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This varies greatly depending on the goal of the skater.
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.
If you decide to progress past the very basics, it can take quite a while. I explain it all in this video!
I have taught children as young as age 2 and adults into their 60s!
Rinks usually require children to be at least 3 years old for group lessons. 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 overall development of motor skills.
However, skaters under the group lesson age (usually 3 or 4) or who 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 interested in 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, the rink will assign your coach.
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, offering little in the way of support.
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 offer the appropriate amount of support for the skater's age, size, and skating 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.
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 under the leggings 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 or if they need to hold on to their coach.
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 who are just starting out with a limited budget.
Skaters progress better when they skate at least twice a week, as it takes a minimum of two times per week to train a muscle group.
Skaters that wish to compete and/or take moves in the field tests should figure practice time according to their jumps. Each jump rotation equals an additional hour of practice and lessons (1:1 ratio). So, if you are working on a waltz jump, toe loop, salchow, and half loop, for example, you should be training on the ice for a minimum of 3 hours, split equally between independent practice and lessons.
If you have the dedication, budget, and time to spend hours on the ice every week with multiple lessons, you will progress faster and have more proficiency.
Off-ice warm-ups and cooldowns are recommended before each skating session or lesson to make the most of your time on the ice. In addition to skating, off-ice training by a professional certified in personal training or strength and conditioning is recommended at least twice a week. Proper nutrition will also assist skaters in excelling on the ice.
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. More information about clubs can be found by clicking here.
Skaters are required to be a member of U.S. Figure Skating either through a club or directly in order to skate on Freestyle Skating sessions - there are no exceptions.
You need the basics in place first 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 another, and higher-level elements are comprised of the building blocks of lower levels. A skater's progress can suffer if there is a break in the chain of skill development.
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.
Standing lessons are recommended as you always know when your lesson will take place.
HOWEVER, a standing lesson is not optional. Your coach is reserving that time for YOU, and you are expected to attend every lesson.
If you are sick or have another emergency, you should provide your coach with a minimum of 48 hours' notice to cancel or reschedule. More notice is always appreciated!
If you have a conflict with another activity or will be away, 2 weeks' notice is required.
In other words, you should not treat a standing lesson as something that can be canceled or rescheduled if another activity comes along for that week.
Your coach is reserving that time FOR YOU, and you are expected to keep your commitment to your coach each week.
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Hiring an off-ice trainer or coach is a GREAT way to fast-track your progress to get the results you’re looking for safely, quickly, and more easily (and even have a lot of fun along the way).
But the truth is, finding exactly the right trainer, coach, or program for YOU can be pretty confusing. It can also feel a bit intimidating, especially if you’re new to off-ice strength and conditioning.
Inside this guide, you’ll find everything you need to find the right off-ice coach for YOU and YOUR GOALS - on and off the ice!