Since launching a new introductory skating program last season the coaching staff of the Mile Zero Figuring Skating Club (Mile Zero FSC) has seen vast improvements in its beginner skaters.
The CanSkate – Learn to Skate program was launched in January by the club as a pilot project, but after witnessing immediate results in first-time skaters, the Mile Zero FSC made sure to offer the training again.
“The improvement in the kids from January to the end of March was incredible,” said Mile Zero FSC head coach Marilyn Kreuzinger, who admitted to being a skeptic at first but is now a true believer.
Learn to Skate differs from other training methods in that it focuses primarily on keeping skaters moving.
“It’s 95 per cent movement, and five per cent instruction,” she said.
She also stressed that the program is not specific to figure skating, saying that the skills developed are applicable to all skate-based sports, and speed is the key.
“It does really work on speed,” said Kreuzinger. “The program itself generates movement and just going, skating, skating, edges, turning. There is some stopping, but it doesn’t go into specific figure skating skills, it is just basically learn to skate.”
Kids are challenged to pass through different obstacles and circuits laid out on the ice, and a ‘Fast Track’ that follows the rink’s boards, allows students to develop their speed.
“It really promotes using the whole ice, and learning to go fast. It’s the whole idea they get in their head of moving fast that works.
“We are going to send minor hockey some pretty impressive skaters,” added Kreuzinger.
She referred to one beginner skater in particular that had been with the club for a year. The youngster had trouble developing any skills prior to Learn to Skate training.
“Within three weeks of this program he was out there moving around,” she remarked.
Up to 65 skaters are enrolled in Learn to Skate, which began two weeks ago, but Kreuzinger says there is still room for those interested to try out the program.
Learn to Skate practices are every Monday at 5:00 p.m. and Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., at Memorial Arena.