Welcome to the Skaters Corner!!
Here is where you'll find information to help you in your skating pursuits. If you have an articles or information you'd like to see here, contact me - Lynda [email protected]
|Posted by Lynda Westlund on December 1, 2017 at 8:30 AM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Lynda Westlund on November 11, 2017 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
TYPES OF TESTS
MOVES IN THE FIELD Athletes typically begin their testing with the Moves in the Field track. This is because Moves in the Field is considered a “prerequisite” or baseline test series. This means that in order to take a discipline specific test, like free skating or pairs, the skater must first pass the equivalent Moves in the Field test.
Moves in the Field tests the skater’s ability in skating skills. They help athletes to learn skating skills and turns that are necessary to be successful in any discipline of figure skating, focusing on accuracy, posture and carriage, bilateral movement, strength, power, extension, edge quality, continuous flow, quickness and turn execution. It is impossible to become a high level skater in any area or discipline of skating without mastering these skills. Doing so would be similar to attempting to read without understanding the alphabet.
Each level in Moves in the Field consists of four – six set patterns that must be performed by the skater. Each level requires that skaters perform skills in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, on both the right and left feet, and on both inside and outside edges.
Each level in the series builds upon the one before it. Skaters at the lowest level begin learning stroking technique, basic consecutive edges, spirals, and a “waltz eight” pattern with two easy turns. With each progressive test new skills are layered on. Skaters never stop practicing what they learned in the beginning, it just becomes more challenging and intricate as they move up. The senior test, in a way, is a summary of every turn, edge and skill they learned over the years and it is expected to be performed at a superior level.
The patterns required at each level are found in the U.S. Figure Skating Tests Book. The Tests Book describes the pattern in detail, provides a diagram of what it looks like on the ice, and even designates a specific focus for that pattern (For example: “Power and Extension” or “Edge Quality,” etc.)
The MOVES IN THE FIELD tests progress through the following levels:
1. Pre-Preliminary 2. Preliminary 3. Pre-Juvenile 4. Juvenile 5. Intermediate 6. Novice 7. Junior 8. Senior
Athletes move at their own pace through the Moves in the Field tests, some preferring to spend a lot of time working their way up, and other athletes choosing to devote a lot of their skating time to them early, thus progressing more quickly. There is no “right or wrong” amount of time that it takes to advance to the next level, nor is there a perfect amount of time each week to practice them. Skaters and their parents should discuss their goals, desired time commitment and budget with their coach to develop a plan that works for the skater.
Generally, the higher a skater gets, the more time it takes to complete a level, and the more likely they are to have to “retry” a test. For example, at the pre-preliminary level, the middle range of skaters take approximately six months to pass the test, and spend 1 hour – 1 ½ hours per week working on it. Nearly all skaters will pass on their first try. By the time a skater reaches the novice or junior level, the middle range of skaters spend about three hours per week working on Moves in the Field, it will typically take between eight months and one year to pass, with the average skater taking about two attempts to pass.
If a skater does not pass, they will be asked to “retry” the test. While disappointment is natural, this is absolutely nothing to be ashamed, embarrassed of upset over. It does not in any way mean a skater is untalented or that they will be unsuccessful in the sport. It has happened to nearly every skater who has reached the top!
|Posted by Lynda Westlund on November 11, 2017 at 3:25 PM||comments (0)|
If you or your child recently started taking private lessons in figure skating you may have heard from your coach, or other skaters about the test structure, or been told to start working on “moves in the field” or “prepreliminary” or your “first test”. The test structure can be confusing to new skaters, but it is one of the most important parts of figure skating, and will soon become an integral part of your skating language!
WHAT IS THE TEST STRUCTURE AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
The test structure is often called the “backbone of U.S. Figure Skating.” Starting with the first test you take, through your entire career, it is the national standard that you are measured against. When you fill out applications for just about everything in figure skating, the first question will be “What is the highest U.S. Figure Skating Test passed?”
U.S. Figure Skating tests are offered in the following tracks:
1. Moves in the Field 2. Free Skate 3. Pattern Dance or Solo Pattern Dance 4. Free Dance or Solo Free Dance 5. Pairs
The level you enter in competitions is determined by your highest test passed, often sessions at rinks are divided by the skaters’ test levels, and skaters registering for a camp or clinic are divided by test level. Each U.S. Figure Skating test that you pass goes on your permanent record, and is an achievement you always carry with you. In fact, your tests passed and your placement at qualifying competitions are the ONLY things on your U.S. Figure Skating record.
U.S. Figure Skating’s test structure can be compared to karate, and the process of an athlete earning belts until they achieve their black belt. Another comparison in the Boy Scout program, where boys advance through levels and ultimately strive to become Eagle Scouts. In each figure skating discipline, there are either six or eight test levels, with the highest one being either “Senior” or “Gold”.
When an athlete passes their senior or gold test, it is a huge accomplishment, marking many years of dedication to the sport, and their mastery of that discipline. The athlete earns the title, “U.S. Figure Skating Gold Medalist,” they receive a gold pin from U.S. Figure Skating, may purchase a Gold Medalist jacket, and most importantly they may put the accomplishment on a skating resume, college application or even a job application. A skater passing a senior or gold test in two disciplines becomes a “U.S. Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist.” The amount of time it takes to achieve the senior or gold test varies, but on average, it is around five years (5) years from when a skater passes their first test (pre-preliminary moves in the field) until they pass the senior moves in the field test. Then, expect an additional several years to pass a second gold test. Most U.S. Figure Skating Double Gold Medalists have been skating for approximately 12 years. The most common age to earn that accomplishment is 17 years, regardless of when the athlete started, or how quickly they went through the earlier tests.
In a typical calendar year, approximately 30,000 U.S. Figure Skating tests are passed by members. Of those, approximately 1,000 are senior tests in Moves in the Field, 250 are senior tests in Free Skating, 80 are gold Dance tests and 20 are gold Pair tests.
Earning a gold test is something that every young skater can and should strive for, and it is a wonderful goal for one’s skating career. It is also achievable and realistic. With perseverance, dedication, and many years of hard work, every figure skating athlete has the potential to become a U.S. Figure Skating Gold Medalist, or even double or triple gold medalist.
|Posted by Lynda Westlund on November 30, 2016 at 8:45 PM||comments (2)|
CLUB SPOTLIGHT: SKATING CLUB OF SAUGERTIES...A NEW CLUB WITH PLENTY TO SHARE
by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating
The Skating Club of Saugerties, located at the Kiwanis Ice Arena in Saugerties, New York, nestled at the base of the Catskill Mountains, is one of five new clubs receiving full status in 2016. When it comes to skating and community events, it has plenty to share.
“The Skating Club of Saugerties currently offers three freestyle sessions each week for private lessons and practicing,” said Club Secretary Lynda Westlund. “The club also offers an adult open synchronized skating team, off- ice training, test sessions and an annual competition. We also have had members test at a S.T.A.R.S. combine for the last two years.”
The club also works closely with the Saugerties Skating School which offers Learn to Skate USA Programs.
They are most proud of their coaching staff that includes coaches who have grown up in the sport both competitively and recreationally.
“Our coaching staff is comprised of dedicated caring and enthusiastic coaches who are members of the Professional Skaters Association, U.S. Figure Skating and the U.S. Hockey Association,” Westlund said. “Two of our coaches have tested and completed their senior moves, freestyle and or gold dance tests. One of our coaches has continued her competitive career and often competes at the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships.
Many of the clubs coaches also compete on the club’s adult open synchronized skating team, Mad Cat Skills, and perform in the annual ice show which Westlund proudly proclaims, is “standing room only.”
In addition to their annual show, the club hosts a community Girl Scouts event which includes both on and off ice activities, and is looking to partner with home school groups to offer Learn to Skate USA programs.
“We will also be hosting a DJ Skate party that will be open to the public,” Westlund said. “Club members are encouraged to bring a friend to the DJ Skate party to introduce friends to the sport.”
Club coaches also help the community by volunteering at a local school’s PTA skating events by offering free lessons and assisting beginner skaters on the ice. Club skaters marched in the town’s annual Fourth of July parade and hosted a very successful “Skate and Paint” event.
“The club’s primary goal is to expand its membership level and ensure financial security so that the club can continue to grow and thrive,” Westlund said. “Several skaters, parents and board members have volunteered countless hours with both club activities and fundraising events. These efforts have helped us to meet our five year financial plan goals in the first year of operation.”
Saugerties is looking forward to introducing more skaters to the sport and expanding program offerings with more freestyle sessions, a beginner synchronized skating team and an adult coffee club skate.
They are also grateful to the management and staff of the Kiwanis Arena and the Director of the Saugerties Parks and Recreation whose support for building a figure skating program was instrumental in the creation of a U.S. Figure Skating club in Saugerties.
“We are very thankful for the incredible support from our community,” Westlund said. “Our community enthusiastically cheers our skaters and brings food items which we collect and bring to our local food pantry. So many local businesses have generously contributed to help get our club started and support the sport of figure skating.”
Check out the article - http://www.usfsa.org/clubs?id=90154
|Posted by Lynda Westlund on February 14, 2016 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
OFF-ICE DYNAMIC WARM-UP
As an athlete, you should do a general warm-up of approximately five minutes. The warm-up
should consist of aerobic activity to increase heart rate, blood flow, muscle temperature, and
breathing rate. Warming up allows muscles to stretch more easily and joints to move more
easily. The following are examples of good general warm-up exercises.
Choose one or two of the following exercises and do for 2 to 4 minutes total:
Jogging in place or jogging stairs
Specific Warm-Up/Dynamic Flexibility:
Perform 1 set of each of the following specific dynamic exercises (8-10 reps of each):
One leg ankle bounces
Walking forward knee grabs
Single-leg skip bounds, knee-up, and/or kick backs
Leg Swings (cross in front)
Dry land rotational jumps: ¼ turns, singles, axels, doubles, triples
Stretches should not be held for more than 10 seconds to prevent the muscle from relaxing.
Stretches should be light and not forced.
Stretch each of the following muscles:
GET MORE OUT OF YOUR ON-ICE PRACTICE,
LESSON, TEST, OR COMPETITION BY DOING
OFF-ICE DYNAMIC STRETCHES BEFORE YOU
|Posted by Lynda Westlund on October 30, 2015 at 12:15 AM||comments (0)|
Click on the link to find out some great excercises to warm up with .
|Posted by Lynda Westlund on September 23, 2015 at 6:55 AM||comments (0)|
Have you been hearing the buzz about STARS??
Check it out http/www.usfsa.org/Athletes.asp?id=48
S.T.A.R.S. (Standardized Testing of Athleticism to Recognize Skaters) is a U.S. Figure Skating program designed to standardize testing of the athletic abilities that support development of on ice skills. The goals of S.T.A.R.S. are to promote the athletic development of our athletes and keep them safe and injury resistant by training their bodies ahead of the on-ice skills curve.
There are three primary areas measured: 1) Agility/Balance/Coordination, 2) Strength/Power, and 3) Flexibility