Am I crazy for trying this? (Ice-skating rookie)

Santa brought our family ice skates for Christmas. I am 39 and haven’t skated since I was 14, and even then I was bad. But I want to be a fun mom and take my little girl ice-skating this winter, and in winters to come as well.

So, I’ve signed up for skating lessons. But I’m terrified! I’m not coordinated, not in very good shape AT ALL, and I’m about 40 pounds overweight. I’m really worried about (a) hurting myself, (b) embarrassing myself, and © having trouble getting up off the ice after every fall.

Is there any way to learn to skate without falling? The skates I (oops I mean Santa) bought are just figure skates, I wasn’t going to invest in a really expensive pair. I have knee pads and elbow pads too. I figure I’ll wear snowpants to give me an illusion of insulation when I fall. :frowning:

The other people in the class started in September - I am a latecomer. It’s at a big arena where there will be lots of other people, and I am freaking out about the whole thing. Help please!

Maybe they’ll let you start out using one of those “walkers”. They usually have them at rinks for kids skating parties & they come in sizes that would be adult-appropriate. They are usually made of PVC pipes.

First of all, relax. Skating is fun! I’ve skated all my life (former figure skater), and the best way to enjoy yourself on the rink is just to have fun with it.

Nextly, I’m serious–relax. You’ll fall, and you’ll fall fairly frequently, I’d guess. When you feel yourself falling, relax and fall like a rag doll. Don’t tense up. Pick yourself up and get going again. In all my years of skating, I only suffered one injury that required medical attention, and that was when I was attempting a tricky figure skating move. Regular skating around the rink with the crowd rarely, if ever, results in injurious falls.

A note about figure skates, since you mentioned that those are what you have. You can get the picks at the front of the blade ground off, if you prefer. Any skate sharpener can do it. But if you leave them on, be careful your first few times on the rink–you don’t want to move one foot forward only to have the picks catch in the ice, making you trip and fall. You skate from roughly the middle of the blade (not the toe), pushing your feet and legs out and away from you. That’s not entirely accurate, since it’s difficult to describe here, but watch what more experienced folks at the rink who have figure skates on do, and you’ll see what you should be doing too so as to avoid catching your picks.

And again, have fun! Let us know how things turn out.

I restarted skating at age 30. I found it much easier than I was expecting. The biggest hint I have for you is this: The faster you go, the easier it is to balance and control.

Now the ‘physics’ to justify my proclamation:
The “hurt” comes the vertical fall and distance which is the same regardless of speed. but the faster you go the more momentum you have to cut through the bumps as well as the easier it is to steer your skates under you if they start to wander.

If you aren’t having fun, you’re doing it wrong! So go have fun.

Thanks all … I’m still terrified but a little less so. :slight_smile:

Yeah what Spoons said - relax! I’m no skater, but I spent some time in martial arts learning how to fall. If you’re all stiff and you fall it’ll hurt worse.

Try not to fall right on your tailbone if you’re going backwards. Bend your knees and land on your butt muscles. Put both arms to the side and slap the ground, avoiding hitting your head.

If you go forward, don’t stiffen your arms to try to catch yourself with your hands. Broken elbows or shoulders! Put your hand on the ground and slide it forward, letting your head land on your bicep. Land on your side.

Heck, you might want to specifically practice falling before you go, just so you make it through more lessons before being too beat up to go on :slight_smile:

Hey, I started even older than you because I found a pair of skates at a garage sale. I still can’t really skate backwards at more than a crawl, or do that crossover thing, but I love to do it. I feel like I should be more self-conscious, but I realized that there are many many people on the ice a lot worse than me. Expect to fall. Everyone does. You’ll have a blast. Even if you think you’re awful, the longer you skate, the more your leg muscles will figure out how to balance you and keep you upright. Muscle memory and all.

Wear a helmet even if it is a bicycle helmet. I’m serious about this.

Natasha Richardson should be your inspiration for wearing the helmet.

If you feel yourself falling, the absolute worst thing you can do is try to stand up straight. Don’t bother. You’ll still fall over, but you’ll go over backwards and maybe throw your back out and hit your head (which, if you’re wearing a helmet, is not really a big deal, but will still rattle you). If you start to lose your balance, bend your knees right down and lean forward a bit. You’ve got kneepads and elbow pads, so lean forward and fall on those. I often find that just bending my knees deep pulls in my center of gravity enough to stop me from falling in the first place, but trying to save myself by straightening up and windmilling my arms turns a stumble into a catastrophe.