Our guest columnist is Rikki Rendich Samuels, an instructor at Rockefeller Rink in NYC for over 25 years. As a four-time USFSA national competitor, Rikki received her gold medals in figures and freestyle, and is a former two-time Middle Atlantic Senior Ladies Champion. As a professional, she has been awarded the highest awards from the Professional Skaters Association, a master's rating in figures and freestyle, and a master's rating in program administration.
For many once-a-week skaters, summers are a great way to improve their skating skills. The long break from school provides an opportunity to spend more time on the ice. There are roughly a thousand summer skating programs throughout North America, including camps that are devoted to the training of high-level competitors and Olympians. Camp sessions may range from one week to the full summer in length.
If you are a first-timer at skating camp, you may want to start at a one week camp that is not too far from your home. Chances are, you'll know some of the other skaters attending the camp. Later, you will feel more comfortable with a longer camp session and longer distances.
Here are some questions to ask when you're exploring summer camp options:
- What are the ages of the skaters who attend, and what is the biggest age group?
- Does the camp offer other activities, such as gymnastics, dance, weight training, nutrition counseling, and sports psychology, that can enhance your skating?
- How many rinks does the camp have? Are all of them available for figure skating? What is the schedule?
- Does the camp offer skaters the chance to perform in exhibitions on a regular schedule?
- Does the camp offer testing?
- What are the housing arrangements? Typically, they may range from dormitories to boarding houses.
- What are the credentials of the pros who teach there, and how do you schedule your time with them?
- Can the camp refer you to other skaters who have attended past sessions, so you can talk to them and find out their opinions?
|When selecting a summer camp for skating, consider the features that are most important to you. Of course, as with all aspects of skating, you will need to discuss the costs and benefits with your parents. Many skaters feel they make more progress during summer than during the nine months of the school year. |
[Rikki has also written a book called Kids' Book Of Figure Skating: Skills, Strategies, and Techniques which contains information on: proper technique, how to purchase skates, warm-up exercises, rink rules and skating etiquette, how to be an informed fan, skating clubs and associations, and many other relevant topics. You can also check out her website at RikkiSamuels.com.]