How to learn the basics on Ice skating

How to learn the basics on Ice skating


Have you been wondering how to learn the basics on Ice skating? Don’t get intimidated by the feel of the ice, or the look of the skates, or even the prowess of other skaters that seem to move effortlessly. The basics of ice skating are quite easy to grasp.

To understand how to learn the basics on Ice skating, you need to get your practice outfit right, familiarize yourself with the basic movements, and practice a lot. Let’s show you how.

Getting Ready

Start by getting a properly fitting pair of skates. Such skates are crucial in keeping you stable as you skate. Wear protective gear such as knee pads, wrist pads, and a helmet. Put on warm yet comfortable clothes that allow you natural movement as you glide. These clothes should not get heavy when damp.

Understand Your Skates –Edges, Blades

Every pair of skates has blades with two edges, that is, the inside edges and the outside edges. The skate blades are in an upside-down U-shape, which enables the skater to sense both sides when moving on the ice.

A beginner skater always uses the inside edges to master the fundamental moves. Try not to bend the skates either inwards or outwards when moving on ice.

Beginner Steps

Ensure you have a skating partner with you when making your first steps. However, if you are alone, it is advisable to do all your practice next to the board. Having a partner or skating near the board ensures you have a safe place to fall back, should you miss a step and fall during practice.


Gliding involves moving on the ice without lifting the skates. The skater should always have his two skates in a parallel position, facing the direction of movement.

Make your first steps on the ice with your hands on the board. Take time letting your feet get used to the feeling of wearing skates on ice. Once comfortable, release one arm from the board and stretch it out towards your front for balance.

Keep your legs slightly bent on the knees. Stay low. Alternatively, as you lift one leg, let the other leg (the leading leg) always lean on the knee. You’ll only stretch it when in an open position.

Incline the upper body slightly to the front. This posture keeps you from dangerously falling backward. If you happen to fall, you are more likely to fall on your shoulder, which is much safer. Continue gliding for one lap.

The Basic Ice Skating Moves for a Beginner


Walking gives you a feel of your blades. Slowly switch from gliding to walking short steps. Try pushing your skates with your toes as you move. Do this until you feel comfortable enough to lift the remaining arm from the board.

Now lift your arm from the board and have both hands stretched forward as you continue walking.

Ensure you keep your movements along the board. This position is safe because in case you lose your balance, you can always return the hand to the board. Also, by keeping off the middle of the ice, you avoid bumping into other skaters who may be moving very fast. Try as much as possible to have fun.

Maintain Your Balance

Keep the skates about shoulder width apart with one foot slightly ahead of the other. Maintain the athletic- knee bent posture. This position concentrates your upper body weight to the center of your body right over your skates.

Ensure you keep your back strong at all times. Avoid gazing either at the ice under your feet or way up the sky/roof. If you do so, you tend to bend your back too much and easily fall forward or backward. The best position for your eyes is at the level of the board.

Moving Away From the Board

After your initial practice on gliding with the aid of the board, you can practice gliding and walk away from the board, this time move around with your hand stretched out on the sides for balance.

Try walking both forward and backward until you are comfortable doing it.

The Basic Ice Skating Moves for a Beginner


Start with your feet together, and hands stretched out sideways for balance. Gently glide on the inside edges and move your feet outwards and then back together forming a circular movement. Repeat the circular motion around the track as many times as possible. Try the swizzles motion backward.

Ski Glides

Have the feet together, and hands stretched to the sides. Glide from side to side forming spiral movement. Use the outside edges for the ski glide movement. Repeat this move, but now doing it backward.

Gliding on One Foot

Wobble like a penguin to gain speed on the ice. Otherwise, alternate pushing your skates to the sides to gain momentum. Avoid running.

how to stop on ice skating

How to Stop

Drag one foot behind to come to a stop. Alternatively, plow onto the ice with one skate.

Standing Still

Lock your skates on the knuckles to form a V-shape angle. In this position, you ensure you neither move forward nor backward.

Ice Skating FAQs

  1. What do you wear to a professional ice skating lesson?
  2. Wear comfortable layered clothing and protective padding that does not get heavy when wet. Don’t forget a pair of comfortable skates!
  3. How do I perfect my ice skating skills?
  4. Practice on maintaining your balance. Perfect shifting your body weight from one skate to the other.
  5. When can my baby start ice skating?
  6. A child as young as three years old can start short ice skating lessons. However, the guardian/parent has to accompany the child to the training sessions.
  7. Can I use a bike helmet for ice skating?
  8. Yes. However, this helmet is much thicker and does not cover the head well. There are ski or skateboard helmets that are best suited for ice skating.


Ice skating is a balance exercise. For you to understand how to learn the basics on ice skating, you have to master your shift of balance from one skate to another. You can achieve this very fast by practicing on your postures on the ice. Afterward, this skill is transferable to hockey skating, ice skating ballerina, field skating, or any other ice skating sport of your choice.

8 thoughts on “How to learn the basics on Ice skating”

  1. Hi, what an awesome way to teach people how to ice skate. I used to work at an ice rink and you would be amazed at how many people could not ice skate properly. This site would be so helpful for people who want to ice skate but don’t know how. I had to teach myself and now I wish I had seen this first. Thanks.


    • Hi, David and thank you.

      Thank you for kind words.

      The most important thing is to start practice and then take one step at a time. 

      Good luck.

      If I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions, don´t hesitate to contact me.

  2. I am 55 now, but used to skate when I was 17.

    When I began, I used to find my ankles would be so painful the next day.

    One time at the rink I mentioned that to one of the staff and they told me it was because my boots were not supporting my ankles sufficiently and I needed a tighter fitting.

    It helped massively.

    It’s always good to listen to someone who has been there before and experienced the same!

    Your post took me back to those youthful days of holding hands with my 1st girlfriend going round and round trying to look like I knew what I was doing haha…

    I especially liked the 3 minute video. I never did any of that!

    Would be fun to try again one day!


    • Hi, Tim and thank you.

      Yes, it is so important to use the right equipment — both for safety reason and feeling. 

      Like in all sports, if the shoes are not right, it can make a lot of problems. Your experience about it happens too often.

      You should give it a try again. If you have done it before, as you mention, it usually come quickly back yet!

      Good luck.

      If I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions, don´t hesitate to contact me.

  3. I have been ice skating since I was a little boy, to me it just came naturally and I can’t remember much details on how I learnt how to ice skate which has been problematic because when people come to me to teach them things, I usually get stuck and don’t know what to tell them .

    This lesson brings back a lot of memories, and now, I know with complete certainty that whenever someone asks me to show them the basics, I can completely deliver .

    I use homemade ice-skating gears , but what would you recommend for beginners as I would like to purchase some new gears .

    • Hi, Solomon and thank you.

      Some people, like you, jump in and have it from the start. You can rightly say they are natural talents in that sense. But most people need to practice like in other sports.

      But I know what you mean when you say that you can´t explain it for others, you just do it. Some people use the sentence that you and the ice is one. I think it is the best way to explain it.

      About beginners Skating, I recommend the Lake Placid Summit Boys Adjustable Ice Skate. Very easy to use for beginners and what I like most it the extra ankle support for safer skating!

      Good luck.

      If I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions, don´t hesitate to contact me.

  4. Thanks for helping me understand that it would be best to be near the board when taking your first step to keep you safe when you fall. I will definitely keep that in mind now that I plan to join an ice skating class this coming May. This is because it is one of the things that I want to try, and it is listed on my bucket list which I want to tick off before I reach my 30th birthday. This tip will ensure that I will not hurt myself trying.

    • Hi, Millie Hue and thank you.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Great to hear about your benefit of the review, that is the goal of the site.

      Good luck.

      If I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions, don´t hesitate to contact me.


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