Updated: Oct 11, 2018
This holiday season you can skate like a pro. Learn to skate this winter by using these simple tips. You will be able to glide around the ice as gracefully as Michelle Kwan and Wayne Gretzky. The holiday season is filled with the most charming holiday rinks with festive lights, hot chocolate and memories for years to come.
Be sure to bring tall socks to wear with the skates, gloves to keep your hands warm, helmet/hat to pad your head and dress in layers so that you are as comfy as possible. You want to get to the skating rink at least 15 minutes before the time you plan to start skating so you have adequate time to get your skates on. Typically rental skates are men's sizes so ladies you will want to go down a size so that the skates fit like a mitten (you want to feel all of the corners of the skates without them hurting you). If it is your very first time skating and there is a choice of hockey or figure skates, get the figure skates as the blades are longer/flatter which are easier to balance on. When you tie your skates it is important to tie the skates so they are snug, especially in the ankle area, be sure to lace up each hook as you would a hiking boot and tie the bow at the front of the skate (do not wrap the laces around the ankle).
Before you go on the ice, practice the basics on the floor where you will be more comfortable. You want your hands in front of you like you are holding a giant present. You want to take small marching steps (not walking steps) so that you are balanced over your feet. When you get going too fast or feel out of control, you want to keep both feet on the ground as you bend and touch your knees. If you do fall, you should already be in this squatting position so you should sit to the side on the hip where you likely have the most natural padding. To get back up, kneel on all fours (hands and knees) put one foot down flat underneath you then place the other foot next to that one then shift your weight into your legs and off your hands to stand up.
We all know that ice is slippery but it is really super slippery. Be sure to hold on to the railing when you first step onto the ice. Remember the basics you just went over on the floor: arms forward, small marching steps, get your balance by touching your knees and fall on your side. If you think about skating around the whole rink, it might be overwhelming. Small goals make it more manageable, take three steps then touch your knees. Before you know it you will be skating around the whole skating rink comfortably looking like a pro.
Written by Coach Crystal Smith (www.coachcrystalsmith.com). A Philadelphia based skating coach who has developed skaters from Learn to Skate through National Competitors since 2001.