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Thread: Advice on 'moving up' 8-year-old skater

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    Advice on 'moving up' 8-year-old skater

    8 year old landing upto double flip-attempting double lutz-great spins and flexibility
    But when she grows will she struggle keeping all that she learned-she's a small framed-very athletic child but as we know we can't tell how big kids will be
    She loves to skate yet-Her moms unsure if she should move her up if she's gonna struggle when she grows!

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    I think it depends on what she wants and what she enjoys. If skating is the love of her life, she isn't sacrificing her education in any way, and the family is able to afford the sacrifice, then I'd let her skate her heart out. Let her guide you. Any other way, and she will either begrudge you for making her quit or hate you for making her go.

    That being said, if she doesn't want to skate . . .you have to look at why. Is it burnout? Is she skating too much and is bored with it? We all go through an ebb and flow of wanting to skate. It is a lonely sport. We are all thinking to just ourselves all the time, both of the current session and future competitions. But, so many conveersations with yourself just gets to you. It's like Tom Hanks in Castaway, but without Wilson. "Ok, I'm going to do a flip jump, then run through my program, watch out for that new skater, how many days to my next test, will I pass it, next competition, etc." if she is burning out, then she may need a small break from skating or, perhaps, a little slow down from it? Instead of 5 days for 4 hours, how about 3 days for 2 hours and a really good dance school? is she involved in dance classes at a real dance school? I think skaters find a dance school to be an interesting place. Dancers actually talk with each other and have to learn to move together! Dancing is going to improve her skating. If you don't believe me, youtube "Bellita."

    Very few skaters get to the level your daughter has obtained, and especially at 8 years old. Even fewer are going to make it to the Olympic level. Yes, her body is going to change. Her life is going to change. Her schoolwork is going to get harder. Her interests are going to grow. I was 45 pounds in the 4th grade, and 60 pounds at my "best" in skating. Now, I am 145 pound, 45 year old adult skater. I don't jump like I used to, but I get compliments on my camel spins! I still love the sport. It still brings me good health and fitness. It brings a smile to my face. But, I have a college degree, a law degree, a CPA license, two beautiful kids, and a loving husband of 20 years. Skating is not the "end all" of my life. Don't you make it the "point" of her life either. It has to be her decision. Going into triples is where the "fun" (injuries) really begin to happen.

    I worry about young skaters who pound the ice every day for several hours a day. It is weight lifting, managing forces. Orthopedics tell us that tweens and younger should not lift weights because it's damaging to their bodies. And, we wonder why skaters have hip and knee replacement issues in their 20s and 30s. Kirk Browning's back x-rays come to mind. He had the back of an elderly man. Talk with an orthopedic doctor about her skating. Work with her to keep her away from injury.

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    Thank you-she enjoys it no question-this is her choice she's out on the rink 100%
    I do see kids who are skating by parents choice-and I spend less time around the rink because of those parents
    But so far she's managed to be an A student and other then an earlier bedtime she seems to be a typical kid-we replace skates and shoes when needed-though good point about knees and hips.
    I was not a skater and I think there's no better way to learn then talk to people-not just the people we know!
    Thanks again

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    You're welcome. Glad to know she's a happy kid.

    It's not just replacing the skates to keep her injury rate lower. Landing a jump can be 8 to 10 times her body weight. It wears out one's joints, and young children's bones & joints are not meant for such high pressures impacted on them repeatedly. Also, spinning at high rates of speed can cause micro-concussions in the brain. Work with a doctor & physical therapist to makes sure she is not injuring herself. Personally, I say this because she is about to enter triple jumps. Doubles hurt to fall on, even when you are young and "light". Stay alert to the news on these subjects. Skating coaches may not want to talk about this aspect of the sport with parents because it could scare them away.

    http://news.byu.edu/archive14-feb-skating.aspx

  5. #5
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    Growing taller and heavier does have mini set back. My daughter has learned her axel 3 times over 4 years. Of course there was a a foot of growth between these times. They get hips and busts. Weight distribution changes. But isn't that life? You get good at something and work decides to change the email system or mechanics work becomes computerized. Every industry changes whether we want it to change or not. I think "relearning" is a good quality about skating. It never gets 'easy". There is always a challenge. A good coach can make those relearning sessions go very quickly.

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    We have struggled with the same issue for my just turned 9-year old. No one knows what a child's final height will be until they are done growing. In my daughter's case her two grandmothers varied in height by 9 inches so that gives a lot of potential range. What do we do - quit skating because she "may" be too tall? No - she loves to skate so "we" continue. If she quits skating, she will decide to try something else and that has its own set of issues.

    Growth spurts are a reality for young skaters and you have no choice but to "deal" with it. For the past 2 years, my daughter has had a growth spurt just after her birthday. This year we added a sick coach, spring break, and play ground injury to that. Everything falls apart and it gets extremely ugly but that does not stop her. She continues to work through the very bad days and somehow pulls to all together and looks better about 6-weeks later. Her first competition is this weekend and today she did her first run through without falling since her growth spurt. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she continues to improve quickly to get back to where she was before the growth spurt.

    As a parent, you really need to be aware of when a growth spurt occurs and need to repeatedly tell the coaches. From asking around the rink, most on-ice injuries occur a bit after a growth spurt occurred since the bones/ligaments/muscles, are still trying to adjust. So even through the growth spurt has passed, that is when you have to be extra diligent as a parent.

    If you have not already gotten an good off ice trainer, you need to get one - we have used one since my daughter was 5. Their primary purpose should be to prevent injuries, not fix one after the fact. A good off-ice trainer works with the ice skating coaches to determine what needs extra focus - and this changes over time.

    I agree that a person with short statue may have an easier time at skating but we cannot choose our height. Ten years ago, the top ladies skaters were about 5 ft tall. Today they are is closer to 5 1/2 ft. While height can be a disadvantage in terms of rotation, I think height gives a skater an advantage in terms of strength. Personally I think a long-limbed skater is overall prettier to watch.

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    to start with, it's extraordinarily difficult on girls to tell whether or not they can successfully pursue skating as a career:
    there's the matter of mental capabilities and dealing with the stress of competitions and training
    there's the physical aspect of injury, recovery, and overwork
    on top of all that, the most scary thing is puberty. if a girl is doing fabulously but abnormal growth gets her jumps and center of balance, she's basically done.
    I hate to say that, but it's true. Also, most women and girls don't get too tall if they skate hard multiple times per week.

    REST is so important. always remember to have children wind down after training hard. Off ice work and stretching are SO SO SO important... most injuries come from incorrect stretches/ lack of stretches and bad off ice exercises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pooh-beanie View Post
    to start with, it's extraordinarily difficult on girls to tell whether or not they can successfully pursue skating as a career:
    there's the matter of mental capabilities and dealing with the stress of competitions and training
    there's the physical aspect of injury, recovery, and overwork
    on top of all that, the most scary thing is puberty. if a girl is doing fabulously but abnormal growth gets her jumps and center of balance, she's basically done.
    I hate to say that, but it's true. Also, most women and girls don't get too tall if they skate hard multiple times per week.

    REST is so important. always remember to have children wind down after training hard. Off ice work and stretching are SO SO SO important... most injuries come from incorrect stretches/ lack of stretches and bad off ice exercises.
    I am not sure how you get not getting taller if you skate hard. Your height is up to your genes . Unless you are short and take HGC your height is just going to be your height.
    And no, if you grow and keep training you will come out fine on the other side. You just have to work though it. Carolina C is 5 7 , Grace is 5 6 and I even think Polina is 5 6.

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    Just updating she's 10 now still loving skating.
    Landing a few double Axels each week not consistent though
    Seems to have the 'small family genes' but she's not taken a growth spurt yet
    Looking forward to see her compete this season

  10. #10
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    Good luck to your daughter. Double axels at 10 is great, hopefully she will master them soon and move on to triples

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vase View Post
    Just updating she's 10 now still loving skating.
    Landing a few double Axels each week not consistent though
    Seems to have the 'small family genes' but she's not taken a growth spurt yet
    Looking forward to see her compete this season
    That's great!! What level has she tested in Freestyle and what level has she tested in Moves-in-the-Field? To avoid overuse injuries, it's good to have her spend half of her skating time working on Moves-in-the-Field until she's passed her Senior MIF test. That will help her PCS in competitions, too!

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    She's competing at a juvenile level and passed her junior silver tests...I don't think she needs to do much more testing until a Novice level...but seems to be testing kids every 6 months for freestyle...she's not too advanced on the ice dance but she's working at it!

  13. #13
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    So you are in Canada. And congrat's on the double axel, huge achievement for her age!

    Coaches will likely want to keep her testing until she's done her Gold FS then. Once it's done you won't have to worry about it. Especially if she's juvenile right now, the time to deal with the testing is now and not have to worry about testing during the season or preparing for it.

    Many Pre-Novice have their Gold tests so once they are ready for Novice, they can move up and there is no 'panic' to get that Gold test in. I've seen a few skaters scramble to get that Gold test in to compete Novice and it's too much pressure on the kids.

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    How is she doing injury-wise. I have an eight year old daughter similar to yours. And the fear that all this jumping is going to cause her lifelong pain is what holds back my enthusiasm for her chosen sport.

  15. #15
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    When it comes to my child's health, I refuse to depend on what the coaches say. I think they mean well but they do not have the medical background to prevent injuries. I ask a lot of questions. I also am lucky that I have a access to a lot of very knowledgable people and if they do not have an answer, they pass me along to the next person.

    My daughter is on the similar path to vase's daughter. She is 10 and just finished a year at Juv. Whether she gets moved up to Intermediate depends on how stable her double axel is.

    When kids are young, I rarely hear about a training related injury. Most of their injuries come from outside of skating. This past summer, my daughter had a scooter injury and she fell HARD on her landing leg. She could not skate for 10 days while she recovered from that - during those 10 days, we had a competition scheduled and she had to withdraw from that. But then "over use" injuries start to kick in - which is true in any sport. I think when exactly that occurs is very different depending on the child.

    My advice - when your kids are young, get a good off ice strength coach (we started at 5). I believe this component is very important to prevent injuries.

    And also start checking around for a good chiropractor (the actual need usually starts when they are working on the double axel). Having a good chiropractor is a dirty little secret of ice skating. Most elite skaters get adjustments on a very regular basis - some multiple time a week. The walls of my daughter's chiropractor are a "who's who" in figure skating - all autographed to him.

    Why does your child need chiropractor? Each time your child jumps, the spine gets compressed. And they are doing it for several hours a day, at least 5 days a week, close to 50 weeks a year, year after year. Once the spine get compressed, the muscles around it try to protect the spine by tightening which then prevents the person from bending their back. Add to that, the falls and bad landings which can give the spine a "kink." The chiropractor helps to de-compress the spine and verifies everything is in correct alignment. My daughter goes to hers ~1x a month for maintenance. And before you ask - insurance does not cover it.
    Last edited by concorde; 11-12-2015 at 10:12 AM.

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