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How to Ice Skate for Competition: Getting Started

Do you love to hit the rink but have never taken lessons? Memorize the Olympic figure skating schedule without setting foot on the ice yourself? If you or your child is enamored by figure skating, maybe it’s time to strap on some skates and learn to ice skate. But before you start, see our guide for everything you need to know about how to ice skate for competition.
Your first step is to get quality, well-fitting figure skates. Not only will they make learning how to ice skate easier, but they’ll also help prevent injuries. See our guide for the proper fit of figure skates before you buy. You will also want a pair of gloves and a set of ice skate blade guards, which protect your ice skating blades when you’re off the ice.
Once you’ve purchased your gear, it’s time to sign up for lessons at your local rink. Most skaters begin with group lessons, spending a few hours a week learning moves with other skaters of the same level and practicing on their own in between. 

How to Ice Skate for Competition: Learning your Program

If you’ve mastered the basic moves of ice skating – including skating forward and backward, crossovers and turns, and simple spins and jumps – it may be time to move from group lessons to intensive one-on-one coaching. A figure skating coach will guide you through the testing and competition process, as well as help you learn to ice skate at a higher level.
To select your coach, start by checking with your local rink. Are there coaches they can recommend? Is there a group session instructor who offers private coaching as well? Once you’ve found a few potential coaches, make sure you ask some important questions before you select one:

  • What is your skating philosophy?
  • How long have you been coaching/skating?
  • What levels have you coached?
  • Do you have a coaching specialty?
  • Are you a member of any skating organizations?
  • What are your rates and policies?

How to Ice Skate for Competition: Preparing for an Event

Before you sign up for your first skating event, you’ll need a figure skating program. Set to music, skating programs usually last from two to four minutes and contain a choreographed series of jumps, spins and other skating moves.
Choose maneuvers that are complicated enough to show your technical skill, but not so difficult that you cannot do them well. Plan a well-rounded program that showcases a variety of moves. Finally, choreograph your routine to a piece of music you enjoy. Choose classical pieces or pop arrangements, but make sure the speed, melody and style of music you choose all match your program.
Now that you’ve learned how to ice skate and prepared a program, it’s time to register for a competition. Prior to a competition, the group organizing the event will release an announcement inviting skaters of a certain age group, level or style. Once registered, practice your program to perfection leading up to the event, and stay focused once you arrive at the rink. And no matter what you do, stay positive. The best thing about learning how to ice skate is having fun in a competition.
For more tips on how to ice skate, ice skate apparel and more, visit Discount Skatewear, your guide to all things figure skating.