This varies greatly depending on the goal of the skater. But, if you're looking to be able to skate on your own recreationally, it can take 4-10 lessons to learn the very basic skills. The basic skills include how to fall and get up, march, glide on two feet, wiggle backwards, swizzle forward, and stop. These are the skills included in the Learn to Skate USA Basic Skills 1 curriculum.
If you decide to progress past the very basics, the Learn to Skate Basic Skills Program has 6 Levels. Each level has unique elements that need to be mastered before the skater can progress to the next.
Generally, it can take 4-16 lessons for a skater to progress from one Basic Skills level to the next. Of course, the time this takes varies widely because every skater will learn at their own pace. You may also progress faster if you practice between lessons.
Once you have completed all the Basic Skills levels, you can move on to Free Skate, Dance, and/or the U.S. Figure Skating testing structure.
Depending on your goal you could take lessons for a lifetime! I still take lessons and many other coaches do as well - there is always something to master!
If you have a questions that is not addressed here, please contact me via email and ask!
There isn't an "ideal age" to learn ice skating.
I have taught children as young as age 2 and adults in their 60's!
For group lessons, rinks usually require children to be at least 3 years old. But as long as your child can walk well and is potty trained, they can begin in private lessons.
Children develop at different rates so what will work for one beginner, may not work for another. If your child has a lot of difficulty, you can always try again in a few weeks, or months.
The ability to ice skate can add to a child's over all development of motor skills.
Many skaters start in group lessons as they are great introduction to skating in a social environment.
However, skaters that are under the group lesson age (usually 3 or 4) or that prefer a private lesson environment begin their journey with group lessons.
There is no right or wrong way to begin ice skating. What is most important is that the choice you make fits your budget and schedule.
If a skater begins to struggle with a particular element in group lessons, or by the time they reach Basic Skills 3 or 4, private lessons are suggested as a supplement as the skills become more challenging at these levels.
Skaters that are interested in doing competitions and shows (available to skaters of ALL levels), should have a private lesson coach to properly prepare.
I teach both group and private lessons. However, if you sign-up for group lessons your coach will be assigned by the rink.
I always recommend that beginners, especially young first time skaters start with figure skates.
Rental skates are fine for the first few lessons. But, rental skates often have dull blades and have been worn down by many different people wearing them.
As soon as you make a commitment to skating, it is wise to invest in your own skates.
The most important thing to consider when purchasing skates is that they must be the correct size and the appropriate amount of support for the skaters age, size, level.
I always recommend that a skater go to a reputable skate shop to be fitted by a good technician. In my area we are lucky to have Greg at Polar Skate Shop in East Hanover, NJ and I highly recommend that all my skaters go there! A good skate tech, like Greg, knows which brands and models are appropriate for a skater and their budget.
Knee pads are not recommended for any beginner skater, because they inhibit the ability to bend the knees.
Bending the knees is one of the single most critical skills to learn in skating so anything that inhibits it should be avoided. In addition, knee pads prevent a beginner from being able to push up off the ice from a fall because they slide.
The sliding issue is one reason that snow pants are not recommended either. Waterproof-style pants will slide on the ice and beginners have difficulty pushing up from a fall when this occurs.
It is also difficult for a coach to see if a skater is bending their knees properly when the skater is wearing bulking clothes such as snow pants. Fitted leggings are suggested. If you think you will get too cold, wear tights or multiple layers of fitted pants.
In addition, it's best not to wear waterproof or hockey gloves either. These styles of gloves may cause the skater difficulty when trying to get up from the ice.
A good general rule is to practice outside of lessons as often as you take lessons.
So, if you have one half-hour lesson each week, you'll want to practice for another half-hour outside of the lesson, ideally on a different day.
If you take two half-hour lessons each week, you'll want to make sure that you practice for two half-hour sessions, again on different days of the week.
You can do more of course but this is ideal for young skaters are just starting out with a limited budget.
If you have the dedication, budget, and time to spend hours of the ice every week with multiple lessons, you will progress faster and have more proficiency.
Founded in 1921, U.S. Figure Skating is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sport of figure skating in the United Skates. It is recognized as such by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and is the United States member of the International Skating Union (ISU).
U.S. Figure Skating regulates and governs the sport and defines and maintains the standard of skating proficiency. It specifies the rules for testing, competitions and all other figure skating related activities. U.S. Figure Skating promotes interest and participation in the sport by assisting member clubs, skaters, and athletes, appointing officials, organizing competitions, exhibitions, and other figure skating pursuits, and offering a wide variety of programs. Athletes and officials who represent the United States at international figure skating competitions are selected by U.S. Figure Skating.
Learn to Skate USA offers programs for skaters of all ages and abilities through local rinks. Fully supported by U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey, and US Speedskating, with support from Special Olympics, the Professional Skaters Association (PSA), and the U.S. Ice Rink Association, Learn to Skate USA offers every student a heartfelt welcome, lifelong benefits and fond memories. Passion: It's why Learn to Skate USA is recognized as the world's best ice skating program.
Skaters in group lessons are typically required to pay a membership fee each year (beginning July 1) as part of their registration to join Learn to Skate USA. This provides you with the following benefits:
Skaters that take private lessons, and do not take group lessons may join Learn to Skate USA on their own or U.S. Figure Skating directly or through their local club. In my area, I recommend that my skaters join The Skating Club New York or North Jersey Figure Skating Club. Check with your coach for their recommendations before you chose a club.
Acquiring good, fundamental, efficient skills with proper technique is necessary to achieve more complex elements such as jumps and spins.
Appropriate skill progression is used by good coaches to achieve long-term athletic development and the future success of the skater.
Every skill builds on one another, and higher-level elements are comprised of the building blocks of lower levels. If there is a break in the chain of skill development, a skater's progress can suffer.
Introducing an element to a skater before they have the necessary skills in place can lead to frustration, injury, and lack of success, often resulting in the skater leaving the sport.
So, when a skater is struggling with an element, I often go back to a different skating skill to improve the building blocks rather than repeating the desired skill without the solid building blocks already in place.
A skater struggling with an element such as forward crossovers, for example, may not be able to hold proper forward edges securely or may not have a steady one-foot glide. These skills are necessary to execute forward crossovers correctly, so improving the earliest skills as a component to the desired skill works to ensure success.
Gaps in skills will become more apparent when trying to properly execute more complicated elements. Improper technique, from basic skills that have been rushed, are often very difficult to change.
So, a good coach will introduce the appropriate skills when you have mastered the fundamental skills that are required to properly execute that particular element.
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