by Claire Milyo
Many people quit skating. There are many reasons, but there are a few reoccurring ones that I want to bring up here.
Equipment, is one reason. Ill fitting skates cause pain, and pain causes people to give up skating. Beginners will buy skates that are too big just so they can wear thick heavy athletic socks. Wrong! All that extra padding does is hold more sweat and rub on “hot spots” to make for some lovely blisters. In time, that foam material mats and condenses and makes skates even looser causing even more rubbing. Skates should be bought to fit snugly when wearing thin socks that wick sweat away from your skin. The boots will be looser over time and can wind up looser than what you might expect.
Don’t overly tighten your skates; they aren’t casts! Your feet can become numb if you do this and can actually cause you to lose control. I have personal experience with this one…
Beginners may be tempted to go extra cheap when buying their first pair. Don’t do it!!! Usually what you get is hard plastic wheels instead of a decent polyurethane wheel. Hard plastic wheels have no gripping ability and are a cruel joke on a beginner. Hard plastic wheels are like being equipped with your very own ice except you don’t want to go ice skating. You push off and fall because the wheels can’t grip the surface beneath them. Therefore, you quit, hopefully without injury, because you can’t learn proper skating techniques. I have had students show me their cute new skates only for me to have to tell them that Santa goofed and got them skates with the wrong wheels.
The above are my pet-peeves when it comes to equipment, but I have others… Everyone needs a solid skill set, or tools in their bag. When I first started skating, I practiced at an under utilized industrial park. I worked my way up to 10 miles in a few months. The only problem was that I did that with no idea how to stop! I just coasted until I came to a stop. Needless to say the industrial park was flat and after a year’s time became very boring. Lessons can cut the learning “carve” and get you to a skill level where you can get a seriously good workout and have fun at the same time. Skatewoman…. to save the day!!! After an hour lesson, I learned what I didn’t learn in almost a year on my own…. stopping!!! What I would have missed if I hadn’t found Jen! Get skilled!!! Without skills you’re limited and quitting becomes an option.
Another reason people quit… the skating community is small. You can feel isolated. However, skating is cool. People will envy you. Before you know it, people will be asking you how you got involved. Be patient; you will attract others. And when you really get to a point when you are zipping along, you can even skate with cyclists! Don’t forget skating rinks either. Some have adult nights, christian nights, speedskating teams, figure skating, you name it. Get connected to opportunities. You may have to look a little harder, but they are there.