StarSkate Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often should my child be skating?
2. Now that my child is in the Starskate program, does my child require private coaching?
3. How do I choose a private coach?
All coaches within skating clubs must attend NCCP courses and be “in training, trained, or certified”. First aid certification and a police background check are also requirements. Additionally, all Professional Skate Canada Coaches must register yearly as Coaching Members within Skate Canada in order to be able to coach on these sessions.
When deciding how to choose a coach your club should provide a list of their available coaches along with their specific qualifications. When choosing a coach for your child, here are some things you may want to consider:
- Select a coach carefully. Choose the right person for their teaching and coaching abilities, but also consider that the Coach will be the role model for your child.
- The Coach will be spending considerable time with your child, so it should be someone your child feels comfortable with.
- Coaches are the experts. Work together with your coach to create realistic goals and objectives for your child.
- Take time when selecting a coach. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. Watch the coaches teaching other children and see how they interact and present themselves.
- Coaching fees may vary according to the certification level an experience of the coach. Ask what the fees are up front so there are no misunderstandings later.
4. How do I buy skates for my child?
The purchase of a boot and blade is a major decision which can represent a substantial financial investment.
Fitting Basics: A skater’s size, weight, and skating level are very important. These aspects will determine what boot and blade to purchase and how long they will last. While seated, the boot should be snug in the heel, arch, and ball areas for best support. Toes should be able to wiggle freely but not slide to any great degree. After the boot is laced and the skater stands, the boot should feel slightly tighter. There should be little to no movement when the skater tries to life her or his heel. The toes should just be touching the front of the boot.
Toes should feel slight pressure but not severe bending or pain. Toes should also not be cramped or curled under. It is important to have a correctly fitted boot for optimal skater performance.The boot must be snugly fit so that it responds exactly to the skater’s movement. Additional room in the skate can cause the foot to slide and thus may impede the Skater’s progress.
- Skates should fit snugly around the ankle and heel – there should be room for movement, but the ankle, instep and heel must be firmly supported
- The tongue should be sufficiently wide so that it will stay in place and it should be well padded to prevent the laces from cutting into the foot
- The front opening of the boot should be sufficiently wide to pull the laces tight
- Avoid buying skates a size larger, as they tend to break down faster and hamper your child’s progress and more importantly could create long term foot problems
Buying used Skates and Blades: Good used skates can be okay for your child, especially in the beginning stages. If you do buy used skates, you may have to know a bit about the brand and model of the boot and blades you purchase. Ask your Coach about suggestions on what to look for. Sometimes a good used boot and blade set is better than an inexpensive, lower quality “sharpening life” left in it. Many skate companies have a website that describes an appropriate boot / blade combo for a particular level of skating.
Please note – At the Preliminary level, the focused is now on figure skating techniques, and as such it is important to purchase proper figure skates. Purchasing skates, whether new or used, should be done at a store specializing in figure skating. If you are concerned about how to purchase skates, again, please feel free to speak with your coach about how to purchase skates appropriate for your child’s skating level. Staff at a specialized skating store are also knowledgeable and able to assist in making a proper choice.
Sharpening of Skates: Make sure you take your skates to a reputable figure skater sharpener who is familiar with the edges needed in figure skating. Do not remove the bottom pick, as it is essential for proper balance.
General Care of Boots and Blades: Proper care of the boots and blades can help them last longer. When removing skates, unlace them enough before taking them off so that the back of the boot does not break down or rip. Blades and soles must be dried carefully with a soft cloth. Remove guards and wipe / wash them. Grit and dirt become lodged in the tracks of the guards. Replace guards occasionally.
Cover dried blades with soft blade covers (terry cloth or soft fabric). Take skates out of bag at home to let them air dry at normal temperatures to avoid rotting and rust.
5. What should I expect as a budget for skating?
Parents will have to plan their budget well in advance of each skating season. The costs you will incur will depend on your child’s participation in the sport. Here are some suggested items you should have in your yearly budget:
- Club Membership
- Skate Canada Membership
- Skates and accessories like guards, blade covers, skate bag as well as appropriate skating attire
- Extra Ice costs
- Coaching Costs – Lessons, Competitions and Test Days
- Choreography Fees
- Ice Show or Carnival Fees
- Music Fees for burning of CD’s for solo music
- Off ice Fees for skater’s conditioning
- CD’s that recorded your Competition skate
- Travel and Accommodations for Competitions and Test Days
7. What are skills?
Skating skills are exercises containing edges, turns and field movements designed to expand on the fundamental movements for skaters of all levels. The basic components of all disciplines of figure skating are contained in the program. Edge quality, control, power and speed are basic skating fundamentals that are mastered in the skating area.
8. What is a Freeskate?
In a Freeskate, skaters learn how to jump and to spin in a variety of positions and to incorporate those and other skills in a program of a specified length using connecting steps and music.
Each freeskate test is divided into two parts: Elements in Isolation and Free Program. The Elements in Isolation consist of stroking exercises (which all must be assessed as Satisfactory or better in order to pass), jump and spin elements, field movements and step sequences. Of the 14 elements performed at each level, 12 must receive Satisfactory or better evaluations in order to pass that portion of the test. The Free Program is a program of a specified length skated to music of the skater's choice. The program must demonstrate certain elements in order to be passed.
9. What are the dances?
The Discipline of Dance consists of seven levels of tests. It teaches timing, musicality, rhythm, interpretation and structure, as well as, basic skating skills such as edges, flow, control and unison. Dancers skate with partners and sometimes by themselves to various musical rhythms, including waltz tango and blues. Each compulsory Dance has a series of steps that must be skated in a specific pattern. Dancers progress through the six different test levels and can skate the Dance tests in any order within each level. A skater must pass a specified number of the test Dances at one level before proceeding to the next.
10. What is interpretive?
The objective of the Interpretive program is to encourage and develop skaters' creativity, expression, musicality, movement, interpretation of music, as well as the use of space, rhythm, line and style. The program provides skaters with the opportunity to explore the performance aspect of skating without focusing on technical elements. The Interpretive tests consist of skating to and interpreting a piece of music 2.0 to 3.0 minutes (+/- 10 seconds) in length. Skaters must take Interpretive tests at a high test day.
11. What are the different jumps?
The Waltz Jump
A waltz jump begins with along glide on a right back outside edge. The skater steps forward onto a left forward outside edge, kicking the right leg up and through to begin the lift into the air. The arms should be held away from the body since this is only a half rotation jump. As with all jumps, the skater lands on a right back outside edge. The waltz jump and the axel are the only jumps where the skater takes off while facing forwards.
The Salchow Jump
It was invented by Ulrich Salchow. The salchow is an edge jump which starts with the skater going forwards and stepping into a mohawk to a right back outside edge. Without pausing, the skater continues the momentum established by the mohawk by stepping onto a shallow left forward outside edge. The right shoulder should be firmly back and the left should be a strong check following a three turn onto a left back inside edge. The right shoulder should stay firmly back during and after the three turn. The skater brings the free leg around up and through in a scooping motion from the back inside edge to lift the jump into the air. By the time the blade leaves the ice, the skate is actually facing forwards. Some skaters like to substitute the mohawk for the three turn although it is recommended a beginner use the three turn approach.
The Toe Loop
The toe loop begins with a skater moving forwards with both feet on the ice and apart. The skater does a right forward inside three turn with a check at the end of it. The skater reaches back with the left free leg and jabs the toe pick into the ice, thus pole vaulting off the toe pick and into the air.
The loop starts with both feet on the ice about a foot apart on a right back outside and left back inside edge. the weight is squarely over the right hip. The skater begins the jump by bending the knees and falling onto a deep right back outside edge. The left leg drifts across the right as the edge deepens. As the edge is about to turn into a three turn, the skater jumps off the right leg straight up into the air. It should feel like you're popping straight up.
The flip jump starts on a left forward inside edge with the right leg off the ice and in front of the body. The left shoulder is in front and the right shoulder is in back. The skater pushes forwards off the right toe. As the left foot passes the right foot, it switches from an inside edge to an outside edge. The motion is like a skate boarder standing on his skate board with his left leg and pushing forwards with the right leg. The skater uses the momentum from the toe pick push to do a left forward outside three turn to a left back inside edge. The skater reaches back with the right leg and jabs the toe pick into the ice thus pole vaulting into the air.
It was named for inventor Alois Lutz. The lutz jump is similar to the flip jump in that it is a toe jump which takes off from the left foot. The difference is in the setup and the take off edge. The jump starts with a long glide on a very shallow left back outside edge. The skater reaches back with the right leg with the left shoulder across and the right shoulder back. The skater jabs the toe pick into the ice and pole vaults into the air. In theory, the take off happened on a left back outside edge as opposed to the inside edge the flip takes off from.
It was named for Axel Paulson, the 1908 Gold Medallist who invented it. The axel is the only major jump where the skater takes off while going forwards. The setup begins by gliding on a right back outside edge. The skater steps onto a left forward outside edge kicking the right leg up and through lifting into the air. Up to this point, the axel is identical to the waltz jump. After leaving the ground, the skater pulls the arms and the legs in, which forces the jump to rotate a little less than one turn. The jump itself is one and a half rotations. The first half rotation should take place while the skater is in an open position.