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Ice Skating Tips for Beginners

We asked Wyoma, a professional skating instructor for beginners of all ages, to share her best tips and techniques for learning how to ice skate.

8 Min. Watch | Winter

What to Wear Ice Skating


Since you’ll be working up a sweat, wear warm, light layers so you can add or remove according to your ideal comfort. A vest makes a great skating layer as it keeps your core warm, leaves space for extra layers, and keeps your arms free.


For the most comfort and flexibility, we recommend you wear cotton or wool socks that aren’t too thick, and preferably longer, so they rise above the skates.


Most gloves or mittens will work, but ideally you want them to be warm, not too bulky, and water resistant if possible.

Choosing Your Skates

Pick Your Pair

The two most common kinds of skates are figure skates and hockey skates. Both are fine to learn on, but you may find one is better suited to start with. Hockey skates have a shorter blade attached to the boot and are tailored to quick turns and accelerations. Figure skates have a longer blade which give you more contact on the ice. The longer blade can sometimes mean better balance for a beginning skater, but it really depends on your own skating preferences.

Size Wisely

Regardless of the kind of skates you choose, getting the right size is vital for your comfort and safety. You can always use a sizing chart to measure your feet, but the general rule of thumb is you may need to try on 1 - 1 ½ sizes down from your shoe size to find the right fit. This can vary from skate to skate depending on who makes them. So, it’s always a good idea to try your skates on first.

Shop Ice Skates

How to Lace Skates Properly

Loosen your laces all the way down to the bottom. Now slide your foot in. Pull the tongue up to make sure it’s fully extended. For the lower laces by the toe, pull them tight enough to make sure they are snug. As you work up the middle of the skate, pull the laces tighter. This is where we want our laces the tightest. When you’re done and they feel snug, put a bow on it.

How to Fall On Ice Skates

Everyone falls when they first learn to skate, so chances are you will too. It’s just part of the learning process. If you feel like you’re going to fall, bend your knees and stretch your hands out in front of you. If that doesn’t stop you from toppling over, try to relax into the fall and fall to the side while leaning forward. To get back up from the ice, push to your knees. Then use your hands (preferably gloved) to stand up.

We recommend helmets and other appropriate safety gear for younger skaters.

Proper Skating Techniques

The March

When you first step out on the ice, you want to find a balanced position. Stretch your arms in front of you as if you are placing them flat on a table in front of the middle of your body and bend your knees. You can use the boards to support you while you’re finding your balance. The next step is to start taking little marches, barely picking your feet up off the ice. Don’t forget to keep those knees bent! This is going to help you get comfortable moving on the ice.

Two-Foot Glide

Once you feel comfortable marching on the ice, it’s time to glide! Take a couple marching steps forward and stop with both skates together. Keep your arms in front of you and simply let the skates glide for a couple of seconds. It goes something like this, march, march, march, glide. March, march, march, glide. If you start feeling comfortable gliding on two skates, try to glide on one! Start with a couple of marches into a two-foot glide and then lift your toe up to the heel of your skating foot and hold it for as long as you can.

The Rocking Horse

This is one of Wyoma's favorite learning techniques for teaching beginners to skate. Start with your heels together and arms out. Bend your knees and make a small circle on the ice with the inside of your skates, bringing your toes together. Keeping knees bent, reverse the circle to bring your heels back together. Continue this motion back and forth like a rocking horse until you start to feel more comfortable on the ice.


Like the rocking horse, start with heels together, bend your knees, and bring your toes together by making a small circle in the ice with the inside of your skates. However, instead of reversing the circle back to your heels, keep moving forward with tiny circles, bringing your toes together over and over, and moving you smoothly along the ice.


Now it’s time to push off from the inside of our skate. This is called stroking and it’s going to take you one step closer to learning how to skate. Basically, you’re alternate gliding on each skate back and forth. Starting with your knees bent and one skate pointing slightly outwards to create a “T” with your skates, push off from the inside of the skate that’s pointing outwards and glide on the opposite skate. As the lifted skate comes back down on the ice, push off from the skate that was just gliding, and then simply repeat back and forth. As you keep doing this, you’ll start to get more comfortable and find your natural motion. Guess what, you’re skating!

How to Stop On Ice Skates

Snowplow Stop

One of the most basic techniques for stopping on the ice is called a snowplow stop. Feel free to practice this while holding onto the boards. Start with feet together and bend your knees. You want your toes pointing slightly in while you press out with the outside of the skates and scrape off the top layer of the ice. This motion should bring you to a stop. Once you feel comfortable doing this at the boards, try it further out on the ice with a little more speed. You can do the snowplow stop with one or two feet. For a two-foot stop, simply repeat what you did at the boards. For a one-foot stop, follow same steps but only push on the outside of one skate, scraping the surface of the ice.

You did it! Follow these ice skating tips, and techniques and you’ll be skating like a star before too long.

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