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10 quick tips for teaching safe ice skating

November 30, 2018 - TCO

10 quick tips for teaching safe ice skating

As the State of Hockey, it’s no surprise that Minnesota has the most ice skating rinks in the U.S. And there’s no reason why you and your kids shouldn’t take advantage of them this winter! Not only is ice skating a well-loved winter activity, teaching your kids to ice skate helps build athletic confidence. Here are 10 quick tips for getting your kids out on the ice safely this season.

  1. When to begin

Because every child is different, there really is no “right” age. A good rule of thumb is to make sure kids can move confidently in their skates off the ice first. If they can balance without their ankles tipping inward, they are strong enough to start skating.

  1. Protection

It’s important to stay warm and to protect against injury. Whether you opt for figure skates or hockey skates, finding the right fit is priority #1. Falls will happen (see tip #5), so you may also want to consider helmets and knee/elbow pads, especially for younger kids.

  1. Take care of your gear

Skates, especially, need to be maintained for safety. Make sure the blades are sharp and your figure skates are laced up correctly each time they’re worn.

  1. Choose the right rink

Indoor rinks might be best for beginners. If outdoors, look for a rink with side boards and smooth ice and try going during “low traffic” hours. Check your city’s website for rinks near you.

  1. Start with the basics

There’s plenty of time for hockey and figure skating. It’s best to begin with fundamentals, like gliding and learning how to fall to avoid injury (bend knees and fall on bottom).

  1. Skate with them

Little kids will want your stability when they begin, but it’s a good idea for older kids, too. Try holding their hand or under their arms while they skate closest to the outer edge of the rink.

  1. Avoid fatigue

Good things rarely come from a tired child, especially skating performance! Make sure everyone is well rested and fed before heading to the rink…and maybe pack some snacks.

  1. Be a good sport

Ice skating may be one of your favorite things, but remember, your child may not feel the love right away. Listen/watch for signs of burnout and take breaks when needed.

  1. Keep practicing

Consistency is key! If your child is into it, keep it up. They’ll build strength and endurance each time they skate. And remember, indoor rinks are open year-round!

  1. Consider classes

Do you have more than one child at different levels or just aren’t up to the teaching task? No sweat! There are tons of classes available throughout the metro.