With the hope of a (relatively) normal competition season for 2021/22, have you been thinking about trying USFS Singles Skating? Are you unsure where to start?
Here are some FAQs about USFS Competition for CCFSC Skaters.
Please remember an amazing thing about figure skating is that there is a way for all skaters at any level to enjoy competition. This FAQ is focusing on the Well Balanced Qualifying and Non-Qualifying Journey
Are there any local USFS Competitions I can try?
Unfortunately, there is not a current ongoing local competition. CCFSC is considering hosting a USFS Competition in Spring of 2022 depending on available volunteer commitment and member support.
I have never competed USFS, how do I know what level I should skate?
U.S. Figure Skating Members have the ability to participate in three different competitive tracks:
Compete USA Basic Skills
Non-Qualifying Competitions that are not sanctioned as Qualifying Series by USFS, all Pre-Juvenile levels and below, Showcase Events and Excel Events
Qualifying Juvenile – Senior levels at USFS Sanctioned Qualifying Series Events including Regional, Sectional, and National Challenges
Ultimately, the level you will skate is a decision between you and your Coach and will be based on your current Free Skate test level, what your current and future skating goals are, and your personal definition of success.
How do Coaches travel expenses work?
Every Coach structures their travel expenses a bit differently but as a rule of thumb you can expect that expenses will include the Coaches accommodations, meals, and transportation divided by the number of Skaters the Coach is “putting on” at the competition. Additionally, any lessons on Practice Ice and Event fees charged by your coach should be expected.
So, if your Coach is “putting on” 4 skaters, has 2 nights at a Hotel@ $225.00
Meals @ $100.00 for the trip, fuel/car expenses or mileage @ $125.00 you might reasonably expect a bill for $112.50 plus lessons and event fees.
How will I be judged?
US Figure Skating has 2 basic judging platforms dependent on your competition level and the competition sanction.
6.0 Judging (ranking based) This system has been the longstanding judging system for figure skating. U.S. Figure Skating uses it for Compete USA events and many nonqualifying competitions, particularly at the pre-juvenile level and below.
The basic principle of the 6.0 system is a “majority” system. Each event is judged by an odd number of judges, and the winner of the event is the skater placed highest by a majority of these judges.
IJS (Points Based) In the IJS system, competitors accumulate points based on the degree of difficulty (base value) of each technical element and how well each element is executed (grade of execution, or GOE). Skaters also earn points based on their overall skating ability and performance level through program component scores. The International Judging System (IJS) is used for all Qualifying competitions at the Juvenile level and higher nationally and internationally.
You can compare the difference to reading a book vs. editing a book. On a 6.0 scale, you finish the book and think wow, that was a really good book, it was pleasing from start to finish and I really enjoyed what I read! With IJS it more like editing, While the book itself may be a great story, the editor (in this case technician and judges) are looking for the errors, the run-on sentences, grammar, etc. You will certainly get more valuable information from IJS and information perpetuates growth, but that information can sting sometimes. You get the point.
How do I go about choosing music and a dress or costume?
Choosing music does not have to be stressful. Amazing music can be found on Soundtracks, Classical Music channels, TV commercials (it’s true), watching previous competition, or listening to the radio, Apple Music, Spotify Etc. Things to remember when making your selection. Is the music
age appropriate? Is the music “you”, will you be able to interpret the selection effectively? Will the music be engaging to the judges and audience? Will you enjoy your selection of music for an entire season (this is more important than you might think, you don’t want to be ½ way through a competition season and dreading your music)? Do your parents and coaches enjoy and approve of the selection?
Many coaches are able to “cut” your selection to the appropriate length in an interesting arrangement and creative manor. If this is not something your coach feels comfortable in doing, ask around to other skaters at the rink who have music you enjoy to find out who cut the selection.
What should I expect to see from my competition and competitors?
Unlike ISI, most USFS competition levels are 100% level based and not based on the age of the competitor. While the Juvenile (under 13 for girls and 14 for boys) and Intermediate (under 18) levels do have age restrictions, most levels do not. If there are large enough groups at a particular level, most competitions will attempt to group initial rounds by similar age if possible. It is not uncommon to see 13 year old Intermediate skaters in the same group as 17 year old skaters. You and your coach have you competing at a certain level for your personal goals and abilities, have confidence in that!
What is it like to travel and represent CCFSC?
This season will likely start out with Covid restrictions in place that will alter the competition experience. In a “normal” season, you can expect that your CCFSC teammates and local St. Louis skaters at the competition will make every effort to be in the stands to cheer you on. While each skater will have to focus on their own preparedness at times, you will likely see many skaters, parents, and coaches making it a priority to be there in support. If you are looking for a way to feel more connected to your CCFSC family, traveling for competition is a great start. In “down time” at a competition, many skaters and their families will explore the host city, and take in the sights. A team dinner with coaches, skaters, and families is typical and a great way to bond with your CCFSC teammates.
How much does it cost to compete USFS?
Entry fees for US Figure Skating competitions vary but you can expect to pay $85.00 - $150.00 in entry fees for a single event and $25.00 to $45.00 for each additional event entered. Combined events (Intermediate and above) are typically around $200.00. Practice Ice, when made available by the competition, is usually around $15.00 - $20.00 per session. These fees are paid upon registration often months before the actual event.
Of course, you will need to consider Coaches expenses and your own travel expenses as well as you plan your competition budget.
Sounds fun, but expensive. How can I help control the cost of getting started in USFS?
While certain expenses are unavoidable, many families find sharing a hotel or VrBO with another competitor’s family can help with expenses along with carpooling to an out of town event. Dresses and costumes can be found at a reasonable cost on sites like Ebay and by joining Facebook skating swap sites. Flexibility in hotel choice and packing healthy travel snacks and light meals can cut the cost of travel.
What else do I need to know to find personal success in USFS competition?
It is important to define success in US Figure Skating based on your personal goals and commitment. USFS levels can allow a wide range of skills to be attempted even at relatively “lower” levels. An Axel jump is allowed at the Pre-Preliminary level and required at Preliminary. One attempt at a triple rotation jump is allowed at the Juvenile level. Intermediate level skaters may have elements ranging from Single Axel to Triple Lutz (in combination no less) and everything in between. Performing your best with the skills you are currently capable of should be the goal. While some degree of personal comparison to other skaters is inevitable, remember that learning new skills is a process. There may be competitors in your assigned group who are further along in the process. Podium finishes are nice, but focusing on the outcome instead of self-improvement can lead to disappointment.
At the end of the day, Figure Skating shou;d be fun!