Figure skating may look elegant, but according to two Lacombe figure skaters, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Brydelle Wardley, 16, and Keara Grovet, 15, both agree that the sport is demanding and difficult, but is a lot of fun to be a part of. They both skate with the Lacombe Figure Skating Club.
The club has many different levels from basic skating instruction in the CanSkate programs to STARSkate, which is for boys and girls who reach a higher learning competency and test at higher levels of difficulty.
“We are a really fun group and we’re not all about competition,” said Wardley.
“I’ve been skating for about 13 years now. This is the second club I’ve been with and it is a lot of fun here. I love skating and have a lot of friends here, and we all work together and goof off.”
Wardley is a gold level tested skater, which means she has worked her way up from preliminary status and then through bronze and silver. The next step would be a diamond skater, but Wardley is happy where she is at and is focusing on helping out as a junior coach.
“Being a junior coach, we help with the Learn-to-Skates and the CanSkates. We help out the main coach with whatever she needs, really. Lots of times, the junior coaches will take a group and separate and work with them on certain skills for the day. We run them through circuits and help them understand what we’re learning and focusing on so they can be better skaters,” she said.
“Balance is a big skill that we work on. We also do agility, control and speed. For free skate competitions it’s usually about jumps and spins and how you can interpret music and make it flow. There’s focus on transitions and you have to have a certain amount of elements – spins and jumps – and you work it all into a time limit.”
Figure skating competitions are intense, skilful and are graded in extreme detail. They are a chance to display skills such as various jumps, lifts (in pairs), different kinds of spins and combinations of skills in sequences. There is a wide range of movements utilized in figure skating, and a massive body strength component for balance and jump height.
Something that both of the girls have heard about their hobby is that it is not a sport and not difficult.
Grovet has been skating for nearly a decade and can attest to the sport’s demand and difficulty.
“Figure skating is harder than it looks. Jumps are hard because you have to put in work to get height needed to rotate in the air. When you get higher up, you’re doing two or three rotations in the air and that can be hard to manage. To get it, you just have to practice over and over and when you fall, you have to get up and do it again,” she said.
Level one figure skating coach Elizabeth Price said that for people who want to learn how to stand up on ice, keep balance and learn how to generally skate, the kids’ program is perfect.
She said that these skills later transfer to other ice sports and that the atmosphere is very close.
The Lacombe Figure Skating Club practices at Barnett Arena, where information and contact for the club is available on the bulletins.