I'm an ice skating coach and this is a trick to stop you from falling over in front of your friends
THE holiday season is upon us and if you're planning to go ice skating with friends or family soon — here's a trick to stop you from falling over.
Simply remembering this one tip can help avoid painful — and potentially embarrassing — falls on slippery ice.
Having worked as an ice skating coach in New York over the past 16 years I pride myself in being able to help all age groups glide on the ice with ease.
And although learning how to skate may seem scary for someone who has never stepped foot on the ice, it's actually fairly easy if you follow a few important tips.
How to stop yourself from falling
Regardless of whether you're wearing rental skates or newly purchased ice skates, which you should get sharpened if you purchased online, you should always touch and bend your knees if you sense you're about to fall.
If you are gliding on the ice, marching, or attempting to do a scooter push with one foot — it's important to touch your knees the moment you start to lose your balance.
If wiping out in front of your friends, family, or fellow icegoers, is not something you wish to do — you must never wave or swing your arms widely when you feel off balance.
The ideal position to take when you're losing balance is to slightly lean your body forwards while bending your knees and stretching your arms out in front of you.
It's never a good idea to put your arms behind you.
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Straightening your knees and tensing up your body should also be avoided if you feel like you're about to fall over.
How to fall
If you do find yourself falling, make sure you fall to one side — so you can avoid hitting your back on your tailbone or falling forward in an uncomfortable way.
Learn to Skate USA recommends: "Lower your center of gravity, slide onto one hip, relax and collapse all the way to the ice.
"Protect your head from snapping back and hitting the ice by tucking your chin.
"Do not use your hands to break your fall."
How to stand
If you've fallen and you're ready to get back on your feet, the best way to stand up is to roll over onto your hands and knees.
The next step is to place one foot on the ice in front of you, between your hands, and push on your knee to rise up to a standing position.
Once you're standing, toes should be pointed straight, feet parallel, and knees slightly bent.
I always recommend my beginning students to take small marching steps with their toes slightly pointed out before gliding with feet parallel and toes pointed straight.
Tips and tricks
If when you're skating you notice that moving forward on the ice is easy, you may be ready to try a few tricks.
To march backward, you can just point your toes towards each other slightly and begin marching.
Another trick you can try is a swizzle. To do a forward swizzle, all you have to do is stand in a "V" position with your heels together and your toes pointed out.
With your ankles and knees bent you let your feet separate into a glide. Then straighten your knees while your toes come back together in an inverted "V" position.
The movement with your feet makes a circular shape on the ice.
If skating seems to come naturally to you and you're feeling daring — you could try a dip or ashoot-the-duck.
A dip on ice is when you glide with your knees bent like you're sitting in a chair and stretch your arms out straight in front.
If that's easy, you could try doing the same thing but with one foot stretched out in front so that you are balancing on one foot. This is called a shoot-the-duck.
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