Coaches: how can you tell.....
My daughter LOVES to skate and we are fully supportive of her passion to be on the ice. It appears to us that she is moving very quickly in acquiring new skills and her coach tells us she is extremely "coachable". She has time and again set very big goals for herself and worked diligently to achieve them (although not always quite reaching them). I was a strong figure skater as a child but was clearly "slower"
In a world with unlimited funds.... I would say if she loves it, let her go! However, we can now see that although she is still a beginner (Freestyle 3), at 7 years old, this passion could be a really major investment for the family. To be blunt and honest, I am totally willing to make that investment (and move mountains for it if needed!) especially if she has the potential to be successful at it. If she does not, we would be better parents to refocus her (and our pennies!) in a different direction.
How do you know when you have a promising skater on your hands? Is there a body type, personality type, a certain maneuver that tells the tale or a combination of things? At what stage do you take the plunge and really start to invest? Obviously it is really early to know such things but any help would be appreciated...
I feel deep down that she does have a shot if for nothing more than her determination but I also want to be balanced and smart about this. The problem is I also know that NOW may be the time to start taking this seriously....
thanks for any insights you might have....
Tripping on the Podium
It sounds like it's still pretty early. I wouldn't be able to tell you how to recognize a promising skater or anything, but I think this can apply to anything in life. If your daughter seems talented, that's great. Encourage her to work hard to be the best she can, and allow her to have any opportunities that arise.
Give her everything you can (within reason) to nurture her talent, but always make sure she loves what she's doing and is having fun. She should never feel forced to do something because Mom and Dad are spending tons of money on it. If she's only 7 at this point, it's probably not a good idea to set things in stone, like "this is what we're going to pursue."
Because really, it doesn't have to be either, or. Just take it day by day and see how things go. As long as she's enjoying it, let her keep skating but also encourage other hobbies and let her have a "normal life." Time will tell. Maybe she'll make her own decision when she's older.
I hope this helped! I've been in a similar situation...
Good advice! It is hard to know what is best....
thanks for the reality check. There has been a lot of "advice" from casual observers at our arena.... I try to take it all with a grain of salt but can't help feeling that I don't know what the right answers are... Should I be doing MORE, LESS - or something different....??
She has no idea what is spent on skating, even now. At 7 she cannot process what it all means and I don't want her focused on that...
Originally Posted by LeCygne
If your daughter loves to skate let her. If you are giving her private lessons then make sure it is with a good coach that will give her the basics of skating. Look around at your rink and see who the good skaters are and look at thier coach. Dont waste your money on coaches who don't know what they are doing.
Look at yourself. What is your body type. If you are tall and really curvy than your daughter will probably follow suit. Think Michelle or Sasha as having really good body types. Of course there are always exceptions, but hips and breasts do get in the way...
Some kids have a natural glide as soon as they get on the ice. Some kids have a natural center which is obvious when they jump. You will see it if it is there. Just get that good coach and things will fall into place.
Good luck and enjoy! My daughter only wanted to get off the ice and drink hot chocolate. She eventually became an accomplished Artistic and then Rhythmic gymnast. She now is a ballet dancer. She always had top shelf coaches
I totally understand what you're going through. I also have a young child who loves it and shows a lot of promise. We are doing private lessons as well as group lessons but I try to guage whether my son is enjoying it before increasing anything. My first priority is that he is enjoying it, which he is. His coach is excellent and doesn't push him beyond enjoyment, and takes everything at his pace. Make sure to find a coach that fits your daughter's personality and that doesn't start scheduling more and more ice and lessons than you think is right. Listen to your child and your inner voice.
SK8TEMOM, always value every moment and decision you make for your child, as you can never rewind time. Mainly, trust your child and trust your maternal instincts. You're her mom for a reason, and she's your daughter for a reason. Always remember that your child is not the other skaters, so don't mind or fret of comparing/directing her direction towards other skaters. She is meant to be who she is and not the likeness of the others. Your maternal instincts now are very sensitive because she is undergoing changes and you have to back her up for what she wants. Things will fall into place, she'll be in the circumvent of where it is best for her, without you knowing it. Trust your insticts and hers, open your hearts and for whatever limited resources you have, to your surprise, you'll be able to go through all hurdles. Be careful not to be negative about what you're going through. Good luck SK8TEMOM, and she's lucky to have you to support her.
All we can tell at that age is if a child has some natural feel for the balance, movement, and timing that's required to learn skating skills. Some naturally have more than others. Some also have more ability to focus and therefore learn faster/practice on their own.
As they get older, and you start getting into testing/competing, more difficult skills, etc, then you start to get a better picture of if they truly have some exceptional talent.
However, it's not always the most talented ones that have the most success--determination and persistence play a HUGE role in this sport where repetition and a willingness to fail over and over again before you get a new skill are the name of the game.
And, as someone else mentioned, there is a person's build, which you can't do anything about. A lot of kids are jumping beans until they hit puberty, and then they lose their jumps and may or may not get them back. There's a very real reason why many of our elite skaters are of Asian descent, where the typical body isn't curvy & is relatively short.
We're also assuming a consistently healthy skating career with no injury. I know a teenage skater who showed every indication of being a champion, had double axel at age 8, etc. She got sidelined with an injury for 2 seasons, and never quite made it back on track.
I don't want to discourage you or your skater--by all means, give her every opportunity to pursue the sport--to the degree that you can afford it, and to the degree that she wants to do it. Then it's up to her to see how far she goes.
By all means, at this stage, do NOT mortgage the house, take her out of school, move across the country for a big name coach, etc. (yes, I've seen all these things happen). In other words, don't do anything drastic that will disrupt your lives or have lasting repercussions if she suddenly decides, 6 months from now, that she'd rather play tennis.
Take it season by season, work with your coach to map out a plan for the coming 6 months to 1 year, and plan out your budget to work to attain those goals.
Thanks for all the thoughtful replies
I appreciate all the experienced insight that all of you have shared with me.... You have given me food for thought and I was able to actually have this conversation... I have no resources for this type of conversations within our skating community (as a matter of fact, I have realized that there is some jealousy among the MOMS toward my daughter - not the kids....I don't feel comfortable asking any of the other moms these types of questions!)
I have no idea whether my daughter will continue to thrive in this sport that she so loves (and furthermore, what form that might take....). It is an honor and a challenge to parent a child that shows such determination to achieve a goal (and all the while having no idea whether she will have even a shot at achieving it....!)
She is a special kid and I am just really hoping not to mess it up.....
We are currently skating at an ISI school and I have had no shortage of individuals tell me that I MUST switch her to USFSA..... My feeling at the moment is she has an extremely nuturing, technical coach who believes in her goals. I would like to shelter her from the pressures of the USFSA testing stream and competition environment until she is a little older (say 10?).
AM I naive to think that the choice really should be who the coach is , not what league you are in???
At the rink. Again.
She's young. ISI will not hurt her at this point and may actually continue to nurture her love of the sport as opposed to kill it. Make sure the coach mixes in a healthy dose of US Figure Skating moves in the field patterns. I would consider having her learn these as she progresses with other elements to get that monkey off her back and then move her over to compete once she has an Axel (typical for skaters in my area).
Originally Posted by sk8temom