Ten Things You May Not Know About The World of Figure Skating

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the world of figure skating?  This is a list of some of the things about the sport that ice skating fans may not know about the figure skating world.

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Figure Skating Is Very, Very Expensive

Figure Skating Is Very, Very Expensive
Figure Skating Is Very, Very Expensive. Photo by technotr - Getty Images

Parents of figure skaters pay about $75 to $100 an hour for private figure skating lessons, and the cost of an hour of practice at an ice arena ranges from $5 to $25. Serious competitive figure skaters usually skate two to four hours a day and take at least one private lesson a day.  

In addition to ice time and lessons, figure skating competitions, equipment, travel, costumes, and music add to the above costs. 

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Figure Skating Takes More Time Than Other Competitive Sports

Figure Skating
Figure Skating. Getty Images

Figure skating is a skill that involves much practice which means that figure skaters really do need to practice five to six days a week. Also, one hour of on-ice practice per day is not enough; serious skaters need to be on the ice for at least two to four hours a day.  Supplemental off-ice training in ballet, dance, and conditioning is also necessary. 

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Ice Skating Show Careers May Replace or Delay College

Disney On Ice: Frozen's Royal Sisters Elsa and Anna
Disney On Ice: Frozen's Royal Sisters Elsa and Anna. Feld Entertainment Press Photo

Some figure skaters decide that they should use their skating skills professionally instead of going to college. Disney On Ice and other professional ice skating opportunities give figure skaters that chance.

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Almost All Figure Skating Coaches Are Self-Employed

A Figure Skater and Her Coach
A Figure Skater and Her Coach. Hero Images - Getty Images

There are many full-time figure skating coaches, but it is difficult to make a living by just teaching skating. Those who decide to make coaching figure skating a career, must understand that building up a private student base may take time. It might be necessary to have another source of income to make ends meet.  

Most figure skating coaches are independent contractors, so health insurance, sick leave, and vacation benefits that come with most jobs are not usually available to ice skating teachers.

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Competitve Figure Skaters Give Up a "Normal Life"

Figure Skaters
Figure Skaters. Photo by David Madison - Getty Images

It is not necessary to disrupt a family's entire life for figure skating by moving to a figure skating training center, but ordinary family life may be disrupted by figure skating because of the long hours and expense. Sadly, sometimes marriages fail due to the stress competitive skating puts on a family's life and finances. Some figure skaters suffer from eating disorders. Education can also be disrupted.

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Figure Skating Competitions and Tests Are Very Stressful

A Primary Coach Encourages His Skating Student
A Primary Coach Encourages His Skating Student. Photo by Kiyoshi Ota - Getty Images

Those who want to compete in figure skating competitions must plan and prepare way in advance. Figure skating tests must be passed, music must be cut, programs must be choreographed and practiced over and over again, new figure skating moves must be mastered, costumes must be made, and entry fees must be paid. Competition participation is fun, but also very, very stressful for skaters, parents, and coaches, and there are huge expenses related to traveling to figure skating competitions.

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Male Pair and Male Ice Dancers Sometimes Are "Bought" By Female Partners

Figure Skaters
Figure Skaters. Photo by David Madison - Getty Images

In the figure skating world, there are many, many female skaters, and few male skaters.  For that reason, some male pair and ice dancers may have all their training and skating (and even housing and food) paid for entirely by a female skater who wishes to have a skating partner.

This is interpreted that the male skating partner is "bought" by the female skater and her family. 

Not all male pair and ice dancers get a "free ride," but some do.  Many skating partners divide the costs of training, competitions, lessons, and travel equally.

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Some Figure Skating Parents Are Like "Dance Moms"

Gigi and Luka Becker Smile With Their Mom at the 2011 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships
Wheaton Ice Dane Academy Skaters, Gigi and Luka Becker, Smile With Their Mother at the 2011 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships In Salt Lake City, Utah - December 17, 2010. Photo by JO ANN Schneider Farris

The popular Lifetime television reality show Dance Moms has been praised and criticized by figure skaters since there are some similarities between the figure skating world and what is shown on "Dance Moms." It should be noted that all figure skating parents love their children and will go over and above for their children. 

  • The Ten Commandments for Figure Skating Parents
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Gossip and Bullying May Go On Behind the Scenes

Figure Skating
Figure Skating. Getty Images

Although no one in the sport will admit that he or she participates, gossip occurs in ice arenas on a daily basis.  A small percentage of people in figure skating may cause trouble at skating rinks by spreading rumors about other figure skaters, coaches, or ice skating parents.

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Cults and the Figure Skating World Have Some Things In Common

International Figure Skaters
International Figure Skaters. Photo by Chris McGrath - Getty Images

The figure skating world may seem a bit cult-like to outsiders since "thinking, living, and breathing skating" can consume a competitive figure skater's daily existence. Serious figure skaters may live inside a very isolated "bubble" and have little knowledge of what is going on outside of the skating world. Skaters don't mean to separate themselves from the outside world, but can become obsessed with figure skating.

  • Skating and Cults Have Some Common Characteristics
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