New to ice skating? It’s great fun to get on the ice even if you’ve never done it before.
You can learn to skate at any age, so it’s never too old to start! But before you do get started, here are our top tips when it comes to ice skating for beginners.
It might sound obvious, but the first step to getting on the ice is to get a pair of skates that fit properly! At The Westfield Ice Rink at Westfield London, rental of skates is included in your ticket price – although they’re on a first come, first serve basis so be quick to get the right size! Make sure that your skates fit you properly and you’ve fastened them correctly. Your skates should feet snug but still comfortable – there shouldn’t be any pinching. If you’re unsure, ask one of our friendly members of staff for advice.
There’s no need to be intimidated by ice skating, and no one expects you to be speed skating around the rink on your very first lesson. But you do need to get on the ice to learn how to skate, so find the door and hop on.
You can hold onto the handrail while you get a feel for standing on the ice and continue to hold it as you take your first steps around the rink.
Now it’s time to move away from the rail. You don’t need to go into the centre of the ice rink but take a couple of side steps away from the handrail. Go far enough so that you can learn to skate on your own, but close enough that the rail is still there as a security blanket if you need it.
At some point, everyone falls over on the ice rink. It’s an inevitable part of this slippy sport, and there’s nothing to fear. So, it’s better to get it over and done with quickly, so you know what to expect, rather than building it up in your head.
If you feel like you’re going to fall, you should bend your knees and squat down. Then fall to the side while leaning forward as you put your hands on your thighs. Then once you’re on the ice, make your way onto your hands and knees. From there, you can place your feet between your hands and push yourself back up to a standing position.
Once you feel comfortable with what to do when you fall over, it’s time to start moving forward! To begin, march forward a couple of steps, and let your body glide forwards. Then you can start to pick up one foot as you glide, transitioning you from a gliding march to an elegant skate.
If you prefer, you can step forward with one foot, then rest with two feet on the ice. Next, step forward with the other foot, before resting again with both feet. In this way, you can push from one foot to the next and make your way around the ice rink.
Try them both and decide which way feels more comfortable for you! Either way, remember to bend your knees – you’re far more stable with bent knees than if you keep your legs perfectly straight. It also helps your movements to be more fluid, so you’ll find yourself easing into it in no time.
As essential as going forward, knowing how to stop is also a key aspect of skating. You should push your feet apart when you’re skating, sticking one foot out to the side. This should create some frost on top of the ice, and you’ll come to a gentle stop.
Try not to use your hands to break your fall, as this can be dangerous on an ice rink with people speeding past you. Tuck your hands in to protect your fingers and get back onto your feet as soon as you can.
That’s it – now you know the basics of ice skating, you can practice building up your skills on the ice rink. Whether you simply want to enjoy skating as an occasional sociable activity, or want to progress to figure skating, some practice – and maybe a few learn to skate sessions – is all you need!
Why not book a skating session at The Westfield Ice Rink at Westfield London and start learning how to skate today?