A lot of people that are just getting into the ice skating are wondering how often should they skate and practice on and off the ice. This is a common question asked by the beginners and entry-level skaters.
Well, the answer to this question will mostly depend on your goals and what you would want to achieve in skating or if you want to figure skate competitively.
For example, if a skater simply wants to skate for fun, not do skating competitions and just wants to learn a few basic moves such as gliding forward, backward’s, doing crossovers and such – in this case, there is no need to practice skating very often. Going to skate once or twice a week for 45 minutes or 1 hour on a regular basis is ideal at the very beginning. It will allow a skater to feel more and more comfortable on the ice with every session and make progress in skating on a weekly basis. Later on, once comfortable with the basics, the number of skating sessions could be reduced to one or two a month just to keep up and remember the feeling unless you are willing to learn new moves, tricks and elements on the ice.
A different situation is if a skater wants to fully commit to the figure skating, do competitions and is going to try to go as far as possible in the sport. In this case, to be as successful as possible, a skater has to practice pretty much every day, 6 days a week at the best.
Speaking of myself, I was 4 years old when I started ice skating which is considered to be an ideal time to take the first steps on the ice. In the first year as I just started skating school, I was doing three 45-minute ice sessions per week plus some off-ice training following every practice. Once I got into it and my parents saw the potential until I went to the first grade at the age of 7, I would often skate more than once a day. I did a total of 9-10 sessions a week and during this span, I’ve made enormous progress in skating. It was the time when I developed most of the basics, learned a lot of moves, elements and… decided that figure skating is something I would love to commit myself to.
Once school started, I was only able to skate once a day for one hour, 6 times per week. Besides on-ice training, I also practiced off-ice and did ballet/dance classes a few times a week. It was pretty much my schedule until I finished competing at the age of 18.
At the highest level, figure skaters practice about 3-4 hours a day. Otherwise, it’s pretty much impossible to succeed in such a technical and complex sport like figure skating. It takes a lot of money, time, hard work and practice on the ice as well as off-ice including strength and conditioning training, ballet, dance classes – this list going on and on.
In the end, the answer to the question how often you should ice skate and how much time you need to practice will depend on your answer to “why do you want to go the rink”.
I did because being a little kid I fell in love with that feeling like I was flying on the ice. What about you?