Starting anything new can feel a little daunting, no matter the stage of your life.
Ice skating, in particular, is something a lot of people find a little daunting, but with the right preparation and the best advice, you’ll soon be on your way to mastering new skills and feeling confident.
So if you want to have a better understanding of what to wear to go to the rink, what to eat before a lesson, how to lace your skates properly and much more, then read on
Choosing the right skates
When choosing a pair of ice skates, a few factors are essential. For example, If you’re a beginner, you will likely buy a boot and blade combo skate that will differ from the model skates a higher-level skater will require. However, depending on your technical level, and even how you skate, some boots may be more appropriate than others. If it feels like a better option at the start, rental skates are always a good alternative before investing in your own ice skates until you know this is something you plan to continue longer term
It’s worth researching different branded ice skates and getting a professional fitting to ensure you invest in the right pair. Different boot brands are made for different shaped feet, so what feels comfortable for one person, might have another person in agony. Something to be aware of when trying on skates is that they should be fitting snug, (always ensure you wear a thin sock), but they should still have room to contribute to flexible movement and comfortability.
How to dress for a practice at the rink
How you dress to go to the rink is really important. Wearing the wrong attire could negatively affect your practice and no one wants that! Attire which is comfortable and has the ability to stretch and allow movement is essential. When first learning to skate it’s always ideal to wear lighter clothing such as leggings and a fitted top or sweater as opposed to anything too heavy or anything too loose that could get caught up and cause injury to yourself or others
In terms of footwear, a thinner sock is a much better option. Your skate boots will fit snug regardless so the last thing you want is a thick sock taking up unnecessary foot room. Wearing thick socks can also interfere with feeling the ice and different pressures in the skate which can affect performance. Although there are specific socks you can buy that are designed for skating, thin socks with a decent grip are the main priority.
Other accessories such as leg warmers and gloves can help keep you warm too.
How to warm up correctly
It is always best to arrive at your lesson at the rink slightly earlier so you have an appropriate amount of time to warm up, lace your boots and feel ready to go. The main focus of a warm-up will essentially aim to get your body warm and raise your heart rate off the ice, along with implementing static and dynamic stretches to prevent any risk of injury whilst skating.
Muscle strains can occur when muscles are not adequately warmed up, and when put under the stress of elements such as a jump, spin, spiral, or even a fall, you don’t want any risk of muscle injury. You should spend 10-15 minutes at least warming up when you get to the rink, right before you put on the skates and head onto the ice.
Simple warm-up exercises can include:
- Jogging on the spot
- Jumping jacks
- Ankle and neck rotations
- High knee run
- Walking lunges
- Straight leg kicks
- Hip rotations
- Quad and hamstring stretch
- Arm swings
- Side lunges
How to lace up your ice skates
Tying the laces on your ice skates doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it certainly makes a difference when done correctly. The importance of this comes from the need to support the ankle whilst ensuring the motion in your body is directed towards the blade and not misdirected in your boot.
The general process of correctly tying the laces should more or less happen as so: place your foot in the boot with the weight in your heel and your toes slightly pointing upwards, bang your heel down into the back of the boot, and start tightening the bottom laces to the top gently tugging each lace crossover to end up with an even distribution of tightness across the boot. After this make sure you do the same process with the top laces across your ankle to ensure a high level of support, and then follow through with tying a neat bow with the laces and tucking in any excess lace.
Leg warmers are an ideal accessory as they hide away laces and of course, keep your legs warmer!
What to eat before skating
The recommended nutrition approach with ice skating is the 4 R’s: Rehydrate, Replenish, Repair and Reinforce. Typically just like any sport, nutrition before and after activity will have a vital impact, and we want that impact to be as positive and effective as possible.
A balanced diet packed with nutrition is something everybody should aim towards, whether actively taking part in sport or not.
Before an ice skating lesson, you need to prepare your body for burning calories and therefore require a high amount of energy without feeling too full or heavy. Foods such as whole-grain cereal, yoghurt, bananas, oats and high protein drinks are always top of the list for a pre-lesson snack.
After skating, protein is always a good option to help rebuild any muscle tissue and can include foods such as; chicken, eggs, vegetables, greek yoghurt, and salmon. Carbohydrates such as wholegrain rice, potatoes and pasta are ideal choices to regain energy used in the activity.
Alongside opting for suitable food choices pre and post skating lessons, correct hydration is vital. Hydration is essential at all times, during the day and after a workout, the more water the better!
Now you’ve read our top tips, it’s time to get started with our expert online packages, available for beginners and higher levels.