Tag Archives: instruction

What Should I Do and When Should I Do It – Ethics

by David Shulman
(PSA Legal Counsel – 1996 )

Reprinted with premission from :the Professional Skater Magazine
July / August 1996 – pp. 37 – 38.
©1996 by Professional Skaters Association

At the recent World Conference in Chicago, discussion was held on ethics as it may impact the skating coach. Many questions were raised dealing with the relationship between students and their coach and the quest of such students by other coaches.

Solicit… to seek to obtain by persuasion, entreaty, or formal application. To entice or lure.

Consider the following: You arrive at the rink at 5:30 a.m. to begin working with your new pair team. As you enter the office area, you note a large photograph of a coach recently hired in the rink and attached to the photograph is a listing of the coach’s background and awards. In prominent black letters is the statement the coach has been a past world team member in Pairs, has numerous medals from various skating competitions and has been acknowledged as an outstanding Pair coach. As you enter the locker room you note a message light indicating there is a phone message for you. You dial in your password and the following message is heard: ‘Thank you for teaching our children. We have decided to start lessons with Mr. X who has great Pair coaching experience and a vast background of accomplishments and experience. We hope you will understand.”

Do you understand? Probably not. At that moment you are furious for a variety of reasons not the least of which is the early morning hour and the frustration of having lost what you believe to be an outstanding pair team to an unethical coach. Did the coach act unethically?

Consider the same scenario, except as you approach the rink you note that numerous cars in the parking lot seem to have pieces of paper tucked into the door handles. Curious, you approach one of the cars and pull the paper from the door handle, open it up and read it. Inside on a printed sheet is a complete outline of the newly hired coach with a suggestion in the copy that if a student were to take from this coach they would have much better chances both at tests and in competition. Unethical?

Advertise… to make a public announcement of, especially to proclaim the qualities or advantages of (a product or business) so as to increase sales….to make known; call attention to.

Consider the following: Upon opening your mail, you discover a flyer has been sent to you extolling the virtues of a husband and wife team recently hired at your rink. The flyer describes their various accomplishments and appears to make statements leading a skater to conclude that if one or both of these coaches worked with them a remarkable improvement would be made.

As you are putting down the flyer, the phone rings and it is the parent of one of your best students calling to inquire if you knew anything about this particular coaching team. It is evident from the conversation the parent has only a mild interest but you are curious as to the manner in which the parent was contacted. It appears they also received the flyer and had no personal contact. Trying to be professional, you suggest that this is merely a form of advertising and there isn’t much you can say about the ability or the lack thereof. Within moments, your phone rings three more times with additional calls from parents which now has you alarmed. It seems each of the parents received the flyer and some of them have expressed an interest in “just trying out the new coaches”.

Is there an ethical violation? Would it be an ethical violation for you to make some comment to your parents regarding your thoughts about this type of conduct? Should you contact the coaches directly?

The law prevents a party from interfering with business-contract relations of other persons. For example, if a business man has a contract with another business, it is illegal and subject to a damage claim if a third party attempts to interfere with that contract relationship. The question arises as to the definition of the word “interfere”. If a direct contact is made with one of the parties by a third person which encourages the breaking of the contract, the law views this as a “tortious interference”. Such activity will subject the third party to a damage claim by one of the contracting parties who may have lost income or business as a result of the interference.

Indeed, it is possible that a coach who has a national competitor, a steady flow of income from the competitor and perhaps a contract with the competitor for future earnings, to make a claim against an invading coach who attempts to steal away the student by interfering with the student-coach relationship. Such a claim would be subject to proof and require direct evidence of interference.

It is a common experience in skating to have coaches indirectly contact your students. The Professional Skaters Association has made it clear through its Rules of Ethical Conduct that such contact, with the clear idea of obtaining the skater as a student, is not appropriate and will be sanctioned. The difficulty of establishing proof when the contact with the student is subtle, poses some obstacles. Is a birthday card sent to another student, not your own, appropriate?

Is a sympathy card sent to a student who is not your own, appropriate at a time of sorrow? What about offers to “just keep an eye on a skater at competition, not interfere in any way and I’ll be there if you need me….” a form of interference with the relationship between a student and another coach?

This article was written to raise as many questions as it might answer. Each situation must be addressed individually but you will know in your gut when something is wrong or when the action you are about to take is unethical. Consider this definition: General distribution of literature or knowledge of credentials and background is not considered to be solicitation. Personal contact with skaters or parents, directly or through a third party, with reference to lesson availability, credentials or invitation to instruct is a definite violation and should be considered solicitation.

If someone is creating a problem for you, analyze the situation carefully and try to find the bright line between aggressive marketing and interference with the business relationship between you, your skaters and the parent.

Leave a comment

Filed under Coaches Corner

Perceptual Modes or V.A.K Learning Styles

 by Ann-Margreth Frei

Reprinted with premission from :The Professional Skater Magazine
March / April 1997 – pp. 13- 14.
©1997 by Professional Skaters Association

Learning styles or perceptual modes of learning represent one of the most effective tools we have for diagnosing how our students learn. They allow us to adjust our delivery and create clear lines of communication that are essential to the learning process. By taking a big chunk out of the trial and error process of teaching, the end result is a greater satisfaction for the teacher and a real sense of accomplishment for the students.

V.A.K. = Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic

Senses play an important part in learning to skate. When we teach, the more we cater to all senses rather than just one or two, the more deeply we will anchor the skill we are trying to teach.

Everyone tends to learn more dominantly in one of the three modes; visually, auditorily or kinesthetically. What is your learning sense? Interestingly enough, if you are dominant visually, y9u may tend to teach primarily to that sense. It is important to remember that our students may be dominant in another learning sense which we will need to cater to in order to be most effective.

Statistics indicate that:

29% of students are visual learners

23% are auditory learners

34% are kinesthetic learners and

14% are mixed learners

The visual learners will see, imitate and be able to mimic instantly. Clear demonstrations or modeling other skaters is helpful to them. They will say “I see what you mean,” or”l don’t get the picture, show me what you want me to do.” The visual learners need a clear image of what they are going to accomplish from both the “big picture” and detailed perspectives. When explaining, create word pictures that help the students visualize the movements. They like to watch, visualize themselves doing the same movement and then try it. Solicit feedback for understanding relative to the student’s clarity of the image you have created.

The auditory learners need explanations and all the data. They are more matter of fact and methodical. They need to think things through so they have a clear and logical understanding of the movement pattern that they are attempting. They might say “that rings a bell,” “yes I hear you,” or “I understand.” Building a detailed framework is essential because it creates a logical, progressive and orderly sequence for developing, combining and applying skills. They are very aware of sound so make them hear the scratching of their stroking or the smoothness of good skating. Checking for understanding on a cognitive (knowledge gained) level needs to be done often to ensure that the students really understand.

The kinesthetic learners need to feel the movements and get their feet wet. They will say things like “that jump felt good,” or “it’s not comfortable, I feel awkward doing this.” Take a single focus and then explore all around it to help the students develop accurate feelings and sensations associated with the correct movement. Have the students verbalize their internal state after performing so they can increase their kinesthetic (feeling) awareness. Use language and explanations that are “feeling” specific (e.g. feel the ball of your foot in the spin).

You may need to help your students become aware of their senses. They might need to learn to feel parts of their bodies, to learn to watch your demonstrations and learn to listen to the sounds of their blades (and you will)!

Practice presenting pieces of your lesson from every angle, then from all the angles.

  1. This is what it looks like. Do a demonstration in segments or completely. (Use another student to demonstrate if you can’t demonstrate.)
  2. Explain the skill technically in details and if suitable mention the sound of it. “Did you hear the scratching on your take off or the skidding?”
  3. Tell or ask your students what it feels like. “Can you feel the tension in your leg as you lock the knee of your free leg?”

Try to guess what people’s dominant sense is. Did one student have the light bulb turn on when they had to feel something or another when you demonstrated clearly or took the time to give a good metaphor? Make a list of metaphors to help draw on your students senses and past experiences. A metaphor “is like.” It looks like a V. It feels like spreading butter on toast. It sounds like a gust of wind.

Statistics show the retention percentage through sensory perceptions:

30% is retained by seeing only

11% is retained by hearing only

50% is retained by seeing and hearing

70% is retained by seeding, hearing and doing

90% is retained by seeing, hearing, verbalizing and doing.


Ann-Margreth Frei has published a very popular and wonderful 3-volume set on ice skating instruction. Check it out in the Ice Skating World Pro Shop.

Leave a comment

Filed under Coaches Corner

Common Sense and Fun Approaches to Teaching Basic Skills

by Rebecca Nagle

Snowplow 1, 2 & 3 or learn-to-skaters can be very playful with a creative coaching mind. As we all know, attention spans are very short and the best solution is to keep their feet moving and their minds off how tired they are becoming. Games such as Hokey Pokey incorporating snowplows and two foot hops are terrific exercises.

Group skating lessonsGather your group in a circle and begin singing “you push your right foot in, you push your right foot out…”, and let them shake their foot all about; end the verse with a two foot hop and you’re on to the other side! A full snowplow into the circle and back skating out completes the last verse of the song and you’ve just started developing their balance and snowplows as well as a lasting desire to come again next week.

Four and five year olds love to pretend so introduce silly ideas. Pretending to have animal parades by using forward and backward swizzles along with one foot glides keeps the class moving and imaginative. Koosh balls are a great trick for the extremely timid two, three or four year old skater. Toss the soft waterproof balls out of their reach and your little skaters will have fun trying to bend down and scoop them up. This is a great way to give your beginner students the confidence and falling practice they need.

Kids love stickers. Besides being used as a reward method, they can be used to demonstrate many a point to a basic skills skater. Place a sticker on the inside of their skate (usually the inside toe area) and tell them to squeeze the sticker when trying two foot glides (forward or backward). This works well with scullies also.

Other game suggestions that work well on the ice are Red Light, Green Light for forward or backward snowplows; Simon Says or singing “If you’re happy and you know it do a…” incorporating any basic skills move being learned. Remember, little people want to have fun yet need to learn.

Basic 1-6 levels or the non-jumpers, depending on your program structure, are the levels where skaters learn their basic turns, edges and crossovers-the vitals of skating! How to accomplish such a task and stay interesting requires a technically creative mind over silliness. Permanent markers, skateguards and the boards can be tools used to demonstrate.

Drawing with waterproof markers on the ice gives the children a very descript visual. A rocking horse is challenging to trace. Three or four small circles drawn for a group of ten gives the skaters the spacing they need (2-3 per circle) to practice an outside/inside edge, three turns or Mohawks.

While attempting backward one foot glides hold a skateguard in front of the torso in two hands. Have the skater think of bringing their knee up to the guard from the two foot glide position.

Another exercise that the kids enjoy is balancing a pencil or water bottle on your clipboard. Use this trick for outer swing rolls, forward edges or one foot glides. See who can go the farthest down the ice without spilling!

The boards are a terrific way to teach the bend and stretch feel of pumps. For example, have the group line up with their right side against the boards. Press right hip and ankle against the boards. Stretch right hand back and left in front. Have the Beginner skater bend their right knee over their skate while pressing their hip and ankle against the boards. Extend the left leg out to the side while bending. Repeat several times and then transfer to a circle. This should keep the skaters from doing scullies and produce real pumps instead.

Relay races incorporating two foot turns, hockey stops, t-stops, one foot glides, Mohawks and slaloms are a great way to end a group and develop strong skating.

Low level freestylers ready for spins and jumps can either be over anxious or timid in the beginning. Some commence Moves in the Field at this time and some a basic figure program. There are many creative teaching tricks at this level that can keep skating fun.

Balancing quarters on top of the hands, placing a mitten on top of the head or stickers on the palms of the hands help control those fly away arms or the leaning over of the upper torso.

Stickers again can be used for scratch spins. Place a sticker on the outer heel of the free toot in the spin. When bringing the free foot across on the scratch spin have the skater place the sticker on the outside part of the knee of the spinning leg and slide the sticker down the outside of the leg to the tight crossed position.

Airturns on the ice right from the start of the waltz jump or a half flip jump is a terrific way to get kids to lose their fear of leaving the ice (jumping). Start with simply rising up to the toes and down in conjunction with the proper arm positions. Have the group pair up and face each other while doing this. Then do a few two foot jumps with no turns. As the comfort and ability level increases so should the airturn. Begin to do a 1/2 turn with 8 repetitions and so on. A group of ten can accomplish this exercise easily.

When introducing a sit spin have each skater put a glove/mitten in the hand of the free side of the spin. After entry the skater will take the glove and place it between their knees and have the arms extend to the sides. They need to spin three times around holding the glove with their knees. They will be in a semi-sit position. This exercise is simply to have the skater understand the closing of the inner thighs and to not lean way over with their back in the spin. It is a very challenging exercise but once again great for a group of ten skaters learning sit spins.

Music, as we know, is very much a part of skating. Singing, humming or playing a variety of music can help develop rhythms or flow at this level. Back edges or the waltz eight to waltz music slows the child down and aids in the counting. Split jumps or flips to rap gets them motivated to jump high! Seasonal music once in a while, such as a scary tape at Halloween or holiday music, can uplift the attitude of a group class lesson.

At low level freestyle introduce the stopwatch which will be ever so present in their skating career. Time the skater going into their waltz-toe loop jump and have them beat their time the next skate around.

The advanced groups have fun with an introduction to hydro-blading. Use this to strengthen their muscles for the up and down motion of a sit spin or develop a better understanding of lean into the circle for crossovers, spirals or the tightening of an outer edge into a spin. Have the group challenge each other to see who can hydro blade the longest.

For additional ideas refer to the Creative Teaching Section in the PSA Coaches Manual.

Reprinted with premission from :

The Professional Skater Magazine
May / June 1997 – pp. 13 – 14.
©1997 by Professional Skaters Association


Filed under Coaches Corner, Figure Skating Education, Ice Skating Coaching, Learn to Skate

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under Figure Skating Education, Ice Skating Coaching, IceSkatingWorld.com

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

Leave a comment

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.”


Filed under Ice Skating Coaching

Ice Skating Prodigy? You Be the Judge

Click the YouTube video link below to see Natalie, a 23 1/2 month old, skating at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy on June 23, 2011


Leave a comment

Filed under Figure Skating Parents, Ice Rinks, Learn to Skate

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.


Leave a comment

Filed under Figure Skating Education, Learn to Skate

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

1 Comment

Filed under Figure Skating Education, Figure Skating Parents, Learn to Skate