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Any advice on ice skating?

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My boys have expressed interest in learning how to skate. They are big hockey fans. The older two (5th and 3rd) roller bladed in our basement (smooth surface). The youngest (1st) has not and isn't riding a two wheeler yet. We found a good price on Bauer skates at the LL Bean outlet and have taken them skating a couple times and they want to continue. Should we sign them up for a learn to skate class? There is one starting next week. Or just continue to take them to open skate? Any advice on what to look for, ask, etc? Dh skates, I do not. When they do go skating, what should I be prepared with? New territory for us -


Use helmets...some places require it, but other places don't. It is not worth a bang on the head.


Classes and open skates, as much as possible, as soon as possible. Just throw some skates on the 1st grader and toss him out there. He's at a great age to learn.


If you can, try to find a learn to play hockey program where they learn to skate and play at the same time. It might be hard for find for the 5th grader but you should find one for the younger ones.




Oh, and bring yummy drinks and snacks...skating takes so much energy that I found the kids were often grumpy from being tired from working so hard. It really helped to have snacks handy.

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I learned skating on a flooded field at recess during winter in Alaska, but when I got lessons I learned important things, like how to stop properly! I say go for the classes, at least a few basic ones, especially if they want to join a team.


As for being prepared: dress warmly and have a snack prepared for afterward. And extra socks for the kids. Mine always ended up soaked.

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Michele, around here kids typically do the learn to skate class for a session, just to learn a little of the basics, then they go over to the hockey program. Your rink should be able to tell you all about each of the progressions. Ice skating has two major organizations (ISI, USFSA), and rinks typically do the instruction progression for one or the other in their learn to skate (lts) programs. So the lts classes may be a group homeschool class, but they will more typically be divided by levels (alpha, beta, gamm, that type thing or.... I forget the other progression). So when I say kids with hockey in mind typically do one session, I mean they sign up for the first level of LTS and learn some basic things (how to stroke, swizzle, a couple stops, etc.). Hockey is its own world of stops and moves. They're a lot less concerned with form (for obvious reasons, lol). They'll do things in a hockey class you wouldn't do in an LTS class. In fact, around here the first thing they learn with the hockey stuff is how to fall. :)


To do hockey you're looking at gear, and there are usually gear exchanges. Again, you just need to go to your rink (or their website) and see when and how they do things. Lots of people start thinking about ice skating in January. It's a common time for classes to fill up. They could do a session or two now, see what they like, then decide about a hockey league later, say in the fall. And hopefully there would be a gear exchange/sale about the time of that sign-up.


If you they want to play on a team or learn ice skating skills, yes you want to take a class. If they just want to putz around the rink, you could go either way. Personally, I think it's a lot safer and a lot more fun to take lessons. It's just such a basic skill, something you can do almost anywhere you go, and they learn a lot in those classes. You'll get a lot of bang for your buck and enjoy it. Having your own skates helps, because you won't have rental fees. Often a class comes with a skating pass to practice, which cuts the price a bit too. It's really worth the money though to pay for lessons. When you consider the cost of your ice time, usually the classes are quite a deal.


Oh, now this is just my word to the wise. Watch who the instructor is. If they have different sessions at the same level, they may have different instructors for different time slots. As with all things, I've found some people have a way of pulling out the best in my dd, and some don't. Some instructors are better at putting things into words than others. Some can only demonstrate or have a gruff persona that offends some kids. Also, we've found that Saturday classes tend to be busier than evening.


Ok, couple more things to add. He doesn't need to be able to ride a bike to ice skate. My dd didn't ride a bike till this past year, but she was a lovely ice skater. And in your case, with three kids so close in age, you might consider doing private lessons. By the time you pay for three to take at once, you might have been able to do private, depending on how much the person wanted. Again, it gives you the chance to pick your instructor. You want someone who can put things into words.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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If you can afford classes (they don't tend to be cheap), do it! Even for the youngest...honestly, it's easier to learn when you're younger (you ought to see the preschool learn-to-skate classes, lol).


You can just take them to open skate times and they'll have a fine old time, but if they want to learn more specific skills the classes are great. Stopping, skating backward, etc are all things I couldn't have taught my dd myself. She started just before her 6th birthday and she learned SO MUCH I was amazed.


I recommend helmets (most places around here require them anyway) water-proof ski pants if they're REALLY beginners and tend to fall a lot, and obviously gloves.

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