Skating As An Adult
Gill wrote in a comment Thursday:
Just wanted to ask you a question about age. I notice a lot of the adult skaters on here are in their early 20's or are older but have been skating a long time. I am 41 and took up skating a year ago and I'm finding it really enjoyable but not progressing very quickly at all. I was just wondering if you have any theory on whether it is possible to become a reasonable skater taking it up so late in life?
I think the answer is that it's definitely possible. The real question is, is it possible for you
? Everyone is different. I don't know if you've ever looked at the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ
, but there's a lot
of good info in there. The FAQ says about adult skaters:
Everyone observes that some skaters seem to have a flair for the sport and progress faster. How far does determination and practice take you? The answer is "a long way"! Physical talent may be required to be a high level competitor, but anyone with a strong desire to improve can learn at least some of the jumps and master all of the basic skills. A lot depends on how regularly you can find time for lessons/practice and your willingness to try and persevere in pursuit of your goals.
Some of my own observations:
- Natural talent -- some people have it, some people don't, like the FAQ says. I don't have much natural talent. Some people do. In the end, though, it's no replacement for hard work and dedication.
- Age -- I do think that the people you see who start skating as an adult in their 20s have better success (or I should say, may have better success) because they are fitter, more flexible, etc. It's not an absolute though. I've seen some really great skaters who started in their mid-30s and are amazing.
- Practice -- really, this is a key. If you only skate once a week, it will take you forever to get anywhere, even if you are very talented. If you can't afford lessons -- same thing, unfortunately. As adults we are usually willing/able to afford at least some of these things, but the determining factor for most is time. Not just time on ice, either, but also remaining fit in general -- off-ice activities like dance, yoga, Pilates, etc.
- Athleticism -- I've noticed that adults who were active, and especially ones who did things like dance or rollerskating or whatever as young adults often do much, much better and look more natural on the ice.
I do think it's generally true that you can tell an adult who skated as a child from one who didn't pretty readily, there's a fluidity and naturalness that most of us can't get. It's too bad.
The other point I would really make from my own experience is don't compare yourself with others
! It is so easy to do, and so unhelpful. We all come at this from different backgrounds, different skills, abilities, talents and resources. Comparisons can really gnaw at you if you let them. As my first coach reminded me again just a couple of weeks ago, skating should be about how it makes you feel, and enjoying yourself. Yes, we all have days/weeks when things don't seem to go well, and things that seem to take forever to learn or improve. For myself, I've been having a very bad summer and I'm very frustrated with my progress -- but I know that deep down I love to skate, I always have since I first set foot on ice 4 years ago. That's what it's all about, really.
Good luck, Gill!