Assistant Skating School Director: Emily Rausa
Please contact me if you have any questions or need more details.
Please contact me if you have any questions or need more details.
For details about our ice skating classes and how to sign up, be sure to visit the main Learn to Skate page by clicking HERE.
Curriculum and learning timelines
Private lesson instructors and group lessons at Sugar Land Ice follow the U.S. Figure Skating curriculum for learning to skate.
Detailed Curriculum lists:
The importance of practice
The GREATEST factor in a skater’s progress is the amount of practice! Skaters should practice at minimum, one hour per week that does not include their lesson time. The more time the skater spends on the ice, the faster the progress (with the assumption that the skater is practicing skills learned in class). There is available ice time at Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center DAILY, with special discounts on public sessions for skaters enrolled in Learn to Skate classes.
The ice rink is COLD, so skaters should wear long pants, a jacket, gloves, and layers that they can add or remove. Sometimes skaters get warm when get moving, where removable layers will be useful. Flexible and sweat-wicking fabrics are recommended so the skaters can move with ease. Helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and hip/rear pads are recommended, especially for beginners. Many of these are sold in the Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center Pro Shop. During the winter, it becomes colder inside the rink, so extra layers, scarves and hats are recommended.
How to lace ice skates
Properly laced skates are essential for skater safety and success. Be sure to take the time to make sure this is done correctly and to maximize time on the ice and avoid having to leave class to retie skates. It is the skaters’ and/or parents’ responsibility to properly tie skates before class begins. Assistance can be provided for beginners, but Time Required: The time for this task can take anywhere from two to ten minutes, depending on experience. Skates must fit. If the boot is too big, lacing the skates tightly will not improve the ice skating experience.
1. Loosen up the skates. By pulling the laces out a bit, the foot can be put inside easily. Make sure the tongue of the skate is straight and does not slip under the laces.
2. Stuff the feet inside the boots. Make sure the socks are straight and the foot is placed inside the boot all the way. Put the toe of the foot in first and then push the heel all the way down. Wear a sock that fits and make sure that no wrinkles are in the sock as the foot is placed inside the ice skating boot. Wearing thick socks is not recommended for ice skating.
3. Tighten up the laces in the first half of the boot. Work up from the toe to the ankle. Don't pull the laces too tight in this area. Just make sure that each pull is somewhat secure.
4. Tighten the laces the most where the foot and the ankle bends. This is the most important part of lacing figure skates. Give the laces a good tug at this point and pull hard.
5. Next lace around the hooks. Make a criss-cross pattern with the laces and pull with both hands around each hook. Some skaters like to put the laces over and under the hooks; others like to put the laces under and then over. Either option is correct. Again, don't pull the laces too hard. Leave some room for the ankle to bend. Figure skates should not be too tight. If a skater can't bend his or her knees, the skates are too tight.
6. Finish with a secure bow. It is recommended to double knot the bow. Some figure skaters leave the top hooks empty while breaking in new boots.
7. Tuck the bow's loops inside the tops of the boots, or fold long socks over the top of the skates to secure laces. This will prevent the blade from catching the bow's loops and also keeps the top hooks from coming loose.
If the skates don't feel secure after being laced up, the laces are too loose, and lacing should be done over again.
Purchasing of ice skates
Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center provides rental skates for skaters – which are fine for beginning levels, but are primarily for recreational use only. Once the skater begins to learn more detailed skills, the equipment must match appropriately for the best results. Skaters may get their own skates at any time when they begin skating, but at the Basic 3-4 level is when they are necessary to have the best chance at acquiring skating skills and strictly recreational skates will not provide the necessary support. All skaters will eventually need their own skates in order to progress. Levels and quality of skates vary greatly; as skaters move up in skill levels, the level of skates will also need to match. Stiffness of skating boot and quality of the steel and edge will increase with higher levels, and expect prices to reflect that increase.
BE SURE to make an educated decision when purchasing ice skates. They are not all created equal. There are many low quality, useless skates on the market that are dangerous for skaters to wear because they offer virtually no ankle support and may lead to injury and inhibit skaters from improving the skating skills. Beware of “bargain” priced skates as there’s a good chance that they will hurt rather than help a skater and be a waste of money. If the boot appears to be thin, flimsy vinyl or plastic, that’s a good indication of a low quality skate.
It’s recommend that skaters purchase from a specialty skate shop. The Pro Shop at Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center is a good place to start for new skates. We carry an assortment of skates from two of the most popular brands for beginner skates in the United States, Riedell and Jackson. Ask Pro Shop employees for assistance in fitting and recommended models. A private instructor can also advise in what skates to purchase.
Care of ice skates
Most fitting problems with skates can be corrected. Ankle area and toe boxes can be punched out for added comfort. Minor corrections to insoles can correct pronation (rolling in) or supination (rolling out).
Thin socks or tights should be worn when skating. A pantyhose or trouser sock material works well. Skates will fit and feel better, and there will be no crunched up tube socks in the toes, which create an uncomfortable lump. Sweaty feet from heavy wool socks can cause uncomfortable coldness.
Do not lace skates too tightly. When the knees are bent, the leg angles forward naturally. If the skate is laced too tightly, this flexible movement isn’t possible and can cause discomfort and difficulty in completing skating skills. You should be able to put two fingers between the tongue and the ankle when the foot is flat. After lacing skates, have the skater stand straight with feet about six inches apart and bend knees as deeply as possible. If a skater cannot get a nice deep bend, loosen the top two laces and try again. Make sure the heel is properly seated at the back of the boot. This can be accomplished by extending foot out while seated and tapping on the tail of the blade with the full weight of the boot (kicking back). This aligns the arch and gives the toes necessary room. If there is a gap, foot will slide forward immediately upon standing and make toes feel cramped. If the skates are very new, the skater may need to have the top two laces very loose at first and then gradually tighten as the skates become broken in.
When wearing new skates for the first time, try to bring the skater to skate on her own at least once before having a lesson because there will be an adjustment phase where she may struggle a bit. She should not get discouraged during this period and may need to start from lower level elements to slowly get a feel for the new skates and then work her way up as she feels comfortable doing the simplest of skills.
When you purchase skates, you should also purchase guards. These are the plastic covers that go over the blades and are only to be used when walking. This protects the blades from nicks and keeps then sharper longer. Do NOT store the skates with the guards on as that will cause rust and you must get the blades sharpened to remove the rust. Skate blades should be wiped dry with a towel after skating and wrapped with soakers. Soakers are a towel like material with elastic to fit perfectly on the blades. They will continuously absorb condensation that will come off the blades as they warm from coming off the ice and prevent rusting. Skate guards and soakers are also sold in the pro shop.
Blades will need to be sharpened periodically, about every 25 hours on the ice. For most beginner skaters that’s about once every few months, and anytime the skater feels like the blades are too dull (the edge won't hold, it will skid). Our pro shop provides sharpening services.
Competitions and shows
All skaters are encouraged to participate in competitions and shows! They are a great way for skaters to demonstrate their skills, perform in front of an audience, and challenge themselves. Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center puts on a winter show annually, the Nutcracker on Ice. Any level skater may participate. Registration begins around August/September, so look for information on the website or flyers passed out during classes during that time of year.
Skater taking private lessons are eligible to participate in ice skating competitions, so if a skater is interested, a private coach must be hired first. The private lesson coach will determine the level in which the skater should compete in. Beginners are encouraged to begin competing at their “home rink,” Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center. Once skaters gain some experience, there are competitions available at other rinks in the Houston area, cities, and states. The two major competitions that skaters may participate in at Sugar Land Ice are:
- Skate Houston – takes place around Labor Day
- Sugar Skate – takes place around late March
For information about higher level figure skating and private lessons, visit the figure skating page HERE.