Monday, December 18, 2017

How Much Should Your Child Train During the Holidays?

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

By Jo Ann Schneider Farris

When the holidays come around, parents of athletes are faced with making the decision on whether or not their children should continue to train. Should practice and lesson schedules remain the same? Some sports may require two to three days a week of concentrated practice, but almost all serious competitive figure skaters practice five to six days a week and spend at least two to three hours a day on the ice. Is it really necessary to keep up that pace in late December?

The answer to these questions may depend on each individual athlete’s level, needs, and goals:

The holidays might be a great time to take some time off from training if there are no pending competitions, shows, exhibitions, or tests scheduled in January or in late December. Spending time with family and friends and sleeping late during the holidays might just be what an athlete needs after a continuous year of training. When the holidays end, not only will the skater feel refreshed, but so will his or her parents. Everyone deserves some time away from routine and holiday time might be the best time for a break. .

Obviously, skaters that have qualified for the national and international competitions can’t afford to take any time off. Many ice arenas are closed on Christmas Day, but ice time is usually available at most rinks on Christmas Eve and also on New Year’s Day for at least part of those days. Rink closures during the holiday season may indirectly force elite athletes to modify their training. Even one or two days away from the rink may be all a skater needs.

Consider modifying the usual training schedule:

Another idea is to continue to skate, but to do so with a modified and/or shortened schedule. Consider getting in an hour or two of practice in during the morning hours so that the rest of the day is free for fun holiday activities, shopping, and recreation. Perhaps think about giving your child New Year’s Day off so that the athlete can stay up late on New Year’s Eve.

Discuss holiday training alternatives with your child’s skating coach:

Coaches may not like losing the revenue from students who take time off during the holiday season, but will understand that skaters also need some time to recharge. Don’t be afraid to talk to your child’s coach about how to make holiday training and relaxation mix.

Jo Ann Schneider Farris has written hundreds of articles about skating. Her articles have been published in SKATING Magazine, The Professional Skater, Recreational Ice Skating, and have been included in US Figure Skating Online,,, and She has been’s Guide to Figure Skating since 2006. In 2010, Jo Ann represented at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She has been a competitive skater and skating coach, and has directed both Ice Skating Institute and U.S. Figure Skating programs. In addition, her own three children are competitive figure skaters who have competed multiple times in both pair skating and ice dancing at the regional, sectional, and junior national levels. In addition, Jo Ann is the author of How to Jump and Spin on Inline Skates. She is a member of U.S. Figure Skating, Ice Skating Institute, the Professional Skaters Association, and the Broadmoor Skating Club.

Contact Jo Ann at

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