Figure skating is a wonderful way to stay fit and push your body to its limits. Each movement in the sport is learned one at a time, but before you know it you'll have a series of steps mastered and ready to be choreographed.
Figure skating requires a skate with firm support to absorb the impact from jumps and turns. There are plenty of quality brands under $100 that are made with the blades attached. Jackson or Rydell are highly recommended for beginners.
Once you are comfortable with forward and backward stroking, you are ready to tackle a few jumps. Most of the jumps perform the take-off from a backward position. This is actually the easiest way when working with a blade, as the toe pick taps the ice and propels you into the air. Forward jumping, such as the Axel, requires great strength and lift-off power to get the necessary height for rotation. For most students, the Axel will come later.
If you would like to compete in figure skating, there are skate clubs serving every region in the countr; these clubs provide tests for students to graduate from each proficiency level. The Unites States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) has an informative website to help the figure skater prepare and perform her examinations.
Group lessons are an economical way to gain figure skating instruction, and they're readily available at most ice rinks. However, if this is a sport you think you are going to stay with, you will do best with a private coach to watch and monitor your progress. They are especially helpful should you decide to participate in figure skating testing. Not every figure skater wants to compete at national or international levels, but if you are thinking about becoming a coach, you are mandated by the USFSA to pass all the exams.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to start as a toddler to excel in figure skating. This sport is a form of dance applied to the ice, and anybody with commitment to technique, flexibility and artistry will do well. The main obstacle for older skaters to overcome is fear. The blades will whisk you over the arena at the speed of a galloping horse, and the older we get, the more aware we become of the possibility for injury. But, for the fast and the fearless, figure skating is a rewarding sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.