Think how cool you’ll be – literally – when you are gliding around the local ice rink on a hot summer day! It’s going to be easier than you think. Here are 7 tips to get you on the ice.
Equipment: Forget the jeans – they may seem like a good choice to protect you during a fall and keep you warm, but they’re a bad choice. You don’t want a stiff fabric that restricts your movements in any way. Go for warm leggings, a T-shirt, a jacket and gloves. Most important are the skates. If you’re starting at a rink, you’ll probably rent for your first couple of visits. Ask for help from the attendant if possible. Skates should feel a bit tight so pay attention to width.
Walk: Keep those blade guards on and take a walk on the rubber mats that are on the floor. Get used to the feel of walking on the blades. If you’re wobbly, try focusing on one point in the distance and walk towards it. That gives your body a chance to get it right. When you feel comfortable, walk out on the ice. Do a lap – or two or more – just walking around the rink while you hold on to the rail.When you’re comfortable, move on to balance.
Balance: Start working on balance. Hold your arms out just below shoulder level, bend your knees slightly and lean forward. You shouldn’t be able to see your toes and your shoulders should be forward and above the knees. Move forward slowly. Eventually, speed will help you keep your balance but not quite yet.
Fall: Yep, it’s going to happen. If you can anticipate the fall, bend your knees and move into a squat position. Now you know where you’re going to land – falling backwards is better! When you put your hands down to break your fall, keep them in a fist. You don’t want to lose a finger to a passing skater. Now, how to get up? Start from your hands and knees and move to being on one knee with the other foot forward between your hands. Practice standing.
Push off: You can walk and you’re feeling more confident. Now, let’s go to the first step of that wonderful gliding motion. Lean on your weak foot and push off with a diagonal push from your stronger foot. Bring the strong foot forward and then, do it again.
Glide: Lengthen your strokes and bend your knees. Your body should move with the strokes. Both skates should be parallel and pointing at the same angle to go farther and faster. Try pretending you’re on an imaginary scooter on the ice.
Stop: You’ll get tired of running into the rail. Learn to stop by bending your knees, bringing the skates parallel and pushing out to the side. You should both stop and make a little “snow” on the ice.
You can do it! These simple steps will have you gliding like a pro in no time and at that point you’re going to want to look like a skater, too. The skating rink may have new skates for sale or you can probably save money by shopping for your skates and other equipment (one of those cute little skirts or real skater’s pants?) by looking at on-line skate merchants. You’ve just found a way to stay cool and look cool!