Ice skating can be a fun and simple way to get you and your family outdoors during the winter months. As well as being a great way to get some fun exercise in your schedule to make sure you don’t put on those winter pounds. There are many different ways to skate. Some people skate more casually while others skate for a living such as figure skaters or professional speed skaters. With all these different types of skating there are certain elements that are needed to ensure you can do them properly. We want to help you find the right skating style as well as give you some tips to be able to skate better and faster.
Finding the Right Skates
There are a few things to look for when buying a new pair of skates, not all skates are made to be used the same way. Most people will fall under the classic skate style, which is the figure skating model. These skates usually have a high boot, a toe pick in the front, and a blade that is gently curved and slightly longer than the boot. These skates are great for beginners because the blade is not too sharp and as well as having the longer blade which helps with balance. The second style of skate is a hockey skate. Hockey skates are usually much bulkier with a low front and high back, a protected toe box in the front and the blade is flat in the middle and curved at the ends, as well as being the same length of the boot. These skates offer a much more maneuverable and technical ride. They allow you to turn quickly as well as be able to stop on a dime. The flat area in the middle of the blade allows for more control than the traditional figure skate. The last style of ice skate is the speed skate; this is the Ferrari of ice skates. Speed skates are typically much lighter than any other skate. The boot is also much lower and the blade is totally flat and thin as well as being much longer than the boot. Having a thin, flat, long blade gives speed skates the surface area that is conducive to high speeds, although it does make it much less maneuverable.
After finding the right skate for you, I’m sure you will be anxious to get onto the ice and start picking up speed. Ice skating works by running the blade of your skate across the ice, when doing this, the blade of the skate melts the ice which removes the friction from the blade and the ice and allows you to begin to glide. Having a long, thin, flat blade give you more surface area to melt and the more blade you have pushing against the ice really helps you pick up a lot of speed. Having fast skates and knowing how to use them makes a big difference. To gain a lot of speed, while skating you want to make smooth and calculated movements so you are not wasting any of your momentum and energy. First you will want your initial push off to be with your dominant leg, this will ensure that you start off with a good balance to begin to gain speed. The best way to gain speed is not only to push as hard as you can but you really want to make your movements fluid. You will be using your arms and upper body to also help you keep your balance as well as help gain speed.
By leaning forward and swaying your arms back and forth you will gain upper body momentum that will travel down to your legs. Your arms and legs should be moving in congruence with one another, meaning that when you are pushing with your left leg, your left arm should be swaying back and when you push off with your right foot your right arm should move in the same motion. Another great way to skate with speed is to not have a wide skating stance, while having a wide stance does help with balance it does not help with speed. By placing each foot in front of the other, almost as if you are walking on a tightrope, you are streamlining your path of travel, this helps with lowering your mass and creating a smaller surface area which all help to maintaining momentum and reducing wind resistance. If you follow these simple steps you will greatly increase the speed that you skate.