So, your child wants to try ice skating? Parents usually go one of three ways on this:
- Pack up the kids and hit a public session. Really? How hard can this be?
- They sign their child up for group lessons.
- They contact the ice rink near them to get in touch with a coach for a private lesson to see if their child like skating or not.
So, what's the best option? That depends on several factors:
- How old is your child? - If your child is young, under 10, lessons (group or private) are definitely your best bet.
- Do they have any experience with inline skating or snow skiing? If they're 10 or up and can inline skate, or are a wiz on skis (skis, not a snowboard), they might be a candidate for hitting the public session to try it out. The balance and basic movements are similar for basic skating.
- Can you ice skate (and I don't mean barely stand up)? If you can't skate, skip #1 with the idea you can help your kids. You can't, and there's a good chance you'll both get hurt.
The most popular option, and usually the best option, is signing your child up for group lessons. Most rinks offer US Figure Skating's Learn To Skate USA Program. Learn To Skate USA is a comprehensive, ongoing method teaches everything from the basic fundamentals to advanced skating skills with every class emphasizing mastering the individual elements. Through group lessons they learn the basics; how to fall, stand up, glide, turn, go forwards, go backwards, etc... Rinks also usually offer perks to their group lesson students (like discounted public sessions).
If your child does better with one on one instruction instead of in a group setting, or you don't want to commit to 8 weeks of group lessons, then a private lesson(s) is the way to go. With a private lesson you arrange that directly with the coach and pay the coach for their time, and then pay the rink seperately for the public session and skate rental. A beginner private lesson averages 15 to 30 minutes, and private lesson fees vary from coach to coach, and the range varies depending on your locale. Example: Ice skating coaches in Los Angeles charge more per hour than ice skating coaches in Clevelend. To contact a coach about a private lesson, call your local rink and they'll be able to put you in touch with a coach(es).
If you're in the South Bay area in Los Angeles, I do work with all levels and ages, from beginner to elite, at The Skating Edge Ice Arena in Torrance. Contact me for more information on a private lesson to get your child started ice skating!