Sunshine Coast Skating Club – SCSC CLUB HANDBOOK
Updated October 2, 2016
(Right Click and “Save As” to download to your computer or Left Click to open and view online)
FOR FIRST TIME SKATERS AND PARENTS
Welcome to our programs at SC Skating Club!! We have put together a little list of tips, rules, and suggestions to help your skater and you get the best out of our programs. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask a Board member, or the Director of Skating, Lesleigh Farr.
- Skaters must wear a CSA approved hockey helmet in CanSkate and CanPowerSkate.
- Make sure their skates fit properly and are done up tightly enough to hold up the ankles.
- Try to wear loose fitting clothing. Splash pants are great as they help keep skaters dry. Please avoid snowsuits!
- Mitts or gloves are a must!
- We use markers on the ice to draw mazes and demonstrations. We do use washable markers but sometimes the kids get this on their outfits and it doesn’t come out; please keep this in mind.
- For safety reasons, we close ALL of the doors onto the ice surface.
- We ask that parents do not watch from the players’ bench (the opposite side of the entrance door onto the ice). It causes a distraction to the skaters and can be a safety hazard.
- We encourage all parents and spectators to watch from the stands. The initial transition to the class can be tough, but once the skaters see how much fun everyone is having, they normally come around.
- Please, NO photography.
- There will be times when skaters may sit or lie on the ice. Please don’t be upset if coaches are not running to pick up your child. We do our best to encourage skaters to learn to get up on their own. We will work on this at length the first few days. There may be times when skaters are frustrated and upset with this process. We encourage skaters to stay on the ice and keep trying. We will be sure to call parents or guardians to the ice level if needed.
- To help with the transition, parents might try allowing their skater to wear their skates at home with skate guards on. Have the skater walk around the house and practice sitting down and getting up on solid ground.
- There will be senior skaters helping the Professional Coaches out with all programs. Please remember that these skaters are volunteers and can be as young as 12 years of age. If you have any concern with them or your skater, please direct your concerns to the Professional Coach after the session.
- Please always be in the rink area or lobby in case your child needs you for any reason. If you have an emergency, please have another parent be in charge of your skater and give them your contact info in case anything happens.
There is even more great information to be found in the “SC Club Handbook” at the link above!
Frequently Asked Questions & Information
New Skater Info – please read first.
- What Can I Expect From My Club?
- What Can You Expect From Your Coach?
- What The Club And Coach Expect From Parents
- What The Club And Coach Expect From Skaters
- Ice Rules
- How Often Should I Skate?
- Off-Ice And Why It Is Important
- Skates and Equipment
- Equipment For Advanced Skaters
- Caring For Your Equipment
- In Your Skate Bag
- Private Lessons
- Off-Season Schools
- Year-End Banquet
- Annual General Meeting
The Sunshine Coast Skating Club is a volunteer organization made up of people who are committed to the sport of skating and want to make the whole Club run as well as possible. The Club executive is elected every year at our spring Annual General Meeting. The executive makes decisions about the operation and policies of the Club.
The Club operates according to the Club Constitution, which explains the Bylaws of the Club. A copy of this document is available by request.
As a member of Skate Canada your club is dedicated to meeting technical and ethical standards. These standards are identified in the Skate Canada rule book, club code of ethics, coaches’ code of ethics and your club rules and policies.
Any coach teaching in a Skate Canada sanctioned skating club must have the following certifications:
- A valid first aid certificate
- Police Clearance Check
Coaching CanSkate (Learn-to-Skate) Coaches must hold a minimum In-Training CanSkate Coach status to coach CanSkate in a Skate Canada club.
Coaching STARSkate (Learn-to-Train and higher)Coaches must hold a minimum Trained Primary STARSkate Coach status to coach on figure skating (instruction or competitive stream) sessions in a Skate Canada club.
Coaching CanPowerSkate Coaches must hold a Certified CanPowerSkate Coach status to coach CanPowerSkate in a Skate Canada club.
All Skate Canada coaches are referred to as professional coaches. In the simplest terms, it means they get paid for what they do. The word professional is also used because like any profession, figure skating coaches are required to take extensive training and continued upgrading. Coaches will abide by the Skate Canada Coaches Code of Ethics, a document published by Skate Canada. A copy will be made available on request.
Your professional coach should:
• Be willing to learn new training techniques
• Be willing to listen to any concerns you have regarding your child’s progress
• Act in a professional manner when dealing with parents, executive members, judges and skaters
• Treat all skaters equally
Remember that your coach is there for your child. The coach will try and do what is in the best interest of your child. Also remember that the coach deals with many other skaters. The coach will make decisions in the best interest of all skaters.
The biggest challenge of every Club is to keep its members informed. While we try our utmost to ensure that all parents have the information they need, sometimes that doesn’t always happen. However, we have tried to remedy this problem as much as possible through the experiences of the past. There are several ways in which you will be receiving your information this year:
Club Website/Social Media
Check here often for schedule changes, news, and upcoming events. www.sunshinecoastskatingclub.ca
Also LIKE our SCSC Facebook page (FB.me/SunshineCoastSkatingClub) to get notifications and our FOLLOW our SCSC Twitter page (Twitter.com/SCSkatingClub) for updates/tweets.
Our bulletin board is updated frequently and will include a calendar of events, as well as notices of ice cancellations, competitions and special events.
Your children will be given periodic handouts regarding changes in schedule, upcoming events, surveys and progress reports. Please read these carefully. Make sure you check your child’s school and/or skating bag, in case they have forgotten to give the information to you.
Email and/or Phone calls
In the event of an unexpected change of schedule we will attempt to contact each skater by phone to provide as much notice as possible regarding schedule changes and special events. We are not responsible for messages not being passed on or for leaving messages for those without voice message systems. Email may also be used as it is an efficient way of information to many in a short period of time. Please provide the Registrar with a current email address in order to receive newsletters and notices.
You have many ways of finding out what is going on in our Club. We try our best to communicate with our members; however, the onus is on the parents to read what is being sent home, and making sure that if they have any questions, to please ask!
As parents, you have a certain responsibility to the Club and your skater.
- Support their children no matter what the outcome of competitions and tests
- Bring concerns forward in the appropriate manner
- Allow the coach to do his/her job
- Obey the rules and regulations of the recreation center
Parents want what is best for their skaters. Remember your actions may not affect just your skater, but others as well. If parents work together, it is better for the Club as a whole. It is important for a parent of a skater to remember that their skater is a person first, and a skater second. In all probability the “person” in the skater is young, still growing, still maturing. Sometimes skaters seem so grown up and able to handle pressure situations, that we forget they are still kids. DON’T! The same kids we see looking so grown-up on the competition ice probably still cuddle their favorite stuffed animals when they go to bed at night. Let them be kids, and support them as they grow. (Adapted from Don Korte’s Figure Skaters Handbook.)
Other things for parents to think about as they approach the sport:
Make sure there is balance in your skater’s life. Allow time for school and personal growth. Very few skaters make skating their life career. Don’t put so much focus on your child’s skating that you forget they’ll have to function in a “normal world” when they grow up. School is important. Social development is important. Being a kid is important.
Help to set goals:
Work with your coach to help your child to set his/her goals in skating. Help him/her to be realistic about those goals, but also to make them challenging enough to make the sport fulfilling. Make sure the goals are your skater’s goals, not yours. Help to achieve these goals by setting targets, and recognize progress. Be willing to re-evaluate when necessary.
Learn about the sport:
Learn enough about skating to recognize the elements. Know enough to know when something is done well, and when it is done less well. Recognize progress even if it seems small. Be interested, and listen when your skater talks about progress or problems.
Support your Coach:
Pay your bills upon receipt. Have your skater at the rink on time. When you can’t be there, make sure to tell the coach in advance. Listen to your coach’s advice and instructions, and help to ensure that your skater follows those instructions when practicing or doing activities. Let the coach have the freedom to design a program to achieve goals; don’t try to second-guess the approach, rather, responsibly watch to make sure that the general goals are being addressed over the long term.
All children should be supervised by parents, or other family member. The SCSC does not provide babysitting services nor does the management of the facilities where SCSC activities take place.
Don’t use the rink as a babysitter. Stay and watch your skater practice and in lessons, at least sometimes. Your skater needs to know you’re interested. Often skaters whose parents never watch in practice feel very self-conscious or “pressured” when their parents finally do show up to watch. If competition events are the only time you watch your skater, you may be hurting them more than helping them.
Last, but not least, for the SCSC to be a strong Club you need to be actively involved, provide input to the board members, and help with the committees.
Ways to help your child progress
- Be on time for sessions
- Provide good nutrition and ensure proper sleep
- Help to enforce the club rules
- Review your child’s binder regularly
- Communicate regularly with your coaches and attend planning sessions with your coach
- Set a good example by treating skaters, parents, and coaches with respect
- Make sure your child’s skates are sharpened and properly cared for
Parent involvement is vital to the success of our Club! Your time and effort, no matter how small, can make a difference. The executive is always looking for volunteers to help out on various committees, if you are interested in volunteering and/or have suggestions please contact an executive member. Please also see our Volunteer Policy page.
Skate Canada believes that every individual has the right to participate in skating activities in an environment which is free from harassment and discriminatory practices. The SCSC supports the Skate Canada harassment policy, which is available on request.
Do you have a concern or problem concerning a coach, skater, or parent and you are not sure where to turn to help?
- Have you spoken directly to the party involved and tried to resolve the issue?
- Have you spoken to your coach?
If you feel that both these communications have not resolved the issue to your satisfaction, please make a formal request in writing to the conflict resolution committee who (for a fee) will review the matter (please review Conflict Resolution Procedure in the Policies and Procedures Manual).
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s progress, safety or questions about how the sessions are conducted, please feel free to contact the coach. Unfortunately, because of the coaches’ busy schedule at the rink, it is not always possible to talk to parents immediately before or after a session. Sessions WILL NOT be interrupted to talk to a parent unless it is an emergency.
This policy was put in place to prevent misunderstandings, as well to ensure that these issues are actually being dealt with. If there is only discussion in the stands, the issue will not be dealt with until it is put in writing. If you have any questions regarding Club Policies and Procedures, please refer to our Club Constitution. If you have any additional questions, please ask an executive member.
Skaters need to follow certain rules and regulations to keep them progressing in a safe environment.
- Respect the coach and/or adult supervisors
- Respect other skaters
- Follow the ice rules
- Work as hard as they can!
Skating is always more fun when the skaters work together and obey the rules. A little respect for everyone goes a long way. It also makes life a lot easier (not to mention more pleasant) for everybody!
- Skaters must sign in at the beginning of each session and sign out at the end of each session.
- Gum, candy and drink are not permitted on the ice at any time. A skater may use a plastic bottle of water.
- Jumps are practiced on the ends of the ice, and spins are practiced in the center. A skater who falls is to get up quickly unless physically unable to do so. Lying on the ice may cause an accident with another skater.
- Always set a positive example for others. Be happy. Be courteous. Have fun. Remember, this is a time for practicing skating, not a social hour.
- If you need to leave the ice early during a session, please let the coach know you are leaving the ice.
- Non-skating parents and friends must watch from the lobby or stands unless invited rink-side by the Coach.
- The coaches are in charge at all times. Skaters must obey instructions.
- Please bring any problems or questions to the attention of the coach or the executive.
The following are Skate Canada’s guidelines for how much skaters should skate
2 ¾ hours
Competitive skaters may increase frequency 1-2 times more per week.
How many weeks should I skate in the summer?
You should skate at least 4 consecutive weeks in the summer. There is no training benefit from skating a week then taking a week off, skating another two weeks taking a week off and then finishing up with a week (or whatever the combination may be). If you are going to compete at Wild Rose or SummerSkate, or take tests, training for the full 7 or 8 weeks of summer is optimum but that may not always be possible. So, if you can only skate or want to skate something less than the full summer and you want to compete, you should participate in a summer school full time for the 4 weeks leading up the event. This will ensure you have plenty of time to build your fitness, rehearse your program and work on your skills so that you can maximize your ability to perform at your peak ability. Most skaters who are intending to participate in the BC-YT Sectional Championships in November begin their training season in July.
When should I take a break in my training and how long should that be?
At some point during the season, you should take at least 2 consecutive weeks off. You should take this break during your off-season, which will vary from skater to skater depending on the level and competition schedule. It is important to take a break at some point during the year to recharge your batteries and rest your body completely. Figure skating is a very demanding sport and rest, generally, is critical to your overall ability to perform.
Off ice is cross training and it is very important to the overall development of a skater but it also depends on the type of activities that you do. Increasing your overall fitness level (aerobic and anaerobic), core strength and flexibility are key to being able to develop stamina and be able to execute the technical part of figure skating. In addition, there is a need to develop the theatrical, lyrical and interpretive parts of skating. So in addition to working out in the gym or something equivalent (soccer, etc.), skaters need to learn how to move through dance, and tell a story using drama. The off ice jump class is transferrable muscle memory and technique to on ice. Classes are also necessary for technical information, rules, nutrition, mental prep, visualization, self esteem, sport psych etc. The SCSC has a comprehensive off ice program that ensures a balanced approach to on and off ice activities.
The following are some equipment guidelines for the CanSkate Program.
CSA approved Hockey Helmets MUST be worn on SCSC CanSkate/CanPowerSkate Programs under the following conditions:
- Up to and including Stage 5 in the CanSkate Program
- By ALL “guests or friends” on the “Bring A Friend Day” regardless of age or stated skill level
The Sunshine Coast Skating Club follows the Skate Canada Helmet Use Policy guidelines.
The SCSC requires CSA approved hockey helmets to be worn on all Canskate/CanPowerSkate sessions by above designated skaters.
Figure skates are not a necessity for the CanSkate program but are required for Jr. Academy and STAR Figure skating programs.
Every parent has had the experience of buying shoes or other clothing and due to a growing child having them no longer fit after only a few weeks growth. Feet grow erratically, and the growth is not always accompanied by an increase in height. If you buy children’s skates too loose, they will interfere with the skating and may actually be dangerous due to the lack of support. They may also repeatedly raise blisters. If you buy them too small, or have your skater continue to skate in them for some time after they have become too small, either the skater will quit (because it hurts too much), or the skating will suffer, OR the feet will suffer—perhaps permanently. To check the fit of the skates your child has now, put skates on without tying them up. Make sure the foot is right up to the front of the boot. If you can put an index finger between the heel; and the back of the boot, there is enough room to grow. While skating, check to see if the skates are perfectly upright. The only way to lessen the cost of keeping children’s feet in skates that fit is to buy used skates and to sell your outgrown skates as well. Used children’s skates are readily available and usually far better shape then used adult skates. Get the children’s coach to help select them to ensure a proper fit.
No special clothing is required. It is recommended to wear warm, close fitting (but not tight!) clothes in layers. The coach must be able to see how the skater’s body moves for error detection. Snowsuits are okay, but can constrict movement. Please avoid jeans, shorts, long skirts and dresses. If they are wearing an item of clothing that might endanger themselves or others (such as a long scarf or a toque with a long tail), they may be asked to remove it.
REMEMBER: Rinks are cold-especially in January! Make sure your child has mitts or gloves, headbands or toques, multiple sweaters and a warm jacket.
The first thing you’ll notice at the skate shop is that boots and blades are sold separately. The boots you need must be stiff enough to prevent most lateral motion (ankle flopping) but must still allow flexing of your ankle, enough to let you bend your knees deeply while skating. For comfort, the boots should also conform somewhat to your feet. The only material that should be considered is thick leather. With new boots, the flexibility at the ankle will develop as you begin to wear them an important part of “breaking in” your skates. Old boots can become so heavily creased at the ankle that they no longer provide support (they have “broken down’) The better the boots you buy, the longer they’ll last without breaking down, so look at good boots as an investment. Your boots should be stiff enough to support their own weight if you grab them by the cuff and turn them upside down. More expensive skates also have other features for comfort, support and injury protection, such as leather lining and padding of the tongue and areas around the foot. Especially useful are built-in Achilles’ tendon pads that cushion on either side of the tendon. None of this expensive support is much good if your skates are too big. Filling up oversized skates with thick socks will lessen support since your foot can still slip inside the boot. Your boots should be large enough to let you wiggle your toes, but decidedly snug through the instep and heel while wearing thin socks or tights. The best way for beginners to achieve a proper fit is to seek out a skate shop with a good reputation. Be prepared to buy boots up to one-and-a-half sizes smaller than your street shoes – that’s what it takes to get the snug fit. Ask the salesperson for advice on brand of boot if you suspect you have any orthopedic peculiarities. The styles of different manufacturer’s boots are slightly different, and making a careful choice at this point may prevent many problems down the road. Remember to involve your coach when buying new boots.
The blades of good skates are screwed (not riveted!) to the boot soles so that different blades can be attached to meet the particular needs and activities of the skater. Also, this arrangement allows adjustments of the mounting of the blade to provide for individual physical requirements. Blades are available with modifications for FreeSkate and Dance. For beginners, a pair of less expensive freeskate blades is a good choice, even if your ultimate goal is Ice Dance. As skaters progress to more difficult jumps, larger picks are needed. The picks of less expensive blades tend to give you a less secure purchase on the ice during jumps with a toe pick take-off. On the other hand, the wicked-looking picks of the blades designed for advanced skaters are definitely “over-kill” for beginner and intermediate skaters. The skate shop will mount the blades for you using only half of the available screw holes on the sole plate. They are not short-changing you; the rest of the screw positions are then available for future positioning or as alternatives if the original holes become enlarged through wear. Mounting blades correctly takes skill, which is another reason why you should make the effort to find a competent shop. Remember to involve your coach when buying new blades.
Always use skate guards when walking around off the ice. Never let your blades contact cement or metal. When you use guards, be sure there is no gritty dirt on the bottoms of your blades or inside of the guards. Water is the enemy. When you take off your skates, wipe boots and blades dry with an old towel. DON’T put your guards back on! Instead slip on a pair of soft blade covers. These will wick away moisture that condenses on your cold blades as you move into a warmer environment. Storing blades in the rubber guard actually encourages corrosion. After skating, don’t stuff your sweaty sock into your skates and seal them all up in a waterproof skate bag to rot until next time you skate. Unpack your skates as soon as possible and leave them out to dry away from a heat source.
There are several items that belong in every skater’s equipment bag. These include:
- Extra mittens or gloves for either the colder weather or when the first pair gets wet
- Small towel or cloth to wipe the skate blades after a session on the ice. Never leave your guards on!
- Kleenex and band aids
- Extra sweater, headband and/or toque for those cold days in January
- Keep an ice pack for bumps and bruises (these are also kept in coaches room)
- “Second Skin” bandages for blisters. They really help to eliminate the pain and speed the healing
- Bubble pad, sponges or gel socks to prevent blisters from forming
- Extra socks and/or tights (for cold weather and days you forget them)
- Extra hair ties/clips
- and if you are in CanSkate and in Stage 5 or below… your CSA approved Hockey Helmet
What are private lessons?
Private lessons involve one on one instruction with the professional coach. Private lessons are booked directly with the coach, and the parent and/or skater pays the coach directly.
How much do private lessons cost?
Private lessons are usually booked in 15 minute blocks. While this may not sound like a lot of time, you would be amazed how much can be accomplished in that length of time. Private lesson fees will vary depending on the coach’s qualification and experience.
What are the advantages to having private lessons?
Private lessons allow your child to have detailed one on one instruction with the coach. The coach can work on teaching proper technique, and correcting errors. By the time a skater reaches the STAR 2 level, instruction is done in private, semi-private, and mini group lesson format as well as the group lesson time. Skaters can learn from each other’s’ strengths and weaknesses and the occasional semi-private or mini group lesson helps keep costs down.
Does my skater have to be at a certain level to take private Lessons?
Any skater wishing to take private lessons may do so. It is on a first come, first served basis. Coaches will however have their own ‘hierarchy’ regarding taking on clients. Usually the committed year-round base students are priority followed by previous seasonal base students etc. As per the coaches code of ethics…”no coach shall take on more students than they can accommodate.”
How often will I be billed?
The coach will advise you on how they intend to bill, either bi-weekly, monthly etc. Bills left outstanding will be subject to lesson termination. For more detailed information, see your coach’s letter of introduction.
Can I change coaches?
If a change in coach is requested, let your coach know and a Coach Transfer Form will be completed by parent, current coach, and new coach. Alternatively, written notice of dismissal may be accepted by the current coach, and all outstanding bills must be cleared before the hiring of a new coach can occur.
See the Skate Canada Coach’s Code of Ethics for more information
Figure Skating is a sport that involves music. At the CanSkate level, music is used for warm-up, to tell the skaters what to do at a certain time, and also to teach rhythm and creativity. Jr Academy and STAR will also use standardized music from Skate Canada for dance.
Can my skater choose his or her own music?
A skater may choose his or her own music providing the coach approves it. If the coach chooses skaters’ music, the coach will ensure the skater likes the music. It is imperative that the student like the music in order to fully interpret and express themselves through the choreography. If the student dislikes the music it will reflect in their expression.
Solos (FreeSkate) Events or Tests
Solos are required from STAR 2 up and are done to a specified time, with specified technical required elements. The coach will meet with you at beginning of year to determine your level for competing and testing recommendations for the year.
What exactly is in a solo?
A well-balanced solo at any level consists of different elements such as jumps and spins. The elements included will be consistent with the level at which they are intending to test or compete. A well-balanced program will include specified technical elements for that level, choreography and meet the criteria and standards as set by Skate Canada and/or BC Section.
What is choreography?
Choreography is how all the different elements in a program are put together. Choreography is also how the music is used and how the whole body is used to express the music.
How much does a solo cost?
Solos involve two costs. The first being choreography lessons to put them together. The second is the cost of putting the music together. The coach either edits and records the final copies, or hires a suitable person to do this. The music has to adhere to very specific criteria regarding play-length for the different levels of competition; it must be put on CD and must have good sound quality. As the coaches, or their designates, spend time and money on researching music, editing music etc for skaters, they will charge fees accordingly. For more detailed information, please see your coach’s letter of introduction.
Interpretive events allow each skater to choose their own music (with the assistance of the coach) and be imaginative. The music may be vocal, and appropriate attire must be worn. The interpretive events were created because they are fun to do and it gives the skaters an opportunity to express themselves creatively. Skaters can test or compete with their interpretive programs.
What are Skate Canada Tests?
Skate Canada tests are devised by the association to ensure that skaters meet a certain standard for their level.
Does my child need private lessons to try a test?
Yes, private, semi-private or mini group lessons with a professional coach are recommended. For STAR 1-5 much is covered in group but at least one private lesson is recommended as they progress.
How many tests are there?
There are many different tests for each discipline. These tests take many years to complete. FreeSkate, skating skills, ice dance and interpretive tests are divided into the following levels:
Primary Level Tests
- STAR 1-5 – Freeskate, Skills, Dance
Intermediate Level Tests
- STAR 6-10 – Freeskate, Dance
Senior Level Tests
- Skating Skills: Senior Silver, Gold
- Free Skating: Senior Silver, Gold
- Dance: Senior Silver, Gold, Diamond
- Interpretive: Silver, Gold
When the coach feels that your skater has achieved a passing standard, the coach will submit his/her name to the test chairperson. The parent will receive a form outlining what test(s) are being tried, when, and where. The form must be signed by the parent and returned to the test chair with money due by the date specified on the form. Skaters will be prepared for the test by the coach. The coach will tell the skater what to expect on test day, and if possible, run through a simulation of test day.
- The day of test day, skaters should be at the rink, dressed and ready to skate 1 HOUR prior to their test. Skaters should be in a skating dress, beige tights, (for girls), neat pants and shirt (for boys), close fitting sweater and gloves (mini mitts are best). Skates should be clean, laces tucked in and hair done up neatly. Makeup is optional. Within the STAR program, some testing may be done on regular session time.
- A trained evaluator will assess the skaters. This evaluator has been specially trained by Skate Canada to evaluate these tests.
- Skaters will have a warm-up to practice their test. They will then wait until they are called to do their test. The tests are done with the skater on the ice by themselves (or in the case of a dance test, possibly with a partner).
- When the skater has completed the test, they should wait for their results. The test sheets will be given to the coach, who will go over the test sheet with each skater. The sheets will have comments and be marked as either a PASS or RETRY. These results are confidential.
- If the skater passes a test, they can then work towards trying the next test at the next level. In the case of dance, it might be the next dance in the set.
- If the skater has to retry a test, it does not mean that the skater is a “bad” skater, or was not ready. What it does mean is that on that particular day, that particular evaluator did not think it met the standard.
- Pass or retry, the skater should look over the comments made by the evaluator. DO NOT THROW THESE SHEETS OUT! In the case of a pass, it is proof that the test was passed. (The records are forwarded to Skate Canada, but sometimes records are misplaced. In the case of a retry, it holds important feedback. These comments can help the skater improve.
There are coaches fees associated with taking tests, please see your coaches letter of introduction.
Competitions are an opportunity for skaters to have fun, meet new friends, and gain experience. Here are a few things to know about competitions. Provided they have been properly prepared with lessons, ice time etc.
- Every skater should try to compete at least once. If the skater then decides that they don’t like competitions, then they don’t have to compete.
- Just because your child would like to enter a competition, does not mean they have to go to the Olympics. Most skaters attend a competition just for experience and fun (though winning a medal or ribbon is always nice)
- For STAR 1-3 skaters will be assessed to a standard for each element performed and given a final assessment of Merit, Bronze, Silver or Gold. For STAR 4 on up they are given a ranking based upon standard and other skaters in the group. All skaters receive a report card at the end of the competition which will explain their placements or assessment level. Please review with coach.
- At a competition, emphasize personal best and fun. It has been said, “Skate to win, but don’t expect it.” There are three things that determine a skater’s placement. One, how the skater skates that day. Two, how the other skaters skate. Three, how the judges judge. The skater only has control over how they skate. If the skater has a disappointing performance, then some discussion should be had with the coach on how to improve the skater’s performance. However, a skater can have a bad skate and still win, or a good skate and not win. Skating is a subjective sport, and not always fair. How a skater views the competitive experience will depend on their attitude and the attitude of their parents.
How do I enter a skater in a competition?
All competitions are posted on the Skating in BC website. The professional coach will discuss competitions with you when having the parent/coach/skater meeting to set up your season.
How much does it cost to go to a competition?
Costs vary depending on where the competition is held:
- A competition entrance fee
- Coach’s fee (consisting of the fee for coaching your skater at the event, plus the coach’s expenses which are divided up among the skaters- please see coach’s letter of introduction)
Do I need private lessons to enter a competition?
Yes, private, semi-private, or mini group lessons with a professional coach are required at the higher levels, for the STAR program a lot is covered in group class and at least one private lesson is recommended.
What should my skater wear?
Similar rules apply to competitions as do test days. Clean skates, neat hair TIED BACK! Makeup is recommended but not mandatory. Girls should wear a nice skating dress and beige tights, and boys should wear spandex pants and a nice shirt. In the case of interpretive, suitable attire may be worn. Check with your coach for regarding specific competition attire.
Before you leave for a competition:
- Skate in your competition dress a few times before the actual day of the competition. This way you can get a feel for what it will be like to skate in and be sure that it will stretch with your jumps and other elements.
- Repair any holes and loose decorations. Pack a sewing kit and safety pins.
- Give your coach your practice and competition schedule as soon as you receive it,
- Confirm hotel and travel reservations. Bring directions to the rink.
- Pack skates (both of them), guards, soft blade covers, skate polish (in a plastic bag), screwdriver, practice and competition outfits, warm-up sweater, extra laces, tights (bring an extra pair), hair accessories (scrunchies, bobby pins), and makeup. Mark everything with your name and phone number.
- Polish skates. Most skaters like to have their blades sharpened a week or so before competing.
- Pack two copies of music for each of your programs (free skate, short, interpretive) in a labeled case.
- Pack some healthy snacks. They may not be available at the rink.
- Bring relaxing activities (books, beads and string, CD/music player, puzzle).
At the competition:
- Check in at the registration desk as soon as you arrive at the competition. Turn in your competition music, one CD and one tape. Make sure the tape is rewound. You will either be given or may purchase a competition program booklet,
- Check the official bulletin board for time changes and messages.
- Practice ice is usually crowded; do the best you can. Practice; do not watch. Remember that competition is not the place to learn to skate.
- Arrive for practices at least 30 minutes early and for competition events 60 minutes early.
- Check in with the captain to let him or her know you are there and to find out if the events are on time.
- Keep track of your belongings. Keep your skates with you. Mix-ups occur!
- Expect a busy facility: lobby, dressing rooms, bleachers, vendor shops, snack bar, and bathrooms.
- It is a good idea to be ready with hair and makeup before you come to the arena.
- Don’t eat yourself silly. You can soda, donut, and snack yourself into nerves, lack of energy, or bloated discomfort.
- Be dressed and ready to skate 20 minutes before your event. Find your coach.
- Note your appearance: skates should be polished, make sure your underwear does not show (if it shows, take it off), and hair and makeup should be neat.
- Bring a back-up tape; give it to your coach prior to competing, just in case something goes wrong.
- Do some basic warm-ups before your group is called to the ice. This way you will be ready to jump and spin during the all-too-short warm-up time.
- During warm up, remember this is not a practice session. Be a stand out; head out the door first. Avoid “the pack”; maneuver for room on the ice. Don’t rush; skate with a purpose.
- When it is your turn, take a deep breath, let out a from-the-inside smile, and get ready to give it your best.
- If anything is wrong with your music, go immediately to the referee. Don’t be afraid. The referee is there to help you.
- Remember that all skaters have good days and bad days. Not everyone can place. Go out and do the best you can. No one can ask more of you if you truly tried your hardest.
- If you are disappointed in how you skated, wait until you get to a private place to cry. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that most people watching couldn’t do a waltz jump for love or money.
- Be a gracious winner as well as a good loser! It is unsportsmanlike and unbecoming to gloat about high marks or make unkind comments about competitors and judges over low marks.
- If you placed, check at the award table for the time of the awards ceremony. Be there on time, in your outfit with skates on.
- Whatever happens; don’t rush out of the rink after your event. Take some time to watch other events and talk to other skaters. Many coaches encourage their skaters to watch the events one level above their current competition level so they can see what is expected at the next level, and the skater can begin to prepare for that level.
- Don‘t forget to pick up your music before leaving the arena. You may also purchase copies of your results. Make sure you have all your things before you leave the rink.
Should I stay with my child in the dressing room?
If you have a very young child at their first competition, you will want to stay with them as long as you can. Older children may need assistance getting dressed, but it is usually a good idea to leave them after this. The coach will make sure that they are supervised and ready to go onto the ice. Parents are usually restricted as to where they can go. Rink side is reserved for coaches, skaters and competition volunteers only. Please refrain from distracting your child once they are at the rink side with their coach. (It’s hard!) Please note that it is customary for security reasons to not allow persons without accreditation passed a certain point. Should this be the case, you will need to get your son/daughter ready in a common room or bathroom prior to sending them into the dressing room.
What if the coach is not available?
Usually the coach is at the rink. Sometimes the coach has two skaters on different ice surfaces at the same time. In such a case, the coach will ask another coach to look after the skater. If only one skater is attending a competition out of town and cannot afford the coach’s expenses, the coach may ask a replacement coach to stand with the skater. The skater will then be billed by the replacement coach.
What happens when the skater goes on the ice?
The ice captain or their assistants will usually line the skaters up when the previous event is going on. The skaters should do a light off-ice warm-up and stretch (sometimes the coach will do it with them, or they will do it with other skaters) prior to being lined up. The skaters will then be called for an on-ice warm-up. For STAR 1 the coaches will be on the ice with the skaters. Skaters will be told beforehand what to do on a warm-up (the coach will do a competition simulation the week before). After the warm-up the skaters will wait until their name is called. The coach will be with them for warm-up and performance. Any skater who is first to skate will be asked by the coach to end their warm-up a little early to rest before skating. The skater will go when their name is called to their starting position.
What if my skater forgets their program or something goes wrong?
Skaters will be trained how to handle the situation. If a skater has to stop their program for any reason, they must go directly to the referee (where the judges are) and explain the situation. If a skater forgets their program, they are trained to continue on with the program and not stop. If a skater falls, they are also trained to get up as quickly as possible and continue with the program. In the event of a serious injury, there will be medical attendants to take care of the situation.
Sometimes it seems that my skater is far below the level of the others. Is there something wrong?
In any competition, there is a variance in the levels of skaters in the same event. Each level has a basic standard. Some skaters will just be at the basic level and others will be more advanced. Some skaters are also “held back”, meaning that the skater is capable of competing at a higher level, but has not been moved up. The reasons for this are varied, but it is usually done to ensure that the skater wins a medal at competition. Our Club encourages children to continue progressing regardless if they can win a medal at competition or not. Skaters will be happier in the long run if they are challenged and continue to progress, instead of staying at a lower level and being bored.
How are competitions and test days different?
When you arrive at the rink for a test day, it is easy to think that it is the same thing as a competition. The same groups of people are there – judges, skaters, coaches, parents, volunteers. Test days are different than competitions. The following are some differences:
- At competitions, you will find judges that judge in a panel. The panel may consist of as few as three judges or as many as nine and may include a data imputer, technical caller, review technician etc in the code of points system. There will also be a referee and in some cases, an assistant referee on the panel.
- At test days you will see evaluators. They work by themselves instead of on a panel. Evaluators can also be judges.
- At competitions, skaters are compared against each other.
- At test days, skaters are compared to a standard set out by Skate Canada.
- At competitions, skaters receive a placement/ranking from STAR 4 up. STAR 1 -3 assessments of Merit, Bronze, Silver or Gold,
- At test days, skaters receive a pass or retry.
The Sunshine Coast Skating Club currently operates its regular season from September to March. For the last few years, we have had ice available during Spring Break, Winter Break, and have hosted a Summer Session as well as starting a Spring Session. We hope to expand this to a year-round operation with the addition of the second arena on the Coast. Skaters wishing to compete should train on a year round basis. A skater may accomplish as much in one week of condensed summer school training as they do in one month of the regular season. Off season schools are encouraged for all skaters.
Every year, after the skating season is over, our club hosts a year-end banquet. This is usually a pot-luck dinner, and all the skaters and their parents are invited. It takes a lot of work to put together a banquet. The more people that help, the easier it is for everyone.
Awards for achievement and sportsmanship and team spirit, as well as other recognitions, are given out at this time.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is often held in conjunction with the Banquet and last meeting of the year. Unlike most of the Executive meetings, everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. At this meeting, a new Executive is voted in. There are some motions that can only be passed at an AGM as well such as any changes to the Club constitution. If you want to become an executive member or you simply wish to be in on the decision making at the final meeting, attend the AGM.