- Parent Category: Competitions
Whether figure skaters are grouped by age and skill level depends on the competition. Sometimes you get kids split up by age within a particular skill level but usually your skater will be competing against kids who are at the same skill level but can be of widely varying ages. A kid who starts skating late will be competing against younger kids who started early. Boys and girls usually compete separately but sometimes at lower levels they compete against each other.
You'll also find some ugliness where some coaches don't encourage their kids to compete at an appropriate level so that they have a better chance of getting medals. These people seem to really be missing the point of having kids competing in the first place if you ask me but it's something to be aware of and be prepared for. There's nothing you can do about it but you might want to prepare your kid for the cold reality that she's skating against an older and/or more accomplished skater.
I guess on the other side of the argument is that it's hard to send a kid off to competition at a higher level if they're sure to loose but your coach should be providing the appropriate guidance on this. Sometimes your coach may suggest entering a competition for the experience even if your kid isn't going to be a contender for medals. Just make sure the expectations are set appropriately to avoid crushing disappointment.
Competitions are are rare occasion for our skaters to have the whole ice to themselves and have an audience to perform their best in front of. So, if you can take some of the emphasis off the competitive aspects and focus on competitions as a performance opportunity - a chance to show the world what you've learned - that may be a way to de-emphasize the competitive aspects when your kid isn't in a position to win.