Basic Skills Judging
hosted by

San Diego Figure Skating Communications
a non-profit educational organization

Competitive Judging
This information is presented for official USFS Test Judges and individuals
whose background in skating that provides them with the technical expertise
to establish personal standards to make decisions to establish a skater's base
mark to allow for comparison and ranking skaters in a 6.0 judging environment.

The USFS 6.0 System
This system requires the judge to identify the element and determine if the skater has met specific considerations such as:

       Technical Mark -
  • Jumps - Individual, Combination, and/or Sequence.
    • Not telegraphed.
    • A controlled entry.
    • Correct take off.
    • Performed the correct number of rotations in the air and is neither pre rotated on the takeoff or under rotated on the landing.
    • Exiting on the proper edge with control and flow.
    • Choreographed to music.
    • Did not exceed the number of total jumps as individual jumps, in combinations, and/or sequences.
    • Did not exceed the allowable number of times a jump can be performed as an individual jump, in a combination, or as part of a sequence.
  • Spins -
    • A controlled entry - Flying, Forward, and Backwards.
    • Centered Spin
      • Speed
      • Traveling
      • Recentering
    • Performance
      • Total number of rotations
      • Rotations in Position
      • Change of  Foot
      • Change of position - sit, camel, upright
    • Exiting with control and flow.
    • Choreographed to music
  • Footwork Step Sequence
    • Demonstration of bilateral skills.
    • Difficulty of turns.
    • Speed, power, quickness.
    • Choreographed to music.
  • Spiral Step Sequence
    • Demonstration of bilateral skills.
    • Difficulty of turns between spirals.
    • Speed, power, quickness.
    • Choreographed to music.
  • Connecting Steps - ties program elements together without generating power from crossovers.
Presentation Mark:
  • Theme of Musical Score as written by the composer and played by an orchestra and director.
  • How well the choreography movements conveys the composer's theme.
  • The extent that the skater is able to interpret and communicate the composer's theme through their technical and artistic skills.
        In the 6.0 system, the judges do not consider the difficulty as a separate factor. However, it is one of the considerations that a judge uses as a comparison for placing skaters, In the IJS, the degree of difficulty forms a base mark for jumps, spins, and required step sequences that the accountants apply to the individual GOE marks awarded by the judges for each element.

       Judges should do to make sure they don't delay the start of scheduled events -

      Memorize your USFS Membership Number  as a judges USFS membership number and signature is used as identification on official documents such as test and competition judging sheets.

      A referee is assigned to each event. An assistant referee may also be assigned.

      Official USFS judges are assigned to events. The referee will solving any unforeseen problems that might occur during the competition events.  Judges should review the required elements of the event they are assigned.

      As a judge, be sure to be at the rink a minimum of a half an hour prior to the event. Visit the judges hospitality room to get warm and to obtain for food and beverages. Your judging assignment is listed the judges' schedule the referee sends out a week before the competition. A master schedule will also be posted in the judge's room. Check it as last minute changes may have occurred.

      The judging clip boards may hold just one individual event. If the judging boards are not in the judges room, the event referee may have placed the judge's clipboard, event sheet(s), worksheets, and pencils at the seats in the judging area.  Events may run early or late. Keep track of the progress of the event you are scheduled to judge. Arrive a few minutes early to the judging area so you don't delay the start of an event.

     Sometimes the chief accountant may decide to organize the events by placing the sheets for the events in folders for each judge in the judges room. The judges put their sheets on a clipboard and carry it all day.

     Always carry your updated schedule of events with your clipboard.

      The accountant, will usually prepare various “work or reference sheets ” in the judges room for you to take notes. Many judges also use a 3 hole binder where they store the many competition updates.  Judges carry small color coded  cards with the requirements for each competitive event. Prior to the competition, make sure the cards have been updated for the current competitive season. You may bring these references with you when you judge. During the actual judging there usually will not be enough time to refer to your notes; however, you may refer to your references during warm-up periods.

      Become familiar with the common abbreviations or computer codes to lessen the chance you will miss the skater performing an element while you are writing notes about the skater. Your notes should help remind you as to why you marked a skater in case of a coach requesting a clarification from the referee. 

IJS Judging
      Most Open Competitions will not involve Computer Monitors on the judging stand. You will need to fill out and retain the event worksheets. Quickly transfer your marks to the “official” judging sheet that is collected and sent to the accounting room at the end of each event. In IJS the sheets are turned in after every skater has completed their performance.

      Use the following evaluation standards:
  • Very Good – exceeds your expectations, but not necessarily error free.
  • Good - all elements performed above your standard for an average skater at this level.
  • Acceptable - the overall performance averages out to a passing performance.
  • Minor improvements - the overall performance is below average
  • Major improvements - the overall performance is well below average
See the Program Component - Level Expectations Guidelines    PDF Program Components Range
Marking Guide

      Each official IJS judging sheet will list the Planned Program Element Sheet the skater has indicated he/she will perform for the event. The skater may completely revise the order and content. In 6.0 you had to call and judge the skater's performance. In IJS, you should be prepared to make a call and write down what you see in case you are unable to hear the technical specialist' calls.

      The referee will indicate the length of the program in the event of a timing violation. You need to know the rules to determine what, if any, deduction should be taken.

      Each official judging sheet will list the elements to be performed for the event. Extra elements can be added to free skating program; however, if required elements are not performed correctly or not attempted, a deduction must be taken.

Recommended Reading:

Accounting Central  For USFS Members only (Forms, Charts & Procedures -> IJS Charts and Factor Tables).

International Judging System (IJS)  The USFS has five different sections: Technical Information, ISU Communications, Technical Panel Information - Singles, Technical Panel Information - Pairs, and Judge and Referee Information. The documents are published by the ISU or U.S. Figure Skating. It is suggested to check often on all posted documents for your event and to check the Technical Notifications/Alerts tab on the sidebar for any changes made by U.S. Figure Skating.

Figure Skating ISU Judging System   The ISU International Judging System (IJS) is used in all qualifying figure skating ... The second score is the Program Components Score (PCS) ... (GOE); In determining the grade of execution the judge can mark the GOE score from -3 to +3.


ISU Figure Skating Judging

The International Judging System (IJS)

IJS Judging Criteria

Test Judging Topics

Skate Canada > Development > Programs > STARSkate Unique to Canada, this program teaches figure skating skills in a group ... Each area is divided into the following levels: ... The basic components of all disciplines of figure skating are incorporated into ... The club determines the categories which generally follow Skate Canada STARSkate guidelines (e.g. length of program,


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Training for Judges

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

Athlete Concerns     Collection of Related Ideas    Skating Articles    Related Topics      

Ice Skating Rink Index    Topic Index    Site Index   Home Page