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01-30-2006, 09:27 AM
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I was never good at what people might classically call "balance" I figured I'd never be able to skate. But I wanted to learn. I pictured myslef in a skating class as the only 36 year old skating in a chain of six year olds...if I fall down, it's mass carnage.
A little over a year ago, I was mentioning this to a co-worker and she told me that she skated often and invited me to join her.
So I rented a pair of skates (she advised that I should start off on figure skates until I get my balance) and stepped out onto the ice. She led me around skating backwards. Naturally, I was scared. But I wasn't the only mid-life skating crisis on the ice, either.
I wall-crawled a lot. The wall became my friend. I propelled myself along the wall, using it to keep me from falling. I also rented some library books on skating and they helped a lot (Laura Stamm's Powerskating was a particularly good one). I visualized the way the skates were sharpened, and how to use that to help propel myself along. I practiced my balance and instead of propelling myself forward along the boards with my hands while gliding, I used the wall to steady myself and walked along the wall in a side-to-side motion, which, as it turns out, is the proper stride for skating. My friend tried to teach me this, I read about it...but I didn't really get it until I tried it for myself. Finally, I was able to stride and glide and not slip and slide. One day, it just clicked.
Like Allsmoke said...when it 'clicks', it's a great feeling.
Don't get me won't be easy at first, and you will fall.
But you will thank yourself for it. Since I've started learning, my balance and posture have improved, I have more confidence and my teeth are whiter.
Finally, get your own skates when you're ready. Rental skates are good for a while, but I could have bought a good pair of skates for all the money I spent renting them. When I was using figure skates, I rented all the time. After I had enough confidence, I rented hockey skates (there is a different feeling when you first go from figure to hockey, but the fundamentals are pretty much the same). But the skates I rented were too long and too narrow. Once I got my own skates, there was a world of difference.
I am going to sign up for lessons. I'm sure I've taught myself a plethora of bad habits. At 37, the dream of breaking into the NHL is obviously dead, but I just want to skate well enough to be able to play pick-up with some freinds.
Good luck!

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