If your skater is ready to move beyond Learn to Skate and into the sport of figure skating, then we offer the following advice and tips to navigate your way.
Get to know the US Figure Skating Association (USFSA)
If your skater is in the Polar Express Learn-to-Skate program, then your association with USFS has already begun. USFS is the national governing body for the sport of figure skating in the United States and a member of the International Skating Union (ISU), the international federation for figure skating and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC).
USFS is charged with the development of the sport on all levels in the United States, including developing athletes and officials, sanctioning events and exhibitions, and establishing the rules and guidelines by which the sport is governed.
Gain a deeper understanding
Find a coach
Finding a coach for your skater will feel like a daunting task. First you’ll want to determine your level of commitment from both your skater’s perspective and from the financial side. (For example, you may decide to do a semi-private or group lesson vs. private lessons to start.) This will give you a basis of what you’re looking for as you take your time to review coaches’ resumés and conduct interviews. The best gauge for deciding on a coach is your skater and how well you believe they will work together.
Understanding a coach’s resumé will at first seem like you’re reading another language. Here are some important things to know:
- All coaches must be registered with USFS, which includes a background screening and liability insurance
- A coach must complete four Continuing Education Requirements (CER) to be eligible to coach at test sessions, non-qualifying competitions and qualifying competitions
- Membership with the Professional Skating Association (PSA) is required to coach at qualifying competitions and is recommended for all other coaching events and lessons.
- PSA has its own set of credentials for its members. To learn more about the PSA, go to www.skatePSA.com.
- Learning about the USFS Program Development structure and competitive pipeline will give you a greater understanding of the coach’s experience.
There are many parent resources on the PSA’s site to help you find a coach that is right for your skater.
Get the right equipment
Your skater will be able to learn a lot better in quality figure skates. As an alternative to rushing out to buy new skates, you can do a long-term rental program. Sun City Cyclery & Skates in Sun Prairie is a well-known and respected business that offers rental figure skates year around. SunCityCyclery.com
There are some other places that you may be able to find used skates, such as resales and online.
For new skates, your best bet it to visit pro shops in the bigger cities such as Milwaukee and Chicago. There are some small one-man businesses as well, but they are easiest to find by word of mouth from other skating parents.
Once you make the commitment to take figure skating to the next level, your skater will need more ice time know as “Freestyle” or “Free Skate”. The Janesville Ice arena schedules three to four sessions a week of freestyle ice and creates a monthly calendar with a contract. Contracts are due by the first of each month. The key benefit of setting up a monthly contract is that the freestyle session is less expensive than it is if you pay the “walk-on” fee the day of the session – $11 per session on contract vs. $14 for the walk-on rate. You can find these contracts in the figure skating sign-in book (managed by the rink) or posted to our website under the Calendar tab.
There are certain ice patterns that are generally followed to help keep skaters safe as they practice. Skaters below the skating level of Basic 4 are not allowed to use Freestyle Ice unless their coach is on the ice for safety reasons. Your skater’s coach will help teach on how to best utilize the ice for practice. View Ice Rules
Code of Conduct
Like any other sport, it is important that we teach our skater’s good sportsmanship and respect. Posted to the bulletin board in the warming room and our website is a list of the Skater’s Code of Conduct. Likewise, we as parents need to set a good example. You’ll also find the Parent’s Code of Conduct posted.
USFS has made the safety of skaters one of its highest priorities. Coaches are required to take the SafeSport Program as one of their continuing education courses. The club is required to have a SafeSport chairperson and board members that have taken the course as well. More information can be found here and on the USFS website.
Ready for Competition
As a skater with the learn-to-skate program, your child is already eligible to compete at Basic Skills competitions. Your coach will help you decide when your skater is ready for competition and guide you through the process of signing up and preparing for it.
Join Our Club
JFSC is a member club of USFS, that helps manage the structure of USFS at the local level. The leading benefit for joining the club is community — great friendships are made for both skaters and parents. Other leading benefits are being a part of our Annual “Spice On Ice” holiday show and group events.
We welcome new members anytime, however the “right” time is different for everyone. The membership year runs from July 1 of the current year to June 30 of the following year. We offer a reduced, introductory rate for new members. Your family may be ready to join the club as soon as you start competing and before the skate show, or you may decide to wait until the next membership year begins. If you haven’t joined the club by time you’re done with basic skills, then you will want to join the club to continue your progression with test sessions and competing.
We do require club members to participate in two to three fundraisers a year and volunteer at our hosted events. Fundraising supports “Spice On Ice”, test sessions, club activities, etc.
Learn about all the benefits of joining by clicking here.
View the membership costs by clicking here.