When a child is learning to skate, he or she will often begin by looking down at his or her feet and the ice. This habit is OK in the beginning, but it's one that you want your child to put behind him or her as quickly as possible. Ice skating lessons provide an opportunity for your child to learn proper skating mechanics, which include keeping his or her head up while skating. While it will take your child a bit of time before he or she is able to successfully skate in this manner, it's important to be able to do so. Here are some reasons that your child should learn to skate while looking ahead.
Awareness Of Surroundings
One of the most important reasons that a young skater needs to look ahead, rather than down, is to be aware of his or her surroundings. When children are looking down as they skate, there's a higher risk of them colliding with each other. A collision between two skaters can have a significant impact, especially when one or both children doesn't see the collision coming. This can lead to falling and the potential of an injury. When your child looks ahead as he or she skates, the child is able to identify potential hazards in the area and avoid them.
When a child looks down at his or her feet while skating, the child's balance isn't optimal. Looking at your feet tends to pull the upper half of your body forward, which can make it difficult to skate with the proper mechanics. For example, a child may struggle to glide proficiently when his or her head is leaning forward and looking down. Skating with poor balance of this nature can also make your child more susceptible to falling — even a minor stumble can lead to the child falling forward because he or she is already leaning in that direction.
Important For Skating Sports
Perhaps you've enrolled your child in ice skating lessons because he or she eventually wants to figure skate or play hockey. It will be difficult to perform successfully in either of these sports if your child can't skate with his or her head up. In hockey, a skater needs to look up to see teammates and opponents and follow the puck. In figure skating, the skater needs to see precisely where he or she is going because following a choreographed routine is important.