So it’s been just over two and a half years since I started skating…well, not counting the time when I was 18 or so and did a little self-taught skating. After all, when I started again in March of 2019, I had lost all of that earlier stuff and was essentially starting over from scratch.
I’ll admit that progress has been a bit slow compared to most of the folk I see on YouTube doing their “one year progress videos” or the like. And, well, there are reasons for that. When I started, foot pain was a major issue. In public skate, I’d skate half a lap then take a break to allow the pain in my feet to fade a bit. Then another half lap and do the same. Two laps of the rink and I was done for the day. For several months I counted progress by how many laps I was able to complete. In classes, I’d spend half or more of the class time sitting on the sidelines, again letting foot pain fade slightly. The lack of being able to fully use class time and get much practice in meant that progress was slow. And the simple truth is, talent is a thing. There are aspects of body mechanics, proprioception (the ability to accurately “feel” what your body is doing–I used to think I was pretty good in that aspect from martial arts but, frankly, figure skating is a whole other level entirely), balance, coordination, and so on that combine so that some people learn faster than others. That’s the reality.
Still, even without much talent, even with the challenges I had going into it, I’ve come pretty far in the two and a half years I’ve skated. I’m nearing the end of Adult 6. I’ve recently gotten the forward inside three-turn adequate to pass level (which doesn’t mean that there’s not a whole lot of improvement to be made) which leaves the two-foot to one-foot spin before I graduate to pre-free-skate where things get really exciting.
There is one aspect in which the early skating when I was 18 or so did help me. When I was struggling with the early classes, when skating was work and not a lot of pleasure, I did remember how much fun it was when I was younger. Thus, I knew that if I could just get past the immediate challenges it would be fun again.
And that’s exactly what I found. More, as I learn a new element and it finally clicks, I come out of practice of that element with a big grin on my face. It’s a major dopamine hit. 😉 And, since there are so many things to learn in figure skating, I can always count on there being new dopamine hits awaiting me. I got my inside three? Well, there’s still the two-foot to one-foot spin. Then there’s the Waltz 8, Waltz Jumps, and direct entry into one-foot spins. And when I have that, well, there are toe-loop jumps, Backward inside edges on a line. Actual-for-real-power pulls and, somewhere down the line, the Axel jump.
I’ll never run out of new things to learn. That’s one of the beauties of figure skating as a performer. There’s always something new.