If you are only just starting out with speed skating, you will find that as the name suggests, speed and balance is everything here, and unless you can get faster, there’s no point in continuing. To help make the journey to becoming faster with each passing day a little easier, here are five pro tips that might come in handy for beginners.
Learn to Get Low
When you bend your knees on the ice-skating rink, it not only becomes easier to balance yourself, but you will be able to gain better speed as well. During every push off, time it and bend your knees as low as you can without sacrificing on balance or alignment. This could make a huge difference during competitions, so work on getting low on your knees as you push off to maximize the momentum.
Get the Right Skates
Be it inline or quad, speed skates are significantly different from the artistic roller skates used for figure skating and even jam skates. If you are confused between jam skates and speed skates, know that jam skates come with a toe plug, while speed skates use a toe stop. They have a lower cut that fits more tightly, the plates are lighter and there is minimum padding to allow for better speeds and greater maneuverability. Get a pair that makes you feel comfortable and confident and then keep using them every day until you get used to the feel of the skates.
Learn to Always Look Straight
This one’s much easier said than done, but it is certainly one of the basics of skating faster on the rink. Now, if you already have a decent skating background, then you probably know how to keep your head up while skating, but for beginners, this could seem like a huge hurdle. It is instinctive to look down at your feet while skating on the ice, but unless you are able to look up and ahead, everything from your speed and balance to even your safety will be compromised. Once you manage to learn it though, you will see a huge improvement in a matter of days.
The stronger you are per pound of bodyweight, the better your chances of increasing your speed. To do that, exercise with purpose. The following exercises are perfect for both beginners and experienced speed skaters:
- Skating lunges
- Crossover Step Ups
- Elevated split squats
- Basic jumps, hops, squats and sprints
Practice What You Want to Achieve
In sports, it is all about practicing exactly what you want to achieve and that applies here as well. If speed is what you are looking for, practice for that every day and exclude any routine that might slow you down. For example, too much conditioning can actually hamper your speed, but sprinting and pushing for speed every day can only improve it.
When you take classes from professional coaches later on, you will learn a lot more, but to begin with, these five should come in quite handy.