Have you ever wanted to ice skate or roller skate? Have you ever wanted to glide across a mirror smooth floor like you were flying just inches off of the ground, making deep turns and beautiful spins and, perhaps, even leaping into the air and landing light as a feather?
It doesn’t take more than a few minutes watching some of the champions who will be competing next month in the Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as they skate to find yourself wanting to experience the fantastic feeling of freedom that you can only get while skating.
Most people think that it must take years of practice to learn how to skate effortlessly. The fact of the matter is, a person who has never been skating before in their entire lives can learn the basics of how to skate, both forward and in reverse, within mere minutes after taking the to either the ice or the floor for the first time. In skating, as with most other sports and skills that require development, the key to learning quickly and gaining the most amount of ability in the least amount of time is to learn the basics correctly in the beginning. Many of us have started out trying to master a skill of some sort and found out sometime later that the habits we picked up, either while trying to teach ourselves or during the process of learning incorrectly, would have to be relearned the correctly.
Ice skating and roller skating are no different in this regard. A beginner will be able to master the basic skills needed to enjoy the sports, avoid needless injury, and set a good foundation upon which to build more advanced skills easily if correct methods are learned from the beginning.
With that in mind, let us take a look at the most basic and beginning skill needed to go from just standing upright upon skates to actually moving in either a forward or reverse direction.
You will begin by standing comfortably and relaxed with your shoulders back, your chin up, and your eyes looking straight ahead. Your weight should be evenly balanced over your feet, which should be directly underneath you. It is perfectly alright for the first few moments to steady yourself by extending your arm and placing either hand upon a hand rail or the guard rail of the rink if you are in one.
Next, you will turn your toes out so that they are at about a 45 degree angle. Your heels should be between 4 inches and 6 inches apart. Slowly lift your left foot about 2 inches off of the ice or floor, and without moving it forward, or backward, set it back down. Then, raise your right foot in the same way and set it back down. Repeat this until you feel fairly comfortable with the alternate movements. When you have reached a fair level of confidence, you will change so that at the same time as one foot is placed back upon the ice, or the floor, you will raise the other foot so that only one foot is on the floor at any given time.
You will find that by simply raising and lowering your feet alternately, you will begin to skate forward. Naturally, since your toes are turned outward at about a 45 degree angle, when you are on your left foot, you will tend to skate toward the left and visa – versa. This movement is the beginning of what will soon become correct skating strokes. You will also notice that the faster you pick your feet up and set them back down, the faster you will move in the forward direction.
Want to stop? Easy! All you have to do is turn your toes inward as you continue to lift your feet and put them back down in exactly the same way. Depending on how fast you are going, you find yourself slowing down and coming to a complete, and controlled stop. You will also find that if you continue to step in this way, with your toes pointed inward, you will begin to skate in reverse, or backward.
Beginning with these simple and easy steps and practicing them in both directions until you are confident is the quickest and easiest way to learn how to skate correctly, as opposed to hurtling yourself uncontrollably across the floor at a high rate of speed and waiting for a wall, a fellow skater, or the ground beneath you to bring you to what is usually a quite painful and embarrassing immediate stop.