Is it required that my child's coach attend the competition?

Is it required that my child's coach attend the competition? Or can my daughter just go alone. She has a coach but it can get pricey when your paying all the expenses for a coach (not that they don't deserve it because I think they do) but could she go to a competition without her coach?

Read more: Is it required that my child's coach attend the competition?

When should my skater move up to the next level?

When your figure skater should move from one level to the next level of competition, isn't always obvious. It's a little more clear in the competitive stream compared to the STARSkate stream. Your coach should provide guidance on this but the reality is that they may have some reasons for moving a skater up a level or keaping them at the same level.

It's not necessary to move up a level at the start of the skating season. There are good reasons to not move up a level and some not-so-good reasons. Some reasons why your coach may not want your skater to move up a level include:

  • Your skater isn't ready to move up
  • Your skater might have the skills but isn't psychologically ready to move up
  • Your skater is showing good development and if they stay at the current level, they have a better chance of winning medals
  • Your coach may have several skaters at the higher level and would prefer to keep the skaters spread across categories to balance their work load.

I recently watched a skater at our club move up quickly from one level to another and then spend a year finishing at the bottom of every competition. She continued to train hard and by the end of the next year was getting podium finishes at bigger competitions. In her case, moving ahead when she may not have been ready seemed to work out. She didn't get demoralized and her extra year at that competitive level gave her some extra confidence for the second year.

We've been cautious in moving our daughter up to the next level because she's not as confident and more likely to get discouraged by consistent failures.

I've been using the following as a guide on when it makes sense to move up from one competitive level to the next. If you skater has finished on the podium in a couple of competitions which have other strong competitors, or if they've been consistent in placing well (say top 5), then it's probably time to look at moving up a level. When you're in a competitive stream where you're getting a scorecard at competitions, the skaters point score will also give you an indication.

The decision to move up a level is a lot more clear when you're in the competitive stream where each skater is receiving a scorecard each time they compete. Their score is measured on a scale that measures their performance against the best possible execution of each of the elements in their program. In other words, their age and the level that they're skating at is irrelevant to the score that they receive. So, in theory, the scores that a skater in the pre-juvenile level will be less than those in the Juvenile level, which will be less than the pre-Novice level and so on. As a result, if your Juvenile skater is getting as many points as some of the Pre-Novice skaters, it may be time to think about moving up a level.

Is 8 yrs too old start competitive figure skating?

I've written a couple of articles on this topic already. The answer is that age is probably not the critical factor in deciding when to start competing. It really depends on the child's skating ability and their emotional preparedness for competition.

Read more: Is 8 yrs too old start competitive figure skating?

How much do competions cost for Skate Canada?

The price isn't dictated by Skate Canada, it's generally set by the club that is hosting the competition. You're looking at somewhere from $80 to $95 for a single event at a STARSkate competition. If you do multiple events at the same competition, you often get a small price break on the additional events.

What happens at a kids ice skating competition?

Mostly, there's a lot of figure skating.

The kids are broken up into flights (smaller groups) of skaters in each category. So, if there are 100 kids competing in the Preliminary Level Girls FreeSkate, you'd typically see 10 flights of 10 kids. Each flight gets their own warm-up time of about 5 minutes and if the flights are larger, sometimes they'll have two warm-up periods for each flight.

Read more: What happens at a kids ice skating competition?

How old does a child have to be to go to competitions?

I don't think there is a bottom age limit on competing. If your kid has mastered the skills required to compete in a "pre-preliminary A" level of skating then they can enter the competition (subject to any other terms and conditions applied by the host). The youngest child I've seen at competition is 6 but I'm sure they show up younger than that.

Read more: How old does a child have to be to go to competitions?

Are skaters grouped by age at competitions as well as skill level?

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.

Read more: Are skaters grouped by age at competitions as well as skill level?

When do we have to arrive at the rink before the competition?

Your coach should tell you when to be there but expect to be there at least one hour before your kid's skate time. Figure skating competition schedules can change and they often run ahead of schedule, so it's really important to be there well ahead of time.

Read more: When do we have to arrive at the rink before the competition?

What do we do before the competition?

Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Ok. Not really. I'm a fanatical anti-smoker and I'd never advocate such an activity. Actually, I don't even know what this questions is about.

I guess your skater should be warming up. Stretching. Avoiding heavy foods or too much junk food or anything that won't sit well in a stressed-out stomach.

What happens when they go on the ice at a competition?

Before she performs her routine, there will be a warm-up time for a group of skaters (known as a flight of skaters). There is an announcement of all the skaters that should be on the ice but your kid and coach should already be rink-side when the announcement is made.

Read more: What happens when they go on the ice at a competition?

Is my kid too young for competition?

Well, I'm probably not the right guy to ask. You'll see kids as young as 4 or 5 at competitions. I think a lot of this depends on the kid and the attitude of the coach and parents. If your daughter is really confident and is game to compete, then it's worth considering but you really want to keep the pressure off and the emphasis on fun. It's a good idea to go and watch a competition or two to get a feel for what to expect.

Read more: Is my kid too young for competition?

How does the scoring work in skating?

I don't have a clue.

All I know, is that there are two different systems in Canada right now. Very low level skaters use an older system. When they compete, the only results that are announced are the rankings of all the skaters.

Read more: How does the scoring work in skating?

What about hair and makeup for competitions?

Yeah, this part gets insane. Please see the response to “Is this sport really whacked?”. Your coach should be able to set the expectations for you but here is my synopsis of the situation. Your daughter's hair can't have any fly-away bits.

Read more: What about hair and makeup for competitions?

How good do I have to be at figure skating to compete in provincials?

Short answer. Pretty darn good.

To compete at provincials, you have to place well in a qualifying competition. The top placing skaters in each section earn the right to go on to the provincial competition. You're going to be shooting for a podium position and sometimes you have to be number 1 or 2.

Stand and Deliver

I spent a big part of a recent weekend at our section's skating competition and I was struck by one of the unique aspects of the sport of figure skating. The requirement to step out onto the ice and perform your routine flawlessly and be judged on that performance sets it apart from many other sports.

Read more: Stand and Deliver