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Author Topic: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?  (Read 3007 times)

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Offline riley876

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How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« on: July 03, 2015, 02:54:18 AM »
It seems from some other threads here, that many people (particularly non-skating parents) have a grossly optimistic expection of how long it takes to learn to skate.    With the aim of roughly calibrating people's expectations, about how many hours of total ice time did it take you to get up to the point of being able to do:

- Forward crossovers
- Skating forward on 1 foot
- Backward crossovers
- Skating backwards on 1 foot
- Three turns
- Forward scratch spin
- Back scratch spin
- Waltz jump
- Axel

 (to the point of it no longer feeling out of control and dangerous - obviously in practice EVERYTHING remains forever a work-in-progress ).

Offline riley876

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2015, 02:59:30 AM »
I'll start:

After 900ish hours of total time on skates (800 on inlines, 100 on ice)

Forward crossovers - 100 hours
Skating forward on 1 foot - 200 hours
Backward crossovers - 500 hours
Skating backwards on 1 foot - 750 hours
Three turns (any) - 850 hours
Forward scratch spin - nope
Back scratch spin - nope
Waltz jump - nope
Axel - in my dreams

Offline PhysicsOnIce

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2015, 04:58:51 AM »
I got most of my basics skills really quickly. I went through ISI Alpha- Freestyle 1 in less than a year at age 8.

Forward crossovers -  There is so much to these that it is hard to say.. We still work on these on a regular bases, but to be able to do them... I would say 1 to 2 months
Skating forward on 1 foot - Almost immediately, actually I did this my first session on the ice.
Backward crossovers - There is so much to these that it is hard to say.. We still work on these on a regular bases, but to be able to do them... I would say  1 to 2 months
Skating backwards on 1 foot -  1 or 2 months.
Three turns (All) - 5 to 7 months the B3s are still a bit of a pain
Forward scratch spin - 1 or 2 months
Back scratch spin - 5 to 7 months
Waltz jump - 2 to 3 months
Axel - approximately 2 seasons after I started working on it which was year 3 of my skating career and skating intermediately while  switching coaches, rinks, and countries.

By months I mean skating three or four times a week for at least 1.5 hours, and lots of public sessions that lasted three or four hours, so approximately 40-50 hours is a month. 
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Offline karne

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2015, 07:03:34 AM »
- Forward crossovers - 2 weeks
- Skating forward on 1 foot - 2 weeks
- Backward crossovers - 3 weeks
- Skating backwards on 1 foot - 4 weeks
- Three turns - 4 weeks
- Forward scratch spin - 8 weeks
- Back scratch spin - Like, five months?
- Waltz jump - 6 weeks
- Axel - not yet  ;)

But I had already been coming to the rink for two or three months just to skate laps, and already had most of the forward stuff figured out from that.
"Three months in figure skating is nothing. Three months is like 5 minutes in a day. 5 minutes in 24 hours - that's how long you've been working on this. And that's not long at all. You are 1000% better than you were 5 minutes ago." -- My coach

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Offline skategeek

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2015, 07:28:36 AM »
OK, so I've been skating just over three years, total of about 170 hours (only half an hour a week for the first year or so, now more like 1-2 hours a week).  I'm still working on a lot of these things, but for some I know when I passed the ISI/USFSA level that tests them.

Forward crossovers - <70 hours (passed ISI Alpha then but had been doing them for a while)
Skating forward on 1 foot - <60 hours (passed USFSA Adult 2 but again had been doing them for quite a while)
Backward crossovers - 170 hours and counting...
Skating backwards on 1 foot - same
Three turns (any) - not there yet
Forward scratch spin - not even close; working on two foot spins
Back scratch spin - nope
Waltz jump - nope
Axel - hah

Reading other people's responses is making me feel a bit better about my own skating; I sometimes feel like I'm making very slow progress but in terms of actual hours on the ice it seems I'm not doing too badly.  The solution, of course, is to skate more!

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2015, 09:29:44 AM »
I'm going to avoid the 'hours' issue as I thing that's not measurable. For example, I learned crossovers the first year, but they weren't Big Girl crossovers with the underpush this year, and I think I can improve even that with more power and deeper edges. So saying 'how long to learn crossovers', what level? And it's not just you start counting hours you practice doing an axel to 'do it'. You have to learn every skill leading up to that axel, starting believe it or not with the bunny hop. (I think skating directors should have Xanboni's post printed out and ready to hand to parents who want to push kids through the levels.)

So this is my advice. "Don't think of skating as a competition, think of it as a journey. If you think of it as  collecting badges, you're looking at it the wrong way. Not everyone learns all the skills at the same rate."
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Offline riley876

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2015, 03:43:40 PM »
I was intending the line-in-the-sand to be "to the point of not feeling out of control and dangerous", and of course at that point whatever skill is likely to still be stilted and beginner-ish.  And sure the line is fuzzy, but why isn't hours measurable?   This is about helping recalibrate people expectations that are out by a factor of 10,20 or even 50!

And I was intending hours counted to include every hour spent on skates, practicing anything!  Or even just skating around chatting.  Of course it makes no sense to say "an axel will take about 500 hours to learn", since without any foundations all that 10000 hours of axel practice will get you is a bunch of a bruises (and possibly a psych ward admission).   But I think it does make sense to say,  don't expect an axel until you've spent about say 1000 hours working on both it and the foundations to it.  It's that round "1000 hours" number I'm after.   

I see that skating has a fairly linear progression of skills, i.e. everyone learns essentially the same foundational skills, in roughly the same order.   So total hours on ice make sense there too, since it's more or less proportional to skills developed, and therefore the overall skill level.

And of course people learn at different rates!  e.g. I'm sure if I had a coach from the start, I'm sure could have halved or even quartered my hours.  I've certainly spend a lot of fluffing around and persuing dead ends and tangents.  That's the a big part of the point of this thread.   To show the range.

Maybe I'm overly attached to idea of hours, but that's also part of the point of collecting data this thread.  To see if that's the case.

Offline littlerain

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2015, 01:25:39 PM »
I do think this is interesting, and in particular the idea of hours.

I don't remember how long it took me to learn those things on the list I know how to do, but I would say that it is interesting how it takes a few hours of skating to get things back after time off! Lol
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Offline ARoo

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2015, 07:50:29 PM »
My daughter started skating at the same time as about 9 other girls. Among the group, they are skating in about 5 different levels. I don't think there is any way to measure how long it will take or what the quality of their skating will be just based on amount of time on the ice.

Offline icedancer

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2015, 08:00:13 PM »
My daughter started skating at the same time as about 9 other girls. Among the group, they are skating in about 5 different levels. I don't think there is any way to measure how long it will take or what the quality of their skating will be just based on amount of time on the ice.

This is completely true and makes the OP question completely moot.  And as several posters have said there is a big difference between "getting it" and "really getting it" and "it" can always improve.

Offline irenar5

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2015, 12:59:46 PM »
An hour of practice has a lot of variability between people.  Are you doing it correctly?  If not, then you will spend extra time "unlearning" the bad techniques you've acquired, even though you are working on the same skill. 

Offline jlspink22

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How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2015, 10:00:14 AM »
My daughter has been in solid private/group lessons for just over 1 year (prior to that was snowplow/1x a week groups for 4 ish months).

This equates to 4 hours a week on average currently (inc practice ice).

She is almost mastered most directions on 3 turns, and about 80% of the USFS basic skills list.  She will transition to USFS free-skate by year end most likely. She is almost 6.

Working on forward scratch on the side, backwards and axel not even started. Has a waltz, toe loop, salchow and half flip. Working on sit spin.

Offline jlspink22

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How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2015, 10:01:40 AM »
And natural ability and talent and lack of fear plays a major role as does mommy reinforcing what her coach writes down in her notebook.

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2015, 12:02:57 PM »
It seems from some other threads here, that many people (particularly non-skating parents) have a grossly optimistic expection of how long it takes to learn to skate.    With the aim of roughly calibrating people's expectations, about how many hours of total ice time did it take you to get up to the point of being able to do:

- Forward crossovers
- Skating forward on 1 foot
- Backward crossovers
- Skating backwards on 1 foot
- Three turns
- Forward scratch spin
- Back scratch spin
- Waltz jump
- Axel

 (to the point of it no longer feeling out of control and dangerous - obviously in practice EVERYTHING remains forever a work-in-progress ).
I could do everything on that list--EXCEPT the spins and Axel--after about 20 weeks of learn-to-skate classes.  But I was already able to do right-over-left forward and backward crossovers (poorly) when I started classes.  The forward scratch spin took me about 2 years to do decently (skating twice a week with a class once a week) but the back upright spin took me more like 3 years.  The axel also took me at least 3 years (that's 3 years after I already had all of my other single jumps, which had only taken me about 2 years).  The back upright spin was the key to the axel so it's no coincidence that I finally got my axel the year after I got my back upright spin. 

Offline ls99

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2015, 07:52:14 PM »
Reminds me of a question by a newbie Ju-Jutsu student.

 He asks the master, how long does it take to get a black belt? Master without missing a beat says ten years.  Student then says, what if I practice every day, six hours a day. Master ponders the question for a moment and replies, Twenty years.

I suspect it applies to skating as well. I have been skating about 5 years or so, consider myself a fairly good beginner. But then again I am a few months short of 68.
There must be moderation in everything. Including moderation.

Offline riley876

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2015, 09:37:33 PM »
He asks the master, how long does it take to get a black belt? Master without missing a beat says ten years.  Student then says, what if I practice every day, six hours a day. Master ponders the question for a moment and replies, Twenty years.

Ha.  Love it!   Reminds me of the old zen saying:

Quote
You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.

Offline sampaguita

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Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn To Skate?
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2015, 05:24:23 AM »
Hmm very interesting. I've never been satisfied with doing something at the bare minimum, but rather with a level that I think is acceptable.

All in all, skating 1x a week for 1-2 hours, I think I could do forward stroking without falling after a month or so. Forward crossovers -- I'm notorious in the forum as the forward crossover-obsessed skater. But for the very basic ones, maybe after 2 months or so? Same with backward crossovers.

Coaching also plays a very important part. I had to hire an expensive dance coach to teach me everything about stroking and crossovers, and they've improved so much faster than when I had coaches who didn't care much about skating skills.