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Find parks and facilities with indoor and outdoor skating rinks or frozen ponds open for ice-skating.
Ice skating rinks are open year round and are a great place to practice your skills. Most allow you to rent skates, offer ice skating rinks and fhave amily fun nights. Some rinks will also host ice skating competitions.
When the weather gets cold in big cities, outdoor ice skating rinks are the hot places to visit. Public parks either have a rink in place year round or open frozen ponds up for ice skating. Don't skate on ponds without permission
Ice skating pro shops are most often located at rinks, but you can find skates at most sporting goods stores. Make sure your ice skates are properly fitted to avoid ankle sprains or discomfort.
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There is a difference between figure skates and hockey skates. Most ice rinks rent both kinds so you can take your pick between which kind you would rather wear. They are both made of a leather upper and have a thin, sharp blade that cuts into the ice. The major difference is the toe pick on the figure skate; hockey skates have a rounded edges which allow for extreme maneuverability and quick changes in direction. The toe pick allows figure skaters to dig their toe into the ice and stop momentum to enable the execution of jumps and fancy tricks. Modern figure skates reach just above the ankle and are very stiff to support the ankle in difficult jumps. Professional and competitive skaters usually have the pressure points “bumped out” by a skate technician. Ice dancer skates are basically made like the figure skate but with a smaller toe pick and with a one-inch shorter blade to allow for more intricate footwork and close partnering with less focus on jumping. The ice dancer's boot usually is cut slightly lower in the back in order to allow greater bend in the ankle.
Make sure you get a properly fitted skate before heading to the ice rink. Rental skates are okay; but if you know you want to give skating a real try, you can buy a recreational pair of skates without breaking your bank. Once you are on the ice, try to find your center of gravity. Keep your knees slightly bent and put your weight into the balls of your feet. Trust the ice. The key to feeling comfortable is relaxation combined with technique. Take a friend with you to add to the experience and put you at ease. Rather than hold on to the wall, hold your arms out at shoulder height to learn to balance. If you do feel like you are going to fall, try to fall like a piece of jell-o instead of a glass jar; give in to the ice and stay soft and pliable instead of getting frigid and stiff. You'll receive less impact if you let your muscles take the fall. To move forward, lean into your weak foot and push your strong foot away from you in a diagonal line, as if you are shoveling snow with your foot. Then bring that foot in and repeat on the other side. Once you get the hang of it, take longer strides and glide for a second longer. To stop, place one foot behind you with the toe facing away and drag the blade until you come to a stop. You'll be balancing on one foot in order to do this, so practice skating on one foot to make your stopping easier.
When you are first learning to skate, you may take a few tumbles to the ice. This is normal and happens to everyone. If you fall on the bony parts like knees, elbows and hipbones, it can be uncomfortable and might even bring your skating session to an end. Try wearing inline skating gear until you feel more comfortable on the ice and aren't prone to falling. Inline skating gear includes elbow and knee pads, wrist guards, and even a helmet. If you don't think a helmet is 'cool', just remember that it's cooler to wear a helmet than get brain damage. So be smart and wear your safety gear.
Skaters train year round, often twice a day, 6 days a week. This is essential when they start competing and want to get to the top of their game. Cross-training off of the ice will help any ice skater improve their skills on the ice. Yoga can help improve flexibility, a key component to accomplishing almost every ice skating move. Strength is incredibly important for jumps as well as sit-spins and in partnering skills. Pilates, Gyrotonic, and weight lifting will help build strength. Cardiovascular work like swimming or running will help build endurance which is essential because of the aerobic and anaerobic skating that both short and long programs require. Ballet is another great cross-training method for ice skaters for teaching technique, balance and gracefulness.
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