Congratulations, you have worked your way through US Figure Skating Basic Skills Classes and maybe some private lessons. Your coach has signed you up for your first figure skating competition! You are really lucky, this is where future Scott Hamilton’s and Michelle Kwan’s get their start! Your coach is an expert and has years of experience so don’t be afraid to ask questions. These competitions are designed to be fun and will give you lot’s of competition experience.
Here are a few things you should know about:
The Competition package (See the download on the main page) has a Competition Application and the requirements for each event. You need to have your coach help you fill out the application with the correct events. He or She will sign it and it also needs to be signed by your Skate School Director or US Figure Skating Club Officer. You must be a member of the USFS Basic Skills Program or a full member of US Figure Skating. Remember to get your application (with payment) in by the due date. This is a very important habit to develop. Many competitions will not accept late entries! You may enter more than one event if you wish, and the additional events are cheaper than the first event.
Before the competition you will want to develop a list of things to think about and accomplish before the big day. Some of them are:
Costume and appearance: Please keep it simple! Competition outfits at all levels are required by USFSA rules to be modest, and appropriate for athletic competition. Except for “Showcase” type events, they should not be theatrical in appearance. At beginning levels, boys may be very appropriately dressed in dark pants, shirt, and turtleneck or sweater. Girls may be in a simple skating dress with a little “sparkle” and of course, some make-up. Check with your coach about what is right for your music. Warm-up suits should not be worn during competition. Gloves and Warm-up jackets may be worn during warm-ups, but should never be worn during the competition. Pullover sweaters may mess up the hair when pulled over the head. Skates should be cleaned and polished for every competition. Make sure your laces are in good shape before you get to the rink. If you can’t get the boots polished “Over the boot” tights are a good choice. Hair should be done tidily and be very secure. Bobby pins, scrunchies, rubber bands, etc, if used should be very secure. These items are a hazard if they fall on the ice. You might want to have a “backup” outfit and extra tights in case of an emergency. Extra shoelaces are also a good idea. Don’t forget your skate guards.
Music: You should have two (2) copies of your music with you. This should be recorded on music CD’s with only your music on the CD. Please, no mini-CD’s. Your music should be well labeled with your name, event, rink, club and coach’s name.
Competition Day: Plan to arrive at the rink one hour before your first event. When you arrive, find the Registration table in the front lobby. Here you will register your child to let the competition committee know that he/she is in the building. You will receive an info packet and a “goody bag”. You will turn in one (1) copy of your music and keep the other for backup. You should also check to see if there have been any schedule changes and find out if the competition is running on time. For Elements and Compulsory events, find out which side of the rink you will be skating on (i.e. Zamboni end, Lobby end). Find the “Wall” where the “Start Order Sheets” and results will be posted.
You should let your coach know that you have arrived and get familiar with the rink. It’s a good idea to get dressed at home but there will also be dressing rooms for you at the event. Expect them to be crowded. Your coach will probably want you to warm up on the floor. As a general rule, you should be fully dressed and ready with skates on, when the flight before yours actually “takes the ice”. Say goodbye to Mom and Dad up in the bleachers. Your parents should not be down near the ice door. Your coach will generally stay with you before and during the event. You will check in with the “Ice Monitor” who will be standing near the door to the ice with a clipboard. Don’t go too far away, but don’t bother everyone either. The “Ice Monitor” will be lining you up and will tell you when it’s time to get on the ice for your warm-up. You and your coach will also ask the monitor if there have been any “scratches” that would change your skating order. When it’s time for your “Warm-up” (about 5 min.) you will have the opportunity to warm up your muscles and go through the elements that your coach has talked to you about. You want to get familiar with the ice and don’t be surprised if the ice is larger or smaller than your rink. You should probably try and run through your entire program to make sure everything fits. The announcer will make an announcement that there is one (1) minute left in the warm-up and then you will be called off of the ice. When it’s your turn the monitor will tell you to take the ice. Skate out to your “Spot”, take a deep breath and make your starting pose. If this is a competition with music, they will start the music and off you go! Remember to smile and have fun! If this is an event without music (like Compulsory) you will wait until the announcer says, “You may begin”.
Results: The results will usually be posted about a half hour after your event. You will probably find them on “The Wall” near the “Starting order sheets”.
Awards: First, Second and Third Place will receive a medal. Fourth, fifth and Sixth will receive ribbons. The award ceremonies are usually held periodically during the day. Be sure to be there to get pictures taken. This is also a good time to get with the photographer/Videographer and order your pictures for grandma!
The “Series” final placement point trophies will be delivered to your rink a few weeks after the last competition in the “Series”. Rinks hosting a “Series” competition will probably have an award ceremony.
Competition Conduct: Remember that everyone is special to someone. Skaters and families should be respectful of all competitors, judges and coaches. When in the audience, you should try to avoid wandering , entering and exiting in this area while the skaters are performing. You can move around during the warm-up periods. Be supportive with applause for all skaters. Not just your friends and family. Avoid hovering near the ice entrance if you are not competing. Give your support from the stands. Never, be rude or obnoxious. Never, Boo or harass skaters. If you are unhappy with your placement or the way you skated, remember life goes on! Nobody, wants to see a temper tantrum or poor behavior. You may disagree with your placement but please remember that the judges have years of experience in the sport and are dedicated “Professional” volunteers who spend hours and hours of their time. If you happen to run into a judge after the event, thank them for judging you. Chances are you will see them for many years to come!
Parents: Please be positive and supportive of your child at all times. Your child will be thrilled if you bring flowers. Make them feel special by taking lot’s of pictures. This will help make your child’s first competition a wonderful experience that they will remember forever!
Have Fun!!!: These competitions are designed to be really fun! You will make new friends and have an exciting day! Enjoy the experience!