I'm now in FS1, with a few skills that range up to FS3, and am completely hooked. I'm technically in group lessons though effectively they are privates, since no other adult has signed up for group lessons at 10am on a Tuesday. I have no delusions of grandeur, but I love love love this sport like I've loved nothing else physical I've ever done. How do I proceed? What's next and who do I ask?Personally, I like goal setting, and this skater specifically asked about this. Here are some of the things she asked about:
Just skating in class or a single weekly lesson will barely maintain your ability let alone help you increase your skills. Three to six hours a week is adequate practice to really improve. Serious competitive skaters train 20 to 30 hours per week, including off-ice; the serious recreational kids do about 3 to 6 hours per week, so that's a pretty good model. If you want to compete (see below), you'll need to increase your ice time, although probably not up to 20 hours per week.
Two things will improve your skating: mileage and instruction. Mileage is addressed above. Private lessons are reasonably easy to come by, but don't take them with just anyone. Rather than looking for the "best" instructor (as evidenced by high level students), look for the ones who teach adult classes and have adults in private lessons. Not everyone understands how to teach adults; some coaches can be either impatient, unclear, or outright dangerous in that they don't take into account adults' different bodies, brains, and courage.
Specific goals and focus and measurable progress are really motivating. All the patterns for Moves in the Field, and the requirements for Free Skating are on line, but if you want to actually work on testing for USFS judges, you really cannot teach these to yourself. A coach will know the small tricks that judges are looking for, will know the end patterns (which aren't always specified, especially in the lower level patterns) and will be able to assess when your skills are test ready.
Join the adult number in your rink's ice show. I absolutely guarantee, as long as you're not my friend Beth who is a hold-out, that you will have a blast. No one; okay almost no one, takes themselves very seriously, you'll meet the other adult skaters, and you'll go out for drinks afterwards. Some rinks award solos to adults at a lower level than they do the kids, if that's your bag.
There are still clubs that have social dance ice where other club members can teach you the patterns, and rinks with ice dance classes. Ice dance is excellent for adults, because you can do the patterns in your comfort zone of speed, edge and pattern size, and you always know exactly where to put your feet. Plus, no jumps.
Synchronized skating, formerly known as Precision, is essentially team skating. Just about every club in the US and Canada has adult synchro teams at a range of levels from beginner to advanced, and many rinks have ISI or local teams. Some of these take a more Theater on Ice approach. These are good for the same reasons as the ice show-- you get to meet other adult skaters, and liquor is often involved.
And finally, the one area of skating that keeps more adults from joining this sport than any other:
How do you dress?
Skating tights, yoga pants, loose, body-skimming shirt if you're a little self-conscious about body image, or tight fitting if you're skinny, you rat. Skirts are lovely, but as far as I'm concerned, adults, even young adults, skating in the adult tracks, should have some dignity and wear a skirt that reaches to mid thigh.