Why Figure Skating Is GREAT!

Thousands of people will tell you that figure skating is a GREAT! sport. But what makes this unique ice sport so great and worth your time? That question is exactly what we will tackle in this article.Webster’s Dictionary defines great as “remarkable in degree, magnitude, or effectiveness.” Skating is truly remarkable in the degree of detail it can be pursued, breathtaking in the magnitude of things one has to learn, and extremely effective in building character.”Skating is about discipline. It teaches so much more than jumps and spins. It teaches about coping with the twists and turns of life, too.” -Alison Scott, mother of Jeremy Abbot, two time U.S. National ChampionNow here is an answer from a teenage skater: “You have your ups, and your downs. How you deal with these falls is how you succeed. You cannot look back, or feel sorry that you fell, you just got to get up and keep going. You have to get up and try again. THIS is why I love figure skating.” -Casey YeeBelow are my personal reflections from 21 years of competing:Skating allows you to possess a unique set of skills. You can do things that only a small fraction of a single percent of people in the world can do. It is so rewarding to dedicate yourself day after day, year after year to develop skills that others couldn’t even comprehend of doing quickly.Constant personal growth. I feel like I can accomplish anything now. I feel like I’ll never be in harder situations than I’ve already gone through. It’s a crucible.You learn to set and work towards goals. Achieve them and reset them higher.When you fail, you know it quickly. Your life becomes practice for the Ultimate Success Formula of learning from mistakes, making adjustments, and moving forward. Skaters do not have a “padded room” life. You can get so strong emotionally, mentally.You learn how to think and how to weed the garden of your mind. Most will never dig into the recesses of their mind to maximize its abilities like great skaters will. Is the average person as aware of negative thoughts and have they learned to listen?You can develop balance and fine motor control far beyond most other people on the planet! They will never know what it feels to have control over their body like you do.You learn to deal with anxiety and performing in front of and audience. Can help with public speaking and work situations. You get used to standing on your own.To be good, it demands a lot of time and sacrifice. If you are a competitive skater, you know that you can’t do everything other kids your age are doing. Do I regret not going to all the parties, etc? No way.Constantly being pushed outside your comfort zone. Everyday you have to strive to be your best.Choosing to focus all your energies on one thing. It becomes something you take ownership of. Greatness in any pursuit only happens with this ingredient.No other sport combines that artistic and physical requirements of skating. It has the artistry of dance and the athleticism of gymnastics.There is always something else to learn, someone who is better than you. You can progress at your own pace.It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.You learn to deal with physical pain and discomfort. Injuries are a common hurdle.Skating students are used to working hard and they don’t expect everything to be easy. You need to do really hard things with a smile.Perseverance: knowing that you may have to do something a thousand times before you get it and stepping down that road and doing it anyways.You learn to do things even when you don’t want to do them. The lesson learned is that you are not run purely by your emotions.Skating teaches you that you can’t control everything that happens to you in life, no matter how hard you work on it. Maybe you step on a loose ice chip on the ice. A skater’s balance needs to be so fine tuned to complete certain elements that even though you’ve landed a jump a thousand times before you sometimes fall.You get familiar with uncertainty and continue moving forward even though you don’t know exact how it is going to end.There are untold benefits of day dreaming, visualization, and seeing your future in your mind’s eye. These are all things that competitive skaters do.Freedom! Where else can one glide with speed, leap into the air, look at the world at a lean and not fall over. There is nothing like it!Skating also taught me time-management and how to plan ahead. All the different times I’d sneak in my homework while riding in the car or during lunch at school.It teaches you to lose graciously.When Amanda Evora got off the ice after her long program at the 2010 Olympic Games with partner Mark Ladwig, she looked at the camera and said, “It’s worth it!”