OK. So our coach says we're going to a competition. What's it going to be like? What do I have to do?

Figure Skating Competitions

Lots of stuff you have learn.

Registering for a Figure Skating Competition

First, you have to register for the competition. Your coach may suggest attending a particular competition and give you the paperwork for it. You may have to go to the Web to print out the forms on your own. Most likely the forms will have to be signed by someone official at your club that says that your kid can enter that competition. Once you've filled out the forms and they're signed by the club, you'll likely have to mail them into the club that is hosting the competition. Registration usually closes about a month before the competition. Keep in mind that a lot of these things are run by volunteer organizations so they need a little more time to make things happen.

Before the Competition

Before competition day your kid will be practicing, practicing and practicing. While she's busy with that, you need to make sure that you have two copies of her music in the format required by the competition. Most clubs still expect CDs. Two copies are required in case the CD player doesn't like one of them. My daughter stood at Centre ice for about 5 minutes waiting for her music to start because the player didn't like either disc. They ended up having to move to a different sound system which was fine, but not a smooth start to a skate. For this reason, I recommend burning the two discs on different types of media, at different speeds and ideally on different drives. Usually slower speeds burn better than higher speeds but a lot depends on the CD burner. The skater's name should be on the disc as well as the name of the music, and the level of competition (preliminary, junior bronze, etc). Check the documentation from the competition to see if there is anything else that needs to be on it.

Competition Outfit

Oh, and make sure she has an appropriate outfit for the competition. Most girls like a special outfit for performance that is different from their everyday training outfit. And performance outfits are often a little less insulated and a little more open. Think bare back and bare arms. And yes, they usually cost more and are a lot more sparkly. Sparkly seems to be very important for figure skating. No matter how much you spend on a dress, someone will have spent more. Someone will have had a custom dress made and decorated with cubic zirconia. Generally, as you move up to higher levels, you coach will want the outfit to suit the style of music. So, if she's skating to Yankee Doodle, you can probably imagine an appropriate outfit.

Boys can get away with more basic outfits for skating but you'll see lots of guys rolling out in the full deal, so that just depends on your son.

Competition Day

So, now it's competition day. You need to get to the club where the competition is being held at least an hour ahead of your kid's scheduled skating time. You really don't want to be late for this. A stressed out skating princess is not going to perform well and won't be having much fun. As a result, neither will you, so really try to get there on time. Leave your house early. It's a lot easier to kill some time at the rink than it is to convince the competition people to let your kid compete in a different flight because she missed her ice time.

When you come into the club, your kid will check in and will have to give two copies of their music, properly labeled, to the people who check her in. The competition announcement will likely tell you what labels to have on the disc but generally, full skater's name and event that the music applies to is what's needed. They should be able to confirm skating time as well as warm-up ice time and tell you which change room your kid should use.

Now you wait. But DO NOT LEAVE THE CLUB! You might think, "we have lots of time. Let's get some fries at the chip truck down the street". Not a good idea. Competition schedules often run ahead of schedule. Yes, I said AHEAD of schedule, so you want to be ready if her time gets bumped forward a bit.

Flight Lists

Some time before the copetition, probably 2-5 weeks ahead, the competition organizers will post the flight lists. The skaters who are competiting in an event are broken up into flights or groups. In some competitions, ribbons and medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each flight.

Skate Order

Usually close to the competition day, or on the day, the order that the skaters will go out on the ice will be posted.

This seems to be a huge topic. I need to write some more stuff about:

Multiple events
Types of events
progressive competitions ie Championships