One of the most important things you can do for your skater is to make sure that your skater’s skates are tight.
How tight should your skater’s skates be? Tight. Snug. Almost uncomfortable. For racing, they should be even tighter.
- Unlace the top of the skate (e.g. the top two rows of laces around the ankle), and loosen the laces on the bottom of the skate (around the foot). Get your skater to slide in his/her foot. Your skater should be able to do this easily without huffing, puffing, groaning or other effort.
- Lace the skate up, loosely, right to the top of the ankle.
- Tighten the skate, starting down near the ball of the foot and moving up to the top of the ankle. If you aren’t strong enough to tighten skates to make them truly tight, look at using a lace tightener that you can buy at most sports stores (and I think at the Oval Skate Shop).
- Tie a bow at the top, and then double-knot the lace.
- If you have a buckle, tuck the knot under the buckle before you snug up the buckle.
- Fasten and snug up the buckle. NOTE: The buckle is only meant to seat your skater’s heal in the skate boot. It is not meant for tightening the skate. The laces should keep the skate tight and snug on the foot.
One trick to keep your laces tight … If you run your laces from top to bottom through each hole (rather than the way you normally do on shoes where the lace runs from the bottom of each hole and out the top), then as you pull the lace tight, it pushes down on the boot and holds itself tight. This does make it a bit harder to lace your skate and to loosen them, but it does make it easier to tighten them and keep them tight.
DON’T loop extra-long laces around ankles. Shorten the laces, make a double bow, or tuck them under the Velcro flap. A coach can help you do that right.
DON’T leave laces flopping around. They should be tucked away under a buckle or double-knotted so that they won’t be caught and cause a fall.
- My skater can’t stand up straight on his/her skates. You may not have the skates tight enough around the lower foot and the ankle. Make sure the skate is the right size, and then try tightening things again.
- Even when they are as tight as I can get them, the skates are still loose around my skater’s ankle. This isn’t uncommon. Our rental skates range in sizes, but ankles and feet range in size a lot more. You may need to “bulk up” your skater’s ankle. Doughnuts? No, sorry, that isn’t the answer. Get some cheap socks and cut the foot off. Have your skater pull these on over each ankle to make each a bit thicker. You might find you need a couple of pairs.
Here are a few links that show you about tightening skates:
- Active Basics: NHL Pro Shows How to Tie Skates — Not speed skating – but the idea is pretty similar.
- How Do I Keep My Ankles Straight When I Skate — Again, not speed skating, but again the idea is pretty good.
If you have questions please do not hesitate to ask your coach!