A beginner’s guide to ice skating

A beginner's guide to ice skating

Ice skating is one of the most popular activities in the world. Even if you’re not an athletic champion and have never been on the ice before, you can learn to skate — especially if you follow these tips.

Get your skates on

As a beginner, the skates you can rent at most rinks will probably be fine. However, as you improve and spend more time doing it, purchase a good pair that will last awhile, fit properly and give your ankles enough support. The blades need to be sharp for better grip and control.

Tie them so that they are not so tight they’ll make your feet numb, but tight enough to give good support.

Warm up properly

If there is a temporary rink near you, take a chance and try it out, no matter how little experience you have. Ice rinks tend to be cold. Stretch and warm up before you get out on the ice.

Where to look

As you head off across the ice for the first time, don’t make the rookie mistake of looking down at your feet. Instead, look where you are going.

How to hold your body

Try not to lean backwards while you are skating. This will send you flying. Instead, bend your knees and keep your weight forward, as one common mistake beginners make is being too upright. If you have your arms held out in front of your body and opened wide, this will help with balance.

Keep most of your weight on the balls of your feet, pull your stomach and chest in, and have your chest and shoulders facing forwards. Remember to skate in the same direction as everyone else, whether that’s clockwise or counterclockwise. Just follow the rules of the rink and avoid collisions.

Ready, set, go!

Start with small steps with toes pointing out until you start to glide. Between each push, bring your feet back so they are centred. To stop, bring your feet so they are parallel, then push your heels out with your body still upright and knees bent. It’s similar to a snowplow when learning to ski.

Steer with the shoulders, turning the outside one forward, and try to speed up as soon as you feel confident, since this will help you reap the fitness benefits of skating. Push in a more powerful fashion and bend your knees a bit more to go faster.

Finally, if you do fall, get your hands away from the ice as soon as you can. Get on to both knees, then try pushing yourself up from your raised knee.

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