Thinking outside the rink: figure skating during lockdown.

Date: 6 May 2021   Author: Energise Me

For many athletes, lockdown meant saying goodbye to their training plan and a potential long break from their loved sport. Ava, a 12-year-old figure skater from Hampshire, got inventive to keep her training going off the rink.

Ava figure skating on a homemade ice rink in her garden during lockdown


Falling in love with figure skating

My name is Ava, I’m 12 years old and I compete for GB in Figure Skating. I love dancing and running and I like to cook. My favourite food is mushy peas and my favourite school subject is PE.

I’ve been skating since I was 3. You could never get me to sit still! But one day we went to a Christmas Figure skating show and I was in awe. I sat still staring at the skaters. Ever since then I’ve loved it! My mum took me to lessons, and I’ve skated ever since.

Funnily enough, one of the skaters from the show is now my coach! Before COVID and everything, I would travel all over the country to train and skate. Basingstoke is my home rink but I also skate in Slough, Coventry and Bracknell.

In a normal week before all the lockdowns, I’d be up at 4 am most morning to travel to a rink and skate before school before then going back to the rink after school. I also do dance classes and leave school earlier two days a week to go to have a longer training session on the rink. Mondays are my only day off skating but I have to fill that time doing homework!

My coaches have been amazing, keeping me active and doing zoom calls to support me.

Training in lockdown

The lockdowns have been hard but I have been coping. It’s been stressful being in and out of lockdown. I just want to be able to get back to skating at my home rink. I’ve skated since I was so young it’s part of my personality so having that taken away was a struggle.

It was a culture shock not being up at 4 am. Like with any sport you need consistent training to keep up your standard. This stopping and starting all the time has been frustrating. My coaches have been amazing though, keeping me active and doing zoom calls to support me.

There’s loads of off ice stuff we can do. I have a gym area at home with loads of stuff in and I’ve been doing about three classes a day whilst at home. I’ve been doing loads of jump classes as well as PT sessions, strength training, ballet, yoga, plyometrics and flexibility sessions.

The PT and strength sessions are hard when I have jump classes after my legs are like jelly. I also have a spinner that lets me spin as I would on the ice and I really like practising on that. A lot of the classes help me perfect my technique. Even my flexibility class is done in my skates.

It’s been good having all these classes to keep me busy and fit but it’s just not the same. I can see improvement in my technique since we’ve been off working on it though, which is good

We even made our own ice rink in the garden!

Getting inventive

At one point, when it was really cold, we even made our own ice rink in the garden! We put down some tarpaulin and then flooded it and let it freeze in the cold. It was hard to skate on as it was bumpy but good fun. The ‘rink’ didn’t last long though. Mum even got on the ice, which was fun.

We also got me some inline skates to try. They were entertaining but when I went back on the ice, in-between lockdowns, it felt weird. It messed me up so I won’t use them again. It felt so strange, and they aren’t really anything like ice skates.


Getting back on the ice

I was lucky that I was able to get back on the ice and go to Iceland in June. I went for a week skate camp and it was my first time back on the ice since March. It was scary as there was lots of people I didn’t know. I was nervous having not skated in months, but I got to know everyone, and it felt good to be back. I also went to a skate camp in Belgium for three weeks in July.

That was my last time on the ice until March this year. I’m part of an elite squad so I’ve been able to get back to skating through elite hubs.

It’s been really good to be back on the ice but I can’t wait to get back to my home rink. I love skating with my friends and learning new programs so I am looking forward to getting back to normal. I am currently trying to land a triple jump. I’ve almost done it but I just fall over at the moment.

I love going to competitions, the early mornings and the car journeys. Meeting other people at the rink and competitions is also something I love about skating and can’t wait to do again.

My advice for anyone else who wants to get into figure skating is: If you want to start skating be prepared for bruises, cuts and fallen off toenails.

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