Timing of Skill Acquisition
How long does it take to land certain jumps? Of course there are as many answers as there are skaters because so many factors influence progress. (see the Free Skating Performance Chart) Competitive skaters usually master skills sooner, not just because of their talent but because they tend to skate more often. Training volume does play a large part in how quickly skaters will master skills but age, maturity,  basic skill, talent, mental and physical preparedness and coaching are equally important so the answer really is different for each skater. 

It is more accurate to answer in total training volume (hours skated so far) rather than in years skated because expressing training in years doesn't tell you how much the skater has skated, only that a certain period of time has gone by. To say an Axel will take 18 months or three weeks is meaningless since any given skater might  train anywhere from one to six or more hours a week and anywhere from six to twelve months per year. Answering in hours better illustrates the relationship between skills achieved and an appropriate training volume. Even expressing volume in hours doesn't tell the whole story since skaters who skate consistently rather than sporadically are likely to progress quicker. Much also depends on the quality of training time.

The Average Timing of Skill Acquisition chart to the left shows a schedule of skill acquisition based on total on-ice training volume. That means the number of hours the skater has skated since the first day he stepped on the ice, not just the time spent training each jump. Each jump is assumed to be fully rotated, performed correctly and fairly consistent. The hours are shown in the middle, the skills concerned are shown in the coloured bars. For a list of the short forms for jumps,
click here. To determine a skater's total training volume please see Annual Training Volume and Determining Weely Training Volume .
STARSkate       Competitive
(total training volume expressed in hours)
Mastering jumps does not progress evenly- one jump every six months. If that were the case, skaters would be doing quintuple jumps before their twenties. It takes relatively longer to master more difficult jumps. For example, there is a large gap in learning between mastering a Double Lutz and a Double Axel. This is normal and should be expected and reflects the need to create and sustain increased rotational speed. Relatively few skaters who enter the Competitve Stream ever master it never mind recreational skaters. There might be 300 Competitive Stream skaters in all of Canada who can consistently perform clean Double Axels. They are rarely if ever seen in the STARSkate Stream.

It might for helpful for skaters to understand that this gap does exist and that all skaters will take extra time to learn certain jumps. Knowing they can expect a delay may mitigate some of the anxiety and frustration many skaters experience and questions many parents may have during the time it takes to learn difficult jumps.