The Perfect Bat

Off-Ice Strategies for Improving Your Skating

If you really want to improve your ice skating skills, you need to do some practicing off-ice, too. No one can spend all of their time on the ice, so devising ways to improve skills while in regular environments is essential. The strategies seem, for the most part, like things you'd do just to improve your life in general. But all of them together have an impact on your ability to balance, move, and survive on slippery ice.

Do a Specific Workout Program

Being able to balance and stay upright on the ice -- not to mention to move efficiently, too -- relies on strength and flexibility. Even the most well-cared-for rink and the best skates aren't going to replace the ability to keep control over your limbs when your feet and skates want to slide all over the place. The U.S. Figure Skating organization, which is the main body overseeing competitive figure skating in the United States, including the Olympic team, has sets of exercises you can do to practice agility and strength in ways that will help you on the ice. These are created for specific groups (for example, novice to intermediate skaters), and the organization has a few of these. Work with your skating instructor to identify which programs would be best for you to follow.

Get Your Sleep

Over the past few years, sleep has become the hot buzzword in wellness, and for good reason. Sleep helps your body regulate itself and cleans out the neurological trash from the previous day. For sports like ice skating, sleep helps improve your reaction time, as well as your speed. Even if the only ice skating you do is at the rink at the mall, you need to be able to maneuver around groups of people who have no idea what they're doing on the ice. 

Work on Situational Awareness

Those people on the ice who have no idea what they're doing can come out of nowhere. In addition to being able to react quickly, you have to be able to realize they're headed toward you in order to be able to react at all. Start practicing situational awareness. Don't get lost in thought as you walk around the market, for example -- notice who is where, who might be about to cross your path, what stacks of groceries look unstable (so you can avoid going near them), and so on.

Your skating coach may also have strategies that you can use off the ice to improve your performance on the ice. Find what works for you.