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Five Tips for Adult Figure Skaters

I write on a wide variety of topics (money, music, health, relationships) as well as some personal experiences and opinions.

Kelowna adult figure skaters (from left): Jacqueline Parser, Karen Smith, Donna Bergvinson, Isabella Ciocoiu, Maureen Barnes, and Henrietta Penney.

Kelowna adult figure skaters (from left): Jacqueline Parser, Karen Smith, Donna Bergvinson, Isabella Ciocoiu, Maureen Barnes, and Henrietta Penney.

1. Coffee Club

Coffee clubs are a popular option for adult figure skating and are for those who are looking to have fun, learn some new skills, and socialize. Often you will have a mix of adults who are just beginning to skate, some who may have competed or coached, and others who are getting back into the sport. No matter the level of the skaters, coffee clubs are a very good way to practice and meet other adults who love to skate. These clubs are an affordable, useful, and fun alternative to public sessions that can be crowded or uncomfortable for some skaters. You should ask if your rink offers a coffee club or you may even want to start one yourself!

Fernie-raised Teresa Rambold competed in an International Adult Figure Skating competition in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Fernie-raised Teresa Rambold competed in an International Adult Figure Skating competition in Oberstdorf, Germany.

2. Falling

Enjoy yourself and don't be terrified to fall. Every skater will fall at some point, even after the skill has been mastered. Falls are part of skating, period. I've had and seen falls where the person was barely moving and they were hurt. I've seen falls where skaters were speeding across the ice and only their pride was hurt. Speed disperses the energy whereas the slow moving or barely moving skaters have all of the energy concentrated when they fall. One of my teammates broke her wrist doing loops (figures) at a slow speed. Speed can actually be your friend when falling. Who would have thought it? The best ways to fall include trying to land on your rear if possible and putting your hands out to avoid hitting your face if you ever fall forward. Never lock your joints when falling. Keep a slight bend to your knees, hips, and elbows when falling. It can decrease the chance of injury.

Larry Holliday

The skating inspiration Larry Holliday competed in his youth and in adulthood. Why not you?

The skating inspiration Larry Holliday competed in his youth and in adulthood. Why not you?

3. Know Your Sessions

Know your sessions. Adult figure skaters just learning to skate will likely skate on public sessions whereas adult skaters working on jumps will likely prefer freestyle sessions or seek out the less crowded public session if possible. Public sessions are open to anyone who pays to get in. This includes skaters of all ages and abilities. However, you may have kids, teens, or adults speeding past you as well as more cautious skaters and those content to just go around in circles around the rink. Freestyle sessions are sessions where you'll see skaters working on jumps, spins, dance moves, and more rarely, figures. Some rinks require you to have passed certain test levels to skate on their freestyle sessions, but many rinks do not. No matter what type of session you're skating on, you must remain very aware of your position on the ice relative to others because it is always changing. On freestyle sessions, always move out of the way for skaters running through their programs.

Gold Medalist ice dancer Roger Estey.

Gold Medalist ice dancer Roger Estey.

4. Protective Gear

Protective gear for adult figure skaters is very helpful. Some figure skaters are concerned about looks when it comes to using protective gear, but it makes falls less painful and lessens the chance of injury. There are many useful pieces of protective gear that were not around 10 or 20 years ago. Padded tights and shorts may have you look a bit different, but they lessen the chance for pain or injury from falls. Wrist guards have been around for many decades and will support your wrists when falling. Helmets clearly help in protecting your skull if it were ever to hit the ice. Luckily, I've not ever seen anyone skating on a freestyle session hit their head. Unfortunately, I've seen falls where people hit their heads on public sessions and none were wearing a helmet.

Daniel Palmeri setting fire to the ice.

Daniel Palmeri setting fire to the ice.

5. Coaching

You may want to find a coach to help you learn and progress more quickly. If you are in need of help with the basics like skating forward, backwards, stopping, and a two-foot spin, these moves are taught in group classes. Group classes will be the cheapest option to start progressing more quickly. They typically meet once a week for a month or two and gives you the chance to scope out the coach or coaches you may want to work with in the future if desired. After successfully completing group lessons, you may want to learn more moves and test or compete. In this case, you will need to get a coach to help you. While private coaching is not the cheapest expense in skating, if you follow the coach's techniques when practicing, you will progress more quickly than if you were trying to progress on your own. Some coaches can also help with finding a pair of skates that are good for you and your level of skating while others may be able to take care of sharpening blades. Recreational skaters who only skate on public sessions and do not compete or test will spend the least on their skating. Privately coached skaters will spend more as coaching and freestyle ice time are some of the most expensive costs in the sport.

© 2021 H C Palting

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