Not allowed to join Figure Skating Club
my name is Joel Becker and I'm new to this forum so I hope that this is the right place to share my "story".
I started skating 3 years ago and figure skating about 8 months ago...though 18 isn't the best age to start Figure Skating, but I really want to do it. So I went to my local Figure Skating Club in March and they told me that they don't see any sense in taking me into their club. But I could join their beginner lessons where you learn how to skate forward and backwards. So I went to those beginner lesson once with the hope that they would see some "talent" (I was already able to master some jumps at that time) but that wasn't the case at all. The thing is simple, I don't want to become the next World Champion but at least I want to practise something I really enjoy...another problem is that I live in Luxembourg (country between Germany, Belgium & France) and we only have one club here.
So what do you guys think I should do? Just stop and go skating around a bit or is there maybe any possibility I may haven't thought of yet?
Last edited by JoelBecker; 09-10-2016 at 04:23 AM.
Skating is art, if you let it be.
Publicly shame them for their behavior. This kind of exclusionary attitude has long been common in the sport.
Hello Joel, I must tell you that your situation is not uncommon. My Parents paid for my lessons after I begged them to get into skating. Like you, I was 16 and considered "Old" for a beginner but, I had taken dance before and I felt that I was beyond the level of the beginning students. Here's what I did and it actually worked for me. I asked the teacher from the advanced class if I could watch a couple of sessions and told her I was interested in seeing where I could go if I continued training. She agreed and I took my best friend to the advanced class and we sat in the stands and watched for the next two months. I eventually noticed a very talented skater in the advanced class and asked her if she'd be interested in tutoring me for a fee.
It worked out well and I continued to advance until I had all of my double jumps. I eventually left skating to go on the road as a singer but, I was happy with my time in skating. Having my tutor, "Tiffany" help me was a big part of why I progressed as quickly as I did. I hope that helped. Good luck....
Last edited by mrrice; 09-12-2016 at 01:10 AM.
Bona Fide Member
I am astonished. Aren't these clubs in business to make money? How can they turn a paying member away?
Originally Posted by mrrice
Yeah I'm surprised by any club that isn't willing to take on a member, as long as that member hasn't been disruptive or anything like that. I mean, aren't they getting money from membership dues out of it? What are the reasons why a club would deny membership? Are there some membership privileges that they don't want to give out to someone willing to pay the membership dues?
In my club at least. There was a difference between members as the levels were all different prices. They would have a test once a month that you could take to move up to the next level. Believe it or not, the advanced classes were the cheapest because they figured that the students had been paying the higher fees for a longer time. Now, I started skating way back in the 80's. Right after the battle of the Brian's in 1988. The prices back then were $10.00 for advanced, $15.00 for intermediate and $20.00 for beginning.
Originally Posted by Vanshilar
The advanced and intermediate classes were 2 hours long and included a 15 minute off ice warm up, then figures (Remember those) and then a training session on a featured element such as spins, spirals (When they used to mean a lot more than they do now) and jumps.
You're in Europe and I'm answering from the USA so your question is a bit hard for me to address but: I've not known of any skating club that doesn't want more members. At my rink there are a few levels of membership depending on if you're signing up as a skater, family, or associate.
Also, was your beginner lesson in a group? Most likely the coach is there to teach the group and not seek out 'talent' other then to put you into the proper group for your skating ability. If there are different levels you could be advance to the next level or your proper level (at least a my US rink).
Your story needs more details. Do you NEED to join the club to skate freestyle sessions?
No, figure skating clubs are not in business to make money. They're voluntary amateur organizations whose purpose is to serve their members.
Originally Posted by Mathman
The main purpose might be to secure ice time dedicated to figure skating practice. A few clubs may own their own rinks, but most rent ice from a commercial or municipal rink etc. and then sell the right to skate on that ice time to their members.
Some clubs buy as much ice time as they can get, in between other uses (public skating, hockey) that earn the rinks more money and thus require members to purchase club ice time along with membership.
Others, in areas where rinks offer significant amounts of ice time dedicated to figure skating practice, may not buy much practice ice but their existence reassures the rinks that there are enough figure skaters in the area to make figure skating sessions worth the rinks' while financially.
Some clubs hire coaches/instructors directly; others allow approved coaches to teach during club sessions in which case the coach pays a fee to the club for use of the ice but then keeps whatever lesson fees they collect from students.
Clubs may also buy ice time to host test sessions (in countries whose federations have standard testing), competitions, club ice shows, social ice dancing, etc. Some of these activities would only be for members, others might welcome skaters from outside the club, for higher fees, and earn some profit that way.
For insurance reasons, clubs may require skaters to be members of the club in order to skate on club ice. Or to be members of the national federation.
It's unfortunate if the only club in the area is only interested in serving a limited subset of potential figure skaters, whether limited by age or sex or skating discipline or race/religion/nationality or economic status, etc.
Historically there have been skating clubs that were exclusive in the ways clubs dedicated to golf, swimming, tennis, and other private sports facilities may have refused to admit members whose social identity didn't fit in with the existing membership. That's much less common today than 50 or 100 years ago, but there may still be some racism or antisemitism around somewhere.
What's more likely is that in an area with only one rink or fewer rinks than needed to meet the demand of all recreational and hockey and figure skating, and maybe speedskating and/or curling as well, a club was formed by parents for the purpose of ensuring that their kids have regular ice time to practice on every week. It may not be as much ice time as there is interest, so figure skating sessions are already overcrowded. In that case, there would be little incentive to accept members who don't fit the mission of the rest of the club.
Without knowing the details of the club JoelBecker tried to join, I could only guess why they have been unwelcoming.
I also don't know nearly as much about how clubs operate in Europe -- my personal experience is in the US.
Might there be other members of the local club you could talk to? Coaches? Are there any younger boys skating in this club? Are there empty public sessions at off hours that you can go to and take lessons then? Are there any rinks in France or Germany or Belgium you could travel to sometimes that have appropriate sessions for you to skate on, and any adult skaters there who could welcome you into their ranks?
Gkelly, this is an excellent comment. The rink where I skated was basically a warehouse with an ice surface, a small locker/dressing, and a concession stand and that's it. I'm sure things are different at the Broadmoor Skating Club or Skate Canada. During my brief time in Russia, I was dancing but, when I went to see skating, they practiced in a hockey rink and shared the ice with the ice with hockey players. I imagine the larger clubs get revenue from hockey teams. Hockey has many games throughout the year and imagine that the revenue they generate pays for the rink on it's own. I really can't say for sure.
Do you mean those classes were included as part of the membership package? That may be a benefit of membership. I suppose if they wanted to keep class sizes small they may want to not take some members. But even then, it seems odd, because I'd imagine the membership prices would reflect the cost of those classes, and thus they're getting more money.
Originally Posted by mrrice
At my rink membership allows you to take tests (you still pay for the tests yourself) and some occasional club ices (around 1-2 per year). You don't need to be a member to take classes (which the skater pays for) or go to the freestyle sessions (which the skater pays for). So for the most part, it really is more for if you're doing the tests, and of course if you're entering competitions (which the skater pays for). So that's why I'm a bit confused as to why a club would turn down membership, since it's basically just free money. That's why I'm confused.
I guess the real issue is, Joel probably has to say something about the conditions of the club and the rink, what are the benefits of joining a club, etc. Otherwise it's difficult to figure out why a club would not want a paying member.
Most clubs do not own their own rinks. They rent ice from a rink that is owned by a rink-owning business or by a local government.
All the money that hockey pays to the rink goes to the rink owners. None to the figure skating club. Figure skating and hockey are usually rivals competing with each other to buy the best ice times.
Figure skating rarely makes as much profit for rink owners as hockey or public skating.
This is a good question and the answer is no. There was a session that they called "free Ice" which was open to the public and held in 2 session on Saturday's. I think the first one was the "Day Session" from 11:00am until 2:00pm and then the more popular "Night Session" that went from 6:00pm until 9:00pm. These sessions were scheduled during meal times to get the most out of concessions and it definitely worked as our concession stand was always packed. The advanced skaters practiced from 7:30am to 10:30am and were always starving after practice and would eat lunch during the day session with the public.
Originally Posted by Vanshilar
The same would happen during the second session with the intermediate students. Sunday was free Ice all day beginning at 10am and ending at 5pm. The beginners always skated during the week. I hope that made sense.
Last edited by mrrice; 09-09-2016 at 09:00 PM.
One option would keep fighting them on it and try to join the club. I also started rather late as a figure skater (21 years old), and after struggling a bit I have found a really great community both in the USA (Bowling Green, Ohio) and Canada (Toronto Cricket, Skating & Curling Club) who support me. It may be hard, but keep trying to convince them. Otherwise, since you say you are 18, if you are going to go to college or are going to find a job soon, maybe consider relocating to a place that has a club that will let you skate with them. It also may be the case that you can appeal to the governing body of figure skating that this club is a part of. USFSA and Skate Canada don't allow any of their clubs to bar someone because of their age or skill level, and I'm assuming it would be the same with the other figure skating organizations. You could also approach the club's coaches, rather than the club itself, because sometimes the coaches may be willing, but the bureaucracy of the club sucks. Anyways, there are lots of routes you could take on this, and I'd hate to see you give it up. If you love it, go for it.
mrrice, are you sure that the sessions you describe were run by a figure skating club? They sound more like what would have been run directly by a rink in my experience.
None of the USFSA clubs I've belonged to have offered ice time or lessons to the public or earned any money from concession sales. Those functions all belonged to the rinks.
But as I've said, there are many different configurations of rink and club relationships within the US, and probably different ones elsewhere.
For Mathman, the thing to keep in mind is that figure skating clubs are nonprofit clubs, not money-making businesses. Many in the US have 501(c)3 or similar status and thus have requirements to spend money on the club mission to maintain that tax-exempt status.
Last edited by gkelly; 09-09-2016 at 09:58 PM.