Mandy Wallace a lifelong skater, first put her boy Wyatt in skates when he was a toddler.
"He didn't really find his feet until he was 3," Mandy says, "But by 4 he was booking it around the rink," she adds.
Somewhere between the ages of 3 and 5, kids are ready to start on skates, local instructors say. And falling and learning how to get back up again is one of the first things kids are taught when they begin lessons. That’s because they're going to fall — a lot. Even if a child's first time on the ice is a daunting experience, very quickly kids can learn the confidence and skills they need to keep going. It’s from there that the joy and love of the sport grows, and there are local programs here to get them started!
READ MORE: Pick up the January issue (or read the digital edition) to see our chat with Scott Hamilton about kids learning to ice skate. Plus, learn how two local kids are taking their skating abilities to the next level.
Local Ice Skating Programs for Kids
At Centennial Sportsplex
222 25th Ave. N., Nashville
Nashville Skating Academy (NSA)
For skaters ages 3 - 15. Recreational skating to national and international competitions through learn-to-skate and figure skating training as well as ice hockey. Snow Plow Sam 1 class for ages 3 - 5 and Basic 1 - 8 for ages 6 and older. All participating skaters may advance into youth competitive skating or hockey.
The NSA Learn-To-Skate program runs a seven-week series year-round on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:45 - 6:45 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:45 - 10:45 a.m. The Basic class package is $155 per seven-week series for one class per week; complete package is $275 per seven-week series for all classes offered in the session. Skaters must pass Basic 1 and 2 before signing up for this class.
For skaters in level Basic 5 or above, the next program is Rising Stars Bridge focusing on low curry, spins or jumps, and moves in the field. Seven classes cost $155 and the next session runs Jan. 6 - Feb. 17.
At Ford Ice Center
5264 Hickory Hollow Pkwy. Antioch
The Scott Hamilton Skating Academy (SHSA)
Learn-to-Skate offers recreational and competitive skaters a chance to learn how to skate in figure skating and ice hockey.
- The Scott’s Tots program for ages 3 - 5 and Basic Skills 1 - 6 for ages 6 - 15 teach kids agility, balance, coordination and speed.
- Learn-to-Skate hockey is for ages 6 - 15 to learn the fundamentals of ice hockey.
- Freeskate 1 - 6 for all ages is for progressive skating skills like transitions, spins and jumps to guide skaters to recreational and competitive figure skating.
- Ages 16 and older, beginner to advanced, is for beginning and experienced skaters who want to improve their skills.
A new session begins every seven weeks, year round. Classes are held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Ford Ice Center. Cost is $145 per seven-week session which consists of one class per week for seven weeks; $230 per seven-week session for three classes per week.
The SHSA also offers a Theatre on Ice program for skaters in Basic 4 and up. This program runs for eight weeks and costs $90 for each session. Kids learn how to combine skating skills with theater with an emphasis on originality, costuming, artistry and musicality.
G.O.A.L!, the Nashville Predators Get Out and Learn! program, is a free on-ice youth hockey series for boys and girls ages 4 - 12 with no prior hockey experience. This four- or two-week program introduces kids to hockey through one-hour sessions focused on forward strides, stop, starts, turns and crossovers, backward skating, stickhandling, passing and shooting. The next two-week session is for U12 (ages 9 - 12) beginning Monday, Jan 8. Sign up for the Future Session Notification List so you’ll know when the next session becomes available.
Try Hockey for Free is program for ages 4 - 8 that allows kids to give hockey a try during one session only. It’s open to boys and girls. Basic equipment (helmet, gloves, stick, shin guards and skates) are provided at no charge. Keep an eye on the website for the next time it takes place.
If your child already knows how to skate and wants to play hockey, sign him up for Little Preds Learn to Play. The program provides first-time participants weekly sessions of age-appropriate on-ice instruction and certified coaching, led by National Hockey League Alumni, in a fun, safe atmosphere. Each participant receives all-new equipment, customized by the Nashville Predators. The next six-week session runs Jan. 22 - Feb. 26 from 6 - 6:45 p.m. and costs $99.
Ages 4 - 16 not ready for league play but who have a basic foundation of skating can sign up for PREDecessor. Kids must have completed either G.O.A.L!, Learn-to-Skate or a Try Hockey for Free program first. Teams are divided into 8U, 12U and 18U. Each six-week session is $65, but kids must have their own hockey equipment or participate in rental options. Kids must register through USA Hockey.
Ford Ice Center is also home to the Nashville Predators Amateur Hockey Association, a youth house league for boys and girls ages 5 - 18. The winter, spring and fall sessions have 18 practices/games on Saturdays. Summer session has 18 sessions.
At Centennial Sportsplex
Public skate times vary each day for the north and south rink inside Ford Ice Center. Cost is $7 ages 13 and older, $6 ages 5 - 12, free ages 4 and younger. Skate rental is $2. Rent skate aids (skooters) for $3 for the day for ages 7 and younger 9 (there’s a limited supply).
At Ford Ice Center
Public skate times vary each day for the north and south rink inside Ford Ice Center. Cost is $7.50 adults, $6.50 ages 3 - 10, free ages 2 and younger. Skate rental is $3. They have buckets to stack up waist-high to help beginners keep their balance on the ice (free to use).
Nashville Figure Skating Club
A non-profit organization open to anyone with interest in the sport and art of figure skating. Kids can develop skating talents and pursue their dreams. Programs include special freestyle sessions, on and off-ice classes, and private lessons as well as competitive training and testing opportunities for developing skaters. Many of the skaters are regional, sectional, national and international competitors, too. They are a member of the United States Figure Skating Association.
Nashville Junior Predators
If your child has what it takes to move up to competitive hockey, try out for the Nashville Junior Predators. Kids are required to participate in all posted tryout sessions. Teams available include 8U AA - 18U AAA. The U16 team captured the CCM Nashville World Invite championship last October.
Nashville Skating Academy
Nashville Skating Academy offers singles or pairs in their advanced figure skating programs. These programs are offered in a recreational level to U.S. collegiate, junior national, sectional and regional competitive level.
Nashville Youth Hockey League
The Nashville Youth Hockey League is home of the Nashville Flyers. Teams available are 6U - 16U.
Scott Hamilton Skating Club
You’ll become a member of U.S. Figure Skating when you join the Scott Hamilton Skating Club (SHSC). SHSC is a non-profit organization that provides a fun creative space for skaters to advance and grow artistically, technically and personally in figure skating. They host a yearly competition as well as participate in Ford Ice Center/Scott Hamilton Skating Academy’s ice shows. SHSC’s membership year runs July 1 - June 30 and new members are accepted year-round. Membership fees vary and range $25 - $150 each year.
Southern Youth Travel Hockey League
Predators Select team as well as the Nashville Flyers travel team. League play is available in age groups Squirt (10U), Peewee (12U), Bantam (14U) and Midget (16U and 18U) in divisions AA, A1 and A2. Games are played locally and in other locations that require travel time.