Learning how to stop on ice is an important skill and one of the main reasons I hear for people not going ice skating. Because they don’t know how to stop.
Well, worry no longer because I’m here to teach you. Well, not really. But I’m here to tell you it’s not actually that hard and the reason you can’t stop is more in your mind than you realize.
People get on skates and get going all fast and are pretty proud of themselves and then—suddenly—they realize they’re not actually in control of what’s going on and fear sets in. And then a corner in the rink appears. And THEN! Boom! Crash! Burn! Right into the boards.
Or…Splat! Onto the ice.
And there’s always the popular…Whoa! Whoa! Out of control careening down the ice, forcing other skaters (who were, up until this moment, minding their own business) to dodge you, the unpredictable bullet.
This is always what happens. Everyone wants to skate fast and no one wants to take the time to learn how to deal with that speed when the time comes to stop.
Let’s take a step back right now and learn a little bit about these things we’re putting on our feet and trusting with all our hears to hold us upright.
Learning how to stop on ice
Now, I’ve already talked about the importance of skate blades. But I did not mention that these small pieces of metal have edges. An outside and an inside edge. No kidding. And when the proper pressure is administered at whatever speed you may be, in the correct location on said blade, you will always stop. You will also always have control.
So, stopping is very important but understanding your blades is even more important.
When I would teach kids to stop I would stand them at the boards and get them to put pressure on different parts of their blades, singling it out. It’s difficult to explain what it feels like so you’ll just have to get someone to show you but once you feel it, you get it. It’s like a light bulb goes off and all of a sudden you can feel the differences between your flat blade (right in the middle), the outside edge, and the insight edge. And you can feel how they can work for you, instead of trip you up like they used to. Back when you didn’t know there were differences.
Here’s the learning how to stop on ice part
The stop is actually done by sliding your skate blade across the ice at a perpendicular angle to the direction you’re going. If done properly you won’t twist your ankle or fall on your face. But it does take practice to learn what the right amount of pressure is.
Anyway, so you start with something called a single snowplow stop. Then you can try a regular snowplow. Then you can try maybe the showman “hockey stop” just for kicks. Or the pretty t-stop. And of course they synchronized stop, which I don’t know how to do, but it looks pretty nifty. And once you’ve mastered those stops you can try stopping on different edges, on different parts of your blade. It’s really amazing when you begin to feel the blades work with you. It just feels so good. You really do start to bond with your skates on a level you can’t express to others except those who have also bonded with their skates.
(I know how creepy that sounds…just go with it.)
Maybe it’s like an inside joke or something. You’ve had a cool experience, and it’s something you just can’t share properly with anyone else. Since you can’t really talk about it with anyone you just dig in and keep trying different tricks on your skates. You learn the more you understand your edges, the more you trust your blades. And the more you trust, the more you’ll try.
And it all begins with learning how to stop on ice.
Go figure. Skate.
Another useful post: How to fall without hurting yourself on ice.
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