Jul 22, 2013

Here comes fall

Only the faithful skate through August, or the seniors, who have one more shot at testing before heading to college.

The Learn-to-Skate moms seem desperate to have their skater pass before heading off to not skate for the next 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 weeks. This has always puzzled me; it's not like not passing 3rd grade. Just re-take the level in the fall; your kid will be really good at it, and will pass at Thanksgiving really strong for the next level.

Here's what to think about for end-of-summer skating, and getting ready for fall.

Test or wait, freestyle
Test. If you're that senior, forget your pipe dream of skating in college and continuing the tests while you're at school. Not even Michelle Kwan could handle this, no way you are going to be able to continue devoting as much time to this while at school, where you have no support group who is remotely going to understand this obsession, and where you don't know the coaches. Step it up and get test ready for that last session at the end of August.

And by the way, pay now, because those sessions fill up.

Test or wait, learn-to-skate
Wait. At all learn-to-skate levels (sorta, see below), you can only benefit from taking it again. I know it feels like failure, and I know you've been working really hard, but if you're not going to skate between the end of the summer session and the fall session, you are going to lose some polish. Sign up for the same level.

Test or wait, Delta
Test. Delta is so boring, I'd say try to avoid taking it again. This does not apply to USFS Basic Skills 7 and 8 (the comparable levels) which have a more interesting set of skills.

Gear up for fall
If you can afford it, double up on privates (i.e. take several over a couple of weeks), in the couple of weeks before the session starts up. This might be enough for a learn-to-skate student to hone those skills and get passed up a level, and will also just get you back into the swing.

Gear up applies not only to your skating, but also to the actual gear. Take out everything and see what needs upgrading. Do the skates still fit? Think about new skates now, rather than suddenly realizing a week before the winter exhibition, or g*d-forbid Regionals, that your skates don't fit, or your blades are a mess.  Get new skating tights, make sure your skating togs fit, throw out the Zuca liner if it's moldy and smelly, and get a new one.

Check the calendar
Know when skating classes and potential lesson ice are. Don't wait until you've double- or triple-booked the fall play, skating and the orthodontist. Remember that skating is not just from class/lesson start to class/lesson end. You have to get there, you have to change, you have to put on skates, and then do it all in reverse at the other end. A free style skater needs an additional 10 to 15 minutes at each end of the skate for warm-up/cool down. A 30 minute class or lesson is as much as two hours travel plus prep.

Talk to the coach
Know what your goals are for this year. A new jump? Regionals? Testing? Auditioning for Synchro? If you are cutting back on skating, know that as well, and talk to the coach and the skater about how to manage that in a healthy way.

Figure out when you can volunteer
Rinks need rink moms who work a whole lot more than they need rink moms who sit in the stands and gossip. Ask the Skating Director how you can help while you're in the building. If your child is at least 10, think about where you can go while your child is skating. There are probably places nearby where you could volunteer, too.

If you're a USFS competitive skater, you've probably already got your music for Regionals. If you don't, get on it, you are way behind. If you're Test-Track or ISI, doing only non-qualifying events, you still have time to change music and choreography, since you're not tied to the calendar quite the same way. Use this time to choose new music and choreography.

What are you doing to get ready for fall?