Whether you want to take ice skating as a game or exercise, first you have to get into the basics of it. It's bit technical but not that difficult to learn. As a beginner you have to start from scratch. Before starting, always remember if you are not in the skating arena, practice only on thick ice. Avoid going to the thin ice surface. On thin surface, speed is the only thing that can save you from breaking the ice and in the initial stage that is you major drawback. So let's start with the things required for ice skating.
Things Required for Skating
When you start with skating, the first thing you should have is a good pair of skates. You should go for a good fitting skate so that it does not come out while skating. Instead of buying a new pair, take them on rent or borrow them from someone. As a beginner, you have to practice a lot and so, to save your new pair from getting spoiled, start with the old ones. After getting used to it, you can switch to your new pairs.
Where ever you go for skating, the temperature will be around 50ºF to 24ºF. So, it's very necessary to take care of your clothing. You should wear something which is warm and should also be comfortable, so that you can move your body easily. Gloves and mittens are compulsory as they not only protect your hands from cold, but also give protection from injuries if you fall. Apart from this, helmets are optional but as a beginner, wearing helmet is always the best thing o do.
Correct Posture for Skating
Proper posture, good skates and a will to learn something new are some of the important points you have to keep in mind while skating. Posture is very important for balancing. If you don't maintain a proper posture you will not be able to balance yourself on the slippery ice. Avoid leaning forward to minimize the risk of falls. Chin-up, chest out, body straight, knees slightly bend, hands and arms to your side, hips over your heels and weight over the instep. These are some of the most important postures to have a good balance. If you do not have figure skates and you are practicing with hockey skates, you have to put you weight to the front side of the blades as they lack the tail of figure skates.
How to Ice Skate?
Now after getting good skates and an idea of good posture, follow the steps given below to start with the practice.
- Try to walk on the rinks as they have rubber matting that makes a good grip on the skates and also helps you to get an idea of balancing with the skates.
- Now try to walk on the edges of the rink while holding the wall or the railing given at the end of the rink. This will make you understand the friction of ice and will help you to balance with skates.
- Leave the wall and start balancing without holding anything. Take you hands up but not above the shoulder level and bend you knees a little.
- Now you can start squats. For it, stand up straight, arms in front of you and feet at hip distance. Then start the squats. Repeat it till you become comfortable doing it with balance. Try keeping your eyes in front.
- It is said that you stand more strongly after a fall. So, fall is the best thing to make you learn. While practicing ice skate, you are bound to fall or we can say to learn how to stand, you have to fall. So fall accidentally or purposely the thing is you have to fall.
- After the fall, try to stand up slowly. First try to sit in a kneeling position and hands on ice in front. Now put one foot in between your hands and then the next one. Now try to stand up slowly.
- Now start sliding. Lean on your front foot and with the help of your back foot try to push the front foot in the diagonal direction. Keep on repeating the process with the other foot.
- Just try to give extra flick to the ankle and toe. This flick should be at the end of every stroke and keep your knees bent. It will give you power and you will glide with your ice skate.
- For skating backwards, form a 'v' with your feet and push them apart. Pull your feet together so that you can touch your toes, separate the feet and again pull them together so that your heels touch.
- Now you should learn about stopping. There are many methods for stopping in the ice. They are hockey stop for ice hockey, snowplow stop, and, the t-stop. Best stop for beginners is the snowplow stop. Rest of the two stops are difficult and should be practiced after you get the techniques of ice skating. For snowplow slightly bend your knees and point your toes towards each other. Then slightly push your heels outside and try to slide while making a 'v'. Try to apply pressure on the inner edges.
If you want to go for ice hockey after you start skating, my suggestion will be to learn ice hockey under a good supervision of a coach or a trained professional. Here we can give you ice skating tips and techniques but your real experience and speed will come only when you will be on the ice skating arena or field. So, try the above given tricks and keep practicing.