Reasonable goals for 7yo beginner

VegMom

On the Ice
Joined
Aug 25, 2017
To add...
I think this guide from Skate Canada is VERY good: https://skatecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Skate-Canada-LTAD-Model-EN.pdf

To boil down some of the essence of the guide (which should really be read all the way through multiple times) I will copy and paste some specifics...
Skate Canada’s model has been created with six
stages:
1. Learn to Skate
(age: females 3-8; males 3-9)
2. Learn to Train
(age: females 7-11; males 8-12)
3. Learn to Compete
(age: females 9-13; males 10-14)
4. Train to Compete
(age: females 10-16; males 11-17)
5. Learn/Live to Win
(age: female 13-19; male 14-21) 15 +
6. Active for Life (any age)

Breakdown of their ON ICE training hours suggestions:

1. Learn to Skate
(age: females 3-8; males 3-9)
30-60 min per session, max 1 session per day, 1-4 days per week, min 20 weeks per year, ideal 30-40 weeks per year

2. Learn to Train
(age: females 7-11; males 8-12)
45-60 min sessions 2-5 days per week, 1-2 times per day, 20- 44 weeks per year

3. Learn to Compete
(age: females 9-13; males 10-14)
45-60 min session, 1-2 times per day, 4-5 days per week, 44-46 weeks per year, 5-7 competitions per year

4. Train to Compete
(age: females 10-16; males 11-17)
45-60 minute sessions 2-3 times per day 5 days per week 44-48 weeks per year, lessons nearly every day
5 or more competitions per year

5. Learn/Live to Win
(age: female 13-19; male 14-21) 15 +
45-60 minutes per session, minimum 3 sessions per day 5 days per week, 48 weeks per year

6. Active for Life (any age)
45-60 minute sessions 1-6 days per week, 25-40 weeks per year
 

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Good advice. But just to clarify...

(As far as I can tell, the age limit idea is that Juv is for competition between children. Seniors has a minimum age limit, supposed to be adults competing against one another. These age limits are kind of just artificial but the concept is that pre-pubescent is for Juvenille and mature adults are senior. Puberty is the reason boys get more time - they mature more slowly. All the other levels between Juv and Senior and the levels before Juv do not have age restrictions.

It's confusing because the names of the levels and the restrictions are different between international competition and US domestic competition. (And other countries may have yet other domestic rules.)

In the US, the only levels with upper age limits (and no lower age limits) are Juvenile and Intermediate. Juvenile singles skaters must be under 13 (girls) or 14 (boys); intermediates must be under 18. The age limits for pairs and dance at these levels are slightly looser.
There are no age limits in the US for competing at novice, junior, or senior level within the US. So you will occasionally see 20-year-olds in novice dance or 13-year-olds in senior ladies (including the 2019 national champion). It's within the USFS rules. But those skaters would not be eligible for international competition at those levels, should they place well enough to be considered for international assignments. They might be assigned to compete at a level for which they are age eligible.

There are also no age limits for Excel competition.

Which level to compete at within the US qualifying system is determined by test level.

There are minimum ages for adult tests or competitions, but that is not relevant to the present question.

Internationally, all ISU competitions and other international events define "senior," "junior," and "novice" primarily by age, with some overlaps: senior is over 15; junior is over 13 under 19, and I think novice is over 10 under 15 -- all as of the previous July 1.

When the US sends skaters to international competitions, they have to abide by those age limits. Therefore, international skaters may end up competing in different categories within the US and internationally.

If you're not at a point that you need to worry about international age limits, then don't worry about them.

VegMom's comments about successful juvenile-level competition within the US are valuable.

If the goal is national or international competition as a junior or senior, then you might need to worry about international age limits.

But the real limits on how far any skater can go, especially a girl in singles skating, are what skills she can master, with all the real-world factors that affect training and skill development, and the fact that in most regions there are many more girls who are aiming to succeed than there are opportunities to advance to sectionals or final rounds at regionals.
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Ok, first a point here on VegMom's post (which is excellent in all respects). In our most recent regional competition (Central Pacific) there was only one Juvenile girl that attempted a 2A (she finished 4th). The top finishers all competed with 2Lz+2Lo+Lo combinations. At our Sectionals (Pacific Coast) the top finishers did compete with 2A's, but the 5th place girl, and quite a few below her did not. So, at Regionals it's possible to compete and advance without it, Sectionals require it to win. Now other regions/sections could be more competitive, so grain of salt and all that.

My skater is 11 and on the cusp of many things. I doubt she'll have her 2Lz, or any double - double combinations by Regionals, so she'll have to be content with Pre-Juv non qualifying this year, Juvenile/Open Juvenile (after she ages out) next year, and working towards intermediate in the next couple of years. That age limit is unfair for some, but the idea was to raise the bar for talent purposes. There are several other avenues to keep working towards. Two mothers of young (15-16) Novice skaters tell me don't worry about Juvenile, just keep working on your skills and move forward. Kind of tough when the current National Champion is what, 15, and there are others out there (here in the U.S., let's not get into international and Russian ages) not far behind.

Overall anecdote for the OP, mine started LTS at 7. We did the once a week class for a year until she ran into an old school Canadian Olympic ice dancer who failed her in ISI Gamma (3 turns, still her nemesis, just now it's back double 3's). That's when she started practicing a bit, took some lessons from said coach, still we went slowly, perhaps too slowly, but I've always let her drive the process. After the first test, Pre-Pre MITF, and first little local "exhibition", it was clear this is what she wanted.

Fast forward to this morning, she skates 5 mornings (5:45 a.m) and 2 afternoons per week, has 3 coaches (MITF, Main jump and spin, and a choreographer + cheerleader) is competing now at Preliminary/Pre-Juv, working on Intermediate MITF, mastering 2s, 2t, 2Lo, 2f and 2Lz, expanding her spin repertoire (OBSESSED with the Bielmann). She also has 3 hour and a half ballet classes and one private ballet lesson per week (pointe work next Fall), as well as off ice conditioning. And at our rink she's behind. There are 9 year olds that are beyond her. The talent out there is scary good at such a young age. She struggles mostly with that, the competition that she can't win is talent and age. She works very hard, but gets disappointed easily feeling behind. Still we get up and get there almost every day. And that's the key.

Be forewarned, this life is hard. For her it's the skills that are hard (though she has no idea how hard) for us, it's the time (here it's 10:00 a.m., I've been up for 6.5 hours already) and financial commitments (ice time, coaching fees, test and competition fees, oh and boots/blades). And there are no breaks or off times, she has to skate nearly every day or she loses her momentum. Planning a vacation means packing the skates and finding the practice ice. Injuries are devastating losses of time, and they happen.

So, after all that, the greatest joy for mine is coming off the competition ice, feeling that she did her absolute best with a glorious smile...for about 15 minutes until the scores come in and it's "what the heck, I got 5th! How did she score better than me". And there's no satisfaction with herself, landed a nice double loop, single loop combination and 5 double flips this morning (Axels don't even count anymore), not good enough, double Lutz isn't happening.

If you and yours choose to join us it's quite a ride. I think I've said it here before, my skater will never experience anything in her life more challenging than what she is doing now at 11 years old. I mean that in all sincerity. Best of luck in your adventures!
 

sandraskates

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Country
United-States
If you and yours choose to join us it's quite a ride. I think I've said it here before, my skater will never experience anything in her life more challenging than what she is doing now at 11 years old. I mean that in all sincerity. Best of luck in your adventures!

First off Sibelius, let me say I really enjoyed your post and insights.

But I want to add that what I bolded does not have to be the "be all and end all" in skating these days. Your little skater may skate away from the sport in her teens but she can always come back and compete and test at the Adult level. When it's offered, Young Adult starts at age 18.

Plus, skating parallels life's challenges - sometimes you get hired for a job, sometimes you get passed over is just one example. This is why I love to see the kids keeping at the sport, through their own ups and downs, mixed up and seemingly unfair competition finishes, etc.
It's an expensive sport but sure teaches a lot of life lessons. :)
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
I have no idea how long she'll continue, I really don't, she'll have to choose between this and ballet in a couple of years as the training for that increases exponentially once she reaches Sr. Pre-Professional (Nutcracker opening night this Friday!). And I completely agree about parallel of life's challenges. It's one of the reasons I give everything I have to support her so she gets the experiences at such a young age that will allow her to be ready for those challenges. I was never prepared by my parents (much different times) so I'm giving that opportunity to her (and her sister who's chosen different, but similarly challenging endeavors). Their world will be so different from mine that they have to have the resiliency this sport requires. What's the USFSA's slogan, "if you can handle ice, you can handle anything".

Oh, unfair is an understatement. At her last competition where she finished behind a "rival" in a jumps challenge (everyone agreed it was a poor placement) she just had that "what the $%&@" expression on her face and laughed about it. She was ecstatic over her 3rd place in Freeskate earlier in the day. She'd cut her hand on her blade during warm up and was first to go, so no time for a bandage. Blood was everywhere, on her dress, tights, boots, the ice...but she didn't let it stop her.

I never imagined I'd be in this world (or the ballet world either) but here we are and I wouldn't trade my experiences so far for anything. Ok, ok, maybe a bit more sleep...
 

juumpmama

Rinkside
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
VegMom, thank you for your insights. I do think the talent at such a young age is incredible. At my daughter's rink, there is this 8yo girl we see often at practice, she was landing double loops in her regionals and she did not even move on from group into final round, not even close. Yet she looked super impressive for her age in training sessions to me. In our regionals though, there was only one double axel (positive GOE), and another under-rotated amongst juvenile girls. Ranked 1 and 2 respectively.

I have heard a lot about single axel takes 18 months if all goes ok to well - what does that even mean? 18 months starting the day that you try it on ice? Or starting the day that you kinda know what it is, and try to rotate it off ice, then combine a few jumps/spins related to Axel (Waltz+loop jump or something similar) to prepare for it? If former is the case, are kids falling 18 months on ice trying to get it?

Regarding the goals, we definitely have those over-arching goals in mind. Both being non-athlete and academics, dad and I see value in this giving her important life lessons at such a young age. Things such as being active, being driven, discipline, the pursuit for passion, strive for excellence are just few of the things came to our mind. While for HER, while she loves it, the goal is just the medals (or bragging rights really) for now, which is not meant to degrade her - she is 7. It's incredible that she even understands that she needs to put in more work on this and that, here and there, to become a better skater, and ask me or dad for the resources - it is already amazing self management at her age. What is really missing for us, is really, what I'd call goal/expectation management. We don't want to be overly positive and negative and we want to stay on top of the progress and the reality out there to help her manage the inevitable disappointments.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Le professionnel d'élite
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
VegMom, thank you for your insights. I do think the talent at such a young age is incredible. At my daughter's rink, there is this 8yo girl we see often at practice, she was landing double loops in her regionals and she did not even move on from group into final round, not even close. Yet she looked super impressive for her age in training sessions to me. In our regionals though, there was only one double axel (positive GOE), and another under-rotated amongst juvenile girls. Ranked 1 and 2 respectively.

I have heard a lot about single axel takes 18 months if all goes ok to well - what does that even mean? 18 months starting the day that you try it on ice? Or starting the day that you kinda know what it is, and try to rotate it off ice, then combine a few jumps/spins related to Axel (Waltz+loop jump or something similar) to prepare for it? If former is the case, are kids falling 18 months on ice trying to get it?

Regarding the goals, we definitely have those over-arching goals in mind. Both being non-athlete and academics, dad and I see value in this giving her important life lessons at such a young age. Things such as being active, being driven, discipline, the pursuit for passion, strive for excellence are just few of the things came to our mind. While for HER, while she loves it, the goal is just the medals (or bragging rights really) for now, which is not meant to degrade her - she is 7. It's incredible that she even understands that she needs to put in more work on this and that, here and there, to become a better skater, and ask me or dad for the resources, is already amazing self management. What is really missing for us, is really, what I'd call goal/expectation management. We don't want to be overly positive and negative and we want to stay on top of the progress and the reality out there to help her manage the inevitable disappointments.

Regarding the jumps: It may take a skater upwards of 18 mos to get a jump, any jump. Some just come and some take awhile. Don't let it discourage her or you.

Good luck!
 

juumpmama

Rinkside
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
gkelly, I had wondered about this actually. So in the US (as you said international is out of the question for now), if a child is 12 on the day of competition, then she can compete as juvenile? Or there is date cutoff? I know it's July 1 for international. Is it the same for within US? Or Sept 1?
 

juumpmama

Rinkside
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Wow Sibelius, what a journey! Hats off to your under-8hr-sleep days (I am assuming here)! The things we'd do for our little ones... but I am with you - there is something about seeing a child on ice with big smiles, or seeing a child's pride in her eyes completing something she thinks highly of or could not do yesterday... It's a journey I know will be difficult, but maybe not how difficult - but it's a journey where a family goes through together, and it might even bond the family in a way.

Looking at your daughter's repertoire, she is quite talented to be working with doubles after skated for 4 years! When did she move past single axel?
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Looking at your daughter's repertoire, she is quite talented to be working with doubles after skated for 4 years! When did she move past single axel?

Hi There,

She started working on her single Axel in January of last year, landed her first clean one the following July. It was consistent at full competition speed by April of this year. Doubles began shortly after with 2s, 2t (which she doesn't really like). 2Lo started over the this past Summer with 2f and 2Lz in the Fall. Her coaches plan is that by the first competition in Feb. her program will include all allowable doubles (2s, 2t, 2Lo) in combinations, with a couple of 1A's thrown in. Her goal is to try for double-doubles by Regionals and start 2A after her ballet Summer Intensive. It's quite a reach, but that's how she is.
 

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
gkelly, I had wondered about this actually. So in the US (as you said international is out of the question for now), if a child is 12 on the day of competition, then she can compete as juvenile? Or there is date cutoff? I know it's July 1 for international. Is it the same for within US? Or Sept 1?

For US qualifying competitions, the cutoff is September 1.

For nonqualifying competitions, it's whatever it says in the announcement. Check with the competition chair if the announcement doesn't state it clearly or doesn't seem to make sense.
 

Mavericky108

Spectator
Joined
Dec 4, 2019
My first comment in this forum, been here for the past few years learning about this sport as a skater dad. To OP your kiddo reminds me on my 8 year old, takes on a different personality when she steps on ice, so much so one of the great coaches in our area (RIP Jerry) pulled me aside aside in a skating camp and asked me to slow down her skating.

My daughter was in Freestyle 1 when she turned 6 yrs 1mo. She skates about 250 hours a year, evenly divided between Private Lessons, Practice and group lessons/camps. What you will see is that progress will not be linear, some will come quicker than others. My daughter could land all jumps including lutz on the right edge within a month of learning, but that pesky back spin has taken 2 years and still a work in progress (gets 6-8 rotations only at moderate speed). Has a good camel ( 6 quick rotations)but back sit is a challenge. Can land an axel 10/10 on a harness but still has not tried one on ice as her coach wants her to perfect the technique before landing. She does off ice conditioning once a week, mainly jump rope and plyometrics. She tested in the 93% nationally in the vertical jump in the STARS combine as a 7 year old.

Have you started to compete? Competitions are necessary to judge progress, The way I think about it She Acquires skills in private lessons, Stabilizes it in Group lessons and Refines skills she has learnt when training to compete. As other posters have said, you will have a lot of excitement and heartbreaks when you compete. My daughter never got a first place until she was at the Beginner level, only now is she consistently placing in the top 3. She has competed in 50 events including ISI competitions, which she loves especially her favorite event - Interpretive. This is an avenue for her to express herself which her coaches encourage.

Some kids love moves and others hate them my daughter loves it, she has passed Prelim MITF, missed out on distinction by a point. In hindsight if I have to do it all over I would have waited until she is about 7.5 years before starting testing PPM, preparing for moves test takes a lot of time and takes away time from developing other skills especially spins in my daughters case.

Camps are a great way to get motivated, my daughter has been with Gracie Gold in so many sessions Gracie knows her by name, taking lessons with the likes of Gracie, Mrai, Ashley and Mariah Bell provides great motivation especially for the young ones. My daughters skates have their autographs and she proudly wears them at the rink. These guest coaches sure inspire the young skaters to do better.

Good luck with your skater!!!!
 
Top