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Thread: question about pairs skating!

  1. #1
    Rinkside
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    question about pairs skating!

    I don't know if there are very many pair skaters out there, but I am curious about a few things. I have only been skating about a year and a half, so obviously I'm just in the very beginning stages of figure skating, but I have always been curious as to how the disiciplines of singles and pair skating compare.

    For example, pair skating has always been something I loved watching on tv, and I'm actually on good terms with a skating coach at my rink who teaches both ice dance and pairs skating (either with a partner or alone). I've always, always wanted to try pair skating (maybe just to see if I chicken out or not!) But I have to admit, I wonder how realistic this is. Reading books about pair skating, I always got the impression that it took enormous amounts of time to develop the precision and timing necessary for pairs. So I guess I'm wondering, is pair skating a great degree more difficult than singles skating?

    For me, it seems the biggest obstacle is the issue of pairing. If you took lessons with a coach, you're really only practicing about 1/2 an hour to 1 hour a week, whereas with a partner at least you might have the option of practing at least 3 - 4 times a week. But again, I can't imagine too many men are lining up for the chance to be pair skaters!

    So bottom line, in terms of training, who is typically better able to progress faster and steadier, a single skater or a pair skater?

    Perhaps someone out there would be willing to share their experiences?

  2. #2
    Rinkside
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    If you have the oppurtunity to try pairs skating, even with just a coach, go for it! You won't regret it.
    From personal experience I never found it much harder to learn pairs as opposed to singles. The last two summers I've gotten to dabble in pairs skating a bit; the first time I worked with a coach, the second time I was fortunate enough to skate with an actual partner. But he had a lot of experience (national level), so both times I skated with these people I was working with guys who knew what they were doing, so it wasn't like we were 2 skaters learning how to stroke together for the first time. Im sure it is different for a pairs team whom both partners are new at the pairs discipline. I only learned the basic lifts, spins, throws(up to axel), death spirals, etc. Imo, it isn't any more difficult to learn pairs than learning new elements in singles is. But both guys knew how to do lifts, throws, etc, so it made it much easier to learn these elements quickly. And for me, the unison stroking came quite naturally. Once me and my partner got the rhythm going, stroking in unison wasn't difficult at all. Just my experience and 2-cents. Hope that helped answer your question.

  3. #3
    It's all about Plushenko.
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    Oh man I really want to try pairs skating!
    Unfortunately, I don't even belong to a club where I go to school, :(, and I'm afraid I'm too old and fat.
    Maybe someday I'll pass ALL of my tests...

  4. #4
    Rinkside
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    sk8Bunny -

    Thanks so much for your advice, it was very encouraging to hear that you enjoyed pairs so much. May I ask how long you've been skating?

    Nicole -

    Don't give up! I never thought I'd get very far in figure skating, and now I can't believe how far I'm going. I'm still just starting out, but I never thought I'd make it even this far - which is why I got thinking about pair skating. It seems so unbelievable to me what pair skaters do, but I never thought I could attempt single skating either. That's what makes figure skating so addicting! All of a sudden you're doing things you never dreamed of. For me it just keeps me coming back week after week.

    And by the way, about the "age" thing. The Protopopovs (2 time Olympic Pair Champions) didn't start skating until ages 16 and 19. That's almost unheard of in Olympic sport! So keep pushing yourself and good things will start to happen!

  5. #5
    Custom Title ceg15's Avatar
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    Heheh, I've always wanted to try pairs skating as well. But unfortunately there are hardly any male skates where I live in Nova Scotia and I think I'm too tall :( Hahah good luck though!

  6. #6
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    Here in the UK, pairs skating and ice dancing have a great deal of overlap, and the lowest-level test is now called a "couples test", rather than specifying the discipline.

    I've been dancing with my husband for some years now, but with the requirements for the free dance at the British Adult Championships including a spin and two optional lifts - and all dancers have to do a free dance, from the lowest levels - we are becoming more and more interested in pairs.

    It does take time to learn. Even if all you are doing with your partner is basic compulsory dances, you have to spend hours just skating round the rink in hold, learning to skate in unison. We spend time each week doing just that, in Kilian hold (that's the side-by-side hold used in many compulsory dances), waltz hold, and, increasingly, in other holds, too.

    But if you are skating with your coach, that has the huge advantage that he will know how to adapt to your skating, so you don't have to put in those hours! And he will know how to help you spin together, for instance, which is harder than it looks....

    To experience skating with a variety of partners, see if you can go to a social dance evening in your area - that's always fun, and it does give you experience of skating with people. Worth learning the first few dances for that very reason!

  7. #7
    Rinkside
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    Thank you so much for all your encouragement guys! I really wasn't sure what kind of response I would get to this thread, but all of you have made me feel like maybe this dream really will be possible some day!

    Mrs. Redboots -

    Your advice was so helpful! From what you had to say, I almost feel like it would be more advantageous to take pairs from a coach instead of learning with a beginning partner - since you get to bypass a lot of the timing/precision issues! But again, thank you so much for the advice, it's very inspiring!

  8. #8
    Rinkside
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    Out of curiosity, do you know if it's harder/easier for guys than for Women?
    I've heard a lot of Ladies say that they want to try it, but it also seems that a lot of them complain that there are a shortage of men.

    Seeing as parts require lifting a fully grown human above your head (sometimes with one arm), I would imagine that it is very difficult. That the the amount of strength demonstrated is sometimes phenominal. I workout like crazy, and I'm left speechless somtimes by the things I see.

  9. #9
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    We meet again - I've just this minute answered one of your posts on another forum!

    In some ways it's a lot harder for guys, in other ways easier.. Yes, you do need a lot of strength; most serious male pairs skaters and ice dancers do a lot of off-ice training but then, I gather, increasingly so do many serious skaters full stop. It's strength in the thigh muscles, I gather, rather than the arms, so my coach (himself a former pairs skater) tells me. But a lot of the time the guy is standing on two feet on the ice "presenting" his partner.

    However, if you want to be "well and truly run after" by the ladies out there (we won't tell your wife!), then let it be known that you are interested in either pairs skating or ice dancing. The latter doesn't require lifts until you start free dance (which in this country can be as soon as you like, but in yours, I think, is not until you are more experienced), and overhead lifts are always forbidden.

    Either way, you and a potential partner will spend hours and hours just skating round together, either in some kind of hold or side by side, learning to skate in unison. Which is boring but necessary! Good foundations are the basis of all good skating.

    I'd say, go for it. Even if only just for fun.

  10. #10
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenn
    I don't know if there are very many pair skaters out there, but I am curious about a few things. I have only been skating about a year and a half, so obviously I'm just in the very beginning stages of figure skating, but I have always been curious as to how the disiciplines of singles and pair skating compare.

    For example, pair skating has always been something I loved watching on tv, and I'm actually on good terms with a skating coach at my rink who teaches both ice dance and pairs skating (either with a partner or alone). I've always, always wanted to try pair skating (maybe just to see if I chicken out or not!) But I have to admit, I wonder how realistic this is. Reading books about pair skating, I always got the impression that it took enormous amounts of time to develop the precision and timing necessary for pairs. So I guess I'm wondering, is pair skating a great degree more difficult than singles skating?

    For me, it seems the biggest obstacle is the issue of pairing. If you took lessons with a coach, you're really only practicing about 1/2 an hour to 1 hour a week, whereas with a partner at least you might have the option of practing at least 3 - 4 times a week. But again, I can't imagine too many men are lining up for the chance to be pair skaters!

    So bottom line, in terms of training, who is typically better able to progress faster and steadier, a single skater or a pair skater?

    Perhaps someone out there would be willing to share their experiences?

    You have quite a few responses on this one, but here is my two cents worth on the subject.

    Both disciplines take hard work. Pairs requires both skaters to be strong single skaters. If you want to compete it takes time for a pairs team to really gel. I would say that is probably the biggest hurdle. Plus, the throws are pretty risky and one (the female skater) has to be fearless.

    As far as developing goes, what are your future plans? Also depends on your partners goals.

    If you are keen on skating with a partner, why not look around and give it a try?

  11. #11
    On the Ice
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    You wouldnt only skate half an hour in singles once a week, it's more like 3 hours 5 times a week for me but hey im only 16 . Ive trie some pairs skating its also tough but i wouldnt say that its any harder to do than singles!

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