Ice Skating Tips


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Ice Skating Tip: How to Stop

One of the first ice skating tips every skater should consider is to learn how to stop. There are a number of different ways to stop while ice skating, but here we will discuss three – the T-Stop, the Snowplow-Stop and the Hockey-Stop.

T-Stop

The T-Stop is probably the best stopping technique for beginning ice skaters to learn. The T-Stop is performed with the skates forming a t-position as the name implies. To execute a t-stop, you should: 1. Begin skating slowly in a forward direction.
2. Turn one skate at a 45 degree angle and drag it behind the other skate.
3. Pull the skate that is being dragged into the instep of the lead skate.
4. Shoulders should remain straight and forward in the skating direction.
5. Arms should be out to the side.
6. Lean back slightly and shift the body weight to the rear skate that is being dragged.

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Snowplow Stop

The snowplow stop is another stop that is great for beginner ice skaters to learn. The snowplow stop got its name because of the ice shavings that buildup in front of the blade, resembles the snow that builds up in front of a snowplow. The snowplow stop is performed with the skates forming a pigeon-toed position. To execute a snowplow stop:
1. Begin skating slowly in a forward direction.
2. Arms straight out to the side.
3. Bend the knees, lean back slightly and push the skates apart.
4. As the skates are pushed apart, the feet should begin to form a pigeon-toed position.
5. The inside blades are used to shave the ice.

Hockey-stop

The hockey-stop is an important stop, and one that every ice skater should learn. The hockey-stop will bring skaters to an abrupt stop, even when skating relatively fast. The hockey-stop got its name because it is a stopping technique often used by hockey players. The hockey-stop is performed by turning both skates in the same direction, parallel to the direction skating. Ice skaters should learn the hockey-stop in both directions. To execute a hockey-stop:
1. Begin skating at a moderate speed in a forward direction.
2. Arms straight out to the side, skates should be slightly apart, knees bent.
3. Simultaneously, twist the shoulders in one direction and the feet in the opposite direction.
4. The lead skate will shave the ice on an outside edge, the trailing foot will shave the ice on an inside edge.
5. The hips and skates are facing to the side, the head, chest and stomach should be facing the skating direction.

Ice Skating Tip: How to Stop while Skating Backwards

There are multiple ice skating tips to help you stop while ice skating backwards. If you are skating with figure skates you can lift the heel of one of the skates and dig the toe-pick into the ice. This will not instantly stop forward (in this case backward) progress, but it will slow you down to an eventual stop. While skating on any ice skates you can use the backward Snowplow stop, and the backward T-stop; we address both below.

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Backward Snowplow-stop

1. Bend both knees.
2. Turn the toe of one or both of the ice skates out (dragging it on an inside edge).
3. The inside edge of the skate(s) will eventually help bring you to a stop.

Backward T-stop

1. As you are skating backwards:
2. Bend the skating leg and lean forward.
3. Extend one ice skate behind you and turn it at a 45 degree angle.
4. Place the free skate onto the ice on an inside edge (set it down slowly to feel and adjust to the pressure accordingly).

A final ice skating tip to help you to stop while skating backwards is to execute a backward turn, and stop in the now forward direction by using the forward T-Stop, Snowplow-stop or the Hockey-stop

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Clothing Guidelines

It is important that whatever you wear be loose enough to not restrict your motion.  It should not be so loose or baggy that it presents a safety hazard however.  You should never wear anything that is so loose that it drags on the ice, or close to your blades.

If you're prone to getting cold, consider a layered approach.  A couple of thin sweaters or sweatshirts will be better than one really heavy thick one -- and you can shed layers as you heat up.

Girls generally wear thin sparkly tights when competing.  But for practice some skaters choose to wear those slightly baggy  "jogging suit" or "sweat suit" pants over their tights.  Like sweaters, these can be removed as you heat up.  Another option is to get the heavier practice tights that some vendors sell.  In our area, skaters call these "sweater tights", and get them from your local department store .  From a distance, these look just like the regular competition tights.

You might choose to wear a nylon windsuit like runners often wear.  These are lightweight, and usually have a felt lining for warmth.  These suits are generally nice and loose so they don't restrict you.  The nylon tends to shed water, and always keeps it away from your skin, unlike tights or normal pants.  And the nylon material is very slippery -- when you fall, it slides very nicely on the ice and tends to minimize the "hurt".

Gloves are appropriate if your hands get cold.  Most skaters wear those stretchy "one-size-fits-all" gloves that you can get at your local department store.  They usually cost about a dollar a pair.  You should get lots of pairs because they always seem to disappear even faster than socks.

Heavy outdoor coats generally hinder your ability to move, and should probably be avoided unless it's really cold and you have no other options.

Parents of small children in early learn-to-skate programs may feel more comfortable if their children wear hockey helmets to protect their heads.  Some rinks require this until a certain level of proficiency is attained.  In others, it is a matter of personal choice.

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