There are two “Learn to Skate” program for beginners – one is organized by Skate Toronto and the other is through private skating lessons. The emphasis of both programs is the positive reward of phrase for continued improvement which encourages skaters and parents to continue to enroll in additional group classes.
Both group class programs have badges or levels that the skaters are required to demonstrate specific skill sets. The bench marks to pass the tests to move from one level to the next are set very low as an enticement for skaters to continue taking group levels and eventually encourage them to take private lessons.
The investment of properly fitted skating boots and blades is an essential part of the process of acquiring more advanced skating skills – figure, hockey, and speed skating.
After starting private lessons, coaches will create a personal free skating program that is initially per- formed without music and eventually is set to music. Rinks and clubs generally provide these develop- ing skaters with an opportunity to skate in recitals and shows.
It is very important that regular feedback is provided to the learner so that technical errors do not become permanent habits that are very difficult and expensive in terms of time and energy to correct. It is unfortunate anyone needs corrective lessons and practice sessions that could otherwise be put to better use in acquiring new skills.
Regular positive encouragement is desirable, but avoid excessive or unwarranted praise that sounds insincere!
The skills mentioned in this article require constant work to enhance the opportunity to achieve a skater’s full potential. These tasks are acquired in incremental stages. Sometimes plateaus may occur between stages of skills developing.
Gross and fine motor skills rarely develop uniformly; however, there is a definitely association with the progress the skater achieves and the effort they put into improving their individual basic foundation skill sets – edges, turns, power, and stops.
Public school kindergarten classes have a mandatory minimum age (Year, month, and day) to start unlike ice skaters that can start in group lessons at any age. In skating the level of skill acquisition ultimately varies directly with the age, physical, and social development, plus the time and effort expended by the learner.
An individual’s potential is unlimited as a skater. A skater’s involvement in their sport does not have to end with college. They may decide to become a volunteer or professional coach on full or part time basis.
I encourage skaters who celebrate their 18 birthday and are continuing to train and compete, to become skating officials such as judges and referees, and/or participate in the management of the local speed, hockey, and figure skating clubs or leagues.