By Elizabeth Misson
If there is one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that sometimes despite our best-laid plans, things can happen that are out of our control.
Skaters around the world have been forced to put their goals on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic — from the beginner who was hoping to sign up for Learn to Skate USA lessons for the first time right before their local rink closed, to the elite level athletes who never had the chance to vie for a 2020 World Championship title.
With our lives and daily routines turned upside down, many of us have taken the time to rediscover the little things — and find joy in them, no matter how simple.
So as we head into January 2021 and celebrate the 20th anniversary of National Skating Month, now is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the simple joys of skating and what draws us to the sport we love.
Here are 5 New Year’s Resolutions that every skater — of any age and any ability — can try:
1. Be the first one on the ice.
Are you the one who stands by the door, waiting for the Zamboni to make the last lap so that you can be the first one to step on the clean sheet of ice? If you’ve never tried it, you should. There is nothing like the feeling of your blades hitting the ice first — look at the shapes that you create while you move around. It’s magical and it only lasts until the next person steps on the ice after you.
2. Try something completely new.
Have you ever created a showcase program? Or learned an entire figure test? Perhaps you’ve never skated ice dance with a partner or learned how to skate on a synchronized team? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in “our thing” that we don’t take the time to dabble in all that skating has to offer. So while your competition season from your “regular” discipline may be on hold, now is the perfect chance to step outside of your comfort zone and learn something new!
Motivate yourself to keep track of your progress with our 2021 Ice Skating Goals activity sheet! Write down the skills and habits you want to master or improve upon. Hang your goals on your bedroom wall or put them in your skating binder as a reminder of all you want to achieve.
Download the 2021 Ice Skating Goals sheet here.
3. Finish with something fun.
Before you get off the ice, make a point to do at least one “fun” thing before you wrap up for the day. See how long you can hold a “shoot-the-duck” or see how many split jumps or add-on spins you can do in a row before you run out of steam. No matter what kind of session it was, when you end on a fun note, it always feels good (and you’re never too old for the fun stuff!).
4. Appreciate the glide.
Do you know how fast you can skate? If you have a smartwatch, try setting it to the cycling setting that measures how many miles per hour your bike is moving — you’d be surprised how fast you can move! And while you’re out there, take a listen to the sound your blades make on the ice — take a deep edge or a long skidding stop — there are few other sports that can give you the same feeling of flight and freedom.
5. Be you.
Being a successful skater isn’t just about how many jumps you can land, how many tests you’ve passed, or how many competitions you’ve won — it’s more than that — it’s a feeling. If you’re excited to step on the ice and be better than you were yesterday, or last year — no matter what your skill level — that’s what skating is all about and it’s what keeps us coming back for more.
Everyone is on their own journey — stay focused on your path and enjoy the ride — and the glide — into a whole new year of skating.
Elizabeth (Steck) Misson is a U.S. Figure Skating triple gold medalist. She has been a Learn to Skate USA program director in Brooklyn, Ohio, for 21 years and has been enjoying the glide since she was 3 years old.