How old does she have to be before she's too old to start?

Who knows. I guess it depends on her aspirations but some kids are ten when they start getting proper coaching and they can still become capable competitive skaters. There was an American Olympic gold medalist (can't recall her name) who said she started skating when she was ten but I suspect she was probably active and athletic before she took up the sport.

Realistically, ten is a pretty late start and kids have much better odds of competing successfully if they start skating much younger although I don't know how much research has been done to substantiate that opinion. I think it's pretty clear the the Soviet Union and China have had very focused sport programs that identified talent early so that it could be developed to its maximum potential. Natural ability and other complementary sporting capabilities definitely factor in for the late joiner. A few years ago, they also brought in a rule for the Olympics that skaters must be 16 years old so the days of 13 year old champions are over (at least at the Olympics).


# Elena 2012-12-10 04:28
I started skating at age 10 and went through the basics and freeskate levels in less than two years. There are three coaches that really want to coachme and think i have potential. How good do you think i could be if i tried hard enough?
# siegfried 2012-12-10 15:07
Hi Elena,

The key word from your coaches is "potential". That really means you could possibly be good but no one has a crystal ball to be able to predict the future. Your first couple of years of rapid progress show you probably have some natural atheletic abilities and hopefully a good work ethic too.

You'll need to work really hard to continue to progress, and the jumps and spins only get harder. Even with some talent and hard work, there is no way of knowing how good you can be. If you're around 12 or 13 right now you're probably in that transition between being a little girl and being a teenager and those physical changes can be challenging for skaters. Big physical changes can cause setbacks in your progress which can be really frustrating.

If you love to skate, then pick a coach that you can work well with and you think can help you succeed. Then show up at the rink every day ready to work.

Dream big. Have fun. Skate your best all the time. You never know...