Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Ten Things I’ve Learned about Being a Figure Skating Mom

Ice Girl’s been skating for a year and a month. She’s now a beginner and I’m an advanced newbie.

Here's what I learned in 2008. Feel free to add your wisdom in the comments area!

  1. Don’t wear jeans. Geez. I’ll never forget every mom, coach, and skater telling me that Ice Girl shouldn’t wear jeans on club ice. Many told me twice. I get it, I get it!

  2. Pick a good coach. I lucked out here and we are thrilled with Ice Coach. However, it’s important to pick a coach that encourages your skater, has great skills, and works well with you. I know some fabulous coaches that I’m relieved we didn’t choose – snotty comments, terrible relationships with parents, diva attitudes. I also know some that we really like and admire. I tell you, I’m relieved that we have a great one from the start.

  3. Watch your mouth. O.K. Quit sniggering. I’m trying not to write anything about real people here. Well, not anymore. Anyway, figure skating is a pretty small world and tongues wag even when you’re not contracted for ice. Smile, nod, and bring a book to avoid the nasty conversations.

  4. Keep a blanket and coat in the car. This seems obvious, but when temps are in the high 80’s, it’s tempting to box up the blanket and coat for storage. Keep them in the car anyway.

  5. Outwit your skater. Make an extra copy of her music and keep it in the glove compartment. Have some skate socks stashed in the van. Buy gloves in quantity when they hit the clearance racks in May. Keep hair ties and a brush in your vehicle’s seat pockets. Stash some snacks in the van, too. Once a week, have your skater clean out the van/mobile locker room and replenish supplies.

  6. Bring your checkbook. The figure skating world runs on checks. Write ’em out and don’t expect them to clear your account for a month…or two.

  7. Make Learn to Skate last as long as you can. As I’ve written many times, Learn to Skate is the only bargain in figure skating. Try talking the skating director into advanced figure skating lessons during Learn to Skate. Your checkbook will thank you.

  8. Encourage recreational spinning. The $35 we spent to buy Ice Girl a spinner has paid off. She loves to spin on that thing and takes it to sleepovers. I’m told her on-ice spins are good and I credit that spinner. Also encourage putting the spinner away. Stepping on that thing in the dark isn’t funny.

  9. Diversify activities. We’re horrible at this, but multi-sport athletes have fewer injuries. Ice Girl loves to bike, so I’m hoping we’re covered.

  10. Keep ice schedules in the van. This is one I’ve just learned. Sometimes Ice Girl wants to walk-on to club ice. We belong to two clubs and skate at seven rinks. I can’t keep it all straight, so I’ve added the ice schedules to Ice Girl’s skating binder.

My 2009 resolution: learn more about figure skating's rules and mechanics. I want to be able to identify the jumps that I see on TV and be able to speak intelligently about what makes a quality spin or jump. I'm told that Ice Network is great for this, so I'll be shaking out the couch cushions to pay for a subscription.

Best wishes for 2009!


Aaron said...

Wow! That is a lot to have learned. I feel like I could be an ice mom now...???

On learning what jump is short programs on Icenetwork. A lot of the jumps are repeated by each competitor. You'll start to see what is what just by the repitition.

Ice Mom said...

Thanks, Aaron, for the advice! I always like to set a resolution that I think I'll achieve. One year it was learn more about wine. This year it's learn more about figure skating. Should be fun!

BTW, you can be an honorary ice mom. :)

Cindy said...

Ice Mom you have a good start, it will all come with time. I didn't have a Skating Mom our whole family skated so I have different perspectives, but saw a lot of mom's start on the wrong foot. Sounds like you have the right idea. Don't let anyone talk you into anything you can't afford. Skating is not for the weak at heart, or pocketbook. You are in for the ride of your life. When you can name off an entire routine on TV (I catch myself doing this all the time) you know you have made it..

Anonymous said...

I would like to add a screw driver (to tighten the blades) and couple water bottles to your list. I do the same as you do about snacks, coat, blanket and ice schedules. I thought we live in our car.... sometimes.

RedShamrock said...

Wow thanks so much. My daughter is only 7 but at least for the moment this is all she wishes to do. I can use everyone of these!

Anonymous said...

I think this is one of those every skater is different and no blacket rules apply.
I have seen checks go through the same day, and in 6 years have never had to tighten a blade at the rink.
I have seen parents take the joy out of skating due to pushing to hard and having high expectations. I have seen way too much makeup on kids, and have heard 9 years old trash talk.
I have heard coaches tell students not to talk to other skaters and coaches :{
As far as knowing what is what, either watch or buy a rulebook. They are great things to have.Coaches arent God and do make mistakes!

Anonymous said...

Something else I have learned is get involved !! You cant conplain about the club or what isnt fair if you dont help out!

Henry and Emilia said...

i love this as i am new to skating as my 6 year old is loving it!
sorry to be dim but what is a spinner? and where can I buy one? I love the blog about sewing we are in the UK and I am finding it hard to find dresses to fit here so will be out with the sewing machine soon!

Ice Mom said...

Hi, Henry! I'm glad you stopped by!

A spin trainer or spinner is a device that helps a skater to learn spins. It's just two metal plates with ball bearings sandwiched between the two. Do a search for spin trainer and you'll find some. Ice Girl found it very useful when she first started because the spinner helped her with dizzyness.