Can You Be Too Old to Begin Figure Skating?

It's Never Too Late, But You'll Need a Good Coach

A mother and daughter ice skating. Hero Images / Getty Images

When is it too late to begin figure skating? If a skater begins skating as a teen or after she is 18 years old, is it too late to become a serious competitive figure skater? Is it possible to learn double and triple jumps as a young adult? Read on to learn the answers to these questions.

It's Never Too Late

There is never an age that it is too late to begin figure skating, but to be able to learn to land double and triple jumps does take time. It may be too late to master those difficult jumps if a skater begins skating in puberty or later.

The skaters who become top competitors most likely began to figure skate when they were little children. Those who decide to pursue competitive skating have taken years to pass United States Figure Skating tests and also have taken considerable time to learn jumps. Passing tests and mastering jumps takes time.

Children seem to have the athletic ability to eventually do these jumps and as they grow older, that ability changes. It is much easier to learn axels and double and triple jumps when you are young. Sadly, starting figure skating too late in life can affect an individual's goals in the sport.

Have Realistic Expectations

Don't avoid learning figure skating just because you're no longer a child. While realizing a dream of competing in the Olympics or in top national competitions, may be an unrealistic goal, plenty of realistic -- and fun! -- opportunities exist.

There are many options available to adults and teen figure skaters. There are adult competitions and even adult figure skating tests. Some adults skate recreationally and never compete. Others decide to do ice dancing. There are adults that compete in pair skating.

Skating is a lifetime sport. Don't let your age discourage you from enjoying it.

Getting Started as an Adult

U.S. Figure Skating and the Ice Skating Institute both have a variety of options for adult figure skaters, and test and competition opportunities are available at the local, national, and international levels. U.S. Figure Skating, the largest and most important group for professional and nonprofessional skaters—both children and adults—says that it welcomes adults who want to enter the sport, and offers guidance, coaching, and information to help. The organization notes:

"Whether you are an 'adult who became a skater' or a 'skater who became an adult,' the U.S. Figure Skating Adult Skating Program has a place for everyone to learn, enjoy and participate through a variety of skating programs, proficiency tests and competitions on the local, national and international level."

The organization recommends that as an aspiring adult figure skater, you find a qualified coach through its affiliated Learn to Skate program. At the first few lessons, you'll learn the basics: gliding on two feet, doing a dip, and even how to stop. It may seem difficult at first, but with practice—and the help of a good teacher—you'll be on your way to becoming an adult figure skater before you know it.