HEY, FIGURE SKATING KIDS!
One of the most popular Winter Olympics sports, figure skating combines grace, dance and sheer athleticism. To boot, skaters perform precarious leaps and twirls while skating on ice.
Every winter Olympics thousands of households across the US watch figure skating.
We’re all familiar with watching individuals compete. There are short programs and long programs, individual or pairs, and synchronized skating. Here on Long Island, there are just a handful of Figure Skating Clubs though there are many opportunities to learn how to skate and compete at a higher level.
Naturally, in order to become a top-notch figure skater one must know how to skate. Skating fundamentals are taught at most skating rinks across Long Island. Your child will be assessed and then placed in an age appropriate and/or skill appropriate group. Alternatively, you may opt for private lessons. Once your child has mastered specific requirements, he or she may begin to train for figure skating competitions.
If your child (or you) decide that figure skating is something that will be done recreationally – not in competitions – you may continue to use local rink instructors. There are three types of competitive skating – individual, pairs and synchronized.
What are my figure skating options?
Individual Figure Skating
Individual figure skating is the figure skating that is the most familiar. One skater competes on the ice in either a short form or long form performance. Each performance has a minimum set of moves that must be completed with scores for technical and artistic ability. While minimum moves are required, the individual skater is responsible for the costume, music and choreography, and may opt to perform more demanding moves in order to get a better score.
Doubles Figure Skating
Doubles figure skating features a male and female skater performance. As with individual figure skating and synchronized, each performance has a minimum set of moves that must be completed with scores for technical and artistic ability.
Synchronized Figure Skating
Synchronized skating is a team sport, usually comprised of at least eight figure skating kids.The number increases with age and there is a minimum requirement of moves.
Equipment for Beginners
For kids that are just getting started, ice skates are available for rental at most local rinks for a few dollars. Many programs require a helmet for young kids beginning. Bring a bike or hockey helmet helmet (sometimes helmets are also available at the rink).
TIP: Have your young kid(s) wear snow pants. The extra filling will help buffer any falls and will also keep them warm. Other parents suggest wearing a hockey helmet because of the cage. The cage helps protect against mouth/tooth injuries in cases when a child falls face first.
Equipment for kids willing to commit
Committed figure skating kids invest in a pair of fitted figure skates, which are available at many different price points. On Long Island, you can often find good, used figure skates at Play It Again Sports in Oceanside or Massapequa.
For kids that are competing, then additional attire such as costumes and skin colored tights are must-haves and are also available at many different price points.
Do you need to join a figure skating club?
Ok, here’s the deal. If your kid only wants to learn how to figure skate and doesn’t want to compete, then he or she can continue to learn through your local rink. This is a nice option for kids that skate just for the joy of skating but can’t stand the idea of performing in front of other people.
If your kids are becoming figure skating kids and competition or performing is in their blood, then YES! Becoming a member of an official Figure Skating Club (FSC) is necessary.
But what is a Figure Skating Club?
A Figure Skating Cub (aka FSC) serves as a sponsor for skaters. Through their programs skaters may be “tested” for specific skills. Based on the results of the test, they qualify specific group for competitions (note that once achieved, a skater may not “go back” to a lower level).
As an FSC member, you will also have access to “freestyle” skating sessions. A freestyle skating session is one that is closed to the public. A figure skater will be assessed an ice fee and a skating fee, plus any training fees that a coach may charge. Freestyle ice time is a benefit to skaters because it allows the skater to utilize all of the ice, as opposed to training during public sessions. During public sessions, figure skating kids may only practice in the center of the ice.
An FSC will also provide your child with testing opportunities and opportunities to perform. There is a charge for both and the price can range from $20 and up.
NASSAU COUNTY FIGURE SKATING CLUBS
Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink — Great Neck
Parkwood Ice Rink, 64 Arrandale Avenue
Led by Joelle Forte, a U.S. National and International competitor, 5-time North Atlantic Regional champion and Team USA member, and Carole Liotti, a U.S.F.S. Gold Medalist a. This rink also offers synchronized skating, private and group lessons.
2. Metropolitan FSC – New Hyde Park
Iceland, 3345 Hillside Avenue
The Met clubs offers freestyle sessions every Tuesday afternoon from 4:00-6:00 PM, Ice dance sessions every Wednesday from 10:30 AM-12:30 PM and figure skating testing sessions. Ice shows are another option.
Freeport Recreation Center Ice Rink, 46 N. Ocean Avenue
SUFFOLK FIGURE SKATING CLUBS
Cantiague FSC, Hicksville
480 W. John Street
With its concave ceiling, your kids will feel like they’re skating at The Garden! Recreational skaters, figure skaters and hockey teams use the rink and it was also the practice facility of the New York Islanders for more than a decade.
Group lessons: $150 for an 8 week semester, fee includes USFS LTS registration fee, 30 Minute group class, and admission to the public session following the lesson. Must be 3+.
Fridays: 4:30 – 5pm or 5pm-5:30pm. Next begins Friday 16th.
Saturdays: 1-1:30pm or 1:30pm-2pm. 2nd semester begins December 16th. 3rd semester begins March 10.
PRIVATE FIGURE SKATING CLUBS (Members Only)
Locust Valley, NY
483 West Main Street, Huntington, NY
Website password protected; call for more information.
As with most sports, culture varies based on coaching and parents. For an interesting look into what 15 figure skating kids and their families or coaches thought about the experience, check out Erica Schwiegershausen’s article that includes feedback from former Olympians, family members and figure skaters that competed at higher levels.
Not sure if your program’s culture is right for your child? Check out your child’s program and decide what’s right for you. An intense, win at all costs program may be right for one child while a supportive, slower approach may be right for others.
GET SKATING AT ONE OF THESE ICE SKATING RINKS
These rinks offer regular skating and figure skating lessons. Skating lessons are usually available in a group package over a specific period of time. Some programs offer 6-8 weekly classes while others are over a period of months. For the youngest kids (7 and under) start with a shorter series to see how they respond. Longer programs are for older kids that, assuming you have discussed the concept of commitment, are able or willing to continue throughout a program. By the end of the series, Improvement is usually apparent and children are likely to be reinvigorated.
Nassau County Ice Rinks
Cantiague Park Ice Rink — Hicksville
Freeport Recreation Center Ice Rink — Freeport
Iceland —New Hyde Park
Islanders Iceworks — Syosset
Long Beach Municipal Ice Arena — Long Beach
Newbridge Arena — Bellmore
Northwell Health Ice Center — East Meadow
Port Washington Skating Center — Port Washington***
Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center — Bethpage
*** We love this place! Family-owned, family-friendly. Great place for beginners!
Suffolk County Ice Rinks
Dix Hills Park Ice Rink — Dix Hills
Superior Ice Rink — Kings Park
The Rinx — Hauppauge
Road to the Olympics
Long Island is a terrific place to learn how to figure skate and there is enough competition to keep kids challenged. For those that have the dedication and mastery, then it would be a good idea to branch out of the area, Here in the Northeast, the International Skating Center in Simsbury, Connecticut is well known for churning out world-class athletes through its Charter Oak Figure Skating Club.
SAVE THESE DATES for these Long Island Grand Prix Events!
If you can’t get enough of figure skating at the Winter Olympics, check out one of these upcoming events and catch a live figure skating competition in person here on Long Island. You’ll see figure skating kids of all ages, which is really encouraging for any kids interested in the sport.
- Saturday February 10, 2018: Love To Skate‐ Iceworks Skating Academy, Northwell Health Ice Center, East Meadow
- Sunday April 15, 2018: Spring Challenge‐ Freeport Skating Academy at the Freeport Recreation Center, Freeport
- Sunday May 6, 2018: Spiral into Spring Parkwood Sports Complex, Great Neck
- May 18-20th, 2018: Nassau County Championship Competition Cantiague Park, Hicksville
- June 2018: Summer Swizzle – Metropolitan Figure Skating Club, Iceland Rink, New Hyde Park