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What to Expect At Your First Ice Skating Lesson

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A Beginning Ice Skating Class

A Beginning Ice Skating Class

Photo by JO ANN Schneider Farris
This article describes what can be expected on the first day of a group ice skating lesson series.

1. Register In Advance:

Most group ice skating classes require advance registration. Visit or call your local ice rink to inquire about their registration procedures.

2. Decide What To Wear:

Sweatpants, a jacket or sweater, ordinary socks, and gloves are the only clothing required. You can purchase "official" figure skating clothes after you decide if you wish to pursue figure skating.

3. Arrive At the Rink Early:

Arrive at the ice rink at least thirty minutes before your scheduled group lesson time. It takes time to get ready for skating.

You must allow time to put on your skates, your gloves, use the restroom, and find your instructor. Don't arrive at the rink at the last minute, or you'll miss part of your skating class.

4. Check In:

After you have checked in at the rink's front desk, go to the rental skate counter and get a pair of figure skates.

5. Put On Your Skates:

Make sure your skates fit properly and that you have tied your skates correctly. Don't be afraid to ask someone who works at the ice rink for assistance.

6. Go To the Rink's Entry Door:

Once you are ready and have your skates and gloves on, go near the ice rink's entry door. You may find you need some assistance walking to the ice!

7. Meet Your Skating Teacher:

On the first day of class, your ice skating instructor will take roll and also gather all the students in the class together off the ice.

Once the skating instructor gathers the skaters together, he or she might check all the skaters' skates to see if they are laced properly. Students will be reminded to dress warmly and to wear gloves. Helmets are optional for all beginning ice skaters.

8. Off-Ice Warm-Up:

Skating teachers will sometimes have new skaters do some off-ice exercises before getting on the ice, but some ice skating instructors will immediately take the students to the ice.

9. Step On the Ice and Hold the Rail:

The class will now get on to the ice and hold onto the rail. Some skaters will be frightened when they step on the slippery ice surface; others will be excited. It is common for young toddlers to cry as the teacher leads skaters onto the ice, so it is recommended that parents of young children stay nearby.

10. Move Away From the Rail:

Next, the instructor will get the beginninng ice skaters to move a bit away from the rail.

11. Fall Down On Purpose:

A skating teacher will now have the ice skating students fall down on purpose. Usually, the skaters will dip down first and then fall to the side. This "planned fall" will never hurt, but some young children may cry when they realize how cold and slippery the ice is. Some skating teachers might have young ice skaters feel the cold slippery ice with their gloves or mittens.

12. Get Back Up:

Next, the skating students will learn how to get up. Skaters will get themselves on "all fours" first. Then, they will move their feet between their hands and will push themselves up.

Some skaters will find that their blades will slip and slide as they try to get up. Figure skating coaches will recommend using the toe picks of the blades to keep the skates in one place as the skaters try to pull themselves up.

The teacher might have the students repeat falling and getting up over and over again.

13. March Across the Ice:

Once each skater is standing, the class instructor will begin to help skaters march across the width of the ice rink.

14. Glide On Two Feet:

As the class marches and steps across the ice, they will "rest." When the skaters rest, they should be gliding forward for a short distance on two feet.

15. Dip:

To do a dip, while gliding, the skaters will skate forward on two feet and squat down as far as possible. The skaters' arms and the skaters' rear ends should be level. It is very hard for new ice skaters to do this move correctly.

16. Learn To Stop:

The ice skating students will then push their feet apart and use the flats of the blades to make a bit of snow on the ice and do a snowplow stop.

Some new figure skaters will push their feet apart too far. Some beginning skating students will go into the splits by accident. Ice skating teachers will have beginning skaters practice stopping over and over. Learning to stop on the ice takes much practice and patience.

17. Games:

Most group ice skating lessons, except for the lessons for adults and teens, might include a few games played on ice skates such as Hokey Pokey, Red-Light Green-Light, Duck-Duck-Goose, London Bridge, or Cut-the-Cake.

18. Practice:

After a lesson, skating teachers will usually encourage class students to practice. It is best to supplement every group ice skating lesson with at least one practice session per week.

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