Ice Skating 101

When you are first learning how to ice skate, it seems like a very daunting task. You’re on ice, with blades attached to your feet. But if you follow these steps, you’ll ease your fears and awaken your inner skater in no time!

The first thing you should do upon lacing up skates is practice standing on them. Get used to the feel of the blades and the way it will affect your balance. A key thing to remember is that when your skates are flat on the surface of the ice, you are standing on blades that have two edges. These edges are formed by a concave angle carved into the blade of your skate, allowing for more control in your movements.

Once you are on the ice, the following tips can help you to stay on your feet.

Stay Low:

Make sure you knees are bent and your skates are shoulder width apart. This is known as the “ready position” and it allows you to improve your balance and increase your reaction time. If you do not stay low and instead stand straight as a pencil, you may wind up toppling over more than you would like.

Get on your edges:

Once in the “ready position” and you are ready to begin moving forward, lean your skates to their inside edges. When you feel your skates gripping to the ice, start applying more weight and push outward with your dominant leg, followed by your other leg. Lean left or right on your edges to turn. Repeat this process and you’ll be moving quickly in no time.

How to stop:

Because you’ll probably have to stop at some point, it’s important to know that there are many ways to stop. You can turn the edge of your forward skate to the inside, keeping your weight leaned back. You can also do what’s called a “Hockey Stop,’’ which is more effective when traveling at faster speeds.

Start by skating forward, and when you are ready to stop lift one leg slightly to take weight off of it (this can be your back leg or front leg). With a bit of weight taken off of one skate, start to lean back, rotate your hips and shoulders, and begin to turn with your other leg. When you have turned your front leg approximately 90 degrees, plant your back leg about one foot behind your front leg. At this point you will be leaning back, keeping the momentum you gained from skating forward. With both feet planted you will slide for a brief second before coming to a full stop.

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