I have been figure skating with my coach now for over a year and a half and have just completed all my Skate UK Basics levels. Over the course of the levels I have encountered and overcome many hurdles to improve my skating. Here is what my top tips for those of you out there who want to start a figure skating class at your local rink should know:
– Its okay to fall – Falling is often seen as a sign of weakness by fellow peers and something that is mocked. However, falling is such a common thing in skating and you shouldn’t be ashamed if you fall over, it just means that you are trying. Trust me I have fallen many times during my 10 levels but I find it easier to get back up and carry on because if you shy away from what you were doing due to being scared then you will find it 10 times harder to go back out there and try it again.
– Go in-store to buy skates – I’d advise to go into a skating store to purchase your first pair of skates, and I think I will stick with this even when I get more. I say this because different brands cater to different shaped feet whether it be wide or normal, small or large sizes. When I was fitted I was advised to go with Jackson rather than Edea because Edea was for a different shape of foot. And also I am normally a size 6 shoe but in my skates I am a size 7 so I can’t stress enough about going into a skating store and talking to the staff there and coming to a decision on which fit you best, because at the end of the day skates are a big expense and you don’t want to have any accidents on the ice because your skates are too big or too small. I went to the Ice Locker store at the main ice rink in Nottingham to purchase mine, that place is amazing!
– Don’t over layer clothes – You may think as its an ice rink it would be freezing cold so you feel the need to wear a t shirt a long sleeve shirt and a coat over that. But that is not necessary because once you get moving on the ice you really will start to warm up so maybe wear an extra layer when you first enter the rink so you aren’t hit with pure cold on your bare arms but you will warm up I promise you. So you can leave that extra padded fluffy hooded coat at home.
– Practice Practice Practice – At the end of the day some of the moves in skating may not come naturally to you, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get it right the first few times. Practice makes perfect
– Get your blades sharpened when you can – At my local rink we have a guy that comes in once and a while to sharpen the blades on your figure skates. This is a MUST and something you should keep up with regularly depending on how often you skate. It will feel much better once the blades have been sharpened and you can feel your edges more.
– Blade Guards VS Soakers – I started off using blade guards all the time for my skates. I’d just towel dry my skates and place them back in the blade guards and I found over time there was a funky gunk in the guards and my blades were looking rusty. Blade guards are something you should use just before you get on the ice to protect the blades. I found since switching to soakers my blades have been so much better. Soakers are almost like fluffy socks for your blades with a towel lining which soaks up and excess water. So I would highly suggest investing in some soakers for better protection of your blades.