Braving the cold series: how to skate

Three people are about to have a great game of hockey on the ice Isi Parente

Lets learn how to skate in the cold winter months

All of us that live in Regina, Saskatchewan know that the cold can be a little unmotivating when it comes to keeping active in these cold winter months. This is why the Carillon wants to talk to you about the sport of skating and the different levels everyone can skate at to stay active. Once you finish reading this article, who knows? You might be motivated yourself to give it a try or to get back at it.

Before we get into being active, let’s look at what the sport of skating is. Some of you may think skating is a sport where you glide around on two thin pieces of metal while hoping to stay balanced long enough to be able to gain some speed and then come to a full stop. Although it is more than that, skating started out in the 17th century as a form of transportation. It originated by gliding around on shanks or rib bones of elk or caribou. Skating became a hit and people wanted it to become more than a form of transformation. It then became social pastime in the 1840’s where the fun all began. Skating did not stop there and has developed into so much more. Now you see athletes taking part in figure skating, speed skating, hockey, and skating for fun – and so can you!  

Now that we know some of the history, let’s get down to the action! The first step is getting your skates on, and then making sure your skates are nice and tight and properly laced. Skating is a sport that depends a lot on your ankles, so you want to make sure they are protected. Once your skates are on you are ready to start.   

The next step is getting onto the ice. Now, this may be a little tricky which is okay – that is the fun part. Please know that as you skate it is normal to fall on your butt, hands and knees, or run into the boards when trying to stop (or at least we say it is). When learning how to skate, one of the most important lessons is learning how to fall and how to get back up. So, go ahead fall a couple of times!

Phew, falling can be a lot of work. Time to get down to the real business. The moving part, sounds scary right? Well let’s not be too scared because worst case scenario is that you will fall, and we already know how that route goes. They say the way to visualize the movement of skating is to pretend like you are on a scooter. Do a nice swift kick of your leg back and keep one leg forward (or on the scooter). Once the pushing leg is back you shift back and forth and you will gain speed. If that does not seem like your style, just hold onto someone and glide behind them!  

Now that you have gained some speed, how do you stop? Don’t you worry, that’s what the walls are there for. Feel free to glide and grab onto them. A better idea is actually stopping on the skates. A good way to stop is by pushing your feet apart, using the flat part of the blade to come to a full stop. Another way to come to a stop that may not be the most effective – but works – is just gliding on your skates and swerving your legs in mini half circles. Eventually your body will lose momentum and you will come to a stop.  

Now you have the steps of learning how to skate, why not give it a shot? Reminder that skating can be a dangerous sport and is hard to learn, so please be careful and take someone with you when trying it out for the first time – that way you can both laugh together!


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