How Do I Learn to Skate With SKATE UK?

Skate UK is the approved Learn to Skate course developed by British Ice Skating (‘BIS’) on as the fundamental training scheme for anyone wanting to Learn to Skate. The Skate UK program teaches movement and basic ice skating skills for skaters of all ages in 8 clear stages. Most rinks in the UK will have some kind of registered Learn to Skate course but BIS can only advise that you register for a Skate UK course.

Skate UK is delivered by BIS qualified coaches and provides you with a high standard award scheme. We must state that not all the rinks in the UK offer the Skate UK course, however BIS would always recommend you book a course tutored by BIS Qualified Coaches.

Why Learn to Skate?

Ice skating is a hugely popular activity that forms the basis of many winter sports you will see in the Winter Olympics, including figure skating and speed skating.

This graceful sport sees individual skaters or groups perform a series of dance routines in time with accompanying music. Incorporating spins, jumps and fast turns, figure skating certainly offers a more artistic form of ice skating.

Skate UK Star – Basic skills programme

The Skate UK is a programme of basic skills; these are the fundamentals of the sport. Once a skater has completed this programme then they have the basic knowledge of the sport. This programme is tested under a progressive and continuous testing structure.

Level 1

  • Sit down and stand up
  • March forwards across the ice
  • Forward two foot glide
  • Skate and Dip (Little Man)
  • Turn around on the spot

Level 2

  • Backwards Marching across the ice
  • Forward Swizzles (Lemons)
  • Forward two foot glide on a curve (left and right)
  • Two foot turn on the spot (forwards to backwards, back to forwards)
  • Snowplough or T-Stop

Level 3

  • Forward stroking (showing correct use of blade)
  • Moving two foot turn (forwards to backwards, back to forwards)
  • Backwards Swizzles (Lemons)
  • Back two foot glide
  • Forward one foot glide (left and right)

Level 4

  • Forward outside edges on a circle (left and right)
  • Forward inside edges on a circle (left and right)
  • Basic forward Slalom (basic outside / inside edges)
  • Backwards Stroking
  • Forward continuous Chasses around a circle (left and right)

Level 5

  • Backward outside edges on a circle (left and right)
  • Backward inside edges on a circle (left and right)
  • Backward continuous chasses around a circle (clockwise and counter-clockwise)
  • Forward crossovers (clockwise and anti-clockwise)
  • Forward outside three turns (left and right) from standstill

Level 6

  • Forward inside three turn (left and right) from standstill
  • Backward outside edges step to forward outside edge on a circle
  • Backward crossovers (clockwise and anti-clockwise)
  • Backward two foot Slalom
  • Two foot spin (min 2 revs)

Level 7

  • Forward inside open Mowhawk (left and right)
  • Backward crossovers to landing position glide
  • Continuous forward outside edges along a straight line (as per Level 1 – Field Moves)
  • Continuous forward inside edges along a straight line (as per Level 1 – Field Moves)
  • Basic forward Cross rolls

Level 8

  • Continuously outside three turns around a circle (3 in a row); left and right
  • Continuous inside three turns around a circle (3 in a row); left and right
  • Step sequence: Three turns, Mowhawk, Cross rolls, Twizzles, Toe steps ect.
  • Forward inside single Twizzle (left and right) (Hockey skaters forward Drag; left and right)
  • One foot spin (min 2 revs) (Hockey skaters 2 foot spin; min 4 revs)

Skate UK Star – Free Skating Grades
The Skate UK STAR is a programme of basic skills relevant to the Free Skating discipline; these are the fundamentals of this discipline. Once a skater has completed this programme, they have the basic knowledge of Free Skating and is able to progress up to the British Ice Skating National Test Structure. This programme is tested under a progressive and continuous testing structure.


  • Forwards and backwards crossovers in a figure of 8
  • Forward outside spiral on a curve (left and right)
  • Spin on one foot (min 4 revs) optional entry and exit
  • Waltz Jump from 4-5 back crossovers (held landing for a count of 3)
  • Bunny hop into drag


  • Single Salchow
  • Spin on one foot (min 4 revs) entry from backwards crossovers, stepping into a forward outside edge, with a landing position exit
  • Backward spiral on a curve (left and right)
  • Backwards crossovers around a circle into an extended landing position for the count of 3 (left and right)
  • Teapot on either foot (forwards or backwards)


  • Backwards outside one foot spin (min 1 rev)
  • Single toe loop (with correct take off – not a toe three jump)
  • Spiral sequence: Forward outside spiral, forward outside three turn, two backwards crossovers, back inside spiral (spirals held for 3 seconds) clockwise and counter-clockwise
  • A simple step sequence: Must have three turns, Mohawks, Chassés, Crossrolls, Toe Steps; these can be done on any edge, forwards or backwards
  • Combination of skating movements: To include turns, jumps and spins in a short routine; with or without music (max 1 minute and 30 seconds)

Health Benefits Of Ice Skating

Whether you simply want to try ice skating for a bit of fun, or aim to skate competitively, this enjoyable winter sport offers a number of key health and fitness benefits.

Improve joint flexibility through ice skating – If your leg joints creak every time you rise from your bed in the morning, ice skating could offer a real solution. With its emphasis on quick foot movements and supple knees, your leg joints will receive a great workout and hopefully feel more flexible in no time.

Building leg muscles through ice skating – Your legs may currently resemble knobbly-kneed, trembling twigs but ice skating exercise could really change all that. Focusing on lower-body movement, ice skating offers fine exercise for the leg muscles, building them up over time. So get rid of your chicken-legged blues today by skating towards better fitness!

Boosting the cardiovascular system through ice skating – Ice skating may not appear the most obvious way of boosting your cardiovascular system, but an intensive session could really work out your heart and lungs, feeding muscles with oxygen more efficiently.

Keeping mentally fit through ice skating – Although offering a number of physical benefits, ice skating is equally useful for improving mental fitness. Requiring high concentration, strong memory skills and spatial awareness, your mental attributes should develop the longer your ice skating training goes on.

Better balance through ice skating – If you normally topple over at the drop of a hat, ice skating could really help you improve your balance through fun and positive exercise. Travelling across an incredibly slippery surface should quickly train you to stay on your feet; otherwise you’ll be crashing to earth with a bump and receiving an icy reception!