So you’ve decided to take to the ice! Good for you! The first thing you’ll need is a pair of good skates. Be prepared to spend around $180 if you want to learn how to figure skate. If you don’t want to spend that much there are a few pairs of “soft” skates that will suit you until you get a little better and start being able to do more things with your skates. There are two different companies that make these “soft” skates and they are Reidell and Jackson. Just ask for the soft skates at your local skate shop. Don’t make the mistake of going to a sports store because they do not know how to properly fit you for figure skates and the results you get completely depends on the fit of your skates. This type of skate will cost around $75.
Once you have your skates get to the rink. Make sure they are tied tightly. Get onto the ice carefully and keep one hand on the wall for the first five minutes. While you are there, bend your knees and touch your hand to your knees. This is the position you will try and take the second you feel like you’re going to fall. It should feel almost like a tuck position. This will keep you from falling backward and may keep you from falling at all.
Make your way off the wall as soon as possible. Start trying to march slightly lifting one foot and then the other. Keep doing this all the way around the rink. This is something that could take weeks to get or take an hour depending on your athletic level and motor skills. Be patient with yourself and always remember you are doing this for fun!
Once you are marching with a bit more confidence try marching 3 or 4 times to get going a little faster then put your feet together and glide. Keep your feet close together and try and relax your upper body. Hold your arms out to the sides for balance. Glide as long and as far as you can. Play a little game with yourself seeing how far you can hold the glide. Try to beat your last glide each time.
Now you are going to learn what is called a swizzle. Stand with your knees quite bent. Put your heels together with your toes apart, like a “V.” While your knees are bent lean forward a little bit and push your feet forward and bring your toes together, like closing the “V.” In between you should have moved forward a little bit. Keep trying to do this until your swizzle gets bigger and you are covering more ice each time. Try and do 5-10 in a row.
Last but not least, you’ll want to try a one foot glide. Start marching for speed, glide on two feet for a second and lift one foot so that the ankle of the foot off the ice is right next to the shin of the foot on the ground. Hold this position as long as you can. Repeat on the other side. Don’t be upset if the other side feels much harder to do. This is normal as everyone has one side that is easier than the other, just as we can write with one hand and not very well with the other. You will get better and lifting both legs will eventually feel the same.
Check back here again as I will publish the next installment in “Learing how to Figure Skate.”