Hockey skates are round and shaped like a bowl. They don’t have a definitive toe or heel. On the other hand, recreational skates are flatter for the majority of the blade with a definitive heel and a toe pick. If you rock forward or back in recreational skates, the heel or toe will catch you. The toe pick is also a helpful anchor when trying to get up.
Just like walking on ice on the sidewalk, approach the ice with caution and take small steps. Take it slow and let yourself get used to the ice at a pace that is comfortable for you. Some tips:
Every skater will fall now and again so knowing how to fall and get up can really help. Consider trying to fall down and get up in your skates off the ice before going on ice. Going through the motions off ice can help you feel more at ease when you have to do them on ice. This is especially good advice for little ones.
The best way to fall is to control it instead of fighting it. If you feel yourself starting to fall, first bend your knees and freeze. Try to put your hands in front of you for balance. If you still feel like you’re falling, it’s best just to sit down in as controlled of a manner as you can muster.
To get up:
Freeze once you get up to make sure you’re balanced before moving again.
It might seem natural to want to hold hands with friends or hold up little ones while they skate. This can get tiring and sometimes throw everyone off balance. When helping others, it might work better face to face with the more comfortable skater going backwards. This will allow the learning skater to support themselves and the helping skater to offer support.
Try marching to start and lightly holding hands. If the learning skater starts to fall or get a little off balance, both should bend the knees and try to freeze, following this and other suggestions in the “It’s OK to Fall” section above.
As the learning skater starts to get more comfortable, experiment with letting the hands go and asking the learning skater to march towards the helping skater. When the learning skater feels comfortable, skating side by side and lightly holding one hand might be a comfortable transition. If not, consider having the learning skater skate near the wall and holding it with one hand, the helping skater skating next to them but not holding on.