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21 Tips & Tricks to Enjoying Your First Skating Experience!

We hope that you’ve decided to come join us on the ice. To help your first experience go as well as possible, here are some helpful tips and a little bit about what to expect.

  1. Sometimes, seeing the facility and how things run can help ease anxiety, set a realistic expectation (everyone falls 😊) and make the first experience easier.
  2. If you’re unable to visit, know that rinks are often busy, can be loud and are likely cold – especially in the rink. Even those who are not going on the ice should dress warmly.
  3. Take advantage of rental skates if they are available. Leave time to put skates on and get the right size. Rental skate styles can vary so it might take a few attempts to get the right fit.
  4. Dress in layers that allow for movement. Long sleeves and pants, gloves or mittens are a must.
  5. Properly fit skates position the foot over the blade so that it can be controlled. Just like shoes, skates that are too big or too small can make skating difficult and often cause blisters or other unnecessary soreness.
  6. Know that it’s OK to fall. “Help” the fall by bending your knees, reaching hands out in front and trying to freeze. If you need to go all the way down, sit on the ice like you would on the floor. Try to land on a meaty body part opposed to a bony one. Tucking the head or arms can be helpful, too.
  7. A helmet is strongly suggested. A bike helmet is sufficient although caged helmets can offer additional protection.
  8. To get up, start on your hands and knees then sit up tall. Put one leg up so that the foot is flat. Keeping your head on top, use your hands on your knee or one on the ice/floor and one on your knee to push up. Place the other foot flat and freeze with hands in front and a little bend in the knees.
  9. Waterproof clothing can be great for little ones.
  10. For safety, it’s strongly suggested that little ones are not held or carried on the ice.  
  11. When buying skates, purchase a size that is true to the foot at this moment. Where it may seem attractive to buy skates that can be grown into, the extra space alters the way the foot sits over the blade and makes skating more difficult. It can also cause injury or unnecessary soreness.
  12. If you’re taking Learn to Skate lessons, arrive early and expect an organizational system. Programs may use nametags, color coding, arranging skaters off ice and more to help create a flow for skaters through the building.
  13. Tie skates right. Make sure that the foot is all the way into the boot. Toes should be comfortable and the whole foot should stay put for the most part. Tie laces all the way up using all of the hooks. If a lace is too short, ask for a new pair. Laces shouldn’t move easily if  you run your finger across them.
  14. Try falling down and getting up off ice before going on ice. This exercise can make a big difference.
  15. Be careful of equipment like elbow, knee and shin pads, that can hinder movement and make it more difficult to skate.
  16. For first timers, it’s best to march first. Holding onto the wall with one hand can help, too.
  17. New skates often need to be sharpened before they can be used.
  18. Be sure to adhere to required codes of conduct and if using an open skating session, to use common sense with traffic flow, speeds and the appropriate type of skating to keep everyone safe.
  19. When skating with a little one, try to help them bear their own weight and spot them to give them confidence. The effect of a parent holding or carrying them to stay up can be a lot like a skating aid (think crates): Skaters don’t actually get the feel of standing on their own and often have difficulty when it’s time to skate by themselves.
  20. Be sure to keep breathing! When we’re scared, we tend to hold our breath. Breathing can make all the difference!

We hope you have a great time. Visit or call 1-888-74-SKATE to find an FMC Ice Sports operated skating facility near you.

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