- Parent Category: General Figure Skating
What would you say to a guy who started skating when he was 4 quit at 13 and now is 27 and wants to try it again? would it be worth the time or say screw it This guy hasn't skated in 14 years? --Aaron
Aaron, it depends on whether you're talking about Free Skating or Ice Dancing and it also really depends on your objectives for the sport. You're probably not going to the olympics but you can definitely learn new skating skills, compete in the adult realm, meet some new people, and enjoy a fantastic sport.
If you're thinking of free-skating (jumps and spins), my first question is "what's your pain threshold". If you're going to try to learn to jump, you're going to fall and you're going to fall a lot and depending on how big a guy you are, it's either going to hurt or it's going to hurt a lot. No one learns jumps without falling. Even spins result in in the introduction of your body to the ice at some points.
Another question is how good a skater were you when you stopped at 13? Figure skaters go backwards as much or more than they go forwards, so if you're backwards skating wasn't strong, you'll have some work to do in just developing that core skill. If you were a skater but weren't on figure skates, you'll have some adjustment to do to get used to the slightly different blade and the picks on the front. Careful not to trip. None of these things are insurmountable but be ready for the fact that you won't likely look like a figure skater right away.
I'd be inclined to direct you to the Ice Dance side of the sport, but I'm 20 years older than you and can't remember how quickly my body bounced back when I was 27, so maybe the challenge of jumping isn't so great. If you want to get a sense of the challenge, find some open space and attempt to jump up and spin around 360 degrees and land on one foot. If you can do it easily on land, then maybe you've got a chance of doing it on ice.
Becoming a figure skater is a long road. Even for the young, highly athletic, naturally talented kids, there are years of work to do developing the necessary skills. It's truly amazing how many details must be perfected to render that "effortless" performance we see from skaters on TV. However, it's important to recognize that if you like to skate, the journey is fun. Whether you start skating at 7 or 27, you may never reach the end of learning when it comes to skills development. I'm in my upper 40s and I skate better today than I did 5 years ago (but I don't do any jumps beyond a waltz jump and I get dizy when I get my kids to show me how to spin). There will always be new skills you can learn and improve and develop mastery over. The complexities of the footwork will keep you learning new skills for years. You will never run out of challenges. It's fun and challenging and if you follow the ice-dance route and have any aptitude for the sport, you won't likely have a hard time finding a partner either.
There are adult competitions for skaters so regardless of which road you go down, if you want to compete, there will be opportunities to do so. I've never been to one, but I get the impression that there is a social component to adult competitions as well as a skating component.
After thinking about what you really want to get out of the sport, I'd suggest you contact a local figure skating club and see whether they have any adult-specific programs and to see if there is a coach that would be interested in taking you on as a student. There are some coaches who won't be interested but there are coaches who recognize that some people just want to have fun learning and enjoying figure skating and it's not about high-octane performance. Find the right coach. Get a decent pair of skates and give it your best effort.
Good luck. Have fun. Skate your best.