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Thread: 6 year old: work towards tests or program

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    6 year old: work towards tests or program

    I am trying to understand what makes the most sense. My daughter just turned 6 and is about ready for her Pre-Pre MITF test. Other kids at our rink that have not tested are spending time working on a program. Does that make sense? Our coach insists that we work towards the tests and developing skills and elements, which I feel makes sense. My daughter did a few shows that we spend 3 weeks putting together a program and she did good. I don't see the need to compete in basic skills competitions that will just waste our time training for. Am I right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dssguy99 View Post
    I am trying to understand what makes the most sense. My daughter just turned 6 and is about ready for her Pre-Pre MITF test. Other kids at our rink that have not tested are spending time working on a program. Does that make sense? Our coach insists that we work towards the tests and developing skills and elements, which I feel makes sense. My daughter did a few shows that we spend 3 weeks putting together a program and she did good. I don't see the need to compete in basic skills competitions that will just waste our time training for. Am I right?
    Let your 6 year old continue to have fun learning getting her pre-pre elements and moves in the field ready to test. Then after passing her pre-pre elements like jumps and spins, get a program for her. Don't waste money on a no test program/music/costume/entery fees.

    By the way, I edit music as Singerskates Music
    https://sites.google.com/site/singerskatesmusic/

    The lower the skating level the lower the music editing fee. For 6 year olds, I recommend score/soundtrack music to their favourite kids movie or TV show. But do not chose Frozen because all coaches detest it.

  3. #3
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    At that level, competitions are pretty much just for fun. Many kids like to get out there on their own and show what they can do, or like skating in costumes to music, so getting to compete is a reward for all the practicing and often keeps kids interested when otherwise they might get bored and quit.

    If the long-term goal is to be a successful competitor at higher levels, then building solid skills early on is more useful than practicing programs using skills already mastered.

    At some point a would-be competitor needs to start competing. The first competition experiences will be about learning how to compete, getting comfortable with being judged and being alone on the ice with all eyes watching. So building up to the important competitions with some lower level or less important ones along the way is useful.

    But it doesn't need to be the focus at the beginning of the process unless the skater shows a strong interest in competing.

  4. #4
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    It sounds like you and your daughter's coach are on the same page, so what's the big deal? Other kids might love doing programs to music and might not have the attention span to do MIF at age 5-6.

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    Thanks thats what I thought, we need to keep working on elements and moving towards tests. We just did a show and she loved it. That was good for her and she is ready to continue learning elements. I skate with her a lot and that is exciting for her, so I am not worried about her getting bored. A lot of the other parents at our rink don't understand the importance of learning elements and taking the tests. I am not too happy with our club right now because they don't have any real goals for the kids (we are not actual members of the club anyways). Her coach is great though and is a bit distanced from the rest of them. For now its good, we get a lot of free ice time and the coach is always there for us. Other kids at the rink who started around 4-5 took their pre-pre MITF at 8-9 and they are all asking me why we are going to take it at 6. I wasn't sure if my approach was wrong or not. My thinking is to learn the elements...do a show here and there...and take the tests and start doing real competitions that mean something and not some Mickey Mouse basic skills comps.

  6. #6
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    I agree with your approach. I was there in your position years ago thinking the same thing.

    My daughter started MIF lessons and passed the Pre-Prelim one at age 6. We continued to use the MIF tests as a tool to improve her basic skating skills. Each time she worked to pass a test, the quality of her skating got visibly better.

    Best wishes to your daughter.

  7. #7
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    My son started skating at 6 and took the pre-pre MITF at 7. Age is just a number. Every kid is different.

    I think the key is balance. Young kids need to have fun skating while still moving forward and learning. But each kid is different in what they need for it to stay fun. I worry my son’s coach pushes him too hard and doesn’t make it fun enough so sometimes I insist on fun stuff. For instance, coach wasn’t keen on letting kiddo do the holiday show but he really wanted to do it and had a lot of fun with it. When coach stresses my kiddo out I skip a lesson and take him to public skate instead. Coach is very good. But I know my kid.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by singerskates View Post
    Don't waste money on a no test program/music/costume/entry fees.
    Completely disagree. Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    At that level, competitions are pretty much just for fun. Many kids like to get out there on their own and show what they can do, or like skating in costumes to music, so getting to compete is a reward for all the practicing and often keeps kids interested when otherwise they might get bored and quit.

    If the long-term goal is to be a successful competitor at higher levels, then building solid skills early on is more useful than practicing programs using skills already mastered.

    At some point a would-be competitor needs to start competing. The first competition experiences will be about learning how to compete, getting comfortable with being judged and being alone on the ice with all eyes watching. So building up to the important competitions with some lower level or less important ones along the way is useful.

    But it doesn't need to be the focus at the beginning of the process unless the skater shows a strong interest in competing.
    100% agree with this.

    I get the feeling the OP thinks it has to be either elements/tests or competitions/shows. Over the years, I have only met 1 kid that actually preferred practicing MIF patterns over anything else. All the rest of the kids tend to think MIF are BORING! I think most kids would prefer a mix.

    It really does not have to be one or the other. I remember my daughter's ballet teacher once saying that ballet requires recitals since it was a "performing art." I think thesame also applied to ice skating.

  9. #9
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    No, I was not saying it should be one or the other. I am just thinking it makes more sense to spend time developing skills and doing a show at our rink every now and then. At 6 years old the kids can only/want to practice so much I think. My daughter skates with other kids who do 2 30 minute lessons a week and all they are doing is a program, yet their skills are around basic 3-4. I just don't see the point of that.

    I guess my situation is different because my daughter loves skating. She does a few lessons a week and I also skate with her a few hours a week, which she enjoys. We do some choreography to songs she likes, so this keeps her interested to have fun. We get a lot of ice time which is why she is progressing faster. But if the kid is only skating 1-2 hours a week, I just don't see why they are working on a program just yet.

  10. #10
    Because backflips are sexy.... Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    I agree with those who have said a mix of things for her. She's only 6 and since she loves skating so much already, it shouldn't be hard to keep it interesting for her. That way she can experience the technical and artistic/show side of the sport: Best of both worlds!

    As someone said above (I think it was concorde) many kids dread MITF and are bored out of their little skulls with it.

    I was strange like that as a kid; loved them and I totally miss figures and want them to come back even to this day.

  11. #11
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    There are generally 2 schools of thought when it comes to programs. One is that the program includes only skills the skater has already mastered, so that the program looks more or less polished from day one, and there is nothing too challenging for the skater. The other school of thought is a "developmental" program that includes skills the skater may not have already mastered, but the coach/choreographer anticipates is achievable over the course of the season for which the program is planned. So the program starts off extremely challenging, with the expectation that the skater will grow into the program. There is no right or wrong way to do programs, but my opinion is that a developmental program is also a tremendously valuable learning tool and every bit as important to skater development as just focusing on skills and elements in a context outside of programs. Additionally, having challenging skills put into a program also motivates the skater to learn those skills better in a non-program context. The right balance between developmental program and skills makes for a powerful learning environment for the skater.

    That said, why else would you do with a program other than compete with it? I think what's important here is which level you choose to compete at, that aligns with the pedagogical goals of a developmental program. In your case, it sounds like your child is now beyond basic skills, so competing basic skills is not developmental, it is pausing her progress for an inconsequential competition. If you want to compete at all, why not aim for the next level up?

    Of course, I say all this assuming the skater is personally driven to progress and succeed. You know your child best, and if she really does enjoy competing basic skills, then by all means do that.

  12. #12
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    I agree that a mix is probably optimal for a child. However, each child is different, so what's in that mix could vary from one family to another.

    My daughter never dreaded MIF, and working on them was just one of several skating activities that she did. I think it did help her a lot with her skating skills. I have met a few freestyle skaters who complained about MIFs. My daughter gravitated towards ice dancing, and I can't recall any complaints of MIFs from her ice dancing friends.

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