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Thread: Beginner.... questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Beginner.... questions


    I'm an 19 year old male complete beginner (I just turned 19 last month). I can ice skate pretty well, but I haven't had any lessons or private coaching or anything yet.

    I was just wondering how long it would take me to learn all the basic elements/footwork to where I could start learning double jumps? I know it varies by person, but could anyone guess some sort of time frame?

    And what options am I looking at for competitive skating? Obviously I'm starting fairly late age-wise, so what kind of competitions would I ever be able to participate in? Would I just have to keep training until I turn 21 and can quality for the Adult competitions?

    Thanks in advance for any help given. I appreciate it!

  2. #2
    Ballroom Baby
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Uh...the answers to all your questions (you know what's coming, don't you?) totally depend on you. Some people learn fast (I went from being unable to skate backwards to passing Pre-Pre Moves and the Preliminary Dance test in ten months and only getting a retry on Prelim Moves because I wore myself out before the test.) Some people take longer. Jumps in particular are very, very individual things. It might be you never manage doubles at all, it might be you pick up jumping like Johnny Weir did (though that's VERY rare.) Competition? A lot of people are going to tell you yes, you're too old, just go for Adult. In singles, unless you turn out to be a real prodigy, that might be your best bet. But why limit yourself before you even start?

    What you really need are lessons with a coach who can do something no one here can--look at you, watch you skate, and give you an honest opinion of your skills right now and, after working with you, a rough opinion on how quickly you can progress. And it will be a ROUGH estimate. I've been with one of my coaches a year and the other slightly more than half that time, and neither one will ever set deadlines like "By such and such a date you should be able to do this." You can't make predictions like that. Everyone has their bugbears and you never know when something's going to slow you up.

  3. #3
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    ITA that it's all individual. And lol about your coaches refusing to give you timelines--mine does that too!! I've been with him 2 years, and still if I ask something along the lines of "how long do you think it will take.......", still all he'll say is, "you never know. Some things come fast, some come slow."

    Being 19, you are above the age limit to compete at the lower levels, so you'd have to test through to novice (assuming you're in the US), which has no age limit (this is standard track, not adult competition). To qualify to compete at novice you'll have to pass 6 moves in the field tests and 6 free skate tests, which will definitely take awhile. Yes, years. Many people spend a year or more just working on their novice moves test, which is notoriously hard to pass.

    But you're starting out a lot younger than a lot of us did (I started at 27), so just focus on learning and *practicing*, and working hard, and your progress will come. How far you'll get, and how quickly, is impossible to say. Skate because you love it and enjoy yourself.

  4. #4
    On the Ice
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Maryland, USA

    Compete, sure, but skate most for YOU

    Quote Originally Posted by backspin
    But you're starting out a lot younger than a lot of us did (I started at 27), so just focus on learning and *practicing*, and working hard, and your progress will come. How far you'll get, and how quickly, is impossible to say. Skate because you love it and enjoy yourself.
    ITA. I am starting out as a fiftysomething!! So you have time to learn and practice and see how things feel to you.

    All the talk about competing lately, though -- it is a little troubling. It's fine to compete, don't get me wrong! But what is important is that YOU enjoy what you are doing and be reasonably happy with your own efforts and progress. I think that as in many things, you can't expect all of the motivation to be from outside (meaning, competition marks), you've got to want to skate and skate better. I think if you're focussing too much on competition, you could wind up becoming bitter, or on the other extreme, conceited.

  5. #5
    It's all about Plushenko.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Red Sox Nation
    You can skate in nonqualifing competitions until you turn 21, and then I think they kick you out up to the Adult ranks. Be aware, though, that as a No-Test or Pre-Preliminary skater, you're going to officially be a boy and you're going to be competing against kids usually 7-10 years old. If you can deal with that, the more power to you.
    I would recommend getting a coach before you start working on any jumps harder than a salchow. If you mess up your technique now, it's going to take a lot more work to rectify it.
    It took me about 4 years to go from basic skating and waltz jumps to my first double jump. Just practice and get into some group lessons.

  6. #6
    Tripping on the Podium
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Welcome to figure skating!! I agree that getting a coach is key to avoiding learning bad habits.

    As for how long it takes, there are so many factors: it depends on how much raw talent you have, how much determination you have, how much time and money you are willing to put into skating, etc. Some people learn everything quickly, and some people it takes a while... it all depends

    anyhow, best of luck in the wonderful world of figure skating!!

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