FAQ FOR BEGINNERS

In which skating class should I enroll myself or my child? 

Thornhill Figure Skating Club is proud to provide skating classes for all interests, ages and abilities.  Please see our Recreational and Figure Skating Program pages for more detailed information.

What are the different branches/streams in figure skating?

This chart describes different figure skating branches and levels/tests available in each branch.

Where can I find more figure skating resources?

Check our Resources page for useful links. Send us links to share your favourite sites with other club members.

What are the CanSkate skill levels?

CanSkate skill levels are established by Skate Canada. See CanSkate skill level chart for more details.

I am interested in private lessons: how do I get started? 

If you have a coach in mind, let us know and we will get you in touch with each other. If you do not have a coach in mind, please let us know the times you are interested in for lessons; the age and ability of the skater; and length of the lesson desired; from there we will see if there is a coach available.

My child eventually wants to get into figure skating. What is the procedure that we follow to get him/her into that program? Who should I speak to about figure skating?

All skaters need to learn to skate before they can be successful in hockey or figure skating and our classes are designed to provide a positive atmosphere and prepare participants for whichever pathway they may choose. Future figure skaters should complete the Learn to Skate classes for their age group and then will be recommended to register for the Junior session where they will have fun learning the basics of figure skating. Talent Id program available as well.

My child eventually wants to play hockey. What should we do?

All skaters need to learn to skate before they can be successful in hockey or figure skating and our classes are designed to provide a positive atmosphere and prepare participants for whichever pathway they may choose. Future hockey players should complete the Learn to Skate classes for their age group.

Is there an appropriate time to talk with my child’s class teacher?

We want your child’s skating experience to be enjoyable and we value your feedback. Instructors may be available to discuss your questions before or after class depending on how your session is scheduled. You can also contact the session coordinator who may be able to assist you or pass on your contact information.

How many sessions will it take for my child to progress to the next class level?

Every student is unique and will progress at his or her own pace. Often, students go through spurts of progress followed by plateaus. This is normal and explains why some kids can start at the same place and progress differently. We recommend reminding students that their main goal is to have fun learning and remember that mastering the skill set can take time. We believe each child should progress at their own rate, allowing them to become comfortable on the ice and to appreciate their learned skills while growing their desire to advance to the next level. Please approach your class instructor and/or the Skating Director with questions about progress.

What skills will my child learn in their class?

Helpful information including class criteria, skill sets and a program progression chart are listed on our website. Instructors work with the children by simplifying core elements into fun and easy to understand steps, making sure each child can fully comprehend instructions in an enjoyable and encouraging environment.

Will my child have any time to practice before or after their class?

Our classes are intended to have the majority of the class time dedicated to instruction. It is best for participants to come and practice on their own at another time to reinforce learning and muscle memory. Public Skating is a wonderful way to get extra practice.

Where can I watch my child when he/she is in class?

We encourage all spectators (including parents) to watch the skaters from the stands. Standing at the glass or at the entrance to the ice can distract the skaters and impede other skaters from entering the ice.

Are parents allowed on the ice during classes?

Only skaters who are enrolled in a class are allowed on the ice for insurance and liability purposes. Skaters are not permitted on the ice until their instruction time.

Are there skating aides, such as crates, available to assist beginners during class?

Skating aides can become a safety hazard and a learning liability to participants. Instructors are prepared to handle participants who have never been on the ice before. It is our philosophy to teach participants the proper way to fall and get up from the get go which we’ve found creates more confidence in the long run.

Is there an incentive to sign-up early or for classes?

Classes can fill quickly. Therefore, to ensure your space in the class of your choice, register as early as possible.

How can I register for classes?

Registration dates will be available online before the sessions start. You can also download the registration form and register by Fax or email.

Are there weather related class cancellations?

Generally, classes are not cancelled for weather. Should classes need to be cancelled, reasonable efforts will be made to notify participants.

What should I do if my child has never skated before?

Many of our skaters have never skated before and this will be their first experience. Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to allow enough time to get skates on and find your class. While waiting for your class, have the child march in the skates to help learn balance (be sure to stay on the rubber mats to protect the blades).

How do I put the skates on my child?

Make sure that the skater’s foot is fully in the boot by asking them to stand up in the skate. Also, because they look alike, make sure the skates are on the right feet. Just as you would a work boot, tighten the laces over the foot so they are snug and don’t pull if you run your finger over them. Work your way all the way up to the top making sure that all hooks or loops are used then tie the laces like you would a shoe. When skates are laced, the skater should flex his/her foot at the ankle as they are tightened. Laces should not be too tight. Never, ever, tie the extra laces around the skater’s ankle – cut the laces or go up and down the eyes of the skates once or twice. For further assistance, please see a staff member.

How to care for my child’s skates?

Keep a pair of skate guards with skates at all times. If the skater does not have skate guards on, he/she should NEVER walk on anything other than rubber mats. After the skater has finished skating, be sure to dry the blades thoroughly to prevent rust. Clean out the skate guards regularly as well. Do not store skates (between practices) with the skate guards on. Soft terry cloth towel covers are available to cover and protect blades while in the skate bag. After practice, skates should be dried at room temperature (out of the skating bag) to ensure adequate drying and prevention from mold and mildew.

When and where should I get my child’s skate sharpened?

Skaters should start the season with newly sharpened skates. The skates should be sharpened at least every other month for beginners. Figure skates should be sharpened by a reputable skate sharpener who is experienced with and has knowledge of figure skates. Outdoor skating dulls the edges of the blades quicker and, therefore, more frequent sharpening is required. It is recommended that you talk to a staff member to get recommendations depending on your specific sharpening needs.

Where can I purchase skates and skating apparel?

Most athletic stores will carry skates and skating attire can be purchased at skating or dance stores. To ensure a good investment, it is recommended to talk to a staff member and ask for a retail referral before purchasing skates.

What size and type of skates should my child wear?

Any single blade skate is appropriate however we would recommend figure skating skates. Hockey skates can be more challenging to a beginner because of the blade shape. Sizing varies depending on the manufacturer and type of skates and therefore there is no general rule. Skates should fit like a shoe and not be too large. Close foot-to-boot contact gives the skater more support and confidence. Strong ankle support is very important. If you buy used skates, make sure that the ankles are not broken down. A good test for this is to grasp the top of the boot and try to bend it to the side – there should not be much sideways movement to the boot. The best skate to buy is one made from leather. Second hand leather skates are better than new vinyl skates – providing the leather boot has not been worn out/down.

Are helmets required for class? What kind of helmet is acceptable?

Participants enrolled in CanSkate classes are required to wear a helmet. Look for helmets approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) as they are safest and of best quality. CSA approved hockey helmets are designed to withstand repeated bumps and protect against penetration.

What is the appropriate attire for classes?

Skaters should be warm and be able to move freely. Snowsuits are fine but can make it difficult for the skaters to move (and get up). Suitable attire for both boys and girls are warm leggings, a sweater and a jacket. A dress or skirt for girls who progress is fine but warm tights are necessary to remain comfortable. And do not forget mittens or gloves! Only one pair of socks should be worn with skates. Too many socks restrict circulation to the feet and can make the feet cold and uncomfortable.