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Ice skating safety tips and learning to skate

The Smithfield Figure Skating Club offers learn to skate programs and shares tips on ice skating safety.

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Photos: Provided by the Smithfield Figure Skating Club

By Dianne LaMontagne

The Smithfield Figure Skating Club has managed a learn to skate program at the Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink since 1976. Year round we offer beginner through advanced ice skating classes for ages 3 through adult, including Parent & Tot classes for children 3-to-5 years of age who skate with a parent or guardian.

Our program’s mission is to provide a fun and safe experience that will instill a lifelong love of skating. Our instructors strive to teach correct technique while developing balance and coordination and promoting physical fitness.

Here are some ice skating safety tips from our coaches:

  • Wear a helmet (bike, ski, or hockey) make sure it is snug.
  • Always dress in layers. Wear gloves or mittens at all times.
  • Check to see if blades have been sharpened before getting on the ice. Dull blades can lead to falls. There should be a slight curve to the blade. If it is flat, there may be no more blade left to sharpen.
  • Beginner skaters should leave room between them so if they fall they do not take the skaters down around them, or hit anyone with a blade when they go down.
  • When you fall get up quickly (get on your knees first, put one knee up, and use your hands to push off the ice or your knee to get up)
  • Do not buy skates that are too big for the skater.
  • Wear thin socks or nylons inside skates, never double up on socks.
  • Tie skates snugly and all the way up to the top. They should be stiff enough to offer the skater support.
  • Make sure your blades are completely dry before you put them away for your next use to ensure that they do not rust.

At the Smithfield Figure Skating Club, our instructors are professional coaches, members of the Professional Skaters Association and complete a US Figure Skating (the national governing body for the sport) coaching certification process annually – a process which includes completing continuing education requirements and a background screen.

Our program uses the Learn to Skate USA curriculum which is endorsed by US Figure Skating and USA Hockey. Winter session classes are on Saturdays between noon-2 pm through March 31. Skaters warm-up and practice their skills for 15 minutes followed by a 25-minute group lesson.

Though the session began in mid-December, there’s still plenty of room in the classes. Registration fees will be prorated for the late start. Winter session skaters and their families and friends will participate in a special Olympic Celebration on February 10. There will be lots of skating, games, and medals awarded too!

Dianne LaMontagne is President of the Smithfield Figure Skating Club.