National Skating Month on January, 2023: Is it too late to start figure skating at 14?
January, 2023 is National Skating Month 2023. Austin Figure Skating Club - National Skating Month N ational Skating month.
I actually started skating 2 months before my 14th B-day. You're never too old to start, or compete for that matter. I believe there was a skater at adult nationals this year who is in her 70's.
But for all the skaters at adult nationals, there are plenty of adults who don't compete, who are out there simply to have fun. Same goes for kids.
I admit it was kinda tough to start skating because I was afraid of falling. After a while though you learn to fall, and then it isn't quite so scary and you're more willing to really try things once you know how to fall. You really don't learn much if you don't fall. I think I fall more now in practice than I did for the first 6 months I skated!
I know you said that you're not planning to compete and you just want to do this for yourself, and that's great and there are lots of other skaters like you out there. But I do want to let you know that you could compete if you want to, and competitions can be a lot of fun.
There are ISI competitions, but I'm not too familiar with how those work. US Figure Skating competitions cost more I'm pretty sure (entry fees), and at adult events everyone is pretty focused on having fun but kiddie competitions are much more competitive and hardcore.
At your age competing is kinda akward because you're older than most the skaters at your level, but not old enough for adult competitions yet (the age minimum for adult is 21, young adult starts at 18 and not all competitions offer that category). You could compete at ISI competitions (which I believe are divided by age and level if there are enough skaters) and/or focus on taking your standard track US Figure Skating tests until you're old enough to cross over into the adult competitive track.
Or you can just skate for fun and don't worry about testing or competing. Personally, I love choreographing new programs every year, that's my favorite part of skating, and I like showing off at a competition. But I'd also be content to never compete again and just do my programs in practice, or not even have a program and just jump and spin and goof around with moves in the field patterns all day long.
Group lessons are good for a while, although I admit I never took them, but they are cheaper than private lessons. You can learn quite a bit from group lessons, from basic skating through most of the spins and single and sometimes double jumps if classes are offered at that level where you skate. But there eventually comes a point where you may want to switch to private lessons when you start jumping and spinning, 15 minutes of individual attention may do you more good than 30 minutes of group lessons. Although I should mention I was taking private lessons for 15 minutes a week when I passed my first US Figure Skating adult tests and competed at adult sectionals (I was 21 when I passed my first test, 22 when I did my first competition, and I was one of the youngest skaters competing at adult sectionals!), so it's not like you have to take a bunch of lessons every week to improve.
Hopefully I haven't overwhelmed you too much with all this info. But I just want to let you know to not let your age stop you from anything. I had a coach who started skating at 16 (although she was a gymnast before that, and gymnasts seem to do really well on the ice) and was competing at the junior level at 21 and had all of her double jumps except the double axel. Last I heard she was doing skating shows on a cruise ship.
Of course you never have to go that far with skating. Just have fun, and don't let your age stop you if you decide you want to go further in skating. You're practically a baby compared to some skaters out there...
Do I still have a chance to start ice skating?
Of course you can still start skating - you're never too old, tall, heavy or *insert any other adjectives here* to start skating. If by "professional" you mean competing in Olympics/Worlds/Nationals - it's too late for that. But that doesn't matter, because out of the zillions of skaters in the world, only an EXTREMELY small percentage make it that far. If you mean an actual professional skater who skates in shows and stuff for money, you might have a slim chance, but it really depends on a lot of factors.
You can still do small competitions (even larger if you compete as an adult), skate for fun, and possibly even land doubles. It's never too late to start recreationally.
You don't have to be really flexible to be an ice skater, especially when you're only a beginner. However, it's never too early to start improving your flexibility, because when you get to higher levels, flexibility will be necessary. Look up 'stretches for figure skaters' on YouTube, there are some good stretches there. Make sure you warm up thoroughly when stretching, and be careful not to pull any muscles. Here are some videos:
Even as a beginner, you should be practicing at least 2-4 times per week if you want to advance quickly. It's really up to you though - how much you can handle (skating is very physically demanding) and how much you can afford (it's also expensive).
As you're just starting out, I would recommend just using hire skates until you're sure this is something you want to pursue - you never know, you might start skating, get bored and quit. When you do buy your own ice skates, however, you'll have to spend at least $100-$150 on a decent pair of beginner skates - any lower, and they will be purely recreational skates that won't last. Also, when you buy them go and get fitted at your rink's pro shop - NEVER buy skates online, because you never know if they will fit you.
In addition to skates, you'll have to buy guards and soakers - guards are typically $10-20, and soakers cost about the same (depends on where you live though. At my rink in Australia guards cost $20 and soakers are $30). Guards are to put on your blades while you're walking around off the ice, and soakers are to soak up excess moisture after you skate. You don't need to buy anything else - no need to buy and fancy practice wear, it's just a waste of money.
If you want to get anywhere in skating, you will NEED to take lessons. I would highly recommend group lessons - how on earth would you embarrass yourself? By falling over? Everyone falls, and besides, you'll be in a beginner class with people at the same level as you. Everyone will be concentrating on THEIR skating, not on how stupid or not stupid you look. If you're worried about being put with little kids, see if your rink does teen or adult classes.
Private lessons are available, but I wouldn't recommend them at this stage - they're much more expensive than group classes, and for a beginner it's just a waste of money. The cost varies depending on the coach and their experience/qualifications - for example, my coach charges $20 for 15 minutes.
Definitely don't just practice by yourself - if you teach yourself you'll only develop bad technique and injure yourself.
Good luck! :)
Should I carry on ice skating? ?
Personally I don't think you should quit, that'll just be giving in. Life's a big rollercoaster of up's and down's and skatings an even bigger one. To be doing jumps after only 2 months is great, I was the same, and like Riley I preferred doing jumps rather than working properly on edges. However missing out these vital basics help me back a bit when it came to creating a programme, anyway what I'm saying is keep working on your edges until each foot is consistent as the other (you will always have one foot/side better than the other (usually your spinning/jumping side)).
Anyway back to your original question, skaters have bad days all the time! There'll be days when everything goes perfect for me, my jumps will be clean, my spins will be centered, I'll rarely fall. Then there'll be those terrible days, I'll fall out of spins, fall on little jumps, and just feel a sense of failure and temptation to give in. You need to work through those days, fortunately most practises for me are okay, they won't be brilliant but won't be absolutely terrible, you need to come off of the ice after a bad skate and think of at least one positive thing that came out of that day's skate.
I understand it can be difficult financially, I have to pay for my skating myself, using money from paper round, part-time job and christmas/birthday money i've saved up. Also I live quite a way from the rink 1 hour and half by public transport, or 45 mins in the car. But I understand what you're saying, it feels like a waste travelling all that way and paying all that money if you're just going to have those bad skating days.
Do you have your own properly fitted skates? You mentioned youhad your own which were too big and second-hand, then you mentioned borrowing another skater's skates. Do you have a pair of your own skates that fit correctly? If not, you should definitely consider getting a pair that will fit, this could provide a fixture to your problems. You need a pair of supportive figure skates that fit your feet correctly (not too big so your foot slides around and not too small so you're cutting off the circulation). I highly suggest you get your skates fitted and proper pro. shop either local or in a nearby town.
Big gaps between lessons aren't really that much of a problem, skaters can last a few week,sometimes up to 2 months without their coach. But big gaps between practises are a problem. Only skating once a week for 1 hour or so isn't really getting you anywhere, you should be aiming to practise at least twice a week outside of lessons to really benefit from the practise. Also doing off ice stretching and exercises will help too.
You'll be able to compete, eventually.There are competitions for every level, right from basic skills up to the higher level competitions such as nationals and the olympics (don't expect to be getting that far though, that boat already sailed). There are 'in rink'competitions and also open competitions at other rinks in other towns/states.
In the end it's up to you, if you're really passionate about the sport, you'll be determined to continue and get through those bad days. It'll be worth it when you achieve the thing you've wanted to achieve, whether this be landing your first clean jump, winning a competition etc. all the hard work and determination will pay off,. but only you can make it happen.
You need to sit down and have a good think about this, I'm 16 too and I know my life's pretty hectic outside of skating, with school/college and other activities. Do YOU honestly think your spending your time and money wisely, if you are determined to skate then there's nothing stopping you from becoming the best you can possibly be, but if your having doubts now over little things then perhaps figure skating isn't what you thought it was cracked up to be. (It's a beautiful sport but also very hard, frustrating, dangerous, the list goes on...)
Anyway hope I helped and good luck without whatever you decide :)