Need guidance for gifted 5 year old

Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Hi! I have a general/strategic planning question. Have gotten great insight here before regarding my just turned 5 year old. He loves skating, has been taking group lessons since age 3, and has done a few weeks skating camp. He is now enrolled in a Basic 5 class, and just had his first lesson. Teacher said she could pass him to Basic 6 today and that he’s very talented, and has Olympic potential. I am hoping to realize his potential on the ice if possible.
Here’s my question - up till now we haven’t had any private lessons/coaching, and he skates twice a week (one group lesson and one public skate). Is this the point where I need to increase his weekly ice time? I was told about another 5 year old who’s now in Free Skate 3 - apparently he skates every day and has both group and private lessons. Do I need to start this regime now if we want him to have a shot at the top? Or can I wait a bit until committing to daily ice practice? He’s the middle kid and we homeschool so I’d like to start planning now. Thanks for any input!
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
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I'm going to play it straight here. I encourage talent and so on from an early age, but I feel like it's too soon and he hasn't had enough ice time to be told he has Olympic potential.

He's 5. He hasn't had private ice time or coaching nor many other factors.

I would not be jumping in head first just yet. Let him get some private coaching and develop past basics and see where he goes. The important thing is that he's getting taught and executing proper technique and not just getting passed through the levels.

I am not saying any of this to be negative or to discourage you.

I just don't want you to be directed wrongly.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Icerabbit, thank you for the honest insight! Just out of curiosity, since I’m not really familiar with this area - in what ways would private coaching be better at determining potential than what he is currently doing? Another dumb question - what is private ice time and how is it different from coaching? Thank you so much again!
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Icerabbit, thank you for the honest insight! Just out of curiosity, since I’m not really familiar with this area - in what ways would private coaching be better at determining potential than what he is currently doing? Another dumb question - what is private ice time and how is it different from coaching? Thank you so much again!

A private coach can spend more time with him and his skills and development than a basics learn to skate coach. They also don't push them through levels. When I said private ice time, I meant private coaching rather than group classes.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Ok, that makes sense. Would you suggest trying a bit of coaching now, or wait until he’s done with Basics? It’s funny because I really don’t get the impression that they are trying to pass kids at that rink (Robert Crown in Evanston), or at the other rink we use (Skokie Skatium). Is that a “thing”, teachers passing kids through the levels just because? I haven’t seen it here. Why would they want to do that, anyway?
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Ok, that makes sense. Would you suggest trying a bit of coaching now, or wait until he’s done with Basics? It’s funny because I really don’t get the impression that they are trying to pass kids at that rink (Robert Crown in Evanston), or at the other rink we use (Skokie Skatium). Is that a “thing”, teachers passing kids through the levels just because? I haven’t seen it here. Why would they want to do that, anyway?

Wait until he's done with basics. No need to rush.
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Understood. Thanks again, icerabbit!

Just please, no matter who his coach is, make sure they are teaching him detailed basics: Good edge quality and all that goes with it and that they don't just focus on the tricks. It will mean a world of difference in his quality of skating compared to others as he progresses.

You are always welcome.

Good luck!
 

Sunshine247

On the Ice
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Dec 17, 2018
Aha, got it! Good edge quality. How do I know if a coach is teaching him correctly?
You’ll know when it seems to take forever to “learn” something to a coaches satisfaction and the kid is getting frustrated with repeating things. Lol

All kidding aside, I hope you’ve gotten a feel for the road ahead of you. It’s very difficult to judge talent until they do work with a coach in one on one sessions so take one goal and one step at a time. Also know that it is a lot harder to perfect the moves now learned in basic. There will be periods of time where they make huge progress then slow down and even seem to go backwards. It’s a marathon not a sprint. And it will take over your life. Not always in a positive “I found my tribe” kinda way even.

In the meantime you can help prepare for the future as well by learning about gear, how to support your skater, and a tiny bit more about the sport.(the internet is your friend) But not too much because this is a sport driven by your skater and the coach. You’ll only need to learn enough to have an intelligent conversation with them. Also familiarize yourself with the costs of committing to a competitive skating endeavor. No matter your budget, knowing in advance can help you make some decisions down the road. Eventually there is always a place for every skater within the sport. So keep an open mind and try to enjoy all of it.

One thing you didn’t mention is how much your son enjoys skating. This is a very technical, very precision sport. He will have ups and downs as all skaters do but they have to love it. More than anything else in the world. I personally cannot keep my skaters off the ice. Literally I was tempted to lie and say the rink was closed the other day. But it’s a wonderful thing they have found what they love. Your son is lucky if he’s found his “thing” as well!
 

GBs mom

Rinkside
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Jan 28, 2019
One of the most important decisions you as a parent will make will be selecting a private coach. Look at who the more successful skaters in your area are trained by and make sure whoever you choose is a good match for your kid. My daughter started with her primary coach when in basic 2. She probably didn't need to start privates so early, but she does have really great technique as a result. I had no idea how skating would snowball for us, but it does quickly both in terms of hours and expense.
 

sandraskates

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Ok, that makes sense. Would you suggest trying a bit of coaching now, or wait until he’s done with Basics? It’s funny because I really don’t get the impression that they are trying to pass kids at that rink (Robert Crown in Evanston), or at the other rink we use (Skokie Skatium).

Is he having fun and enjoying his lessons? That's the main thing at this point.
If he has the head to listen to some private coaching than go-ahead and have him take some booster lessons with a coach he likes.

Is that a “thing”, teachers passing kids through the levels just because? I haven’t seen it here. Why would they want to do that, anyway?

That depends on the tightness of the program. At my prior rink no student would get passed up "just because." Although my new rink is a little looser, I still will not pass a student until they show me they have mastered the skills in the level. If a coach passes students up to the next level when not ready, the next coach may end up sending them back to the lower-lever.

Some coaches pass students at Basic 1 and 2 automatically, thinking that if the students are held back under "needs improvement", the students will not return / re-enroll. While that is true for many enrollees, my main observation is that students come back only if they like the sport or the parents are willing to keep them going.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Yes he is receptive and eager to learn, though he’s also a perfectionist. Last night he left Basic 5 class in tears because he couldn’t do Basic 6 moves..he’s always pretending to be skating at home, too. He did 3 weeks skating camp over summer and asked for more. So yeah, I think he’s motivated..I do encourage and offer opportunities to skate, but not pushing it if he resists (which he hasn’t so far).
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Yes he is receptive and eager to learn, though he’s also a perfectionist. Last night he left Basic 5 class in tears because he couldn’t do Basic 6 moves..he’s always pretending to be skating at home, too. He did 3 weeks skating camp over summer and asked for more. So yeah, I think he’s motivated..I do encourage and offer opportunities to skate, but not pushing it if he resists (which he hasn’t so far).

Sounds alot like me as a kid. I always play skated at home when I was around 3 or 4 and am a perfectionist. I had to learn to tone my perfectionism down over the years.
 

karne

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Reading the first post of this thread made me think of the movie "Stick It" where the gymnastics coach pulls aside the parent of pretty much every student in his gym and tells them that their kid has Olympic potential to get them to up the kid's hours and thus get him more money.

Unfortunately there are unscrupulous coaches out there that do try this sort of thing, but fortunately, it seems this little skater has a parent with a good head on their shoulders. :)
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Yeah I’ve heard about that sort of thing too. I’m not worried in this case, my kid is obviously talented/quick to learn and he loves this sport. He insisted on starting to skate at age 3 and was always the best in his group. I don’t think the coach was bluffing.
 
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