As a coach, I am sometimes asked if it is difficult to learn how to figure skate. It’s an interesting question to me because my first thought is, “compared to what?” I mean to some it may seem difficult but it just never felt that way to me. While it was over 40 years ago, I still do still remember my first steps on the ice. I remember thinking how fun it was and how I had never experienced anything quite like it.
So, maybe a way to look at skating is like learning how to walk. When you first started out, you had an idea of the concept and you knew that is something that you wanted to do but being so young you did not know where to start. Then, our parents stepped in and would help get us started, began teaching us the basics; how to put one foot in front of the other. And before we knew it, we were walking and even eventually running.
Figure skating is much like that. There are coaches like myself that help first time students take those first steps. We help with showing students what the path looks like and focus on just the basics at first. Showing students proper steps, pushes, explaining when to bend, how to hold their bodies to get the best results. Then, when I get them through the basics, we are able to begin learning more advanced moves, steps, spins and jumps. And, if I have done my job well as a coach and taught the basics well, then each skill builds on the last and the student continually gets better and better.
I am also asked as a coach if there is a perfect age to start? My answer is probably different than most coaches in that I believe anyone can learn how to skate at any age. I started when I was 9 and only skated for a few years and then returned to the sport at age 21. So, I did the majority of my skating as an adult. I think there are some advantages to learning when you are a bit older. One is that older kids and adults are able to better understand concepts first and then are able to apply them and then move their bodies in that direction. There are a lot of important concepts and it does help to be able to understand them. But, there are younger kids that do just as well and will often learn the move first and then the concept later. So, really anyone can learn how to figure skate.
Lastly, you can learn the fundamentals a variety of ways. I teach a beginning learn to skate series with video and guides online. You can also purchase books. Some YouTube videos are good too. And, once you get going, I do recommend hiring a coach. But, the most important thing is that you get out there and start skating. You get better as you do it.
In summary, anyone can learn how to skate and it is only difficult if you’re not having fun!