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Skating Etiquette

Updated on February 9, 2014

Ice skating and roller skating are very similar and this hub is intended to show you how to have the most enjoyable experience by minding your manners while skating. Whether you skate frequently or not, these are things to avoid when possible that will help you enjoy your experience. Remembering to mind your manners is important no matter where you are but especially when you are on wheels or blades.

If you don't pay attention to your skating etiquette, you may find some rinks will ask you to get off the ice or floor for a timeout if you are not minding your manners or general safety rules, while other rinks will ask you to leave. Here are some simple ways to have fun while remaining safe and avoiding conflicts with management and other skaters.


When skating it's important to monitor and control your speed. If you feel air rushing across your face and sense that you cannot control basic movements such as turning, stopping, or avoiding collisions, you are skating too fast. Take it more slowly and watch out for others. Some slow skaters hug the walls to stay out of the way of others and to have something to lean on if they get tired. When you skate too fast, you could be asking for a collision or fall.

In some situations your speed can affect others on the rink or cause collisions because others are desperately trying to avoid you but often lack the skill to do so. Try not to go excessively fast during public sessions unless they are offering a race. As a guide, look at the speed of skaters around you when you are skating and try to remain in that range.

If you are practicing on a freestyle session, higher speeds should be the norm unless you are skating on a low level practice session. Nevertheless, you must watch out for other skaters and avoid going so fast that you cannot control basic movements. If you can perform jumps and spins, you should be spending most, if not all, of your practice time on freestyle sessions. Mind your manners no matter what type of skating session you are skating on.



Weaving is the act of a person passing their body between at least two other bodies. When you repeatedly do this, you will make some people irritated or angry because you may be invading what they deem their personal space or because they are afraid you may make them fall. Weaving in and out of other people while skating is not good skating etiquette, particularly on moderately crowded to crowded public sessions. It's even more annoying when there is plenty of room for you to skate elsewhere during sessions that aren't crowded.

Many skaters at public sessions aren't very good at skating and weaving often frightens them into falling. Do not weave in and out repeatedly when skating because you just might collide with others or they may decide to trip you to end your weaving through them for once and for all. The larger the group of people you repeatedly offend, the more likely you are to come across someone that trips you up intentionally or not. Go around or wait for them to pass when possible. Be sure to say excuse me when it's not possible to go around or wait.


Tricks & Skating Skills

If you want to try out some tricks or practice figure skating skills, do so in the center of the rink. Rinks usually have these areas coned off for this purpose. This is done so that you don't startle someone into a fall or collision because you decide to act like Gracie Gold or Michelle Kwan during a crowded public session. Most people don't get injured when they fall but there is a chance so practice proper etiquette while skating. It's a general safety rule that you not try tricks, jumps, etc. when you're skating in the crowd. Try these things in the center of the rink.

For those with the ability to skate on freestyle sessions it's highly recommended that you do because attempting to practice on many public sessions is often an exercise in frustration for those with advanced figure skating skills. Just as you're getting ready to jump or spin, someone inevitably crosses your path, or simply stands or sits in it. You have no choice but to try later and elsewhere but the same thing may happen repeatedly if you're at a public session. Choose freestyle sessions whenever possible if you have the skills.


Going In The Wrong Direction

When skating at a public session, go with the flow of traffic. There is generally one direction in which the skaters skate. If everyone around you is going in one direction, it is not safe to go in the opposite direction. I will never understand the people of all ages who refuse to understand the dangers of this. Many scary collisions are caused simply because one person decided to skate in the opposite direction of the vast majority of skaters.

Some rinks will change the direction of all skaters by announcing a change on the sound system. Unless you hear this and see everyone else changing direction, avoid blazing your own trail on skates. You would not believe some of the falls that result because of just one person going the wrong way. Going in the wrong direction is not utilizing common sense or caring about your own safety. Do not do this.


Picking Other People Up

Do not even think about doing this one because picking others up while you have skates on is very dangerous. Even if you feel confident and have gone to the Olympics to compete in pairs figure skating events, bad things happen. The person being held (quite often a small child) cannot protect themselves and they are the one at the greatest risk of being harmed if there is a trip, slip, or fall. At most rinks you will be immediately asked to stop doing this if spotted because of the high risk of injury.

I've seen parents holding young children when they could barely keep their feet under them. Some of these same "adults" get ticked if a staff or rink management member tells them to put the person down. Some kids try to mimic pair skaters as a joke and the joke ends painfully on them. Picking other people up is something to avoid on skates unless you are a pairs skater in training and are being supervised by a qualified coach or practicing on a freestyle session.

A large and fun ice rink in Dubai Mall.
A large and fun ice rink in Dubai Mall. | Source

Dropping Off Children For A Few Hours

If you choose to use the rink as a place for your children to be dropped off for recreation, take their ages and their maturity levels into account. This is usually safely done with no issues but it's good to have a plan for what they are to do in emergencies such as sudden illness or an accident while skating. Do they have cell phones and money for making calls if needed? Also think about the fact that there are skate at your own risk signs posted. There is a reason for this. The rink is not responsible for any injuries and they are not babysitters.

My advice to parents would be to have at least one parent at the rink when "dropping off" kid's who are not at least 15 or 16. If kid's think it "cramps their style" the parent doesn't have to interact with them during this time but a trusted adult needs to be there in case of an accident or injury. While these situations are extremely rare, things do happen. It's always good to be prepared and have a plan right?

Go in and take a closer look at the majority of the staff when you drop your kids off. Most rinks are staffed with caring and well-trained folks no matter the time of day, others aren't always so. In fact, if it's a night session on a weekend, the entire operation may be run by teenagers and early twenty-somethings who may have no idea what to do in a medical or other emergency for your child. There are plenty of things the parent/adult can bring along to occupy themselves with or they can skate. Nevertheless, be there yourself or have a trusted adult on standby at the rink...period! Other parents of children in the group will happily thank you.

© 2012 Express10


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    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      Thank you. Happy skating :)

    • profile image

      Cluminella 4 years ago

      Very informative, thank you!

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks Lady E. Skating is usually a lot of fun. Still, my favorite tip for people skating is to get up as soon as possible when they fall. I've seen people get rolled or sliced up (depending on the type of skating) over the years. Luckily, it's not happened to me.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 5 years ago from London, UK

      I learnt a lot. I have only skated once and that was Disco Skating at the O2 Arena, London. I wish I read this before going because there were times, I wasn't skating in the right direction.... partly because I fell down too many couldn't catch up.

      Great Hub.