10 Ice Skating Tips for Beginners to Help Master the Rink
If you need ice skating tips for beginners, you’ve probably got your hands on a pair of ice skates, and you’re eager to learn.
Or perhaps you bought your kids their first pair of skates. You want to be well-informed when it’s time for them to hit the ice rink.
Whatever the reason, these tips can help you master the rink in a fraction of the time.
Ice skating can feel exhilarating when flying across the ice or landing jumps.
It’s also the foundation for hockey and other ice sports. But you must crawl before you walk (and walk before you fly).
Lace-Up And Skate At Home With The Holiday Home Rink By PolyGlide Ice
Repeated wipeouts can discourage you from excelling at this skill if you do not know what you're doing... you’ll give up before you start.
Just remember, even professional skaters had to start somewhere so you're in good company.
Ice skating has countless benefits.
It’s a great workout for adults, helping you burn calories while strengthening and toning your body.
You can also improve your well-being by picking up a new hobby and learning the basics of ice skating.
For kids, it could start a fantastic journey or career in an ice-related sport.
From the outside, ice skating can look scary, but with the right advice, you or your kids will be much more comfortable on the ice and be motivated to keep learning and improving.
So let’s get skating!
1. The right equipment matters
Of all the ice skating tips for beginners, this one should not be ignored. It starts with your ice skates of choice and finding some good pairs of socks that are comfortable
Most beginners use rentals from rinks but first, make sure to choose the right size as Ice skates have different sizing charts than conventional shoes.
You’ll need a pair that’s a size below your shoe size.
Some also have different profiles and designs, so choose the one that feels comfortable.
Some rentals have rusted blades, increasing the risk of falls and creating a poor skating experience, so make sure the blade is well-maintained with no signs of damage and is well-sharpened.
Make sure the blade is well maintained with no signs of damage and is well sharpened.
The skates should also have secure laces or buckles to secure your ankles. If your ankles feel unstable, you increase the chances of falls and injury.
If you’re going to ice skate long-term, invest in your own pair of ice skates. You can get great Ice Hockey or figure skates under 200.
These skates will fit well, provide excellent ankle support and will have well-maintained blades. The right ice skates are half the battle.
2. The right mindset matters too
It’s easy to overlook your thoughts and feelings towards ice skating, especially as a beginner. Ice skating can be intimidating, and almost everyone is afraid of falling.
Therefore, adopting a positive mindset when hitting the ice is important. Remember, you will fall, but what’s important is to get back up and keep trying.
Your mindset should also be one of growth, knowing that it takes time to master any skill.
Always look at your progress versus how far you must go to master the skill.
Focus on the positive things you did on the ice to help reinforce that you are indeed capable of skating.
A negative mindset can stop you from unlocking any ice skating tips for beginners and your capabilities on the ice.
3. Learn to fall safely
Let’s talk about falling. Skaters fall... It’s a part of it all, so dress in light layers to soften the cushioning.
We all think about the extreme parts of skating, like an Olympian trying to land a triple axel and wiping out.
We also think a fall means we’ll hurt ourselves or end up with a bruised ego as everyone skating around us looks on.
I'm not here to tell you that you won’t have a sore butt after a few falls. You will. But in most cases, that’s as far as it will go.
And everyone looking at you is trying their best not to fall too, so don’t be embarrassed and don’t take yourself too seriously!
Yes, the ice feels hard but it’s unlikely you’ll get injured if you fall safely.
If you feel yourself losing your center of gravity and falling backwards, bend your knees to regain your balance.
Falling backward and using your hands to brace yourself can lead to an injured head or wrist. So always, try to fall forward to protect yourself with your arm, hands, and knees.
When falling forward, spread your arms wide in front of you and bend your knees deeply while relaxing.
An effective technique would be to bend your knees deeply and turn to any side to absorb the fall.
Sitting and standing
So, you’re on the ground... What’s next?
Establish a comfortable sitting position and take a breath and laugh at yourself. it’s part of the process!
Your next step is to turn over and get on your hands and knees. Now place one blade on the ice and establish balance with both hands on that knee.
Then, you can lift yourself off the ice.
Once you fall, sit, and stand for enough time, it becomes easier to endure, and you won’t do it as much.
If all else fails and you’re still concerned about falling, get a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and cushioned pants for added protection.
4. Get Balanced, then Start with a Gentle March
When you're first starting out, balance is key.
You want to take small, measured steps instead of long strides as this will help you maintain your balance and build up your confidence.
This is the equivalent of marching on the ice.
Lift each leg and keep your shoulders square as you strut along the ice in this marching sequence.
Use your hands on your knees to regain your balance at any time. Keep your knees bent and your arms in front of you as needed.
The legs should also be shoulder width, as legs that are too wide can lead to falls.
The marching technique is one of the first ice skating tips for beginners.
Over time, you’ll build a mind-body connection to the ice, allowing you to move around without placing your hands in front of you every time.
5. Build Rhythm and Momentum
Now it’s time to go faster, which is not a bad thing as this can actually reduce the risk of injury when skating.
While marching, lift your marching leg up for longer, allowing the standing skate to build up speed.
Keep alternating between skates, and soon enough, you’ll build a rhythm. This rhythm, along with balance and timing, is what turns you into a competent skater.
6. Don't Look Down (much)
It's natural to want to look down at your feet, but try to keep your eyes focused on the direction you're going.
This will help you maintain your balance and avoid running into other skaters.
Looking down rotates your head downward, significantly increasing the chances of falling forward.
Remember, bend your knees, keep your shoulders back and your head up, and try to avoid hunching over.
This will help you maintain your balance and look more confident on the ice.
7. Learn How to Stop
One of the most important skills for beginners to master is how to stop. It can also be done for the more challenging.
Most ice skaters stop by holding on to the rink boards or waiting for momentum to run out.
It’s an inefficient way to stop and is not recommended as you can stop on demand.
Before we discuss stopping, we must look at the edges on an ice skate. Ice skates have 6 edges, since the skate is sharpened to have a hollow vertical middle.
The edges can be broken down into inside edges and outside edges of the front and back of each skate.
Edges determine factors like speed, stopping, turning, and as you become more skilled, figure skating edge jumps.
The Snowplow Stop
Practice using the snowplow stop, which involves turning your toes inward and pressing the inside edges of your skates into the ice.
You’ll adopt a V position with your feet while turning slightly, bending one or both knees and killing your momentum.
The T Stop
While skating, with one foot wide, bring the other foot into the body and create a T with your boots.
One boot should be facing away from the body, while the other boot should be behind the heel at right angles.
Lean your body slightly to shift all the weight onto that back foot.
The outside edge of the front heel should also help with stopping.
The Hockey Stop
A more popular form of stopping as you get a huge spray of ice, the hockey stop involves both feet and a drifting motion, making it the more difficult stopping technique.
You should be able to skate and generate speed before attempting it.
The hockey stop graduates from the snowplow stop, so start there and turn both feet away from the body instead of one, making sure both feet are parallel. Shift your weight onto the edges, and you’ll come to a stop.
Over time, with enough speed, this will be one of your go-to ways to stop.
8. Practice Gliding and Swizzles
Once you're comfortable on your skates, practice gliding on one foot at a time.
This will help you build up your balance and control.
After gliding, it’s time to move on to swizzles. You’ll be making large semi-circles with both feet as you move on the ice.
Start with the toes pointing away from the body then as you skate, move the feet away from each other.
Point the toes inward and bring the feet back together. Repeat the process and you’ll create this inward-outward motion, aka swizzles.
9. Learn to Turn
As you skate, you’ll realize that you must turn.
You can’t skate from one wall to the other.
Practice making small turns by shifting your weight from one foot to the other.
Point your toes in the direction you’d like to go. Turn your hips, head, and lean your edges in that direction.
As you get more comfortable, you can try making bigger turns and even skating and turning backwards.
Bend your knees for cleaner, sharper turns.
10. Look it Up
Watching videos online is another underrated skating tip for beginners! Seeing how to do it before you hit the ice can take some of the fear and anxiety away.
There are some excellent skating coaches creating YouTube and TikTok content.
Coach Michelle Hong, Aimee Rica, and Ice Coach Online are some excellent resources.
Of course, nothing beats going out to the rink, trying, and failing. However, you can get some pointers and build confidence before your first time on the ice.
Extra Tip: Practice
Finally, the most important tip is to practice as often as you can and enjoy your ice skating experience.
The more time you spend on the ice, the more comfortable you'll become, and the faster you'll progress.
You can start by joining skating lessons or hiring a coach for you or your kids.
A Coach can help cut your learning curve in half as they can correct any mistakes and teach you the fastest ways to master the ice.
Try to skate at least once weekly. In between time on the ice, try using a slide board or Synthetic Ice Starter Kit at home to practice balance, turning, and stopping.
Get started today
Lacing up your first pair of ice skates can be exciting, yet scary.
When you go on the ice for the first time to learn the basics of ice skating, you’ll also realize it’s challenging.
It’s not uncommon for people to write off ice skating for being too hard, especially after experiencing a few falls.
With these ice skating tips for beginners, you'll soon be out of this category and on your way to becoming an accomplished skater!
The goal is to build your confidence and mindset through simple moves like starting, gliding, and stopping.
Remember to invest in quality ice skates to avoid falls and perhaps some synthetic ice for the home to get in some extra practice.
Take your time, be patient, and don’t give up.
Over time, you can take ice skating in whatever direction you’d like.
The sky’s the limit!