Can You Learn to Ice Skate Without a Coach?

You can learn basic moves such as gliding forward, skating backward, staying upright on the ice, stops, and maybe crossovers. As for complex skills such as jumps and spins, it’s best to learn with a certified coach.

Self-teaching ice skating isn’t a good idea due to the risks involved and slower learning progress. Besides, you’ll never self-train to the point you can become a professional ice skater or participate in the Olympics or World Figure Skating Championships. Plus it’s easy to learn bad habits and not know how to correct them because you don’t even know you’re skating incorrectly in the first place.

Related: How to Learn Ice Skating as a Beginner

Just Because You Can Self-teach Doesn’t Mean You Should

A financial advisor once told me, “Just because you can afford something doesn’t necessarily mean you should have it right away.” And this is great advice.

The same goes for ice skating. Just because you can watch YT videos, video yourself as you glide on the ice, and watch others at rinks doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how you should learn this art form.

There’s always some cheapskate somewhere trying to cut expenses, someone who thinks paying a coach for group lessons or private lessons is a waste of money.

Also Read: Best Ice Skates for Beginning Skaters

But these are almost always the same folks who end up with really bad injuries and hefty healthcare bills. They’re also the sort of people who seem to practice intensely but still can’t land an Axel jump many years down the road. Not that landing the Axel jump is an easy fete at all.

Don’t be that person.  Pretty much everyone with a job can soak away adequate coaching fees for a trainer if they want it bad enough.

So, pony up for a certified ice skating coach, and pat yourself on the back after each session for having made the best decision ever.

5 Reasons Not to Learn Ice Skating On Your Own

It’s official: learning to ice skate without a coach is not a good idea. And here’s a bunch of reasons why hiring a trainer instead is a better strategy.

1. Ice Skating is a Dangerous Activity.

I hate to say it but a fact is a fact: all skating sports are fraught with danger. A wrong move and you go down super fast, breaking a wrist, an ankle, an elbow, or even worse, your skull. If no other argument against learning without help persuades your DIY soul, let this do it.

A coach is usually an accomplished ice skater, someone who’s gone through all kinds of mistakes and learned what works and doesn’t. Some of them have even competed at the Olympics.

With a dedicated instructor, you learn how to do skate skills safely. You even learn how to fall without injuring yourself or others at the rink. And the odds of getting hip or ankle injury as a result of prerotation sharply decrease.

Also Read: Best Wide-fit Ice Skates

A friend recently told me how dangerously one self-trained guy skates. According to Marcey, the dude is extremely clumsy at Camel Spins or Lutz.

Not surprisingly, no one likes him. Worst of all, the clumsy self-taught ice skater doesn’t seem to be aware of just how much everyone on the ice hates the entire messy ordeal.

Oh, I almost forgot to remind you to wear a skate-certified helmet especially if you’re new to skating on the ice.

2. You Likely Won’t Learn Good Posture and Technique.

If there’s one reason to skip meals and hire a good coach with the money you save, it’s learning proper posture. Bad posture can and often leads to back injuries. You get exhausted sooner than you normally would be the case with good posture.

Have you ever come across someone wondering why ice skating is so tiring instead of just enjoying the pastime? There’s a decent chance that the person chose to self-teach ice skating and never figured out what good form looks like.

A coach keeps reminding you to skate with your knees bent out a little, and to stay low all of the time. Because they know that bending over at the waist is a really bad idea.

Learning good ice skating jumping technique is another big reason many opt to consult with a coach. No one on Reddit will offer you any kind of helpful advice on proper jumping technique. All you’ll get from Redditors for seeking jumping advice is downvotes.

Learning toe jumps such as the Toe Loop or the Lutz or edge jumps such as the Loop, Salchow, or Euler, or mastering the insanely challenging Axel jump requires expert guidance.

And if you want less injury, less frustration, and to enjoy this ice rink activity more, stop training yourself and get professional assistance instead.

3. No One Becomes a Star Without a Coach.

If you hope to compete at the Olympics down the road, definitely get a coach. No one — and I repeat no one — ever becomes a celebrated star in the ice skating world without a good coach guiding their career.

With training, your chances of getting invited for shows and tests decrease dramatically. As a matter of fact, signing up for tests and competitions without a coach standing behind you is an exercise in futility with most clubs.

Pretty much no one wants to bet on a self-taught ice skater. Because the chances of failing the test are insanely high. Besides, no club wants a self-trained skater who’s not conversant with any of the competition rules.

If you dream of going to the Olympics or World Championship someday, do yourself a favor and get a coach. There’s no other way around it.

What if you’re not interested in competitive ice skating and just want to play at the recreational level? It’s still a bad idea to not work with a qualified instructor. Because you won’t master posture, and can easily get injured on the ice or hurt others.

4. You’ll Struggle Learning Anything Advanced

You may think you’re too good for a trainer, but this mentality is almost always the surest path to failure.

Look, you have to master your edges, 3-turns, crossovers, stops, and whatnot. No war you’ll get to great skating skills without nailing the basic ice skating moves first.

Seriously, how can a self-trained skater ever land doubles if their singles still need work? And if their 3-turns are still rudimentary, how could such a person ever do doubles?

But There’s Tons of Self-taught Ice Skaters on YT, Right?

Fact: all those self-trained ice skaters you see on Youtube and Tiktok aren’t good. It seems like they’re really killing it to eyes that don’t know a thing about the sport.

But it doesn’t take a coach to point out obvious mistakes. In fact, even folks who aren’t trainers can spot errors easily.

I’m not trying to discourage people from putting out videos to record progress or inspire others to self-teach. I’m simply saying you’re likely to learn bad technique by watching people who didn’t train with an instructor.

5. You Won’t Know How to Correct Your Mistakes

One thing about ice skating is that very small mistakes in moves can result in serious problems. I mean problems are hard to spot and correct even for coaches.

It’s not unusual for coaches to record videos of beginners during lessons and then watch them in slow motion in an attempt to catch the smallest of errors hindering progress.

If it’s not easy for trainers, how could it be easy for you to learn solo?

Wrapping Up

Even though ice skating is among the most expensive sports out there, not using a coach is almost always a bad idea.

Without coaching, you’re likely to learn bad habits. Also, you won’t be able to win competitions or pass tests. Even worse, you can take a major bad fall and break some bones.

So, stop sitting on the fence and find a focused coach. That’s the best approach whether you’re looking to do recreational ice skating or competitive skating.