Jan 5, 2011

Moving up

I have a new Learn To Skate student who discovered last month that she loves skating in our show (we do two a year). She'd never done it before, because she has a regular conflict with the rehearsals at her level. Her parents found out that free style level skaters practice on Sundays, so she could make those rehearsals.

The ice show is in May. The skater is in Alpha. The parents wanted to know, how do we do that.

Now, to some extent, I rolled my eyes a little bit. The skater is just 5. Her other activity is fun and valuable. By next year at this time and certainly by the Spring show in 2012, doing two classes a week, she will be in Freestyle 1 anyway, so she'll only miss one more show. But there is a way to power through the levels.

Ever wonder about those little kids who have all their single jumps, maybe even an axel, by the time they're 7? They aren't any more talented than your kid.

They just skate. All. The. Time.

Each class session is 10 weeks, 30 minutes of instruction, shared with 4 to 10 other kids. I like to assume that each level takes two sessions to master (some kids move faster, some slower). And really, it's not rocket science, it's just arithmetic: 5 levels (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, PreFreestyle/Basic 4 through 8) is 25 to 50 hours of instruction (assuming twice through each level). You want to get there by April 1? You need 25 to 50 hours of instruction and practice between now and then-- 12 weeks, so 2-4 hours of lessons and practice per week.

Set your alarm for 5 a.m. and get out your checkbook.

Edited 1/7/11 at the request of a reader.


  1. I read this. I am in isi fs 1. Would the same thinking apply to fs 1-6 because I want to compete in the State Games in 2012 and the lowest level is fs6. I went through pre alpha to fs 1 in one year.

  2. Anon- I think 1 to 6 in 12 months, even taking lessons 4 hours a week is a challenge. In the Learn-to-Skate levels, if you don't include stops as a skill, you're talking about just 8 skills, really (Forward & Backward cross overs and stroking, inside & outside 3 turns, forward mohawks, alternating edges). From FS 1 to passing FS 6 is thirty-six distinct skills, each of which must be mastered before you move on, plus strong transitional skating. The goal shouldn't just be "compete" but rather, "compete well."

    Skate Mom: the mother in question says she was the one who was too flippant when she recounted the story to me, and that in fact it was a long and fruitful dialog that reassured her very much!