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Questions about Lessons

Questions about Equipment and Skates


Questions about Lessons

 1) When does a skater normally begin taking private lessons?

 2) Can my skater progress in Figure Skating without taking private lessons?

 3) How much do lessons cost?

 4) How many lessons should my child receive per week? 

 5) How do I choose a Coach?

 6) How do I set up a lesson with a coach?

 7) What should I do if I want to change Coaches?  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.


Answers about Lessons

1) When does a skater normally begin taking private lessons?

Taking private lessons is a personal choice made by the skater and his/her parents.  A few skaters begin taking private lessons as soon as they step on the ice.  Some parents prefer to wait to see if their skater truly loves the sport enough to explore it further with the assistance of a Professional Coach.  The sessions at this club are divided into natural blocks of skill progressions.  By the time a skater moves out of CanSkate and into the Junior Session, they are usually ready to try a private lesson and it is recommended.


2) Can my skater progress in Figure Skating without taking private lessons?

The answer is yes and no.  This club offers a wide variety of group style lessons at the Junior (and higher) level designed to enhance the program and allow all skaters to continue to learn the basics of skating.  So, yes – your skater can continue to learn more about skating without taking private lessons.  However, be aware that group lessons can only provide the basic information for a skater.  They cannot provide personal direction or detailed assistance that a private lesson is designed to do.  Private or semi-private lessons are recommended at this stage to allow your skater to progress safely as the skills they are learning become more intricate.


3) How much do lessons cost?

Lessons are 15 minutes in length and the Coaches set their own lesson prices.  They can range between $9 - $14 per lesson.  Most Coaches will offer a 10 minute lesson (pro-rated) if that is the only time left available in their schedule and on the session.


4) How many lessons should my child receive per week? 

This is completely dependent upon the skill level and ability of your skater and the availability of the Coach.  Generally speaking, skaters working in the sessions listed below will take the following number of lessons per week to proceed at a good rate.
CanSkate: 1 lesson a week
Junior: 1 to 2 lessons a week (or consider adding a semi-private lesson)
Intermediate: 1 to 3 lessons a week
Senior:  2 to 5 lessons a week

5) How do I choose a Coach?

Choosing the right Coach for your skater is a very important decision.  Some Coaches excel in the handling of very young children and others are better suited to older skaters.  All of the Coaches at our Club have been professionally trained to teach and are required to be a Coaching Member in good standing with Skate Canada.  The choice of Coach is completely at your discretion. Please check our website for the biography of each of our coaches to familiarize yourself with our excellent Coaching Staff.  You should watch each Coach and observe how he/she handles various levels of skaters to get an accurate picture of which Coach would best suit your child.  You may wish to speak to other parents about the Coaches.  Keep an open mind, however, when approaching another parent and realize that every skater is different and has different needs regarding a Coach.  Feel free to approach any Coach to ask questions about their coaching style but please remember to wait until after a session is over.  You can also check the website for their email addresses and phone numbers.               

6) How do I set up a lesson with a coach?

Inquire with the Coach of your choice whether he/she has any available time during the session on which your child skates.  Set up a trial lesson (if possible) to see if your child and the Coach are a good fit.  Inquire about cost and billing procedures and about what to do if your child must miss a lesson.  All verbal contracts are between you and the Coach.  The Board of Directors of the Club does not become involved with communication between Coaches and skaters/parents.

7) What should I do if I want to change Coaches?  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Coaches are independent contractors who work at the Club but are not employees of the Club.  They are fully aware of the ebb and flow of occasional skater movement between Coaches and will proceed professionally when approached with a request such as this.  This is what is generally acceptable when a parent wishes to change Coaches.

a) Approach the new Coach of choice and inquire whether he/she has any available time.

b) Talk to the current Coach and tell him/her that you intend to make a Coaching change.  The choice to change is completely at your discretion and you are under no obligation to explain your decision in any detail, however, common courtesy dictates that you give the current Coach some reasoning behind your decision.

c) Ask the current Coach to complete a final invoice which you will pay promptly. Be aware that the new Coach cannot begin to teach your child until the previous Coach’s invoice has been paid.

If you have any other questions about coaches or about the procedure of hiring a coach, please contact the Skating Office or call 905-642-8651.


Questions about Equipment and Skates

 1) Can you tell me a bit about equipment for Pre-CanSkate, CanSkate and Juniors?

 2) What specifically will my child need?

 3) What should I look for when purchasing skates?

 4) How do I tie skates properly?

 5) When do I need to sharpen skates?

 6) How do we look after our skates?

 7) Where can I purchase new and used figure skates?

 8) Where can I buy recreational/hockey skates and CSA approved hockey helmets?

 9) Where can I get skates sharpened?

Answers about Equipment and Skates

1) Can you tell me a bit about equipment for Pre-CanSkate, CanSkate and Juniors?

Good equipment is important for comfort and safety, as well as ensuring effective progress. All skaters should have their own skates, preferably fitted by a skate shop or by a qualified skate dealer. Leather boots with firm support around the ankle and properly sharpened blades are essential.  The boots should be fitted with one pair of socks and there needs to be room to move the toes, but the foot should not slide. The heel must fit firmly and should not be able to move up and down.  Moulded boots are often too stiff and inflexible and are not recommended once a skater has progressed past the Stage 4 Badge. 

A good fit in a pair of quality used boots is far better than a pair of lower quality new boots even for the beginner skater.

2)  What specifically will my child need?

Each child will need:

  • Skates (see notes below about proper fit and selection).
  • A properly fitted and adjusted CSA Approved hockey helmet for all Precan, CanSkate and  Adult/Teen (REQUIRED as per Skate Canada Policy).
  • Warm mitts and warm clothing - long johns or pyjamas under warm track pants and a warm sweater for the beginner skater allow for flexibility of movement.
  • If they find they are too warm, then sweat suits, sweaters and warm mitts are okay.
  • Skating dresses for the girls are acceptable but 2 pair of warm tights, mitts and a sweater should still be worn.

3) What should I look for when purchasing skates?

When you are purchasing skates,

  • Have your child put both skates on and leave the laces very loose. 
  • Open up the tongue of the skate as far as it will go.   
  • Slides your child’s foot forward in the boot and ensure that the toes are still flat. 
  • The child should stand up and bends his/her knees until they are standing about ¼ of the way down.
  • Measure the clearance with your middle finger turned sideways inside the boot at the back of the heel.
  • There should be one generous finger’s width between the heel and the back of the boot on both feet.
  • When buying skates with riveted blades, turn the skates over and check for any serious misalignment of the blade. 
  • Have your child walk/stand for several minutes in the tied up skates to ensure that no part of the skate rubs painfully against the foot and to check that the ankles are not dropping to either side.
  • The skate should feel comfortable.

4) How do I tie skates properly?

To tie skates properly

  • Ensure the skate guards are on the skates.
  • Tie laces comfortably over the toes and on the lower part of the foot.
  • Tie snugly over the ankle and instep.
  • Skates should fit snugly around the ankle and heel with some room for movement of the toes.
  • Allow for a small amount of movement at the top so the child’s knee can bend easily.
  • Do not wrap any extra lace around the boot.  Cross lace it back down the hooks.  Cut the lace if it is really too long.

5) When do I need to sharpen skates?

All newly purchase skates must be sharpened.

  • All skates need sharpening approximately every 20-25 hours depending on usage and care. It is very difficult to learn to skate on dull blades.
  • Real figure skates need a special type of sharpening that is not available at arenas. See the section ‘Where to Buy Skates’.

6) How do we look after our skates?

Looking after your skates

  • Guards protect the skate blade from dulling and should be worn while walking on all surfaces. It is not recommended to walk outside due to the possibility of gravel getting into the guards and damaging the blade.
  • Do not walk on cemented areas as this can seriously damage the blades.
  • Dry the blades and the sole plate completely with a cloth after skating.
  • The blades need to be clean and free of any rust, nicks and ridges. Blades should be cleaned and dried thoroughly after each session to prevent rusting.
  • Do not store skates with skate guards on.  Always remove guards before storing skates to prevent rust and allow boots and blades to air after each use.

7) Where can I purchase new and used figure skates?

Where to Buy New and Used Figure Skates

Figure Skating Boutique 

109 Doncaster Avenue, Markham, ON  L3T 1L6        
Telephone: (416) 225-1377 or 1-877-236-1377     

Website: Email:

8) Where can I buy recreational/hockey skates and CSA approved hockey helmets?

Boyds Sports

Units 6, 4 Banff Rd
Uxbridge, Ontario   
Telephone:  (905) 862-2693

Canadian Tire

1090 Hoover Park Drive
Stouffville, Ontario L4A 0K2
Telephone: (905) 640-5800

Sport Chek

1010 Hoover Park Drive
Stouffville, Ontario
Telephone: (905) 640-3919

9)  Where can I get skates sharpened?

Figure Skate Sharpening

Jake’s Figure Skate Sharpening
14 Essex Ave., Thornhill, Ontario   L3T 3Z1     
Telephone:  (905)  889-3276

Figure Skating Boutique
Both locations, as above

Hockey Skate Sharpening

Boyd's Sports in Uxbridge

Sport Chek