Parents, please send your skating questions to email@example.com (subject line: Parents Want to Know) and check back here for answers and helpful hints to support your skater with minimal stress.
Q: My daughter loves ice skating and already completed the learn to skate. Now she’s doing free style group lessons and we were immediately approached for private lessons. They suggested two coaches alternating every weekend! After a couple of weeks they both want once a week ! I’m a bit confused! I don’t see why she needs two coaches when she is still learning and taking group lessons! She loves skating and did her first competition at the arena, but I really can’t afford two coaches every week plus group lessons and dance lessons! Is this how kids start in figure skating?
A: Your daughter’s skating “education/training” is something that you should most definitely feel comfortable with…this means both in terms of who works with her, when and how often. It’s great to rely on the suggestion of the professionals in your rink, but bear in mind, you are your daughter’s best advocate and you know what works best for her, you and your family. If lessons weekly with two different coaches feels excessive to you, then it probably is. There is no question that many skaters over time will eventually have multiple lessons and sometimes with different coaches, but that generally follows skill progression. Trust your gut instinct and follow that. You are the “customer” so you should not feel pressured into any arrangement that feels uncomfortable or unsustainable.
Q: After watching Olympic figure skating on TV as a family, my daughter, who loves to skate, wants to go to the Olympics more than ever! I realize this is a far-fetched dream, so how do I best support her and maintain realistic expectations?
A: It sounds like you have a good grasp on the fact that, statistically, not many skaters actually are able to make it to the Olympics. However, every Olympian starts with that dream, so it is a wonderful thing, when kept in perspective. As her parent, the most important thing you can do is to keep the focus not only on her progress, but also on the accomplishments that she makes on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Continue to encourage her to strive for HER personal best at each competition and relish the journey and the life skills she is learning along the way. Make sure that she is surrounded by coaches and skating friends who support her dream but always encourage her to have fun and enjoy the time she spends skating!
Q: When my son skated in his first competition, the area near the door to the ice was “off limits” to me. I thought I could stand with him until he got on the ice. Why are parents not allowed to do this?
A: There are many reasons for this. First of all, it is very important that your son’s coach have me alone with him to help him prepare for his performance. While your desire to be with him is well meaning, it actually detracts from this process. In addition, the skater/coach area, as it is often called, can get crowded and chaotic with skaters getting on and off the ice. It is the ice monitor’s job to keep the area clear and organized so that every skater gets the opportunity to compete in a somewhat stress-free zone. Additional parents, siblings and friends can congest
this area and simply cause more confusion.
I know this is all new to you and your son, but I promise you that after more competition experience, this concept will become second nature and your son will truly enjoy the one-on- one time he has with his coach preparing for his skate!
Q: Why do skaters’ need to wear blade guards when the flooring is rubber?
A: The guards protect the blades from any foreign material or fine grit on the floor that could dull or stick to the blade and cause the skater to fall when they enter the ice surface.
Q: My daughter recently competed in a Freestyle 1 event. I noticed that many of the other skaters’ dresses were more elaborately decorated than the dress my daughter wore. Her placement was lower than we expected. Do you think it was because of her dress?
A: Unless the event has costume and prop criteria (for example, Spotlight) your daughter’s dress was not being judged directly. It is true that a skater’s appearance during her performance plays into the general overall mark given by the judges in a Freestyle event. However, it is unlikely that it impacted her score at all, unless the dress was somehow distracting to the judges. The most important thing to consider when choosing a competition dress is comfort and fit. The dress should also make your skater feel special, pretty and confident.
Q: My daughter loves skating and has been taking private lessons for the past two years. My husband recently lost his job and we have to cut back on our expenses through this rough patch. We can only afford to have her take one lesson a week with her private coach. What advice can you give us on maintaining her enthusiasm and interest as well as helping her continue to progress in her skating?
A: First and foremost, keep an open line of communication with her private coach. Make sure her coach understands that this change is for a financial reason, not for lack of interest or dissatisfaction with his or her services. Sometimes coaches can work with you on scheduling shorter, more budget-friendly lessons. Ask your coach if semi-private lessons with a similarly skilled skater could be considered. Keep having your daughter practice as much as possible. Arrange her schedule so she can skate with
her friends and consider adding a practice journal so that she can make note of problems and questions she encounters during the week. Look into group classes or team events offered at your rink. Many times, these kinds of activities are less expensive since there are multiple skaters sharing the ice and coaching fees.