Just a heads up – if you are in your mid thirties and you’ve never worn ice skates before, it might be a little late to try and become a world-class figure skating athlete. However, if you have some figure skating background and wish to explore your potential, or perhaps you can see that your child is very talented, then this article is the right one for you!
The earlier you start, the better. It is no secret that children usually learn faster than adults, so it is generally accepted that if you want to become a professional figure skater or participate in the Olympics, you have to start training at a very young age. If you start in your early teenage years, you will already have a lot of catching up to do. However, some famous skaters, such as Jonny Weir, have started a little later than early childhood and still managed to achieve impressive results so please don’t feel demotivated!
The first decision that you need to make is the skating rink you will train in. Make sure you do your research! The one that is closest to home might not necessarily be the most suitable one for serious training. Consider what exposure you will get there and whether it organizes well-known competitions where you could be noticed by famous coaches. You also need to find a good beginner coach. Don’t be afraid to ask around if you already have connections, a solid coach is very important because he or she will help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses and come up with a long-term plan.
Speaking of plans, make sure you have one for how many hours per day and how many days per week you train. Consistency, hard work and determination are all key to success in any sport, or any activity in general. Here are some numbers for reference: most accomplished figure skaters usually train at least 5 times per week, 3-5 hours a day on ice and a couple of hours off the ice. It is a huge commitment that few are prepared to make, but that’s what makes them so great!
After you start feeling comfortable on the ice and can control your body well, it is time to consider what type of figure skating you are most interested in. Are you a highly individual person that likes to do everything on their own? Singles competitions might be the best fit for you. Do you enjoy accomplishing something with another person and in general feel more confident when you can lean on someone in difficult times? Then try and find a partner of similar skill level and talent. Don’t forget that you are responsible not only for your own but also for your partner’s achievements, so the pressure is considerably higher when performing. You are very expressive and love music? Consider ice dancing. Whatever you choose, don’t forget that a lot of work will need to be put in before you master the field.
Don’t forget to eat healthy, stretch, work out and do other activities that keep you healthy. Figure skating involves falls, it is cold on the ice rink, so you need to make sure your body is ready to face that. Another piece of advice – when you get confident enough and win a couple of competitions, join a skating club – it is a great way to share experience, find people with similar interests and gain more exposure. And once again, train a lot!