The Beginning

The first lesson was the most daunting. I arrived at the ice rink half an hour early and caught the end of the kids skate lesson, which made me want to run away. There were children who were phenomenal skaters and the panic of ‘I can't do this’ set in. Upon meeting John, his friendly nature and calm manner made some of the nerves disappear but I was not prepared for the number of things that I would learn in half an hour! 

The first thing to learn was how to stand safely on the ice so we could talk about my skating ability - which was poor! Next was walking on the ice. Whilst this sounds easy, as a beginner it is anything but... all I can say is thank God for the toe pick which I used to keep myself upright! So I could walk on ice, next to try was gliding, after walking gliding felt so easy (which is part of John's teaching method, he gives you small hard tasks that make the more difficult tasks feel easy)! But of course, moving at any kind of speed requires stopping (previously only achieved by crashing into the barriers) learning to stop - albeit slowly, left me feeling very smug! No longer was I one those people that had to use the barrier. Hurrah! I had achieved my mission. I could move forwards and stop what more did I need to learn? (Quite a lot as it turned out)

My biggest fear (and it still is my biggest fear) is falling on the ice. I know that as I 

progress and the moves become more difficult I am going to take a few tumbles. Having explained my one fear, John demonstrated how to get up safely and made me try it. Thankfully I was allowed to just sit on the ice, it wasn't a prerequisite to actually fall over! I'd like to point out its only because I know falling hurts and how much of a wimp I am with bruising!

The last thing to learn was skating backwards! Backwards! I'd only learnt how to skate forwards less than 10 minutes earlier! We started off with walking backwards, followed by pushing myself backwards by bending my knees and pointing my toes in. It was at this point that my legs seemed to take on a life of their own and just push which felt both natural and scary! Natural because it just happened but scary as I didn't know how to control it or stop going backwards. All of which John covered. All I needed to do now was practice it all...

Diary of a New Skater :: by Sara Bertie