Jun 23, 2010

3 years old

First, she never stops talking.

But you have to listen, because she'll give you clues about how to engage her in a lesson.

This is Gia Cool Butterfly Rockstar (as she tells me), my super talented 3 year old student. She's no bigger than a minute, but skates like a demon, and will be working on the axel by the time she's 6. She takes several hour-long lessons a week, which, if her mom doesn't want to skate with her, you kind of have to do. She wants to skate all the time. So here's yesterday's lesson:

We always start with "free time." (I call warm up "free time" for beginners and very young children, because they move better when they think they're playing.) Yesterday she was having this thing about the number 23, so we decided to go all the way around the rink 23 times. And she stuck to it. When I proposed curtailing it around #16, she said no. Around #7 I started insisting on proper stroking. (23 in a row, natch. Also swizzles. 23 of them.) Gia's an aural and kinetic learner, so she'll repeat key phrases to help herself do and understand. So we got several minutes of bend-push-and-all-the-way-together sing-song, as we did stroking.

I do make her learn the proper names for all the moves, which is hilarious, to listen to this tiny three year old talk about stroking and rebend.

The "big girls" (some of them are a big 7) were on the ice with us and spinning, so we did spinning too (she loves doing what the big girls are doing), and then when they did backwards landing positions, so did we (on two feet, but I think 1 foot backwards glides are close). Then they left and she got a little distracted (oddly she's more distracted by empty ice), so we invented several invisible skaters to skate with us.

Once the other girls left she wanted more free time, so we started to do "one lesson and then one free time" (lesson for 10 to 15 minutes, free time for 2 minutes); I make her finish the whole lesson, for instance cross overs on every hockey circle, or backwards all the way around the rink.

A typical lesson comprises stroking, swizzles forwards and backwards, one-foot glide drills and games, crossovers, baby back crossovers (swizzle and cross), and turning games. She likes playing chase, but you hardly need to encourage speed with this one.

Gia's an outlier--she's the one that makes all those other parents think that their 3-year olds can skate too.

They can't. Wait another year. And watch this girl-- Olympics 2026.


  1. Smiling. Giggling. Melting. How adorable!

  2. I love it!

    And yes, I'm in Basic 5...with a 4 year old who kicks my butt. But she's so stinking adorable. The 2026 Olympics are going to be a blast! :-)

  3. Very nice! I hope the parents are easy to like as well.

  4. It is completely impossible to be the parent of a super talented three-year-old and not be delusional. I get a little delusional myself with this one.

  5. Wow!! She sounds... energetic!! How on earth do you deal with her when you're having a "tired day"?! I'm just studying for my coaching certificate at the moment and haven't gotten much experience yet, none of which has been with kids. Yikes. Me scared.

  6. This child has never had a child day, plus I found out that someone told another coach that "Xan can handle any child you throw at her" which is more or less true.

  7. Yay for Xan! Handling kids is an under appreciated skill.

  8. Mine was just like that at 3 and for the past 4 years I've practically been killing myself trying to keep her on the ice. It's a blessing and a curse to have your child find their passion and have so much talent in such an expensive sport. She doesn't get nearly as many lessons as other girls her age do but she somehow manages to progress. And she's never too embarrassed to completely rock out to the music & put her heart and soul into every program she makes up during a public session.