June 13, 2012

Why You Shouldn't Care About Starting Late

Hi there, fellow skater. Are you a "late starter"? Do you cringe when seeing younger skaters performing complicated jumps, and fear people snicker at you behind your back? Then this post is for you.

Yes you, the fabulous, glorious, passionate skater. Notice I didn't make any reference to when you started skating, or the fact that you may be considered "too old" to "get anywhere in skating". Because you are a skater. So stop categorising yourself as something that pulls down your confidence, and pre-labels you for others.


Perhaps you discovered skating late in life, by chance, or always had a burning passion for the sport with no way to fulfil your dreams of the sparkling ice. Either way, the great news is you are now. Congrats, and welcome to the club!

I often read, or hear skaters say things like:
- "5 years olds skate better than me"
- "I'll never get anywhere in skating"
- "I feel like others are laughing at me"

So let's address some of the underlying issues of such sentiments.

Perhaps you somehow feel inferior to skaters who started as young children, because they can now, at the point of your beginning, execute difficult moves on the ice. This is normal. Skating, like anything else, takes practice, perseverance (and of course to a certain degree, especially at the upper echelons, talent) and above all passion. Sure, a ten year old skater who started at 4 has six years on you - so what? As soon as you realise it's not about age but rather experience you'll allow yourself to de-stress on this subject and take those 10 year olds for what they are compared to you: seasoned skaters.

And then there's the "I'm too old to do anything in skating" line. Ahh, yes. If you start at 40, or even 15, chances are you're not going to the Olympics. So what? Set your own goals depending on what you want to achieve from your skating: are you looking to keep fit? Loose weight? See White & Davis on the TV and really wanna master a deep foxtrot rocker? Good for you! Then go after them (your goals that is, not White & Davis). In so many other aspects of life we as human beings are now able to say "phooey" to social expectations and classifications, why not in skating too? Not every skater is born to be a champion, nor does he aspire to be.
The key is to be lucid: I remember at 16 wanting desperately to become a very highly trained ballet dancer. Yeah well guess what, that didn't work out. I hadn't trained my body in ballet from a young enough age to permit it to do the things which would have been expected of me as a successful ballerina. I watched a few too many ballets on the telly, ate a few too many self-pity biscuits, and got over it. I adore dancing in all forms though, and that is something no one can take away from me.

When it comes to other people's perception of you as a mature skater, then I'm afraid the same logic will apply as if you were segregated or bullied in any other part of your life. You have two options: disregard the views of those who are so narrow-minded they mock you, or let their mockery decide what you do with your life. I'm sure the choice is pretty obvious.

If you're anything like me, you'll go right up to anyone who looks like they're mocking you and ask them right out whassup. That's not everyone's cup of tea however, and the alternative is to simply ignore... well, ignorance.

So go forth, gorgeous scintillating skater! Break free on the ice! Don't hold back because of social perceptions! There are so many opportunities open to you! Competitions, testing, galas, and shows, not to mention the pure pleasure of pursuing your passion. I have known 40+ year old skaters capable of landing a complete set of doubles better than many youngsters. So set your own goals, love your skating, and follow your dreams!

Until next time, happy skating my lovelies!
Gigi
XOXO
 
 
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48 comments

  1. Hello,
    I have a question about your blog, do you think you could email me?
    David

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  2. Thank you for that pep talk. I'm 12 and I'm signing up for skateing lessons in November thank you so much :))

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  3. Hi! I have a question I started skating when I was twelve, and now am fourteen. My parents couldn't afford it for a while, but now they can, so I will start private lessons soon. I have been told I'm am very talent, as I have taught my self toe loops. Waltz jumps, two foot spins, and variations of spirals such as catch foot, by myself. Do you think it is possible that at age 21 give or take a year, I could compete in worlds?

    Please Advice, A.L

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    1. I'm in the same position as you right now I'm 12 and my parents don't have enough money to take me ice skating everyday leaside skating a lot I have been told that I have talent but I don't know I want to get in world championship to but everyone is doubting me even my parents and I don't know what to do

      Idk,F.F

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  4. @Anonymous Hi A. L. and thanks for writing me on the blog! I'm really happy for you that you've recently started taking lessons, this is such an exciting time in your life!

    Without seeing you skate, I couldn't say one way or the other. Anything is possible, truly. Johnny Weir was what is considered a late starter, as he took to the ice at age 12. Now look at him go!

    Moreover, even if I did see you skate, or even if an Olympic champion coach saw you skate, one can't make assertions about whether someone will go to Worlds or not. There are a lot of variables that go into a skater's career, including but not limited to: financial and emotional support; time; effort; determination; injuries; opportunities; travel; and much more.

    My bottom line advice to you would be to pursue your passion because that is what brings happiness in life. If Worlds is for you it will happen, but the key is to NOT make yourself miserable if it doesn't look like it will. There are A LOT of other ways to be part of the skating community (even as an elite skater!) so don't blind yourself to other amazing opportunities through disappointment for one specific goal that didn't work out.

    Hope you'll come back to see this, happy skating,
    Gigi
    XOXO

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  5. I think that even if someone starts at 15 they can still become an olympic ice skater and posting on your bog that if someone starts at that age probably won't make it to the olympics, just discourages people to even try...cause they think (because people have told them) that they started to late in life to become an olympic ice skater...but it's not true!! and I wish people would stop putting an "unofficial" age limit on it!! I think anyone came become an olympian, as long as they have courage, determination, dedication, and some talent wouldn't hurt either!!

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  6. Thank you so much for posting this! It really helped a lot - I'm a twelve year old skater who can barely land a loop, but is working on single flips, lutz hops (as prep for a lutz), and sit, camel, and layback spins at the same time. (I'm scattered around all the levels, I can even do some Novice moves/footwork/stuff, but then there are some things I have never even heard of). I am visually impaired, and my parents didn't start me until they could tell what I could and couldn't see, which was when I was eight or nine, so I feel like I started pretty late to get all the way to Worlds or the Olympics, but even looking at these comments makes me realize that other people start way later. You post helped so much too! I realized that I can still get super high up the athletic ladder yet, and people like Michelle Kwan show me that I could probably still even do college!!! O.o!!! Anyways, thanks so much! Did I already say that? Well let me say it again! Thanks so much! Is it okay for me to ask you when you started skating and what level you got to? I would really like to know. Thanks so much!!! (I know, I know...) :)

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  7. @Sk84Life Hellooooo and thank you SO MUCH for your sweet comment! I am so so glad that the post helped you and gave you inspiration. I'm writing for people like you and your comment warmed my heart and made my day! I started at 9 years of age and there are tons of skaters who start "late" like us, or even later still. I think you can absolutely go to college and support you 110%! :)

    Sure to answer your question, I started aged nine, as I already said. I skated as a single ladies skater for about 9 years, and got to landing my double axel and triple sal, along with training triples loop, flip, and toe (but not lutz). Then I had an accident (ripped ankle ligaments) which put me off the ice for about a year, and when I came back to the ice I switched to dance. I couldn't find a partner so I went to nationals at the senior level in the solo dance category. Unfortunately going into my second nationals I caused myself a spinal injury and had to retire from skating.

    You said thank you loads yes, and it's my turn to say thank YOU! You are the inspiration. Go out there and have the time of your life girlie, and remember to always enjoy your skating!

    With warm wishes,
    Gigi
    XOXO

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  8. Thank you for this post! I started at 10, and four years later I've gotten basically nowhere due to lack of funding and talent. I can do a single axel but I'm not working on doubles yet (I know, I know four years and no doubles is pretty bad.) I will never stop regretting not starting young, but oh well, what can you do.

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  9. If you start when you are 13 and are a quick learning skater, is there a chance to catch up with the girls/boys that started younger?

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  10. @Anonymous Of course! If you practice a lot or learn really quickly and are determined to be great, you can go really far. It doesn't matter the age you start, it matters how hard you work, level of your determination, etc. If you're that good you can go anywhere that kids who started really young go. Don't let the age you began at penalize you or hold you down! :D I would know since I started when I was 13, almost 14 and I have had lots of opportunities that the kids who started young did.

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  11. Hello, I started and 13 and I'm advancing at a good pace. I've been skating for a year and can do toe loop, about to do salchow and can do scratch spin, bakcward spirals (arabesque or catch foot, near Biellman).I can also do spread eagles in outside and inside edges and ina bauers. Am I doing good or am I too late? I just really want this wit such passion, I love it. I'm in love with the ice and I would love to become an Olympian but I don't know if I can.

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  12. You love the Ice and have the passion that is the important thing. Believe in yourself, pay attention to your coaches and spend as much time practicing as your budget allows and who knows. Its like I tell my kids, If you always try to do your best and work hard at something you love you may not always win but you will never have regrets or wonder what might have been. Good luck

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  13. Thank you for this article. I plan to start ice skating lessons in about three months at age 13. This motivates me to start.

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  14. Hi! There is no reason for me to write this but still here i am. When i was around 6 or 7 i watched every movie about ice skating. I was addicted to it but however we couldnt find a course, my family didnt support me much etc. Then as i was eleven. I started doing courses with my sister. We are living in Turkey and ice skating is not the most popular sport in our country so after a year we had to quit. I could do Waltz jumps, spinns, camels and rhtymic stuff then. I am 15 now and have not been skating for 3 years. I want to start again but i am scared. This sounds lame i am well aware of that and i also started really late know that too. Its just, do you think there might be a chance that i am able to be a pro if a start again now?
    Thank you for everything by the way. You really did make me happy.

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  15. Hi thank you so much for this im 15 and i read this two years ago before then i was to afraid to even try figure skating because i felt like i was starting to late and i thought people would laugh at me well after reading this i gave it a go and started lessons and i loved it after a year i got pretty good and a couch asked me to join a synchronized skating team and i am now competing i really dont think i would have been able to achieve all of this if i hadnt read this thanks again

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  16. Hi Thank you so much, I started when I was 14 years old and now I'm 16 and I wish I started earlier and I related to a lot of things you said. But I fell in love with the sport fast and finally went through all the levels of learn to skate( from level 1) and now I'm at novice moves, juvenile freestyle and pre-silver dance. I realized that it didn't matter about my age, all that mattered was that I had dedication and I had that. I proved to all the other girls who said I wouldn't make it anywhere. This was quite inspiring, thanks and keep on inspiring others❤️❤️❤️

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  17. I started skating in first grade my mom signed me up and it was great until we had to move. After watching ice princess watching the Sochi Olympics and reading every book I could find on the sport I was finally able to start learn to skate lessons at my local rink 2 years later when we moved again. It is my dream to make it to the Olympics, yes I also have that nine year old at my rink whos doing doubles but I'm catching up fast. Its been a little under a year and I have now landed all my single jumps (including axel) and am scheduled to compete this fall. This article helped me so much a did the comments and I no realize that it is never to late to live out your dream i've started thinking maybe the whole reason I was set back and started ate was so that I could stand up n the Olympic podium one day and tell all the little teenage girls watching that it is never to late, because if I can do it so can you. maybe this is just wishful thinking but it is my dream and I hope it does come true. Thank you so much for writing this article and inspiring a lot f passionate skaters like me,
    A hopeful skater.

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  18. Thank you for writing this post! It was a very helpful read for me, since I'm 19 and just started skating a few weeks ago. It's always been a dream of mine, but there were no ice rinks within two hours of where I grew up, so that dream was suppressed until quite recently, when I found an ice rink only twenty minutes from my new home. I now go skating a couple times a week, but I always leave feeling a little deterred from my goals because there's a group of skaters my age who, when taking breaks from skating, stand by one of the hockey goal areas and people-watch/gossip. Occasionally, I'll catch one of them staring at me as I clumsily practice skating backwards, and I always feel like they're judging me. Maybe next time, I'll just ask them for tips :)

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    1. I'd love to know how you are doing now. I'm 18 and I remember I wanted to become a figure skater when I was little, though I probably wanted to become a ballerina even more, not even knowing those two had something to do with each other (tho it was at seperate time probably). I haven't been really skating much and the first time I was on the icerink was when I was 14 or 15, probably four times at most. But I'd love to go this year and check how I'd feel about skating now. I really feel an urge to go ice skating from some time.
      My point is that as of now I'm thinking about taking figure skating up. I don't know if it's just a temporary little dream or not. I'm worried that urge to skate will dissapear after I go to the icerink, not to mention remind myself I can't really skate (since I've been only four times at most and it was at P.E. lessons with class - so just skating in circles).
      An even more laughable matter is that I have a bad habit of dreaming about big things... So I have a high (if not 100%) probability of my pitiful dreams being crushed.
      I'd just like to know how you feel about your own situation after those four months, since we are similar in age. And of course I'm glad you are able to follow your passion now. Unfortunately it's doubtful that you will see this comment but if you ever will, I'd be glad if you reply, so maybe I will someday see it as well.

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  19. Thank you so much for this, it's exactly what I needed right now. I am 14 and started skating at 12. I just passed preliminary moves, and I am thinking about doing a competition. I know many people my age that started young and are very good right now, as well as younger kids that are much better than I feel I'll ever be. It makes me feel pretty bad and embarrased about my skating skills seeing them, which is why I am debating doing a competition. I haven't done any free skate tests yet, so I'd be in pre-pre, with lots of younger kids. However, I really want to start doing competitions, and I have to start to get somewhere, right? Still, I am trying to decide if I should or not. Do you have any more advice for me? Thanks again so much for this article, and if you would get back to me I would appreciate it very much:)

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    1. Please don't give up. Johnny Weir (pro figure skater) began at the age of 12! So you can do it! You can do whatever you want as long as you love it!

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  20. I'm nearly 18 and I really want to start skating again. I used to but then my skates didn't fit me anymore and I just stopped. This winter I'll have to get some new ones and start up again!

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  21. Hello! This post helped me a lot, I'm fifteen and haven't even started skating yet but am extremely excited to begin, it just feels right that I found the sport and am in the middle of organising lessons. It was v e r y discouraging seeing YouTube videos of people my age skating absolutely beautifully, and I'm well aware of how considerably late I'm starting, but I now realise that I don't mind. It occurred to me that I'm thrilled merely at the idea of improvement, and although the olympics may be a little out of the picture I'd be happy participating in small competitions, and expressing myself in that way (I don't think I'd fare very well with the nerves that would come with participating in such a big event anyway!). What I know for sure is that I'm going to give ice skating my all ^_^

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    1. Ok, legit me. I moved from my birth country about a year ago, and back there,the closest ice rink was 2 hours away. Now, in Arizona USA, there's a rink only 20 minutes away! I'm so thrilled, I can't wait to start. But I understand everything you said completely. I'm also 15!! I wish you all the best, follow your dreams and maybe one day, you'll catch up to them.

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  22. Hi. Im 14 and I'm not the greatest skater ever (for sure not even close to good) but i have some questions on skating and how to get started. I've only really gone skating with family and friends but I've always loved doing it but when i thought maybe i could try skating more i was told i was to old by people i knew. after reading this i feel better about skating. I know i won't be in like the olimpics but i don't care i just want to do it and have fun. I'm not very good at team sports ( like where the whole team has to work together) I'm better on my own so i though skating would be good b/c i just have to worry about what i have to do and not everyone else's.

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  23. The blog and the comments arr amazing. You guys helped me a lot. I'm 15 and I live in California and going back to the Philippines to start skating (I don't know any coaches here that'll help me). I thought I'll never land or be in something if I did start to skate at a late age, but seeing the comments inspired me. I'm really going to do the best I can to reach my dream of being a competing figure skater and if there's a miracle, be an Olympian. Although it sounds way too far, I know determination and passion to this sport will help me. To the people that are thinking you are too late for this, or too inexperienced-just do your best. Trust and believe in yourself. There's no such thing as impossible if you believe and have love for this sport. And even if you don't get to the highest part of the "race", it's okay. At least you can say "I fulfilled my dream, and I was there. I experienced. I believed." You for that is already awesome. Don't let your hopes just be dreams folks! Do the best you can to reach it. God speed ❤️️

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  24. I'm 18 now and I really want to start figure skating, I don't care if I don't become a pro, I just really want to be able to do more than just go forward round and round the icerink. But I'm nervous to ask my parents about it. I wanted to skate very badly when I was younger, but it was too far away and too expensive. But I want to try now.

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    1. I"m the same way, I'm 17 and really want to start but the closest rink is an hour or more away and I'm afraid to ask...

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    2. I'm the same. I'm 17 and I really want to start skating but the closest rink is at least an hour away and I'm afraid to ask my parents or older siblings...

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  25. i'm so glad i found this post, i'm 14 and I've wanted to skate for a long time but i was always too shy, i started a few months ago and i have already passed level one on my first try and I've completed all the criteria for the next assessment, i know it may be a bit too late but its not like i'm a complete newbie. If i work hard is it too late to qualify for competitions? every other website i look at says i have no chance!

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    1. OF COURSE NOT! Look...I´m 15years old girl and i found ice skating six days ago. And Guess what! I like it soooo much, i said to myself: ´´Practice, don´t be afraid, and don´t look on others younger figure skaters, Because that will slow you down.´´ I know what you have in your mind now: That´s girl totally Newbie, And why she is writing to me this... bla bla bla.
      Because i want inspire you and hoping we will meet on some competion! This post give me more courage for my dream(My dream is: someday compete figure skating at the Olympics).... IN ONE SENTENCE = It´s not too late! JUST DO IT!

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  26. I keep seeing people in the comments saying they're starting at 12, 14.. but what about starting as a 21 year old?

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    1. Oldest on here starting out so far is 19, I'm seventeen but I may not be able to start for a year or so :(

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  27. Hey I'm 16 and have been a dancer for 7 to 8 yrs and I'm really interested in different types of dance forms which includes figure skating. I've always wanted to learn how to skate but due to lack of time and financial support couldnt..what advice can you give me?

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  28. Hello! I am 13 and I am starting lessons in the Spring (Probably March-April-ish) and for a very long time, I've wanted to figure skate. I do however, having a deep rooted fear of being judged for starting so late and wanting to become decent at the sport, so this article really helped me. I've been looking around for confirmation that this is never a bad time to start figure skating, especially when you are still young and this was a good thing to find for that. I am so happy you wrote this, and in such a positive tone as well! I hope I can become good at skating. I've always wanted to take up a sport, and ice skating/figure skating just seems right for me. Any tips on how to stay healthy for figure skating? I want to start getting a bit healthier for my lessons.

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  29. Hey, just so you know, I'm a 45 year old skater, who started at 35. I only started with a private coach and club membership two years ago, but my goal is to get through all of the single jumps, and get up to maybe freestyle 4 (ISI.) Further, if my body allows. I'm about half way there, and going strong! Anything is possible, everyone. I must say, though, the only difference between me and younger folks is that I am more aware of the importance of stretching before and after, and keeping fit with cardio. Take care of muscles and joints so that you avoid injuries! Aim for whatever makes you happy- and have fun! Forget about age- TRUST ME :-)

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  30. Hello! I'm 13 and I'm thinking of doing Figure Skating again (I haven't skated for about 4 or 5 years.) but I really don't know if I should. I'm just a little scared about being judged by little kids. (And perhaps my friends who probably are now in Freestyle levels since I failed two times in the second half of the Beta level). This article is really inspiring, and I really like it! I started when I was 6 or 7 but I quit at 9 (because I thought that I couldn't make it back then) but now I just want to try again and hope that I do become successful with Figure Skating. It just feels nice to be free on the ice! I just want to do it when I still have a chance at a young age.

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  31. Thanks so much for this... I'm going to be thirteen in a month and I really want to figure skate, but I can barely skate at all. I'll probably take lessons in the fall or summer, but watching a bunch of 7-year-olds do sit spins makes me feel pretty self-conscious as I'm wobbling about the rink.

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  32. Hi! My names Simone and I'm 16. I took some classes when I was around six so I have always known how to skate. However, I really want to get into figure skating (recreational) but don't have the finances for a coach or anything. I picked up a job recently in order to buy new skates, gloves, rink time, etc. But I'm not really sure where to start or what to practice? would you mind sharing a few basic moves to start with? Thank you!

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  33. Hi Im 16 and want to start Figure Skating! (recreational). I picked up a job to supply myself with new skates, gloves, rink time, etc. However, I don't have the finances for classes at the moment. I took lessons earlier in life so I have no problem balancing on the ice but I want to start learning waltz jumps and mohawks etc. Would you be able to recommend some basic skating moves that I would be able to practice on my own? And any other advice would be really helpful!

    Thank you so much! You really encouraged me to start skating again!

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  34. Hi, I started skating when I was 8 years old and did it for a year and a half, and I loved it, but I took some time of because my parents. Couldn't afford it and I wanted to focus dance. I am 14 now and I would really like to get into ice skating again, not just in my community, but at my school as well. I was wondering how long you think it would take to be on a level as to where I can control my body and be where I need to be to compete. I also want to try to train my body more thoroughly over the summer before try outs, is there anything specific you think I should do?

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  35. Hi, I started skating when I was 8 years old and did it for a year and a half, and I loved it, but I took some time of because my parents. Couldn't afford it and I wanted to focus dance. I am 14 now and I would really like to get into ice skating again, not just in my community, but at my school as well. I was wondering how long you think it would take to be on a level as to where I can control my body and be where I need to be to compete. I also want to try to train my body more thoroughly over the summer before try outs, is there anything specific you think I should do?

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  36. I skated as a child just basic stuff like crossovers and regular skating. I decided to start again at 46. You are never too old to learn to skate. I am doing jumps and spins. Not only is skating fun, but it is keeping me in shape. The amount you practice, your fear level, talent, and your determination will determine how fast you progress. You should set small goals for your self and celebrate them as you get there. Do not worry about getting to the Olympics. Skating will give you confidence and friends and keep you healthy. Enjoy the journey! If you can get a family member to join you, you can share this wonderful experience together. My 15 year old daughter is the reason I skate. She started around 11, and she does not have a lot of time to devote to skating. She enjoys the moments that she can get out there and skate. Hope this helps! Do not give up because you think you are too old. Getting on the ice and learning to skate is one of the best things that I decided to do.

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  37. So I'm 15 in May and I've taken a big interest lately in Ice skating. I know a lot of people around the same age have got an interest because of the show "Yuri On Ice" but I think that just inspired me even more because I've always had a love for ice skating but my friend and I was out at our local rink today and it was sooooooooooooooooo awkward seeing all the 5 year olds doing lots of jumps and lutz. She said she's allowed to do lessons and I told my Mum but she just laughed and said "Why is she starting at age 15? She's not going to get anywhere?" Like confidence boost 101. Now I don't know how to ask them about lessons because they reacted so badly with her. Any tips? The lessons are even good priced compared to other rinks at £18 for group ones. So it's not like £40 odd.

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  38. Hi, I'm 16 and have been skating for half a year. I skate just once a week because that's the only opportunity I have but I aspire to one day compete at the worlds. I haven't told anyone because I think they'd simply think I'm crazy, but the thing is that I have never been so sure and determined about anything in my life and I would give my all to fulfill this one dream. The rink, however, is only open that one time a week and so the practice that I should be getting to reach my goal is quite impossible. Do you think there is still any chance for me to compete at worlds in the future?

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  39. I am a 19 year old woman and I use to skate when I was a kid (3-8 years old) and even won some "competitions." But it's been at least ten years since I last skated and I barely remember how to do anything that was taught. I know I probably won't make it to the olympics, but is there a way that I can practice and become better as a skater without the private lessons? I have access to a rink about 20 minutes from my house but don't want to pay for lessons if I can't enter any competitions.

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  40. I'm 15 and I've always wanted to figure skate, but for one reason or another, I was never able to. Now, it seems more like a possibility and I really want to start. I'm relatively athletic (I play 3 sports for my school at the highest level). I've been discouraged to start because most beginner lessons are for kids like 3 times younger than me. I can usually pick up sports rather quickly. Should I actually give this a shot? When I start something, I pour everything I have into it. I have a feeling I'll get more heartbreak than anything else because I'm "too old" to start and I'll have a more difficult time learning the more advanced skills.

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