Every competitive figure skater experiences stress and nerves at competitions and test sessions. It’s important to understand that it is absolutely normal to be nervous about the upcoming competition which is simply part of the sport. Read more “8 tips to overcome nerves at figure skating competitions/tests”
Getting your skates sharpened is part of the routine for ice skaters. And it is an important part as if it’s not taken care of properly and on-time, it can have a negative impact on your skating or even worst, lead to an injury. Read more “Sharpening figure skates: 3 most important things skaters need to know”
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, what you are seeking to achieve in skating, and 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 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 faster progress in skating. 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 wanting to continue learning new moves, tricks, and elements on the ice.
A different situation is if a skater wants to fully commit to ice skating, going to compete and 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 often skated more than once a day. I did a total of 9-10 freestyle sessions per week and during this span, I’ve made enormous progress in skating. It was the time when I developed most of the basic skating skills, learned a lot of moves, elements and… decided that figure skating is something I would love to commit myself to.
When I started going to school, I was 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. Basically, it was my schedule until I finished competing at the age of 18.
At the highest competitive 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 is going on and on.
In the end, the answer to the question of 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?
This might seem like an odd and not exactly the correct question but a lot of parents ask what is the best age for kids to start ice skating.
First of all, I have to point out that in general, I believe, it’s never too late to learn how to ice skate if you do it for fun. You can start at 10, 13, 16 years old or even later and still succeed/be able to learn some figure skating tricks. Not everyone ice skates with the mindset to be going to the Olympics and there are a lot of skaters that simply enjoy being on the ice, have a passion for the sport and set more realistic goals within their reach. Read more “What is the best age to start figure skating lessons?”