Figure skating is one of the most popular sports of the Winter Olympics. The athletes make it look effortless. We found out it’s not. But with a little help from the Des Moines Figure Skating Club, we did learn the basics.
Before we learn how to glide across the ice or skate backwards or even stop, we learn how to fall – off the ice.
Jennie Walsh, an instructor with the Des Moines Figure Skating Club, shows us how.
“Just relax down and embrace the ice. Once you get down there, it’s not so bad.”
We expect to “embrace the ice” multiple times during this lesson. Jennie further instructs us to keep our hands where we can see them, keep breathing and keep smiling.
Coach Erin Ranslow shows us the “rocking horse” and the “forward swizzle.” The exercises are supposed to get us moving forward, and eventually backwards.
“Keep the tummy tight, keep nice, tight cores,” instructs Jennie as we wobble across the ice.
But it’s not long and we’re actually motoring around the rink with some confidence. We’re also starting to understand why figure skaters are in such good shape.
“If you get moving, feel the air in your face and you do the dips that we did, you’re going to being using a lot of different sets of muscles,” says Jennie.
Erin agrees, “Definitely good core muscles, you definitely feel that. You’re quads too. All skaters are going to have some nice, big quads.”
Strong quads, gluts and hamstrings are key to powering through a jump. Or, in our case, a hop.
“There’s no limit to skating,” says Jenni. You learn one thing, then another, then another.”
We eventually learn how to skate on one leg, and even perform a few spins. It goes to show you, anyone can learn the basics of figure skating.
“We’ve got some great coaches here that can really help you reach your goals and make you what you want to be,” says Ranslow.