Ice Skating

If, amidst the holiday hurry and seasonal stress, the one thing your child is dazzled by this winter is the ice-rinks, it might be time to consider more formal training in ice-skating. Indeed, the UK has a long tradition of exceptional ice-skating, including 10 Olympic medals and more than 80 World Championship medals.

Yet even with such a spectacular tradition, if your knowledge of ice-skating leaves you out in the cold, then read on for a quick summary of ice-skating for kids in the UK!

Advantages of Ice-Skating

Many children love to skate because it is a unique activity. At no other time in their daily lives can they glide across ice and jump or spin. Yet regardless of ability, ice skating offers a variety of benefits to any skater:

  • A great aerobic workout.
  • Enhanced muscle strength and endurance.
  • Increased coordination and flexibility.
  • Better posture and balance.
  • A chance to choreograph movements and be creative.
  • An appreciation of discipline and hard work.
  • The satisfaction of meeting personal goals.

Competitive Ice-Skating

For skaters who can stay up for more than a few seconds at a time, five types of skating are recognised for formal competition. These include:

  • Singles/Figure-Skating – in choreographed programmes (short and long) skaters are judged on appearance, showmanship and ability.
  • Pairs-Skating – in mixed gender pairs, skaters perform choreographed programmes that include lifts and throws.
  • Ice-Dancing – often the most misunderstood skating competition, ice dancing is the interpretation of dance and theatre on the ice. Think Torvill and Dean!
  • Synchronised-Skating – teams of multiple skaters perform a synchronised routine.
  • Speed-Skating – like athletics on ice, speed-skating involves sprinting in a circle for a set distance and the fastest skater, or the last skater still standing, wins.

Skate Training

Perhaps the best way to get your child involved in competitive ice-skating is to contact the National Ice-Skating Association (NISA), otherwise known as Skate UK. Skate UK offers a 10 step Learn to Skate programme that is taught by trained, professional coaches. This programme strives to:

  • Provide basic skating instruction in a group format.
  • Introduce skaters to the principles of “skating.”
  • Identify and encourage talented skaters who may be fast-tracked through the NISA programme.
  • Promote all skaters through the NISA programme.

Also, because Skate UK aims to keep all students on the ice and in action for at least 75% of any given lesson, you can rest assured that your child will receive plenty of time to practice what they love – skating!

Considerations for Competitive Skaters

If your little skater shows promise on the ice, there are many factors to consider about a competitive skating career. Before making any promises, take into account:

  • Time commitments.
    • Do you have the time to shuttle your skater around?
    • Is it fair to the rest of the family?
  • Emotional investments.
    • Is your child competitive?
    • Can your child handle pressure well?
    • How will you all cope if your child’s skating career is unsuccessful?
  • Costs. Can you afford to pay for:
    • Lessons?
    • Rink rentals?
    • Equipment?
    • Skates?
    • Costumes and accessories?
    • Competition fees?
    • Travel to competitions?
    • Extra medical expenses?

Whether your child has a long lasting love affair with skating, or just seems to be in the midst of a fling, one way to ensure his/her happiness is to provide time on the ice.