Learning how to ice skate is a fun way to get a little physical exercise and pass the time. However, you don’t have to live in the middle of a frozen tundra to enjoy the sport. There are plenty of amazing ice rinks around the country that allow you to take on this hobby any time of the year. Keep reading to learn about how to ice skate, from how to get your equipment to learning some basic moves.
Table of Contents
- Find an Ice Rink
- Take Ice Skating Lessons
- Get the Right Gear
- How to Enter the Rink Safely
- Learn How to Fall on the Ice
- Beginner Techniques to Practice
- More Advanced Techniques to Look Forward To
- Tips for Learning How to Skate
- What You Need to Know About Ice Skating
Find an Ice Rink
The first step in learning how to ice skate is finding an ice rink. Usually, a quick Google search can point you in the right direction of one in your town or neighborhood. You can also check social media websites like Facebook or Instagram. Many local businesses offer special rates or specials to their followers during off-peak times which is a great way to score a deal on admission prices.
The easiest time to find a local open skating rink is in the winter; you can usually find one that is either indoors or outdoors during this time. But don’t let the summer season fool you — many indoor rinks have great options over the summer and are fully air conditioned. Plus, ice skating is a great way to beat that afternoon heat while learning a physical and rewarding new hobby.
Take Ice Skating Lessons
Next, you’ll want to find ice skating lessons. If you live in an area where ice skating isn’t common, you might have to look online or ask the ice rink for a referral. For those that reside in colder climates, you can sometimes ask friends for lessons or look at online classified ads for people looking to make extra money teaching beginners how to ice skate.
Get the Right Gear
Of course, in order to ice skate appropriately, you’ll need the right gear. The most common items required for ice skating are ice skates, ice skate soakers, and ice skate guards.
Purchase ice skates that fit your feet well and closely match your current shoe size. Whether you are purchasing figure skates or hockey skates, you should allow plenty of room for your toes to wiggle up and down slightly, which will provide additional circulation and keep them from being too tight. Then lace them up fully, starting with the first eyelet near your toes and working up towards your ankles. This will ensure a perfect and comfortable fit.
Ice Skate Soakers
These are pretty much like waterproof covers for your ice skate blades. It is designed to soak up the moisture left on the metal after skating, which can cause rust damage if it isn’t dried appropriately.
Ice Skate Guards
Skate guards are similar to soakers, but not quite the same thing. Usually made from hard plastic, they don’t soak up the moisture from the metal, but rather protect it from damage. In turn, this helps prevent nicked edges and potential flat spots in the blades.
How to Enter the Rink Safely
Entering the rink for the first time can seem a little daunting, but there really isn’t much to worry about. The moment you step on the ice, hold onto the bar or rail to help you get used to the feeling of wearing skates on ice. Bend your knees and stay low to keep your balance. If you’re a bit anxious or hesitant, it will show. Make sure to take a deep breath and get rid of any nerves before heading out onto the skating rink.
Learn How to Fall on the Ice
It’s super important to learn how to fall correctly on the ice. While you might like to believe you have natural talent and that it will never happen to you, the truth is that even pros stumble every once in a while. Even experienced skaters will occasionally forget they still have ice skating guards strapped to their blades which causes them to tumble due to the slipperiness of the plastic against the ice. Thus, it is important to constantly practice falling on the ice with and without skates on until you get used to it. Here’s how:
If you feel like you’re about to fall, squat your knees and lean backwards. This will allow you to land on your buttocks, which for most people tends to be a lot more cushioned than falling forward. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t use your hands or wrists to break a fall. This can lead to a fracture and a pretty significant trip to the emergency room for care.
Beginner Techniques to Practice
When you’re first learning how to ice skate, there are several beginner techniques you will want to practice. Here are a few of the most common ones.
Also referred to as a forward stride, this is one of the most commonly used techniques in ice skating. To do it, turn your blades to a forty-five-degree angle before moving your legs forward like you were walking or running. The angle of your skates is important, as it provides added stability and allows you to turn more quickly.
The art of skating backwards is something that takes a bit of time and patience, but it can be done. Start by pushing the outside of your skates forward and out. Then curve them back to the center of your body and repeat. Bend your knees slightly and keep your skates a minimum of shoulder width apart. Push yourself off a wall or bar to start your backwards momentum.
One of the most important techniques to learn as a new skater is how to stop. While there are multiple techniques out there, this seems to be the easiest for beginners to grasp. Point your toes towards each other carefully when you’re ready to stop. This works because it slows down your forward momentum, causing you to slow to a (figurative) crawl.
Another popular technique is the dip. During this process, you squat down as far as you possibly can while moving. Your arms should be close to your side and parallel to your body. Just be sure to avoid this one if you have knee problems, as it can be difficult on your joints.
Skating on One Foot
At this point in your ice skating adventure, you might want to try a few trick moves and skating on one foot is a great choice for beginners. Start by gliding on two feet before transferring your weight to one foot. Lift up the other foot and move forward across the ice. While it sounds simple enough, it can be difficult to master if you don’t have a secure sense of balance. So, make sure you’ve practiced falling a few times, too!
Forward swizzles are another common ice skating technique, especially if you’re a big fan of hockey. Start by standing with your knees straight. Place your heels together with your toes out. Bend forward slightly and push your knees out over your toes. This will start the forward motion. Keep it going by straightening your knees and making your toes touch. Repeat the process to remain going forward.
This is another fun technique that most ice skaters want to learn how to do. Start by keeping your hands extended at your sides. Plant the toe pick of your left skate into the ice while simultaneously pushing off with your right one. Bring your arms into your body while also pulling in your right leg and starting the spin.
More Advanced Techniques to Look Forward To
Once you’ve mastered these basic ice skating techniques, you can start to move on to the more advanced moves, eventually making your way up to those of professionals if you want to. Here are a few harder techniques to look forward to, ranging from more complex ways to skate to beginning your journey on jumps.
This is where an ice skater bends one knee and extends the other leg behind the body. It can be incredibly difficult to achieve until you have stability on your skates and know how to propel forward without much help. Lunges are most common in figure skating.
A bunny hop is where a skater jumps in the middle of forward motion with no crossover motion. This is usually one of the first jump techniques beginning figure skaters learn while taking lessons. It can be a bit difficult for novice skaters to achieve due to the need to land firmly on your skates over the ice.
This technique is where a figure skater crosses one leg widely over another to propel themselves across the ice in a fast motion. When watching this as a spectator, it can look like the skater is practically dancing forward on the ice.
The exact opposite of forwards crossovers, the backwards version is virtually the same but propels the skater backwards on the ice. However, the skater must make sure their head is looking over their shoulder during the process to avoid bumping into anything or anyone.
Spirals are one of the more difficult ice skating techniques to master. This is where the skater balances on one foot while raising the other leg above hip level. In order to make this happen, they must have incredible balance, control, and forward momentum.
Tips for Learning How to Skate
While doing the advanced techniques is fun to think about, there are still a few beginner tips that you need to keep in mind. Here are a few examples:
Start with Stretches
You should always start any skating session with plenty of stretches before you ever put on your skates. This helps keep your body warmed up and ready for the physical exertion ahead.
Balance is crucial when it comes to learning how to become a good ice skater. You want to make sure you can stand stable and spend more time in a forward motion than falling on your behind. This is absolutely vital to master before starting any techniques or trick methods.
Don’t Look Down
Most new skaters want to look down at their feet while on the ice. The truth is that you should be looking forward the whole time. If you’re spending too much time with your visual line of sight lowered, it throws off your center of balance. Furthermore, it becomes incredibly easy to run into someone or an item, which is embarrassing!
What You Need to Know About Ice Skating
Ice skating is an incredibly fun and physical activity to help you pass the time. Whether you’re looking to start playing hockey or ultimately want to learn the tricks of the professional figure skaters, it all begins by getting out on the ice. Make sure you maintain your equipment by purchasing the right gear, such as ice skating soakers and guards, to ensure the longevity of your purchases. Use these tips and tricks to find a rink near you and start having fun.