Lace Up, It's Time for Outdoor Skating!

The Rink at Rockefeller Center opens for the season tomorrow and Wollman Rink at Central Park is scheduled to open next weekend, Sat Oct 19 (weather permitting)!

Check out my Nov. 18, 2018 post on my two favorite outdoor skating rinks in NYC - The Rink at Rockefeller Center and The Winter Village at Bryant Park, https://figureskatingetc.squarespace.com/new-blog/2018/11/18/top-us-family-ice-skating-rinks-forbes-nov-16-2018

Wollman Rink is located on 59th Street and 6th Avenue- a short five-minute walk from Central Park’s south entrance. Skating in this public ice rink is one of the more popular and great winter traditions to do in NYC, offering a spectacular Manhattan skyline view. The rink offers lots of fun attractions- from birthday parties and group youth figure skating and hockey lessons to public skating. For more info, check out https://www.wollmanskatingrink.com

Photo courtesy of https://www.wollmanskatingrink.com

Photo courtesy of https://www.wollmanskatingrink.com

A relatively new rink which opened in 2013 is the Rink at Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Center) at the North Cove Marina on the Hudson River Waterfront in Battery Park City. It also is a great place to skate and take in the breathtaking views of lower Manhattan. The rink plans to open in November and will also offer skating and hockey classes. Its figure skating programs are hosted by skating Olympians, Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov. One of the rink’s special festive events is its contemporary rock/pop Winter Ice Holiday Concert Show, ‘Stars United’. The show will be on Dec 10 and 11 at 7pm and will feature figure skating Olympians along with Iconic Vogue dancers and singers. Be sure to check it out! https://www.therinkatbrookfieldplace.net

Photo courtesy of https://www.downtownmagazinenyc.com/rink-at-brookfield-place-returns/

Photo courtesy of https://www.downtownmagazinenyc.com/rink-at-brookfield-place-returns/

Make sure to layer up!

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Welcome New and Returning Students! I hope you’re all ready for a great new skating season because we will be learning lots of cool new and challenging moves and elements.

It’s Motivation Monday- a day of beginnings and new starts- and as we kickoff our new season in the coming weeks, please take a moment to think about your goals and what you want to learn and master at the end of your 7-week session/season. Whether you’re a novice, intermediate, advanced or an elite skater, all athletes set goals. Setting short-term and long-term goals will help you with direction, feedback, and support. I particularly find that when skaters clearly define their goals, they are more motivated to work hard and stay committed at their tasks. Having clear and well-defined goals also allow you to obtain the necessary support in keeping you on track and not giving up easily. Once I learn about your goals then I can provide effective feedback and advice to help you achieve them.

In helping you set your goals, you can follow the 5 simple S.M.A.R.T goals which stand for -

Source: https://www.kazoohr.com/resources/library/how-to-set-smart-goals

Source: https://www.kazoohr.com/resources/library/how-to-set-smart-goals

You can also use this helpful guide to set your goals for school or anything else you want to do well and achieve in life. Please use the US Figure Skating goal-setting worksheet to help you get started, https://www.usfsa.org/content/Goal-setting%20and%20Self-confidence%20Worksheets.pdf

I’m excited for the new season and I look forward to helping each of you achieve your skating goals!

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Skating Creates Lasting Friendships

In addition to the many health benefits of skating, (pls see my published Jan 2019 article, https://www.figureskatingetc.com/miscell2/2019/2/4/skating-promotes-fitness-and-good-health), another important aspect of the sport is its impact on one’s social skills. Skating is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. If you visit a public open skate session, you never fail to see people of all ages laughing and having fun together. Those who attend group classes or camp are participating among a community of individuals who all share the same passion. With this common interest, many end up building lifelong friendships that extend beyond the rink.

Today was my last day volunteering at Figure Skating in Harlem. During my short time with the program, I had an incredibly rewarding experience and made so many wonderful new friends. In particular, Leah, a 9-yr old girl in my class, quickly bonded with me. She was fascinated by my Asian eyes and hair and how young I was to be a skating instructor. Her questions about my background (where I lived, how many siblings I have, my relationship status, etc) made me double over with laughter. The minute I stepped on the ice, she immediately greeted me with a huge hug greatly warmed my heart. I will miss Leah and all my summer campers. While I’m sad that I won’t be able to see and continue working with these wonderful young children during the school year, I look forward to my time with them next summer and am excited to make many more new friendships. I hope I made a small difference in some of the kids’ lives as they have enriched mine in so many ways.

Check out my friends’ Summer Dreams Camp video - https://www.facebook.com/FigureSkatinginHarlem/videos/2192064950922012/Asia

MY SUMMER DREAMS CAMP FAMILY  Figure Skating in Harlem

MY SUMMER DREAMS CAMP FAMILY
Figure Skating in Harlem

Why Compete?

camryn.jpeg

CONGRATS to my fellow skater,
CAMRYN APRILANTE,
for competing at the inaugural
National Festival Excel Series Final!
Read all about her amazing national skating experience on my peer blog page, https://www.figureskatingetc.com/peers-blog-4
_______________________________

Several of my students and their parents have inquired about skating competitions and whether or not their child is ready for such a feat. Personally, I feel competitions are not only a valuable learning experience, but also a great opportunity to demonstrate one’s skills and talents. Competitors receive the opportunity to challenge themselves by stepping out of their comfort zone and working hard to achieve their goals. In striving to improve with each performance, skaters gain self-esteem and confidence. Healthy competition not only teaches skaters respect for themselves, it also instills a sense of community and good sportsmanship.

Not all kids are ready for competitive sports so participants vary depending on the individual. I strongly advise against pushing skaters to compete unless he/she has expressed a clear interest. The skater should also be capable of handling the pressure of an audience and the impact of winning/losing. We must always remember to keep the experience fun and positive for the skater.

I recall my first skating competition when I was seven years old. I absolutely loved the spotlight and was obsessed with all the makeup and sparkles. My Basic Skills Level 4 program was only about a minute long, but I relished each second on the ice.

I highly recommend the Compete USA event program which is an entry-level skating competition specifically designed for the Learn to Skate USA student. It provides a fun and positive introduction to the world of competitive skating. The program is open to beginner skaters of all ages and skill levels who are either members of US Figure skating and/or Learn to Skate. Every skater receives an award as there are no more than six competitors per group.

The first annual Excel National Festival was held in Coral Springs, Florida from June 7-9. This offered an open invitation for any Learn to Skate member in Compete USA (from Snowplow Sam through FreeSkate 6). As there are no qualification requirements, I hope many of my students and parents will consider attending this national skating celebration event next year. It is incredibly valuable for beginner skaters to not only experience a national competition, but to also meet other skaters their age from around the country. The event also offers off-ice movement classes, team building activities, and a meet-and-greet with Team USA skaters. 

My fellow skating club member, Camryn Aprilante, qualified to compete in the Excel Series Final at the National Festival. The Excel Series was specifically developed to inspire skaters to remain committed to the sport of figure skating by providing a competitive structure to showcase their skills. The top six skaters from each section in the Series receive an invitation to participate in the Excel Finalist Camp and compete in the Excel Series Final at the National Festival.

For more information about Compete USA and local competition events, please check out https://learntoskateusa.com/eventsinyourarea/?source=post_page---------------------------





Making a Difference

As you know, skating is an expensive sport - ice time, coach fees, quality equipment, music, costumes, travel expenses, and skates all add up. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in skating and want to continue to impart my knowledge to not only new skaters and parents, but also to those need additional support and resources. I enjoy dedicating my time to volunteering as it provides me much fulfillment and allows me to inspire a new generation of skaters. I also get to make new friends with so many interesting people from different cultures and backgrounds. Through my teaching, I strive to provide my students encouragement and emotional support, empowering them to develop their courage and self-confidence.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be volunteering at Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) this summer. FSH offers a 6-week Summer Dreams Camp starting July 8 through August 15. Now that I can finally drive, I will be able to travel to the Ice Hutch rink in Mt Vernon, NY to to teach the Learn-to-Skate program to young girls.

I first heard about FSH when I came across a video clip posted by On Ice Perspectives on the Learn-to-Skate USA Facebook page. After watching a performance by some FSH members, I was intrigued to learn more about them. Similar to my involvement with Girl Scouts, FSH fosters a sisterhood by providing opportunities for young women to work and learn together, building their self-esteem and confidence. These girls are taught the necessary skills to help them achieve their dreams and become future leaders.

Yesterday was my first day at FSH and I plan to volunteer every Thursday during the summer. There were over 85 young girls who were all so eager to get started on the ice and learn new skills. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that all of the girls already had some basic skating knowledge as they skated over to me with ease. My group of 11 girls practiced forward crossovers, snowplow stops, lunges, and one foot glides. We then incorporated all these elements into a fun and interactive performance to the song, “Girl on Fire.”

FSH was founded in 1997 by Sharon Cohen who wanted to provide a skating education program for young women of Harlem. She wanted to offer a fun and safe environment for these girls to come together after school and further learn and work together. This non-profit organization offers after school academic enrichment and support along with group fitness classes and skating instruction which align with the USFS Learn to Skate USA program.

I look forward to making many new friends and a difference in these young girls’ lives.

Why Summer is THE Best Time to Learn to Skate

To all of the many happy and excited kids out there as another school year comes to an end, YIPPIE!  Now that summer is upon us, I strongly encourage you to use your extra 'free' time wisely and consider signing up for skating classes! For those of you who don't know how to skate; well, this is the best time to start and learn. For those of you who have already been a part of the Learn-to-Skate (LTS) program and know how to skate, I encourage you to keep up the hard work and use this summer to continue mastering and improving your skills.

As you may imagine, the skating rink is the least popular during these warmer months but that's the #1 reason to get to the rink and skate! The LTS program at your local rink runs all year round. The summer learn-to-skate classes are generally small- I have only three skaters in my current basic skills classes whereas my fall and spring classes average seven to ten skaters and winter classes average over ten skaters.  By enrolling in a summer skating program, you will receive much more individualized attention from your coach and also have more ice to practice and less students who will get in your way. Also, skating instructors and coaches are more available and offer more time to teach because many of their current students are on vacation and/or have other summer commitments. Although skating is typically a winter activity, learning to skate in the summer is a great way to stay cool in the sweltering heat and humidity.