Local Competitions Down
I'm looking around my area and reading reports from competitions saying that entries are down by 20%. That's 1/5. That's a lot. I know I'm not a math wizard here, but I believe this looks like a bad cloud is over our heads for the future of the sport. What's going on? Does anyone see similar "symptoms" locally or nationally? I know that in my locale, there used to be intense competition at every level. You could go to a local competition and see, for instance, 5-10 Sr. Men, or 5 pair. We're down to even 10 Novice women at "big" competitions(!) zero top pairs showing up, only 2-4 reportedly training in the section anyway, ONE lonely Jr boy and ONE sr. Man. It seems as though an entire generation of highly-tested skaters (approx. age 16-mid 20's) has just disappeared here.
I thought that, in an Olympic year, interest would be higher.
Any ideas? Answers?
There are more skaters quiting than the skaters started skating. In our area, many skaters who are between 12 to 16 quit the sport for the past couple of years, and there are fewer skaters who are between pre-pre and juvenile. The afternoon ice is not crowded anymore, and there is no waiting list of contracting ice anymore.
I would be hesitant to have my child enter a sport that has such a horrible reputation for corruption. Who needs that? When you add in that skating is a very expensive sport and the economy is lousy, it's not so suprising that the numbers are down. I didn't expect the drop to be that much though. That doesn't bode well for the sport at all. If there is another scandal at Torino, it's going to take many more years to recover.
Maybe it's the Bielmans and the Quints if not the corruption.
Hmm. For some reason, that doesn't surprise me one bit.
I wonder if TV ratings for skating at the OLYs will drop as well.
I just put a poll up on this topic. check it out.
I think numbers are down almost all over the place. When I started skating about 10 years ago, if you didn't get to practice on time, the club was allowed to sell your spot to the next person wanting to get on the ice. After a 10 minute grace period, if you weren't there, you weren't skating. Of course, the good thing about someone else getting your slot was that they at least had to pay you for your contract ice time.
We went from having full freestyle sessions to having half full sessions. And some not even half full. Morning ice is laughable. Kind of off topic here (apologies in advance) why is it that no matter whether there are 26 skaters on the ice or 3 skaters, someone can always manage to get in someone else's way?
I'm sure the economy being the way it is right now, that lots of people can't or won't make the big investment that skating requires. If you're not sure if you'll be employed next week, it does give pause to spending that $500 on skates or $750 for your yearly ice contract.
In Northeast, the skates for a skater doing double jumps double your number, and $750 is for monthly contracted ice, not a year, even now.
In Canada it is down as well.
In big competitions, top skaters were required by Skate Canada to attend for monitoring and assessment for competitive assignments. When they came, their coaches brought their other lower skaters with them for experience. Now in Canada, top skaters can literally mail in the video to Skate Canada for assessment and do not have to attend all the competitions. This means the other skaters do not come as well. All the competitions are way down and some have been eliminated.
To me, it would only make sense for the number of new skaters to drop as there is less and less exposure to skating on TV. A few years ago you practically couldn't get away from it. Now you have to search for coverage.
My former club had its annual competition in early June. Usually we had practice on Thursday afternoons and evening, and then the competition ran from Friday morning until late evening on Saturday. This year the practice ice was only from 3-7 pm on Friday, and the whole competition only went from 8 am-5pm on Saturday. That is a LOT smaller. Someone said they sent the information about the competition out later than usual, but I don't think that accounted for all of the decline.
The lower level competetion I'd expect more bluntely cheating judging. This sure helps dropping the low level skaters.
Originally Posted by SusanBeth
Out west our skating numbers have fallen.
Smaller competitions barely exist any longer - and I hear rumors of more clubs thinking of giving them up.
However, there are competitions which draw the "large" numbers. Namely:
Lake Placid - Dance
Indy Challenge - Pairs
Maybe that is what it will come to "mini National" events and some very small competitions?
(I want my child to come skate in Chicago where yearly ice time is 750?? - we would pay that in a month here)
Talked to some
Meanwhile, thanks for the input. It's (sadly) as I expected all over, then. I've put some feelers out & talked to a few skaters who either quit skating, or quit competing, or scaled-back. Here's some insight--
Senior Men, On & Off National Team through years: Realized years ago the only quad he MIGHT do is quad toe. Decided he was beat before he started on that front if that's the only one he could do. Developed his triples and got out of competition. Unwilling to sacrifice the well-being of his body for "no reason. "
Sr Pairs skaters---talked to both a male and female. Partners each quit. One, coach moved also. One tried moving to where new partner lived. Cost and logistics prohibitive. The other could not move due to financial hardships. Both gave up looking for partners and moved on to other things. This broke my heart. Both these kids had been able Nationals skaters with good promise.
Jr Men singles and pair--still trains, does not compete in either. Gave up looking for partner. Money not as much a problem as others seemed to have, but did not want to work on a pair team if partner could not develop triples. Said it seemed that any girls who could do triples did not want to do pairs. For singles, will test into Sr but decided to not compete. No expectations of return on efforts. No plans to include triple axel...similar feelings to other skater who said that if there were no quads to do, then why bother with the entire triples list?
Which brings me to the point some of you already noticed. The only ones who seem to have some staying power right now are younger girls (Novice and below). But, even these are thinning. I noticed at a recent Novice Women event (7 competing) that 5/7 were about age 15, the highest triple accomplished was a salchow, one by the youngest in the group, the one completed by the "elder" competitor was flawed. But, overall, this age group and below reported positive feelings about progressing forward.
I guess I did not see this coming and so I am still "floored" by recent trends. I understand that the "system" has been marred with controversial judges and now new judging systems, and so on. But, none of the kids in my informal poll mentioned any of that. The things that made them scale back, quit competing, or quit, period, were money, quads, logistics (location, partnerships, travel, moving, loss of coach, and so on).
In the end, I've concluded from this little (not scientific in the least) foray that the older, accomplished, highly-tested skaters are experiencing exaggerated feelings of "worthlessness" and the younger skaters are feeling exaggerated feelings of worth. I just mean that I feel these older ones that I talked to have given up in the face of great forces after many years of developing their skills, only to feel "abandoned" and without resources in one way or another when they reached the National level....and then, the younger ones seem to be unrealistically pursuing competition; without a real stable of "skills" behind them by age 15, I don't see where they think they will end up? The chasm between these two groups was huge, you see.......on the one hand, kids who could do almost anything and do it well felt like failures, and on the other, a group who could barely do one triple feeling like they were all going to go to the 2010 Olympics with a triple salchow (perhaps just the joy and exhuberance of youth?)