Ice skating is an exciting and aesthetic sport which evolved in the European nations of Netherlands and Scotland. Originally, it was used as a means of transportation across frozen lakes and ponds in winters.
Ice skating enthusiasts use skates with steel blades to slide on the ice. The first ice skates were made in 3000 BC. Honed animal bone was used in making these skates, and it was attached to the shoes with leather straps. In fact, the origin of the word ‘skates’ is Dutch. They used to call it ‘schaats’, which means ‘leg bone’. Iron blades were first made and used in Holland, in 1250 AD. It garnered popularity as a winter sport among the Europeans in the 17th century. The International Skating Union is the authoritative body governing the sport, and oversees all the international ice skating competitions.
The Beginner’s Guide to Ice Skating
Always get an expert coach to assist you with the basics. A good coach helps minimize the risks involved, and also ensures you learn the correct way of skating. It is important to understand that ice skating doesn’t come naturally to everyone. A beginner has to learn it by getting used to the ice rink. It is a safe option to rent the skates initially, and get acquainted with this sport. If you remain interested in the sport, it is best to buy your own pair with a proper fit.
Tips For Beginners
Ice skating looks graceful and easy, but is a very strenuous sport. Beginners may suffer from sore muscles after the first couple of skating sessions. However, this is a normal phenomenon, and after a few practice sessions, the muscles will get stronger and the pain will recede. It is also important to relax and avoid locking your knees. Remember that ice skating is a graceful sport! The knees should be bent to avoid falling or tripping backwards.
Patience and determined efforts are necessary to master this sport. Initially, many people find it difficult to find their balance on the skates. The time taken to get used to using them is different for each individual. Learning the first moves can always be crude, but never get discouraged. Regular practice will ensure gradual, graceful, and deft movement.
The most important aspect of mastering this sport, is learning how to fall. In fact, it is sort of a ‘requirement’ when getting used to it. There are certain ways in which you can minimize chances of an injury while falling. Preferably, use the best quality equipment or protective gear, which consists of a helmet and pads for the wrists, knees, elbows, hips, and tailbone.
- When falling forward, keep your chin up; and when falling backward, press your chin into your chest. Relax your body as much as possible, because a stiff body is more likely to get injured than a limp one.
- Try not to let your knees, elbows, or wrists hit the ice surface first. Try to land on your bottom, and tuck your arms in while falling, to avoid getting run over by the other skaters.
- If you are using an outdoor surface, make sure it’s hard enough to avoid falling through the ice, especially on frozen lakes or ponds. Professional guidance is a must.
Another important area to master for a novice, is how to stop. A simple snowplow stop involves skating forward, pushing the legs apart away from each other. This should be done by bending in your knees and leaning back slightly. The shoulders should be straight, facing forward, and the arms outstretched.
Marching on the ice surface before gliding is a good way to learn balance and to gain familiarity with the skating surface. Start gliding after familiarizing with the conditions by mastering the two-foot glider first. Stand away from the edges of the rink or obstacles in order to avoid getting hit, and also try to learn without support.
Once you balance yourself on your knees, move your right foot forward and keep your left foot at an angle of 45 degrees with respect to the right one. Slowly, begin to move forward by slightly bending in the knees, and moving the left shoulder ahead, followed by the right, and so on. Once two-foot gliding is learned, start with stroking, by starting with short and quick gliding sessions.
The swizzle involves propelling forward without lifting your feet. The toes point outwards and heels are together. Slide the feet apart, and then bring the toes in together. The motion should replicate the design of an hourglass.
So what are you waiting for? Get your gear and a trainer, and start skating. It will definitely be a rewarding experience!