What do I need to buy, when I start skating?
Skating gives us a feeling of freedom and movement that is like nothing else. However, you need the right equipment and clothing to make your start something special. I have some suggestions below for you, to help your loved one start their skating journey.
OK, it's cold in the rink. If you live where it is cold outside already, the rink may actually be a little warmer than outside, however, in most places....IT'S FREEZING!!!
You will need clothing that is a combination of comfortable, warm and durable. You have to be able to MOVE as you flow along the ice. Tight jeans, short shorts, long dresses that can catch in the blades, etc, are all bad ideas. Here are a few recommendations for your skating start:
Socks. I know it sounds funny, but most people show up with the wrong socks. You want regular thickness socks or those on the thin side. No super thick socks. Never wear two pairs!
It is fun to have special socks for kids to skate in. Here are a few popular socks from Amazon. There are other options. Be sure to look for a sock that is taller than the top of an ice skate!
Ok, moving up form the feet, You need to wear bottoms that will be warm enough but not too warm (if you perspire in the rink you may actually feel colder in the end) and protect you from the ice if (when, let's be honest) you fall. FYI, everyone falls, even the professionals. It's part of learning. Have the right bottoms on for your moment of splat! Girls love the warmth of thermal leggings and boys seem to like sweatpants. Nothing too baggy, so coaches can see positions.
Moving up form the skates, you will want a comfortable jacket. Beginners tend to like regular sweatshirts. Here are a few that I found which may make your youngster eager to get our there and attack the ice, RAWR!
OK, ready for some cuteness? I work near the Happiest Place on Earth (aka the Mouse's House). The little kids love their Disney attire. Why not wear a special Disney outfit for her skating lessons? I tell my "little guys" to skate fast "like a race car"?
You definitely want to keep their hands warm. I mean it. If they do not have hand covering, they may not fall safely because they are trying to not touch the ice. Please get extras, because I guarantee they will lose them!
I am a huge fan of "magic gloves".
1. They stay on.
2. They are inexpensive.
4. We can see their hand positions as they skate, which is important.
5. Did I say they are inexpensive because THEY WILL LOSE THEIR GLOVES!
If your little one is especially chilly, you can use a fleece set for extra warmth. I know that your instinct is to bundle them up like they are skiing in the Alps. As a coach, I can tell you that after 30 minutes the kids sometimes start complaining that the are getting too hot... sometimes. However, its ok to be warm and toasty too!
Head protection. I am a HUGE FAN of head protection in lower level skaters, especially the tots. I recommend that beginner tots wear a helmet, until they are very secure on their skates, responsible with their speed, can stop safely and have learned how to fall safely. Helmets should have a round back, no points. Please remember that your helmets must be replaced when they have taken a big hit. The plastic and foam lose their integrity with a hard hit. Please contact the manufacturer about when to replace a helmet. Below is an example of a rounded back helmet. I am not recommending a specific helmet, but I do highly recommend that tots and beginners wear a helmet. There are many helmets on Amazon and at your local sporting goods store. Get one they will wear. If it has to have unicorns or dinosaurs, thats totally fine.
If your skater doesn't want to wear a full helmet (doesn't like the look, wants to be cool, has a sensory issue, is trying to "adult") then you have the option of wearing a protective headband. Is a protective headband, which is actually designed for other sports, as good as a helmet? Not at all. Nothing can replace a good quality helmet. However, having a padded headband may reduce the feeling of an impact on the ice or against another skater. While it may not prevent an injury, a protective headband may reduce the severity of injury sustained by a skater. I recommend to all my skater of all levels that as long as it does not interfere in their skills development (example a layback spin) they wear a headband. Even though I am a professional, I would wear head protection if I went back and started skating for real as an adult. Better slightly safer than sorry. Below are a few examples available on Amazon:
The Storelli headboard is very popular with skaters. You do need to measure for the fit. It needs to be snug to stay on during a fall.
Another helmet option (see I like helmets on new skaters). You only have one brain!
My last recommendation is that you obtect our hips/tailbone and knees. For kids, the trauma of the first few falls may discourage them and for adults, lets face it, ouch! We don't bounce as much as the kiddos. Se may be able to handle the bruises but we aren't designed for the wear and tear like the littles.
For kneepads, I prefer the soft type used by dancers and volleyball players. The protect enough and allow for movement. Plastic covered kneepads slide on the ice and make it harder to stand up.
I am not a huge fan of the velcro style knee pads, because the velcro comes undone too often while they are skating, but if its the only way to get them on the kiddo, go for it. These are cute!
This if one of the most popular entry level butt pads. It goes on like shorts, so it stays on. The padding is well laid out for how skaters fall. This does not fit the tiny ones. Please make sure that you buy a butt pad that fits. They do not last forever and your skater WILL NOT grow into one that is several sizes too big, nor will it protect them well.
Below is a butt pad short that seems to run in smaller sizes and is popular with some of the tots.
I do not recommend the butt pads that so many little kids have, that are held together with velcro.
They constantly come undone.
The quality of padding isn't great.
The skater can not put the pad on themselves, without help.
They slip and get in the way.
Now that your skater has all that gear, you have to haul it into the rink. Wow, who knew they need all this stuff? There are some great skating bag options available online.
Jackson Ultima, one of the high quality skate manufacturers, produces a basic bag. If all you have are skates, socks and gloves, it will be fine to start.
If you do want something more, the Zuca bags are very popular, I use one (red frame with Tiger insert to be specific) because they can also be used as a chair when there is no seating. They come in two main sizes, with the larger size being more popular.
The combination are limitless, as you can buy the frame and bags separately. SO MANY OPTIONS!
See my Tiger? I love it! There are so many options though. I think the flamingo is cute. Just look through the options to find your favorite combo!
Now for a want (not a need, but helpful), the accessory bag that sits on the boards. Why are these helpful? Your skater will be able to bring their music, phone (if they have one), extra gloves tissues, water bottle and notepad onto the ice and keep them in one place. No more getting off the ice for water or to blow their little noses. No using wet gloves as an excuse to take a break. They can just change them and get back to work. Even more important, no more losing all their little items.
Ok, you have most of what you need for your skating journey. Bundle up, pad up and have a great time. :)
Thank you for checking out my little skating blog. I hope that you are able to get a bit of an idea of what you need(and a few fun things as rewards for good behavior and training). I enjoy helping skaters on every part of their skating journey!
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