Learning to Figure skate at age 27?

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.



+1 # Aaron 2012-11-04 07:57
Were talking free skate, And back when i was 13 i had all my doubles just got tired of it. But my fear is my body wont recover from all the falls so figured i would ask around and see what i can find. i don't need a coach i can handle that my self i want to get back to competing and go for it i want to make nationals.
# siegfried 2012-11-05 14:19
If you're really serious, I'd recommend you get a coach. You might not need one for a while until you get back in the groove a little bit but if your last jumps were doubles and you're plan is to shoot for Nationals, you'll need at least some triples in your program.

Good luck with your return to skating. You've got a challenging road ahead of you but at the worst, you'll have some fun skating and learning (and take a few bruises on the way).
# threenorns 2013-03-12 04:14
i am just now getting into this stuff bec i have a 6yr old daughter who wants to figure skate but wear hockey skates (hey, whatever floats her boat) but your comment about not need a coach reminded me of a saying:

"He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client"
# Kristina 2013-05-25 12:16
Aaron, I'm 31 and I have been skating for a little over 3 years now (after a break longer then most of the kids at the rink have been alive)and I have surpassed the level that I was at when I quit. I landed my first 2A ever on Thursday. I compete as a Novice lady on the standard track (aka non-adult, aka nationals/olymp ic track). It's not easy, and I think I am the only one that I know of who has done this, but it is possible. You do have to remember that you are not a teenager anymore. Don't expect to train as much as the kids. You'll need to listen to your body and allow for recovery time between training sessions. But it can be done. If you love skating, then go for it. Nothing beats the feeling of landing a new jump or perfecting a spin or discovering who can do something that the last time you tried it 3 months ago you fell, but now you can do it. It's an amazing feeling!
# Carolyn Cameron 2015-01-13 16:07
If you love to skate go for it.see where it takes you!