it's 80+ degrees outside, you should go prepared with gloves, a jacket or sweatshirt, and a couple of pairs of socks if you will be renting skates. Preferably, you should not wear shorts or anything that exposes the skin on your legs because if you fall, you may have to literally peel your skin off the ice.
Before you get to the ice, you've got to get skates. Make sure that you know what your street shoe size is and ask for that size but be aware of the fact that a number of rinks only offer whole sizes. Bring a couple of pairs of socks with you in case your feet get cold, or you need to make your rental skates less roomy so that you don't get blisters.
Also, the rental skates are in a word, cheap, so don't expect to receive the support from the boots that you may see figure skaters or hockey players enjoying from their skates. Make sure your boots are reasonably comfortable, and your laces are tied up and preferably tucked into your boot or under the other laces.
Time to Skate
Try not to get on the ice when there is a group of people rushing or pushing to quickly get on. This usually happens when the ice was closed for resurfacing or for a practice or event that was closed to the public. Most often, it will be the little ones and early teens pushing and shoving to get on the ice, but not always. Hang back and be patient if you haven't skated before or you may take a spill before putting a blade onto the ice.
How to Enter the Rink
- When it's safe for you to get onto the ice, place one hand onto the hockey boards or railing if there is one so that you can balance yourself. You will likely have to step up, over, or down to actually put your skate onto the ice.
- Make sure that you keep your knees slightly bent at all times when skating — locking your knees when skating is equivalent to asking for a fall if you are a beginner.
- Push from one foot to the other to get moving and try to move slowly around the rink if you've never skated or have not skated in a long time. You will need to lift one foot off the ice for a short period of time before switching feet and pushing off from the other. Observe the skaters who skate with ease to get an idea of what to do.
How to Prevent Falls
If you feel that you are falling backwards, bend your knees and try to make your rear hit first. Don't tense up; try to sit down, using your hands to catch yourself. If falling forward or to the side, put your hands out to catch yourself. If you have gloves on, it might be easier to catch yourself because your hands won't slip as much as they would if they were bare. It is very important to try not to tense up so much that you become rigid because that is an excellent way to get hurt.
What to Do If You Fall
When on the ice, get up immediately if you are not hurt. I've seen many spectacular falls and injuries because someone lounged on the ice and another skater came along and ran over/into them or their fingers. To get up from a fall roll over onto your rear and then to one knee with both hands on the ice. Next, stand up and remember to keep your knees slightly bent. Now you can start skating again. If you are hurt, someone will come to help you.
What If You Need Help?
There are skate guards and figure skaters at some rinks who might be helpful if you ask, but understand that it is not their job to teach you to skate. If they give you a couple of minutes of their time helping you to skate, thank them and let them get back to what they were doing. If you fall in love with skating and are interested in lessons, most rinks have qualified instructors for group and private lessons. Just ask for information and the staff will be able to point you in the right direction.
Ice Skating Tricks and Tips
If skating forward is no problem, you may be wondering how to do a trick or two. First, you will need to work on skating backward to impress yourself and others. When you skate backwards, look over your shoulder the entire time so that you see who and what is behind you. If you don't, you could really injure yourself and others.
The most basic way to learn how to skate backwards is to push both legs in and out at the same time. Think about a pair of scissors. Each half moves with the other, and that is what you must do with your legs to propel yourself along. Practice makes perfect and makes for a pair of strong and lean legs too.
Another option is the two-foot spin. This is an easy way to make yourself smile. Start with both feet shoulder width apart while standing still in the center of the rink. Put both arms out and bend your knees. Swing your arms and begin to lessen the knee bend at the same time. You will need to pull your arms in close to your chest to spin faster. If your weight is not centered, you may bobble back and forth, but again, if you practice, you will be able to perfect it. Even when it's not perfect, it is very fun to do.
Shoot the Duck
Shoot the duck is another fun thing to try. Simply skate forward bend one knee deeply and lift the other leg off the ice in front of you. The position that you are attempting to reach is similar to sitting on the ground with one leg bent (knee near your chest) and the other leg straight out in front. Take that image and try to put it into a forward motion on the ice. If you fall, your behind is already just a few inches off the ice, and the only thing that might be hurt is your pride.
Figure Skating Tricks for the Beginner
- Figure Skating Tricks For The Beginner
Basic figure skating tricks for the beginning skater of any age. Learn how to skate backwards, do the bunny hop, or shoot the duck.
© 2012 H C Palting