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Thread: Joining USFSA

  1. #1
    Medalist doubleaxel's Avatar
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    Joining USFSA

    I am practically 12 years old and I love skating, so recently I've been thinking of joining USFSA (or maybe ISI, I don't know.) I am skating for eight months and I have self-taught myself the toe loop, salchow, scratch and sit spins. My flip and loop aren't very consistent though and don't have much height. Recently I went to my first group class, called the "Junior Champions" (what a false, false name) and guess what?! It's PATHETIC. They are "teaching" me three turns and a T-stop. :( I am trying to tell the skating director that those elements are way too easy for me but he's like "You're being too hard on yourself." WHAT? I am just skating how I normally skate. I hoped I was going to work on combination jumps and Lutzes, but all I see here so far doesn't even go further than forward crossrolls. (The kids in my class skate backward with great difficulty.) = /

    I've been trying to ask the skating director and my "coach," but they wouldn't even listen:

    1. How does the USFSA thing work?
    2. How do I get put into a level?
    3. What about a coach, competition, and expenses?
    4. What level would I be in? (I can do forward and backward swingrolls, forward and backward spirals, waltz jumps, toe loops, salchows, flip and loop unconsistently, sratch and sit spin.")

    If anybody has any suggestions, please, please answer!! Thank you so much for reading this and taking your time. <3 Sasha
    Last edited by doubleaxel; 02-13-2007 at 06:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    Anyone can join the USFSA. You do that by either joining your local figure skating club (the membership is usually included USFSA membership), or you can be an individual member. Personally I think it's easier to be a club member, as that has other perks, like first chance at test sessions and access to club practice ice.

    You probably would do better with a private coach than in a group class, given that you are already doing some things. The skating club can provide you with a list of coaches & you can take a few trial lessons with a couple of them to see who you'd best like to work with. NOW--that being said, don't be surprised if your coach makes you work a lot on the basics, which you may think you've already mastered. Having self-taught yourself, in all likelihood you have some bad habits which you'll have to fix, and there will be some elements you've probably skipped over, which are basic but still necessary. You will always work on the basics, there is always more to refine.

    As far as USFSA levels, you would start out at the bottom (like everyone else), which is pre-preliminary. You move up from level to level by taking tests, which are taken on official test sessions in front of a panel of judges. You are given scores just as if it were a competition. For each level, you have to get a minimum score in order to pass. As you move up in levels the passing minimum score goes up.

    There are 2 sorts of tests you will take (assuming you're not doing ice dance). Those are Moves in the Field, and Freeskate tests. You start with Moves in the Field, which is all footwork patterns, edges, stroking, turns, spirals, etc. Your coach will teach you the patterns and the way they must be skated. For any given level, you have to pass the Moves test before you may take the Freeskate test (which is a program to music which includes a list of required elements. The first FS test, pre-preliminary, is not done to music). Moves tests are never done to music.

    Here's a website http://www.sk8stuff.com that has tons of info on testing, competing and lots of other stuff. You can see the required elements for each level and how they progress.

    Hope that's helpful! Good luck!
    Last edited by backspin; 10-26-2006 at 04:14 PM.

  3. #3
    Medalist doubleaxel's Avatar
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    Wow, I definitely found that helpful. Thank you very much for reading that "lecture" and giving all me the advice!! Although, I do recall, don't you have to pass this Freeskate thing (where they teach you single jumps and spins) in order to get to pre-preliminary? Also, sorry if I sound like a journalist, but what elements do you have to do to pass to pre-preliminary?

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    You don't have to do anything to get to pre-preliminary because it's the first level. So someone who hasn't passed pre-preliminary yet is often referred to as a "no-test" skater. (The group class levels don't have anything to do with this testing structure.)

    Moves Elements for Pre-pre are (along w/ their primary & secondary focus):
    1 Forward Perimeter Stroking (Power, Extension)
    2 Basic Consecutive Edges (FO, FI, BO, BI) (Edge Quality)
    3 Forward Right- and Left-foot Spirals (Extension)
    4 Waltz Eight (Edge Quality)

    Freeskate Elements for Pre-pre:
    * Waltz jump
    * Salchow
    * Toe loop
    * Half flip (land on either foot)
    * Half Lutz (land on either foot)
    * One-foot spin (min 3 revs) optional freeleg position toward knee level

  5. #5
    Medalist doubleaxel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backspin View Post
    You don't have to do anything to get to pre-preliminary because it's the first level. So someone who hasn't passed pre-preliminary yet is often referred to as a "no-test" skater. (The group class levels don't have anything to do with this testing structure.)

    Moves Elements for Pre-pre are (along w/ their primary & secondary focus):
    1 Forward Perimeter Stroking (Power, Extension)
    2 Basic Consecutive Edges (FO, FI, BO, BI) (Edge Quality)
    3 Forward Right- and Left-foot Spirals (Extension)
    4 Waltz Eight (Edge Quality)

    Freeskate Elements for Pre-pre:
    * Waltz jump
    * Salchow
    * Toe loop
    * Half flip (land on either foot)
    * Half Lutz (land on either foot)
    * One-foot spin (min 3 revs) optional freeleg position toward knee level
    Are you sure? Because I have read that you learn a Lutz in Freeskate 6, and Pre-preliminary is after all the freeskate levels, right?...

    Oh well. Thank you for the info though! <3 Sasha
    Last edited by doubleaxel; 02-13-2007 at 06:45 PM.

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    You learn the lutz in FS 6, but as I said, the group class tests and the "real" USFSA standard tests have nothing to do with each other. No matter what group class tests you've passed, you are still a no-test skater on the Standard track of tests. These are the tests which determine competition level. And the group classes are not a requirement to start testing on the standard track.

    By the time many kids start testing "for real" as it were, they have most if not all their single jumps. The quality of skating that is required to pass a standard test is far, far above what would pass in a group class.

  7. #7
    Ballroom Baby
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    FS 6 is part of the group-lesson program (Basic Skills, etc) and like backspin says, have nothing to do with the test track. I have never taken Basic Skills, have no jumps at all, and am currently preparing to test Pre-Juvenile MIF. (I'm an ice dancer, so I test the dances, and don't do freestyle as I don't need it and don't have time for a third lesson/coach each week.)

    Also, I'm an independent member of USFSA--for me, it works better, as it's cheaper and I'm not tied to a club. But if you want to compete or if you live someplace where there's a club with a rink close to you, that's probably the most practical solution.

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    I'm sure you're enjoying the jumping, but do, please, be aware that there is infinitely more to skating than just jumping and spinning - the best skaters spend hours each day working just on their edges and turns, before they even think of jumping. So please don't despise working on these - you're totally going to need them.

  9. #9
    Medalist doubleaxel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Redboots View Post
    I'm sure you're enjoying the jumping, but do, please, be aware that there is infinitely more to skating than just jumping and spinning - the best skaters spend hours each day working just on their edges and turns, before they even think of jumping. So please don't despise working on these - you're totally going to need them.
    Sorry, sometimes I have trouble expressing myself exactly the way I want to... *blushes*

    Anyway, I am not saying I don't like working on edges or anything. Trust me, I absolutely love everything in this wonderful sport. All I need is a sheet of polished ice and I'm happy. But it's just that you don't see good skaters only working on edges and waltz jumps, do you? Besides, that is when they were like 6 years old (well, fine, before 10, at maximum)... If I spend 2 years working on my edges, then I think my competitive goals have gone down the drain. (Considering the classes I am in take 3 months to learn basic forward crossovers and edges.) Oh, now about my technique: sometimes my coach has boots instead of skates on ice, and he uses ME as an example to show the other kids jumps such as the salchow, toe loop, and even loop. (I've improved on it!) Plus several spins.

    xD I hope that cleared it up.

    ~*<3 Sasha*~
    Last edited by doubleaxel; 02-13-2007 at 06:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doubleaxel View Post
    But it's just that you don't see good skaters only working on edges and waltz jumps, do you? Besides, that is when they were like 6 years old (well, fine, before 10, at maximum)
    In a word, yes, you do. I've seen lessons of elite skaters working on only stroking for an hour or more. You never stop working on/refining the basics, even when you're a world class skater.

    You'll work on everything in your lessons, but given that you have Moves tests to pass before you ever get to FS levels, expect to spend *at least* half the time working on edges and basic stroking/footwork exercises. It's much much harder than it looks to do it well!

  11. #11
    Ballroom Baby
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    You can't even take a freeskate test until you've passed the appropriate moves test. That means forward and backward stroking, crossovers, three-turns, back threes, power threes, power pulls, five-step mohawks...that doesn't even get you past pre-juvenile! *glares at back three pattern* There is much, much MUCH more to the test stream than jumps and spins, and prefecting the Moves takes lots of time. Even the skaters who have progressed far enough that they have competitive programs spend as much time practicing their footwork as their jumps.

  12. #12
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Very true and the higher the competitive level, the longer the time spent working on the transitions along with the footwork. By transitions, I mean what connects the program together besides crossovers.

    The higher the MIF level, the longer a skater puts into this test to make it passing. You might sail through the first 1-2 MIF tests, but at PreJuv, the judges expectation for passing starts to rise. By Intermediate, the judges have a performance expectation to go a long with just *doing* the moves correctly on the test, and Novice, well, don't even get me started (glares at the bracket-three-bracket). Novice MIF is the "gateway" to the Novice FS test (assuming a skater is not ahead in moves, which is allowed) and so the judges tend to be very picky there.

    I skate competitively and yet 10-15 minutes of every hour during competition season on the ice is spent on MIF, stroking, etc. It makes everything better.

    I skate with several skaters at the Intermediate, Novice, Junior and Senior levels, and they spend A LOT of their time on exercises to improve edging, foot speed, balance, body awareness and to go with all that, jumps and spins. I've seen a Novice have a lesson on nothing but transitions and footwork (passed Senior MIF already) in the last week!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by doubleaxel View Post
    But it's just that you don't see good skaters only working on edges and waltz jumps, do you?
    Indeed you do, all the time! Every skater, every session spends time on his or her edges, and warms their jumps up from a waltz-jump onwards, even those for whom a jump in a programme is nearly always a triple or even a quad.

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    Medalist doubleaxel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Redboots View Post
    Indeed you do, all the time! Every skater, every session spends time on his or her edges, and warms their jumps up from a waltz-jump onwards, even those for whom a jump in a programme is nearly always a triple or even a quad.

    Notice the key word: only.

    Yet... whatever. I'm taking a Pre-Preliminary test next week, and I'm okay with what will be on it. Well, basically, I got everything sorted out now.
    Last edited by doubleaxel; 11-26-2006 at 08:56 PM.

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    Let us know how you got on!

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