Make Your Child the Best Figure Skater Possible

Guidelines For Parents: How To Make Figure Skating Champions

Be the Best Figure Skater Possible
Be the Best Figure Skater Possible. Photo by Scott Heavey - Getty Images

This article is meant to give parents of new young figure skaters some direction on how to get their children involved in serious competitive figure skating.

Note: These guidelines are not for new ice skaters who have decided on ISI or Basic Skills recreational skating. These tips are meant for those who want to guide their children towards regional, sectional, national, or international competitive figure skating opportunities.

This list is for those who may have Olympic dreams.

  1. Find a private figure skating coach with the expertise and knowledge that you can trust with your child's skating career.

    The first step parents need to take towards making a child an accomplished figure skater is to find a private lesson coach that can direct and manage a child's skating. Not all figure skating coaches can do this.

    Look for someone who teaches skating full-time. Part-time figure skating coaches can help supplement a skater's training, but the coach in charge should be committed completely to a child's skating and to being the best figure skating coach possible.

  2. Making a drastic change, like moving away for skating, may not be necessary.

    It is not necessary to disrupt a family's entire life for skating by moving to a figure skating training center. There may be a young and energetic coach at an ice arena in your city that has the drive and ability to train and coach figure skating champions. That person may be capable of training a figure skater from the beginning to elite levels.

  1. Starting young is essential: Don't put off getting started doing things "right."

    It is important for parents of young skaters to understand that competitive figure skaters must commit to a structured figure skating training schedule as early as possible. The ideal age to get started doing this is at about five to seven. Those who start "late" around 8-10 years of age can possibly catch up with the right coaching and training.

    Those who start skating seriously after the age of 10 can still be serious competitive figure skaters, but it may be too late to "make it" in singles, especially for a girl. A developed woman's body makes it hard to master double and triple jumps. Those who win ladies events at the national, world, and Olympic levels may have landed some triple jumps before puberty. There may be some exceptions.

  1. Those who start skating "late" or in their teens should not give up on becoming accomplished skaters.

    Single skating is not the only option. There are possibilities for success in elite competitive skating in ice dancing, pair skating, synchronized skating, or theatrical skating. Working on figure skating tests and/or becoming a gold medalist in one or multiple figure skating disciplines are also sensible figure skating goals.

  2. Once it is decided that a child wants to be a serious figure skater working towards being the absolute best, "jump right in."

    Don't waste time or use the excuse that your child is still young and has plenty of time. The time a person can be a competitive single skater working towards national, international, and Olympic dreams is short. A "window" is only open for a certain number of years. Doors are open a little longer for ice dancers, synchronized skaters, and pair skaters.

  3. Commit to a training schedule and to lessons.

    Young figure skaters working towards competing at the pre-preliminary level and above should skate before and after school and take at least one lesson a day. Many more private lessons are required for a skater who wishes to win or medal in regional, sectional, national, or international figure skating competitions.

    High-level skaters may skate for at least two to three hours in the morning and may return to the rink for two to three more hours in the afternoon. Off-ice conditioning and off-ice classes in ballet and dance should also be part of a figure skater's training plan. It is common for elite level figure skaters to work with multiple coaches, so more than one lesson a day may be typical for those trying to get to the top.