The Basics

Skating success begins with preparation off of the ice.

  • Let go of any preconceptions you have about skating and expect to have fun and feel safe.


  • Dress appropriately, including hat (or helmet) and gloves.

  • Choose skates (preferably figure-style skates for beginners) with a sharp blade and sturdy boots.  Make sure they fit snugly, but not so tightly that your toes are cramped or squished.  If you're renting skates, allow yourself at least 15 minutes before your first lesson to choose your skates.  Keep trying until you find a pair that fits and has good edges.

  • Lace your skates tightly, especially around the ankles.  Before hooking your laces into the lowest hook, give them a firm tug to lock your heel into the skate.

  • While still on the rubber mats, bend your knees, fold at the waist, and reach your hands toward the floor in front of your skates.  Now, fall down gently.

  • Stand back up by first coming to your hands and knees (cow pose); then, walk your hands back toward your knees and carefully place your right blade on the ice to the outside of your right hand.  Now, place your left blade on the ice to the outside of your left hand and find yourself in a squat (malasana or "froggie") position.  Use your legs to push yourself back to standing while using your hands and arms for balance.

  • Practice falling and getting back up a few times before you take to the ice.

Take your time getting onto the ice.

  • Relax!  Keep your body loose so you can easily shift your weight for balance.

  • Expect that you will fall down; but, the less your fear falling, the less likely you are to fall.

  • Before moving forward, scan your body for tension and stiffness:

  • Are your shoulders shrugged up toward your ears?  Release them.

  • Are your knees in the upright and locked position?  Bend them.

  • Are your toes clenching the insole of your skate?  Spread them out. 

  • To move forward, start with a marching motion, picking your feet up off the ice one at a time. Don't try to slide or glide your blades on the ice.

  • As you begin to move forward, keep your knees bent and shift your weight slightly forward, so your shoulders are aligned over your knees.

  • Extend your arms to the side and slightly forward, as if on a balance beam or tight rope.

  • If you begin to lose your balance, bend forward, lower your hips (as if to sit in a chair) and bring your hands to your knees.  This will keep you from falling backward.

  • You will occasionally fall down. Bring yourself to your hands and knees; “walk” your hands back toward your feet until you’re in a squat; raise your self to standing.

  • Resist the urge to use the wall.  You can’t maintain proper alignment while holding the wall.

  • You can glide to a stop.  Do NOT slam into the boards, or drag or plant your toepick.

Smile, laugh, have fun!