Have you ever watched Olympic figure skaters and wondered how they become so skilled? It takes practise, dedication and commitment and starts at an early age.
The coaches and skaters at Sungod Skating Club in Delta offer a good example of the development of young athletes: children learn the basics in the CanSkate program and have the opportunity to work their way up through the competitive ranks.
One of those Sungod skaters, 13-year-old Jonathan Wu, finished seventh in Novice men’s (16-under) at the national championships in January.
There are many others on their way up, like 10-year-old Alson Chang, who is winding up his first year in the Intermediate Program of STARSkate – an acronym for Skills, Tests, Achievement and Recognition.
Young skater up for the challenge
Alson, who took up the sport in 2016 and now skates six days a week, found Intermediate tough at first. “It was three times harder than Junior was last year, but now it’s a bit easier,” he says. He’s worked closely with coaches Kevin Bursey and Lani-Jo Dickson to make the transition upward. “They’re fun and sometimes funny, and they give me a lot of challenging skills that I can work on,” Alson says.
He also enjoys taking part in club events and was part of Team Russia during Sungod’s recent Olympic Challenge. He liked the format and had fun skating on a team with older skaters that he looks up to.
Athletes track successes, struggles
Knowing what works and what doesn’t is important to mastering skills, and Alson records both in his daily skating journal. The idea came from his coaches, who encourage their skaters to include training and competition information. Alson, working hard lately to nail his double Salchow jump, has already written about that.
“When I have problems (with a skill) I write it in there, so the next time I’m on the ice I can remember what I did,” he says. There’s good things in there, too, like the moments he first accomplished a double loop, double flip and double Lutz.
Fitness in the family
No doubt inspired watching his older brother skate, Kenson Chang, 7, is also in figure skating and is in the Star 1 program of STARSkate. Mom Jasmine Chang says she and her husband, Allan, are happy both boys are keeping active.
Skating competitively is also instilling a strong work ethic in her older son, she adds. “Alson gets up very early to do exercise; he’s getting very strong. It’s a very good sport for both of them.”
If you’d like to get your child involved with this nationally recognized skating club, go online here to register or find more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the club on Facebook.