Learning a physical skill or sport such as figure skating when you are over the age of 35 is a very different experience from when you were 10 years-old. To begin with, children master physical skills differently from adults. They are usually experts at “Monkey See Monkey Do”, show them the skill and they are more or less able to reproduce what they have just seen. Adult learners typically need to have the skill broken down into components and then re assembled a piece at a time.
The fear factor is also a very real concern; most kids are pretty fearless and will pretty much try to do anything you ask them to. When they fall, there may be a bruise or two but for the most part they do not suffer serious injury. Not so an adult. The older we get, the harder we fall and the longer we take to heal.
Sometimes people have a bad experience, often due to poor equipment that leads them to believe they can’t skate. For example many people tell me they can’t skate due to weak ankles, in many cases their only skating experience has been on old and broken down skates and dull blades, this is akin to playing golf with a broken club or tennis with a poorly strung racquet, you just can’t do it! Ice skating coaches may not have training in or understand how to motivate and teach an adult figure skater.
The coach may have to design very creative “work-arounds” to accommodate old injuries or medical conditions. A skilled coach will build the adult skater’s skill and confidence so the skater can attempt a more difficult element without fear of injury. A coach has to accept that working with an adult figure skater will require a much more collaborative approach than with a child. Sometimes children’s “Learn-to-Skate” programs are games based, which keeps small children engaged and interested but may less appropriate for an adult learner. If you pay attention to the media, it may seem that figure skating is an exclusively youth-oriented sport and if you don’t start when you are young then there is no hope of learning how to skate later in life. Figure skating club sessions and televised competitions are filled with sweet young things in sparkly lycra dresses and perfect bodies, it can be a little intimidating at times!
So that’s why I wrote my book Figure Skating??? At Your Age??? An Introduction and Encouragement for the Hesitant Figure Skater of a “Certain” Age. I can help you start (or re-start) figure skating as an adult!
My Skating Cred:
- Figures: 6th
- Free Style: Junior Silver
- Dance: Diamond (Canada), Gold Interpretive Dance, Gold (US)
- Skills: Gold
- Interpretive: Gold
- Competitive Experience: Medals of all colors as well as a substantial number of last place finishes in over ten years of competing in local, provincial, national and international competitions.
- Level 1 NCCP coaches certification.