Tag Archives: figure skating

How Old should my Child be to Start Ice Skating?

by Michelle Wilkin

Age four is best to start. There are some children who are ready at 3 years old. Consider the following criteria:

Children figure skatingAttention Span – most group classes will last 30 minutes.

Separation from parent – Separation anxiety is still developmentally appropriate until approximately age four. If your child can be comfortable accepting instructions from another adult, then you should be fine.

Balance – both in skates and in regular shoes.

My recommendation is to start with your child walking in skates on the floor only. If this goes well, then your child is physically ready. Check with your local ice rink for age requirements. Many rinks will not accept children for group classes who are under 4 years of age. If your child is eager and can meet the basic criteria before he is 4 years old, you may consider private lessons. They are more flexible with the length of lesson and can adapt to the age of the child. To ensure quality instruction, make sure to ask for a Professional Skater’s Association rated instructor.

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Following My Own Instructions: A Plan for this Skating Season.

By Katherine Ruch

Fall is in the air. I make this statement for a whole variety of reasons. The kids are back in school, the school supplies have been bought, Labor Day has come and gone and, most importantly, the ice rink has already been open this season for a few weeks!! While it was closed, it sure seems like I did my fair share of driving to other rinks, complaining about how I missed skating as well as plotting my return.

Looking back on it, is seems that summer flew by faster than ever this year. As the skating year gets off to a fresh start, I must begin to consider where I’m trying to go with skating this year. How in the world do I expect to get anywhere if I don’t put some thought into where it is that I’m trying to go? It would be somewhat like taking a trip without knowing where you were going or having directions.

What is your plan for this skating season?

I’m finding it slightly comical that I told my students they had to make a list of goals they would like to accomplish this year, while I am having trouble making myself do the same thing. I know the rules – you want to make goals that are short and long term and for all areas of your skating.

In terms of this year, I’m having trouble because what I have come up with so far has either been too vague or too pie in the sky. Goals that are too vague include: improving my jumps and spins. What does that really look like? In terms of pie in the sky: landing that elusive Axel seems to come to mind. It really doesn’t get more pie in the sky than wanting to land an Axel before the Mayan calendar runs out in 2012 if I haven’t even started seriously working on it!

So, down to brass tacks! Here are some legit goals for the year and the future:

  1. Find a few competitions to go to this year for myself, and pick a couple to take my students to. I think it may be best to coach at a couple and compete at a couple. I get nervous enough for myself and my students, that combining the two doesn’t seem like a great plan.
  2. Work on the Gold Moves so that I can hopefully at least test them at the end of this skating year. The keyword here is “test” not complete. Although, it would be delightful to pass them the first time!
  3. Finish the Bronze Dances this year- Hickory Hoedown down, the Willow and the Ten Fox still to go.
  4. Improve jump height on all singles and eventually land that darn Axel.
  5. Improve spin positions on sit spin and camel, learn layback and flying camel. Place the emphasis on eventually for that flying camel
  6. Move towards my goal of only teaching Moves in the Field. I’ve discovered this has to be my niche. I love the technical side of skating!!

Now the question goes to you! What would you like to accomplish during this skating year?

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Sports Ethics

by Susan L. Ward

Ethics is a complex philosophical subject because it involves the study of morality and human values. Defining values in terms of sports participation is a difficult task which all coaches must address. What is good? How do we judge what is good? In order to answer these essential questions, we utilize our standards, principles and belief systems. We may not all subscribe to the same values but we can simplify our ethical concerns when we examine issues in terms of minimizing harm and maximizing benefit. When we look at the paradigm of risk management, we can easily understand what “harm” means. Teachers do not cause harm nor do they risk harm to their students. On the positive side of the scale, teachers prevent harm and promote their students’ well being. In his book The Inner Athlete, Dan Millman says, “Second only to parents, teachers of movement can have a profound influence on a student’s self-concept and outlook on life.”

Many coaches teach the way parents learn to be parents: one generation repeating the best and worst of the last generation. It is not enough to know the subject matter and the methodology. It is necessary to have a philosophy, a code. Ask yourself: Why skate? Not everyone can win and we have all seen the importance of winning lead to cheating, soliciting, taking “cheap shots” and other unethical behavior on the part of athletes and coaches. But if winning is not the only thing, what other positive goals you can instill in skaters? If your teaching methods focus on concepts such as character development, sportsmanship, the cultivation of discipline, teamwork, fair play and self-motivation, you know the positive side of the scale: maximizing benefit. Skating is a sport that children cannot pursue without the support of their parents. Parents are legally, financially and morally responsible for their children. They are consumers and they do have rights. Most parents are primarily motivated by what they perceive is best for their child. Parents arrive knowing little if anything about skating but they can certainly be ambitious and competitive for their children. It is unwise to place the parents of your skater in an adversarial role. When a teacher or coach competes with a parent for control of a child, it is a Lose/Lose proposition. Besides, control is never a healthy or realistic goal.

Instead, a coach’s honest ability to communicate with both skater and parent is paramount. Consider the parent as your ally in the development of a well-balanced skater. An educated parent is the best advocate for a young athlete. The principles ‘to keep in mind are not new ones: teach with dignity, equality, privacy, loyalty, commitment, honesty and reliability. Your reputation will grow and the parents of your skaters will respect the work you are doing with their children.

Consider one parent’s perspective on reasonable expectations which parents place on coaches. Ann Masten, an associate professor of Child Psychology at the University of Minnesota and mother of two skaters, wrote the following list, previously published in Focus for parents, the newsletter of the USFSA’s Parents Committee:

What I Expect of My Child’s Coach*

  • - To teach my child this sport to the best of your ability.
  • - To promote the development of my child as a whole person, as well as an athlete.
  • - To respect my child and act in my child’s best interests.
  • - To be aware that you are one of the most important people in my child’s life, and to act accordingly.
  • - To honor the confidences of my child, except when it would endanger my child to do so.
  • - To inform me as soon as possible of any serious problems or concerns about my child or about my parenting as regards my child’s skating.
  • - To clearly communicate your expectations of me in this enterprise.
  • - To keep me informed on a regular basis (such as monthly) of my child’s general progress and to promptly address the questions or concerns that I might raise.
  • - To bill me accurately and with timeliness.

Reprinted with permission of U5F5A’s Focus for parents.

Coaches who deal with parents fairly enhance their own reputation in the arena. On the other hand, dissatisfied customers are all too prone to discuss their problems in the rink. Bad news is often embellished and all rink gossip is damaging. Minimize harm, encourage positive public relations by your own example. Keep the parent-coach-athlete dialogue in confidence.

The primary step in establishing healthy community relations starts with solid credentials. Most people are familiar with state education requirements in their schools. They know what certification signifies. In order to teach one must have learned the subject (skating technique) and how to present knowledge (methodology). Today coaches study physiology and psychology. Be prepared, continue your education and accept your ability as a teacher. Are you a good “kindergarten” teacher? Are you qualified and confident to teach the next grade? Do you realize that at the “end” of the year your child will be promoted? Do you hold back or let go? Are you willing to send the student on the next leg of the journey with your blessing even if you can’t go along?

Most importantly, the best coaches stop to consider their own motivations for coaching and are great motivators of their students. They are consistent in their approach and expectations of their students. They give all skaters a chance to become their personal best and avoid forming snap judgments or permanent opinions of skaters. They know that skaters will mature. No one can truly predict who has the most promise. Coach-motivators know that all people are different and have different styles and rates of learning. The best coaches are never too busy to listen. They keep confidences and promises.

The greatest coaches know that the best motivator is love; love of the sport itself, love of the process and love of teaching. All students benefit from the principles which these coach-motivators impart as part of the process. Everyone who walks into the arena recognizes them, not from their personal accolades, or skating achievements but by the accomplishments and attitudes of their students and the trust which parents place in them. They are real masters who teach with a commitment to excellence.

Reprinted with premission from :

The Professional Skater Magazine
January / February 1997 – pp. 16, 29.
©1997 by Professional Skaters Association

For more articles for skating parents, visit http://www.iceskatingworld.com/parents/letters_articles/index.html

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Filed under Coaches Corner, Figure Skating Education, Figure Skating Parents, Ice Skating Coaching, IceSkatingWorld.com

Change in the Life of a Figure Skater

By Katherine Ruch

No matter how you slice it, switching coaches is really hard. Don’t get me wrong, I know that change is part of life. I’m almost positive that everyone’s parents have always preached that motto since the beginning of time. I’m pretty positive that people were talking about the fact that change is a part of life before ice skating was ever invented.

Over the course of the eight-plus years that I have been skating, I have taken lessons from a slew of coaches. I am actually struggling to count the number in my head as we speak. I believe the number is approaching ten at this point which I know sounds like a lot. The reason I have had so many coaches you may ask? Before you jump to any conclusions, I promise I’m not THAT hard to work with. The real answer in a single word is CHANGE. During the time that I have been skating, I have graduated high school, moved to a different state for college, started coaching students myself, graduated college, moved back to my home state, etc. The list goes on because a lot can happen in eight years! Coaches I have worked with have also moved, gotten married, as well as both moved after getting married.

I know that changing coaches can be a great decision but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. It is a decision that can get a skater out of whatever rut they may be in, help them to learn more challenging skills like that ever elusive Axel or simply propel their skating to new heights in all kinds of ways. For me, I’ve never really had to make the decision to make a change. Change it seems has often forced my hand.

As someone who started skating during High School, I have sometimes been fairly close in age to the people I have taken lessons from which has certainly made for an interesting dynamic. In the past I have had a coach who ended up becoming a friend, another was a friend who I ended up taking lessons from later and yet another who was my coach but ultimately became both a friend and a mentor over the course of time. Recently that coach has moved to a different state and I find myself back at the drawing board once more. She was someone who I knew would help me be a better skater, a better coach and ultimately a better person. How do you fill the void of someone who helped to guide you for over five years? I almost feel as if my left arm is missing.

While I wait for the rink to reopen, it’s down to thirteen days but clearly I’m not counting, I have some decisions to make. What is it that I’m looking for in a coach and are my expectations absurdly unrealistic? Have I been looking for the nonexistent “perfect” coach when I should have just been looking for the person who I feel like I can learn the most from? I have often heard the quote “When one door closes, another opens.” It would be futile to remain in the past and spend time focusing on what I have lost when I can instead spend time focusing on the opportunities that are coming. Confucius did say that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

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PR: Regional Skating & Dance Talent can audition to Join the Stars in Wooster, Ohio

News - Parker Pennington, U.S. National Champion at 4 different levels, will be bringing some of his talented friends to Wooster, Ohio for a figure skating and dance show spectacular. Parker, a resident of Westlake, Ohio, will be debuting his new show, Skate Dance Dream presents “The Dream Show” on Saturday August 6, 2011 at 7PM at Alice Noble Arena in Wooster, Ohio.

 The show aims to inspire skaters and dancers throughout the Cleveland area and beyond, by giving them the chance to perform with the Stars.  With a unique blend of the two arts, skating and dancing, the show certainly promises to surprise and excite with jumps, spins, tricks and much more. The most important piece for Parker is to make a difference for all the local skaters and dancers in route to chasing their dreams, by giving them the platform to both perform and learn from their idols. “We feel like if every child is given the opportunity to skate or dance with the Stars and get to spend time learning and being around them, it can only enhance their experience and love for what they do. At the end of the day, I want to be able to create a memory for them that will be everlasting.” says Parker. Parker highlights that performing in the show Scott Hamilton & Friends with his idol Scott Hamilton, undoubtedly kept him inspired and pushed him towards furthering his skating goals.

 Skate Dance Dream presents “The Dream Show” is in many ways, a dream come true for Parker. After producing “Skate for Life” for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in both Connecticut and Ohio, he knew that his heart was set on encouraging the next generation of skating and dancing talent through his productions.  He notes seeing the children’s faces light up being on the same ice as their idols was the icing on the cake that cemented his dream vision. He first conceived the concept back in 2009 and he is excited that the dream project is now coming to fruition. “I am beyond excited to bring this show to Alice Noble Arena. The Wooster Figure Skating Club is such a deserving club to be able to host this and I know their enthusiasm will ignite the show” says Parker.

 The show is set around the theme of inspiration, while holding a constant goal of pushing innovation to the fullest. One aspect that Parker particularly hopes is successful is the outreach to the local skating and dancing communities, by bringing the Stars right to their town. “Obviously one large goal in developing these shows is to help skating and dance grow.” Parker says.  He continues “we even help further skating clubs development by helping them fundraise for their programs, while keeping up with them concluding the show to help guide them to success.” Our philanthropic efforts also offer the chance for clubs within a region of where our shows take place, to receive a grant award for their programs. The show’s incentives range from winning private lessons with the Stars to pizza party with the Stars for the younger kids. The show certainly promises to bring a different spin to the sport of figure skating. Teaming with Riedell Skates, they will be raffling off a pair of new custom made boots and blades.   Additionally, regional skaters and dancers as well can come tryout for a solo or group act, showcasing their skills at the auditions on Saturday, June 25, 2011 at The Cleveland Skating Club from 12-4PM or they can submit a video through the web up until July 1, 2011.

The show boasts a strong cast including skaters, Richard Dornbush, U.S. National Silver medalist; Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt, Skate America competitors and Parker. Also performing will be Jessica King and Gev Manoukian, both Top 10 finalist on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” More National and World Class Skating and Dancing Stars will be added to the cast, so please check out the website for updates. Cast is subject to change.

 With the show drawing closer, Parker encourages all skaters and dancers of all ages and levels to participate. The registration deadline is July 1, 2011. Skaters and dancers from across the U.S. are also welcome to join! Tickets on sale now: $10 General Admission, $25 On-Ice seating and $50 Front Row. Visit http://thedreamshow.eventbrite.com to order your tickets!

 For sponsorship or promotional opportunities, please contact Philip Shen.

 WANT US to bring SKATE DANCE DREAM to your rink or area? Contact Parker and tell him why you think the show should come to your town!

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Ask the Skating Pro: What is the difference between a Mohawk and a Choctaw?

Q. What is the difference between a Mohawk and a Choctaw?

A. When doing a Mohawk you remain on the same edge after the change of feet and continue to travel on the same circle after the change. When doing a Choctaw you change edge when changing feet. For example, if you go into the turn on the outside edge, you exit on the inside edge, and change lobe or circle when turning.

IceSkatingWorld.com

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How old should my child be to start ice skating?

by Michelle Wilkin

Age four is best to start. There are some children who are ready at 3 years old. Consider the following criteria:

Attention Span – most group classes will last 30 minutes.

Separation from parent – Separation anxiety is still developmentally appropriate until approximately age four. If your child can be comfortable accepting instructions from another adult, then you should be fine.

Balance – both in skates and in regular shoes.

My recommendation is to start with your child walking in skates on the floor only. If this goes well, then your child is physically ready. Check with your local ice rink for age requirements. Many rinks will not accept children for group classes who are under 4 years of age. If your child is eager and can meet the basic criteria before he is 4 years old, you may consider private lessons.

They are more flexible with the length of lesson and can adapt to the age of the child. To ensure quality instruction, make sure to ask for a Professional Skater’s Association (PSA) rated instructor.

For more articles for skating parents, visit http://www.iceskatingworld.com/parents/letters_articles/index.html

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Figure Skaters Need to Eat Right

by Marta Nilsen, Master-rated PSA coach

Fuel your body with what it takes to get its work done. Many young athletes underestimate the amount and type of food needed to fuel their hard working bodies. A good rule of thumb is: most of your food should be grain/pasta /legumes; then vegetables, fruits, meats, and dair; then foods which are high in fat and sugar being the least amount.

Try to include foods in each of these groups throughout the day by eating 4 or 5 small meals instead of 3 large ones. Youths should be sure to get enough calcium and protein. Females should be careful to eat iron-rich foods. It is important to include nutrient-dense foods in your choices to make sure that you have adequate energy and nutrition. Below are listed some nutrient-dense foods in each of the food groups.

Grains: Whole wheat breads and pasta, multi-grain cereal, oatmeal, rice, etc.

Vegetables: Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, peas, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and dried beans.

Fruits: Apples, oranges, bananas, apricots, melons, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, raisins, and pears.

Meats: Chicken, fish, lean meats, also include egg whites, peanut butter, and nuts.

Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese, soy milk,

Fats/ Sweets: Butter, margarine, oils, mayonnaise, candy, soft drinks, syrup, sugar.

You can also find the Food Guide Pyramid in any basic nutrition book at your library or via a Google search. Following it will help ensure that you fuel your body for top performance.

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5 Ways to Make Better Progress this Season

by Marta Nilsen, PSA Master-rated coach

Here are five steps for improving your figure skating and making better progress during the upcoming season.

1) Add another day of skating to your week.

Adding another day of skating per week can speed up your progress dramatically. If you can’t add another day, the next best thing would be to add two more hours per week of skating time. Instead of skating one hour per day for two days per week, instead skate two hours per day, two days per week.

2) Take a ballet class at least one day per week.

Ballet increases flexibility, strengthens body alignment and placement, and teaches proper jumping technique. This is a great way to get that super spiral or increase your jump height.

3) Participate in off-ice classes at least one time per week.

Off-ice class is not just another workout. You will be practicing simulating skills that are done on the ice. Practicing off ice allows you to feel, see and understand the basic positions that your body must attain during skating moves. You will also learn exercises and stretches that can do at home.

4) Go to at least three competitions away from your home rink this season.

Competitions push you to increase your skill level faster than any other method of training. Striving to do your best in a competition helps you to reach the goals that you set for your skating.

5) Set goals.

You need a plan for where you are going and a process for how to get there. You decide where you would like to be, which you discuss with your coach, and then he or she makes a plan to help you reach it. All successful people set goals to help them reach their greatest potential.

Best of luck this ice skating season!

www.iceskatingworld.com

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New Page! Jobs in Figure Skating

IceSkatingWorld LLC has partnered with Simply Hired to provide an employment section to help people get started in the great sport of figure skating or find their dream job in the industry.

Looking for a full, seasonal or a part time position at an ice rink? Click here for the IceSkatingWorld.com’s Jobs Board. If you are seeking an ice skating career, this is your site.

Ice Rink Managers: Reach thousands of interested and qualified skating enthusiasts by posting your job listing on our Jobs Boards. It’s only $12 for a 90-day listing!

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