Whether you are a figure skater, an ice hockey player, or just someone who wants to have a few extra tricks to show off next time you hit the rink, ice skating backwards is something you should learn how to do. The motion for this doesn't come as naturally as it does with forward skating, and you have the added challenge of having to turn your head to see where you are going, so don't expect to learn how to do this smoothly in just a few minutes. Check out these techniques to help you learn the technique of ice skating backwards.
Stand next to a wall to practice the swizzle motion before doing it on open ice. Look behind you to ensure your path is clear and balance with your weight evenly on both skates. They should be parallel to each other. Bend your knees and move the backs of your skates outwards so the toes are pointed together, and continue pushing the backs of your skates farther apart until they are about at shoulder width. Then pull your heels toward each other and bring them together until they almost touch, at which point you can bring your skates parallel again and repeat the whole motion. When you are comfortable with it, practice it on open ice, ensuring there is nobody behind you.
Although the swizzle is fun, it is a lot of work and doesn't get you much distance. To really move, you will need to practice gliding backwards on one skate at a time. Start with your skates parallel and turn your right skate so the heel is pointed out, while the left skate stays straight. Put your weight on the right skate, pushing your toe away from you, and then catch the edge and use your right leg to push all of your weight onto your left skate as you lift your right skate slightly off the ice and glide on your left skate. When you lose momentum, place your right skate back on the ice, turn the heel of your left skate out and repeat the motion on the other side to transfer your weight back onto your right skate with another good push. Remember to keep watching behind you so you don't hit any people or obstacles as you glide across the ice.
When you are playing ice hockey, you will often need to move backwards quickly while keeping a wide base so you don't get knocked off balance. In this situation, a pumping motion can be your best bet. To do this, start with your skates about six to 10 inches outside your shoulders, bending your knees to get a low center of gravity. Keeping both skates on the ice, shift your weight from one skate to the other, pumping yourself backwards with each shift of weight. This technique can take a while to get down, and it really works your muscles, but it is effective in keeping you on your skates in a high-contact situation.