Have you ever wanted to learn how to ice skate but thought you were too old? Good news, it’s not too late, and it’s super easy to get started.
So many adults are surprised when I tell them I started figure skating as an adult, and even more surprised when I tell them that there’s an entire community all over the world like us! I have taught so many kids how to skate using USFSA’s Learn to Skate curriculum, and I thought it’d be fun if there was a resource for you to just look at all in one video. Please note that I’m not an active certified coach, and this isn’t a replacement for a real Learn to Skate class or equivalent.
If you’ve ever wanted to hop on a public skate and not cling to the wall, this is the post for you! Feel free to watch the video above or read the post below.
1. Falling down and getting back up
The first thing we teach our skaters is how to fall down. Beginners tend to get broken bones or concussions more than advanced skaters just because they don’t know how to keep themselves safe. To fall down, you want to bend your knees as much as possible to lower your center of gravity and make your butt heavy. A pro tip is to try to land on one of your butt cheeks and thigh to avoid hitting your tailbone. Trust me you don’t want that bruise.
To get back up, twist around to put both knees on the ice (or one if you’re a hot shot like me). Lift one leg up to a kneeling position, and you can either use both hands to push yourself up, or if you need some support, one hand can push off from the ice.
2. Forward marches
This is your first method of going forwards. When I teach this move, I tell my skaters to lift their knees to their chest to make sure their feet lift up off the ice and so they don’t trip on their toepicks. Keep your chest up, look ahead of you and not down to the ice or you WILL fall. I’m sure you’re like “but how do you move??” Every time you lift your leg and put it down, you simulate what a real push does. But don’t worry, we’ll get to that soon. Once you master this move, you can move onto the next one!
3. Two foot glide
Once you’re zooming across the ice in your march, it’s time to do a little glide and let the ice do the work. Take a few steps and hold your feet close and parallel, trying to keep them centered and not leaning on your edges too much.
Wait, what are edges?
Every ice blade has two edges, an inside and an outside edge. These edges let you move freely on the ice to do things like turns, spins, and even spirals. Okay now that we’ve gotten that taken care of, let’s test it out!
4. Forward swizzles
This is a fun move and really lets you feel how important knee bend is in skating. For this, you just want to put your feet in a V (heels touching), bend your knees a little bit, and lean slightly forward with your arms out to the side or in front, unlike me. Don’t be like me. You’re going to feel like your feet are traveling away from you, so make sure you put a little weight in your heels. Once your toes meet, you’re gonna unbend your knees, bring your feet back into a V, and do it again! I still use these to warm up some days.
5. Rocking horse
You don’t have to move much for this one! You’re gonna start it like a forward swizzle, but instead of bringing your feet back to a new “V”, you’re gonna lean back (like your toes back, not your back back) and go back to where you started. This teaches you about weight shifting, which will be super helpful in the next level.
Pick your favorite method of moving forward (either swizzles or marches), move into a 2 foot glide, and send your booty all the way behind you so that your head stays in your center of gravity. You don’t have to dip all the way to 90 degrees overnight, but this builds important muscles!
7. Snowplow stop
This stumps every beginner skater. So you want to start at the wall and practice scraping snow with your inside edges with your feet in that pizza shape from the rocking horse. Stand with a little knee bend, let your ankles cave in a teeny bit, and then push away from you into the inside of your foot. If 2 feet is too hard, you can try doing it with one foot. I did 1 foot for a loooong time before I could finally stop with 2. Eventually you can stop from moving like this.
And if you’ve made it this far and done everything in this post, congrats, you can now flex on your friends and impress your basic skills teacher! You wouldn’t believe how many people I’ve had ask me to teach them how to skate when I worked as a skate guard for a season.
If you’re excited to get out on the ice this year, I encourage you to sign up for group lessons and use these videos as a resource for your solo practice time!
Please note that I am unaffiliated with US Figure Skating in the capacity to deliver programming virtually, and all posts using their content are available for me to use as a US Figure Skating member and protected under Fair Use.
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