Why can't I skate?

I have taken “learn to skate” classes a couple of times, both as a child and as a (young) adult. I have no physical disabilities (I do walk funny because one of my legs is slightly shorter than the other), and I can do other things requiring athletic skill (I played high school basketball, for example; I also taught myself how to swim).

Why the hell can’t I learn to skate? Does anyone else have this problem? It’s embarrassing to be near a public ice rink in the winter, watching both TODDLERS and SENIOR CITIZENS skate circles around me. I can barely stand up on the damn things, let alone push myself forward/glide along.

I’m not coordinated at all, and I manage. The main thing that I always forget and have to relearn is that you need to push the skates to the side–not straight back. The mistake little kids make is pushing the skates back and forth parallel to each other. Also, you do have to be moving a bit or it is going to be a real challenge to stay up, just like on a bicycle.

I’m in my 30s.

I tried a few years ago.

I can NOT. CAN NOT. Repeat: I can NOT…

…keep my ankles straight. They bend inward. I can not skate with the ankles in a normal position.

And, judging by my informal poll of everyone on the crowded ice that day, I’m the only one.

Played ice hockey in high school, college and in my early 20s and I can still skate very well.

Most likely you aren’t using the edges of the skates. I also recomment you learn on hockey skates and not figure skates as hockey skates don’t have a “toe pick”. The difference was shown in the movie The Cutting Edge to comic effect.

First, you want to learn how to stand. Generally you want your feet shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent inward and your feet at a bit of a V digging into the ice.

What you don’t want is to be standing flatfooted

And make sure your laces are tight.
It’s all about Issac Newton. If you don’t use the edges, when you try to push in one direction your body will awkwardly move in the opposite and equal direction. This will generally result in your feet sliding away from your center of gravity and you ending up on your ass.

I can stand up on them and move around, but I can’t really…glide. I can just sort of push myself. It feels vaguely pointless.

One day, you will push yourself, and you will glide. You’ll look up and feel a floating freedom.

Exhilaration ensues until the day you break an ankle attempting a (single) axel. That was me.

Like you, I was clumsier than most, but just keep at it. It’s great fun.

It’s not as easy as it looks.

Skating isn’t one of those activities like dribbling a basketball, kicking a soccer ball, or throwing a baseball. It’s a learned activity like riding a bike or skiing. It takes time and considerable effort to perfect.

My family is from Scotland. My parents never learned to skate as kids. My dad tried a few times here and was utterly useless. It takes time, patience, and practice.

I took skating lessons for two years and although I could muddle through quite a few basic moves I never lost the fear of hurting myself.

I feel much better since I gave up - I was taking it all too seriously and it was getting me down. I love to watch skating, but I’ve accepted it’s not something I’ll ever do well. I’ve learned enough to toddle around the rink with my little nephew when he’s old enough, and I’m satisfied with that.

Great username/post combo.

I can’t even remain upright on roller blades, let alone ice skates. A couple years ago, a friend and I got drunk and went to a roller rink just for the hell of it, and I ended up having to get advice from an eight-year-old girl. :smack: (The advice didn’t help.)

Yeah, me too. I can skate that way and not feel like a total fool, and go fast and turn and stop and stuff, but I end up with really sore ankles by the end of the day.