recreational ice skating

What are the lifelong benefits of learning how to ice skate, and is it worth the cost, time and energy?

Learning how to skate is about more than developing physical skills. It not only helps one to become stronger and more competent on the ice, but it also teaches one how to handle both success and failure, how to work through mistakes and to take on new challenges as the skills become more difficult. A skater must literally learn how to get up when they have fallen down, and in many ways, this becomes a template for dealing with many of life’s challenges.

How long should a skater wait to get their own skates instead of rentals?

For kids, it would be best to wait until they get through their first group lesson session just to be sure they are committed. Since ice skates are an investment, buying them before you know if your child wants to continue to skate may be a waste of money.

At what ISI skating level should private coaching be considered?

Private coaching can be considered at any level. Some students thrive with one-on-one instruction, while others may feel more comfortable in a group class setting. Both have value, but a combination of the two can be beneficial, at least in the beginning.

How many hours should a skater expect to practice to grow their skating abilities?

A good rule of thumb is for every 30-minute lesson taken, a skater should practice a minimum of 60 minutes to see improvement. Practice time will normally increase as the skater improves and moves through the various levels.

What is a Freestyle session? Is my child allowed to participate?

Freestyle sessions are practice sessions for anyone working on more advanced skills. These sessions are different from a public session and will allow a skater to have more freedom and space to practice with other like-minded skaters. Most rinks have levels assigned to these sessions to help keep skaters safe, and some only allow participation if they are in a lesson with a private coach. Check with the front desk or the skating director at your home rink for more information about freestyle sessions.

When can a skater start competing?

One can start to compete from the very beginning in ISI. We offer competition events for all levels, ages and abilities. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of events available to skaters, which will allow them a chance to find success at all stages of their skating journey. One of the best things about ISI is that you can be of ANY age to compete in an ISI competition!

Who decides what music to use in a competition? Do skaters have to edit the music themselves?

Generally, picking out the right music for a skater is a group effort between the student, parent and coach, depending on the skater’s age and ability. Most coaches help with editing the music to ensure the music duration and type is correct and appropriate.

If a skater gets hurt, should they tell their coach?

Most definitely! The coach is there to help the skater be their best, and that means helping to keep skaters healthy and safe. Skating with an injury can be dangerous, and a coach will most certainly want a skater to consult a doctor any time they are hurt or sick.

Is it okay to take breaks? Sometimes it’s difficult to be at class when life outside the rink gets too busy.

Yes, absolutely! A great thing about ice skating is that it will always be there for you when you return. First and foremost, skating should always be fun and a positive addition to your life. Choosing the sport of ice skating should not be overly stressful or burdensome. Our mission, through the development of the ISI Skating Program more than 60 years ago, is to introduce people of all ages to the joy of skating and, in turn, help create lifelong skaters.

Parents, please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about skating. Contact ISI Skating Programs & National Events Director Kim Hansen at

Established in 1959, the Ice Sports Industry (ISI) — creator of America’s first learn-to-skate curriculum — is an international trade association encompassing all aspects of the ice sports industry. Our goal is to promote ice skating as a participant sport and recreational activity for everyone — all ages and abilities. Learn more about the ISI Ice Skating Program


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