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You can't skate without skates! I require beginner skaters to wear figure skates. Only advanced hockey skaters may wear hockey skates. Double-runner skates are not permitted. Any skate with a hockey-style blade and adjustable "grow with me skates" are not suggested for beginners in lessons.
Figure skates are different than hockey skates in that the blade has less of a rocker and a toe pick. You may rent these from the arena to begin your skating journey.
Skates are the most important piece of equipment that a skater will use. So, skates need to fit properly and support your ankles.
Incorrectly sized and fit ice skate boots can cause foot discomfort, affect skater performance, cause premature skate breakdown, and lead to injury. So, it is essential that your skates fit properly, whether you own them or rent them!
Your blades need to be sharpened, on average, after every 20-40 hours of ice time. The specific radius of hollow (ROH) will vary depending on the skater. I have my skates sharpened by Greg at Polar Skate Shop and highly recommend him.
Boots and blades are every skater's most important equipment. Quality beginner skates can help you master skating skills more quickly and progress faster. I highly recommend that all skaters have their own pair of skates.
The advantage to owning your skates rather than renting is that you have control of the blade sharpening, boot, and lace condition. You will also experience consistency from session to session. You can even customize the blade setting, radius of hollow, and mold the boots for a perfect fit!
Inexpensive skates from a big box store or a “great deal from a yard sale," are often not the value you think they are.
Specifically, I do not recommend that my skaters wear "adjustable" or "grow with me" skates. This is because the blade is always the same size, which is not appropriate for learning to skate. My personal experience is that skaters that wear this kind of skate will struggle. I have often taken them off the ice and asked parents to rent skates instead.
I also do not recommend hockey skates or any skate with a hockey-style blade to beginner skaters because the blade design makes it more challenging to learn how to skate.
Never go more than a half-size bigger than your skater's foot. They should be sized for today, not next year. Skaters trying to learn to skate with too large skates often struggle.
When I discover this issue, I take skaters off the ice and recommended that the parents rent skates to continue with the lesson.
In this video, I'm counting down the top mistakes people make when renting ice skates. These mistakes can cost you time and money. You've probably made a few of these mistakes.
Watch this video so that you don't make any additional mistakes when ice skating in rental skates.
Many skaters (and parents) seem to struggle with lacing their boots correctly.
Many of you have told me that you wanted a video on tying skates. Even experienced skaters or skating parents can learn something from this video!
If you just purchased ice skates (figure skates or hockey skates) for yourself or your child, you must watch this video!
There are some critical things that you need to do BEFORE you go ice skating in them.
I explain exactly what you need to do first in this video!
If you, or your child, are beginning skating lessons, you may be tempted to purchase your first pair of skates online.
Lots of parents and skaters do this with their pair of skates.
But, it doesn't usually go well! In fact, you could actually be throwing your money away.
I tried out Lake Placid and American Athletics ice skates, as well as rental skates - What did I think?
My pro tips - this is especially useful for beginers!
I often get questions from adults and teens that are confused about which ice skate may be best for them. In this video, I discuss ice skates for adults and teens - adult-size people. Skill level alone is not the only factor. Find out everything that you need to consider when buying new figure skates.
Skates that are too loose can cause the ankles to “roll” and not create enough support for your foot. It can also lead to foot problems. So with that in mind please take special care when you lace and tie your skates:
The most common issue in lacing skates is to lace too loosely in the ankle area and too tightly at the top of the boot (last two hooks). This provides little support in the ankle area and undue pressure at the top when trying to bend at the ankle.
PRO TIP: Snug at the toe area; tight through the arch and ankle; and snug at the top.
U.S. Figure Skating strongly recommends the use of helmets for beginner skaters of all ages, and I require all my beginning skaters to wear a helmet in private lessons. Children age 6 and under should continue to wear head protection.
To select the helmet that best suites your needs, please consider the following information:
Which helmets work for ice skating?
A hockey, skateboard, or ski helmet (multi-sport) will be suitable for use during beginning ice skating lessons. These helmets are designed to withstand more than one moderate impact, but protection is provided for only a limited number of impacts. They should be replaced if visibly damaged. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance on when the helmet should be replaced.
In addition to wearing a helmet, there are other safety precautions you can take when you are first learning how to skate:
Dress warmly in layers so that you can remove layers as you warm up. I suggest stretchy, straight leg or tapered pants (not boot cut, as they may get caught in the blade), a fleece jacket, and gloves (to keep your hands warm but also protect them).
I do not recommend snow pants as they can be bulky, inhibit movement, as well as be difficult to get up from the ice in (they slide on the ice). As a coach, I look to see my skater's knees bend. Baggy or bulky pants limit my ability to see the skater's leg movements.
I prefer that skaters wear close-fitting pants with stretch that are tapered at the ankle, so they do not get caught on the blade.
Learn to Skate USA has put together this great video. Please take a few minutes to view it before your first lesson!
Coach Aimée Skating Academy is a PSA Excellence on Ice awarded and U.S. Figure Skating registered Aspire Program.
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