Almost every Christmas story has it – the beautiful scene with the gliding and graceful (or not so graceful) ice skaters. This wonderful winter tradition attracts many first-time ice skaters every year.
As a professional figure skating instructor on staff at a Chicagoland ice rink, here are some tips I offer first time skaters:
- Practice falling off ice first, especially falling in ways that protects your limbs and head. Keep your head upright and limbs away from your blades.
- If you should fall, get up quickly. Other skaters will have a much harder time seeing you when you are down low on the ice and might have difficulty stopping to avoid hitting into you.
- Don’t skate alone. This is especially true if skating on an outdoor pond or lake. The buddy system helps in skating just as it does in swimming.
- Watch where you are going. Watch for skaters around you and also watch the ice ahead of you for damaged areas.
- Find properly fitted skates. Make sure there is ankle support as well as a sharpened blade. Someone at the rink can assist you if you have any questions about getting the correct ice skates.
I also checked in with Dr. Mark Neault, a sports medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Lincolnshire, Ill., who expresses the importance of wearing a helmet.
“When you fall, you are falling on a very hard surface of ice, ” says Dr. Neault.“It’s extremely important to protect your head with a properly fitting helmet.”