Realistic goals for adult skater?

Emily98

Rinkside
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Hi everyone, newbie here! :)

I am a 22 year old recreational skater aiming to start training more regularly this fall, and I am curious to hear about anyone's experience of learning new elements at my age. I skated for the first time when I was 7 but my parents actually had no intention to introduce me to figure skating: they hired a coach for one or two basic private lessons because my school teacher was planning an outing at the rink and they were afraid I would injure myself. I had always enjoyed watching figure skaters and from the very first lesson, I fell in love with the ice; the teacher noticed my motivation right away and encouraged my parents to bring me to the rink again. They agreed but quickly decided that it should remain just a hobby and prevented me from having regular training, becoming part of a club or competing, despite my frustration. I was allowed a few private lessons per winter, some skating on public sessions (never more than once a week except during Christmas vacation), and no practice at all when outdoor rinks are closed (from March to October each year). With this regime and an additional challenge due to my height (I am now 1m80!), I learnt much slower than I would have liked but managed to master jumps up to a single axel as well as basic spins (before covid I had decent scratch, sit, camel and back scratch spins, a hit-and-miss combo spin, and I was getting started on a layback). During the pandemic, I haven't been able to skate but I have done strength and flexibility training, and taught myself consistent off-ice double salchows and toe loops.

Now that I am moving out this summer, I will have much more freedom to organize my time and money, and will finally be able to train more seriously: factoring in my budget and time constraints, I think I could skate 3 times a week including 1 private lesson. I also plan to buy a spinner, and will keep working out and stretching regularly at home. Knowing this and my current level, what do you all think could be a realistic goal for me, a few years from now (e.g. by the time I turn 25, then 30)? Does landing all double jumps sound feasible at some point? Also, could I develop my skating skills and spins enough to compete on the adult circuit one day? I am not delusional and I know I'd need a miracle to fulfill my dream of making it to elite level, but getting involved in adult skating events sounds like a nice step in the direction of this dream. What are your thoughts on that, how far do you think I can go?
 

gliese

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
I think that at a basic level every adult that is fully healthy and spends a couple hours on the ice weekly can land all their singles except axel and can learn all the basic spin positions and combinations to a fairly average level. For your doubles it's possible if you're willing to dedicate the time to not only ice, but also gaining a ton of muscle (since you're working out it seems you're doing that already) and a couple more hours of ice time. Fear is a huge part of it at that level, though.
 

WednesdayMarch

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Country
United-Kingdom
I think you have a great foundation to build upon and should certainly aim to compete on the Adult circuit. Go for it.

I've seen adults get double jumps, although as gliese points out above, fear is a factor that definitely comes into play far more with adults. Good luck!

Edited to add: If you really want to take your skating to a better level, study ice dance, too. It does wonders for basic technique and that will give you an easier time of everything. Technique is the key.
 
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Elija

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
As the others said, as an adult I swear fear and the mental game is 95% of it. I’m 31 and working on my doubles (also skated as a teen but took a break for many years) - fear is what keeps me from fully committing most of the time and I end up two footing the landings rather than just crossing my legs and going for it. It’s incredibly frustrating, I know I have the strength and the height in my singles but it’s all in the head lol. Also, There are so many adult competitions now at all levels, so once you get back into things and feel comfortable, you can start competing. Good luck!
 

gliese

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
As the others said, as an adult I swear fear and the mental game is 95% of it. I’m 31 and working on my doubles (also skated as a teen but took a break for many years) - fear is what keeps me from fully committing most of the time and I end up two footing the landings rather than just crossing my legs and going for it. It’s incredibly frustrating, I know I have the strength and the height in my singles but it’s all in the head lol. Also, There are so many adult competitions now at all levels, so once you get back into things and feel comfortable, you can start competing. Good luck!
I'm in the same boat right now except with coming out of my jumps half a rotation too early. As much padding as possible can help even if you're not actually scared of falling. I grew up with untreated anxiety and it's such a battle to get those thoughts out of my head now even though I'm still really young (16).
 

Elija

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
I'm in the same boat right now except with coming out of my jumps half a rotation too early. As much padding as possible can help even if you're not actually scared of falling. I grew up with untreated anxiety and it's such a battle to get those thoughts out of my head now even though I'm still really young (16).
Nice to know everyone goes through it! I wear padded short when working on doubles and they definitely help! Almost everyone at my rink from little kids to those working on triples wears padded shorts or those hip pads you stick in your leggings, so at least no one feels silly haha.
 

gliese

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
Nice to know everyone goes through it! I wear padded short when working on doubles and they definitely help! Almost everyone at my rink from little kids to those working on triples wears padded shorts or those hip pads you stick in your leggings, so at least no one feels silly haha.
The only people I know who haven't gone through this are the super short 9 year olds who haven't really learned that falling can mean permanent damage (though you're more likely to hurt yourself cooking, still). You're not alone. I strongly prefer the hip pads that you stick in your leggings because you can move them, but they can be a pain in the ass (no pun intended) when you want to wear something looser, so I just wear some spandex shorts underneath so that I still have something to stick them into. I find in an environment where people don't really wear butt pads, the hip pads are a bit less embarrassing too. They just feel less bulky.
 

Elija

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
The only people I know who haven't gone through this are the super short 9 year olds who haven't really learned that falling can mean permanent damage (though you're more likely to hurt yourself cooking, still). You're not alone. I strongly prefer the hip pads that you stick in your leggings because you can move them, but they can be a pain in the ass (no pun intended) when you want to wear something looser, so I just wear some spandex shorts underneath so that I still have something to stick them into. I find in an environment where people don't really wear butt pads, the hip pads are a bit less embarrassing too. They just feel less bulky.
Yeah I’ll have to have a look for some of those online, we only have one shop in the country and they only sell the shorts. I find the shorts are great for protection but really hot.
 

Emily98

Rinkside
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Thanks for your replies! It's encouraging to hear from other adults at a similar level. I understand what you mean about the mental game, I used to have some mental blocks with my axel and two-foot the landing because I didn't have enough practice time for it to feel natural. Luckily I am not afraid anymore now, working on the jumps off-ice and getting used to the height and rotation helps with that. If I have the courage to throw myself in the air over concrete in my dad's parking lot, I should be abe to do it on ice as well! :LOL:

I'll consider investing in butt or hip pads once I get to skate again, it sounds like a useful tip. I have actually never tried them before as when I learnt the axel, I rarely fell hard on my butt or hips: whenever the jump felt off, I had a rapid-fire reflex of putting down my right hand and would either just touch down or fall on the exact same part of my hand every time. The few weeks before I finally landed the jump, I had a constant bruise in my palm from always hitting the same place :ROFLMAO:
 

gliese

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
I have actually never tried them before as when I learnt the axel, I rarely fell hard on my butt or hips: whenever the jump felt off, I had a rapid-fire reflex of putting down my right hand and would either just touch down or fall on the exact same part of my hand every time.
They make padded gloves, but I'm weird and I just stick those nipple covers they make for when you can't wear a bra into my gloves because it's more comfortable to me. I never said it was normal but it works.

That's a habit you'll need to get out of, though, because when competing, a shaky landing is way more points than a touch down or a fall. Also, if the jump feels off, moving your arm is causes you to lose your balance even more. You would likely fall way less if you didn't.
 

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
If you're interested in competing as an adult, keep in mind that the jump content allowed at each adult level is significantly lower than what's allowed at comparable skating levels for kids.

For instance, if you have a competition-ready axel and want to use it in your program, you would need to compete at silver level or above, and would need to compete at least gold to include the easier double jumps.

So while you're working on learning new jumps, make sure you're also working on your skating skills, because just doing a harder jump would not help you in competition if the quality of your skating is lower than most of the others in your event.

To compete in the US, you would need to pass Moves in the Field as well as freeskating tests to qualify for each level. (You can compete one level higher than the highest test you've passed.)

In other countries, tests may not be required, but skating skill will matter more than jump content in competition especially for adults.

As @WednesdayMarch suggested, ice dance is another way to work on those skills.

You're much more likely to master some doubles in your 20s than later in adulthood, so do work on those too if your coach thinks you're ready.
 
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Emily98

Rinkside
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Thanks @gliese and @gkelly! I am indeed planning to work on skating skills and spins in parallel with learning new jumps, and I have been studying some ice dance moves to improve my footwork. I don't know if tests are required in the UK, where I'll be living from September onwards, but I'll ask my coach once I get there.

I hadn't realized that putting my hand down was a bad habit (anyway it doesn't happen much now that my axel is fairly consistent), but I'll watch out for it when learning doubles!
 

gliese

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
Thanks @gliese and @gkelly! I am indeed planning to work on skating skills and spins in parallel with learning new jumps, and I have been studying some ice dance moves to improve my footwork. I don't know if tests are required in the UK, where I'll be living from September onwards, but I'll ask my coach once I get there.

I hadn't realized that putting my hand down was a bad habit (anyway it doesn't happen much now that my axel is fairly consistent), but I'll watch out for it when learning doubles!
Good luck! You'll never know what you can achieve until you try!
 

Nimyue

On the Ice
Joined
May 15, 2018
I started at 32 and have been skating for 3 years.

I am in the US and competing at Adult Silver. I have an axel and 2S. Working on the other doubles. My spins are weaker because I'm just a jumper. I am on my intermediate moves and will be testing those soon. They are ready. I just hate testing.

I will probably get other doubles at some point. Mind you, I have zero fear of falling. I fall all the time. Also, I had done bodybuilding and powerlifting previously and had a decent 3mile run time etc etc. So I started in good physical condition.

Your potential will be based on what you take to. Competing as an adult is great. There are many levels, you'll definitely be able to compete.

For me, of course I have goals of doubles or better spins, and I'd love to pass all the moves tests etc, but really I just love skating so I'm not too bothered by getting or not getting a jump. There's nothing else I'd rather be doing than skating. It brings such great mental focus and peace into my life that it's all worth it, and reaching the goals aren't as important as working toward them. If that makes sense. Just enjoy yourself :)
 

Emily98

Rinkside
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Thanks for this post @Nimyue, it is very inspiring and encouraging! I completely agree that working toward improvement and enjoying skating are the most important parts. Congrats for getting to silver level so fast, I hope you will reach more of your goals in the future! :)
 

Yuzuruu

the silent assassin
Medalist
Joined
Nov 21, 2017
(...) There's nothing else I'd rather be doing than skating. It brings such great mental focus and peace into my life that it's all worth it, and reaching the goals aren't as important as working toward them. If that makes sense. Just enjoy yourself :)
I am the same :) I love this sport so much, I could just skate all the time :)

I am 30 years old, started skating more seriously about 4 years ago, skated a little as a teen but nothing past crossovers and basic moves. Now I am like quarter rotation short on axel and 2Sal, and half rotaton on the 2Lo so I definitely agree you can get your doubles as an adult. I would probably have them already if only I had more time to do off ice and generally more ice time.

I do agree that fear is a major factor when you are ready to move to axels and doubles as an adult but I also found over the years that the better my edges and skills are, the better all my other elements become. Fear was sometimes there but didn't bother me as much until I fractured my leg trying the axel ;) BUT the weirdest thing is that a year after I am actually less scared than I was before the injury, my skills are better than ever and I am jumping better than before even though the leg bothers me sometimes :)

I'm also in a similar mindset - I'm def a jumper and skating skills lover, spins are my weakest element but I still like to work on them :)
 

Emily98

Rinkside
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Thanks for your reply @Yuzuruu! I'm sorry to hear about your leg injury, but it is great that you managed to bounce back and improve since then. Congrats! I am still not getting any ice time over here, but have been making steady progress in my off-ice jumps. I can now land a consistent 2S and 2T, missing about 1/4-1/2 rotation for a 2Lo. I aim to have all doubles (except maybe the Axel, I should probably wait to work with a coach for this one lol) fully rotated off-ice by the summer in order to land them as fast as possible on ice this fall.

Btw, judging by your username and picture, you're a Yuzu fan; I am one too! :) Whenever I get annoyed at my jumps, I remind myself that if he can learn a freakin' QUAD AXEL with an adult body, getting some nice doubles has to be possible at our age :biggrin:
 
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