Programs to Retain Skaters
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San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Ice Sports & Activities

What is the difference between ice sports and ice activities?
Ice sports include the traditional sports such as curling, bobsled, and luge and those with boots and blades such as ice hockey, speed skating, figure skating plus Synchronized skating, Showcase/interpretive skating, and Theater on Ice.

       Recreational on ice activities include  Bandy,  Broomball,  Ice Fishing, and Ice Sailing. While there may be organized meets/competitions, the major emphasis is on fitness and fun as opposed to a primary goal of winning. 

Background of Ice Skating as a School Winter Sport

      Historically many ice skaters grew up in cold winter regions of USA, Canada, Russia and Eastern Europe where they learned to ice skate and curl. Total climate controlled buildings are now commonly constructed in a mild or warm winter climates such as Austin TX, New Orleans LA, Miami FL, etc..

      The improvement in green energy efficiency, insulation, and heat transfer of new building materials now allows engineers to incorporate interior climate control into the construction of ice skating rinks in hot and humid summer climates. These new skating facilities are providing opportunities for athletes to participate in ice sports on a year round basis even in the most unexpected geographic areas.

      Extracurricular sports are important tools that can involve kids after school and provide them with an alternative to any involvement in street gangs that may exist in a local community. Besides keeping child- ren busy and out of trouble organized sports teach the athletes physical and social skills, patience and per- severance. School and park basketball courts and football fields often find themselves over committed with teams wishing to obtain practice time and schedule games.

      Team sports provide a positive influence on young athletes by teaching them valuable teamwork and leadership skills that will stay with them long after their skating days are over. Ice skating also includes team sports such as - curling, hockey, speed skating, synchronized team skating, and Theater-On-Ice.

Ice Skating provides an alternative to traditional team sports
      There are alternatives to the individual and team sports facilities usually associated with public schools and parks. Private facilities and those offered by YMCA and other similar organizations provide recreat- ional and competitive programs for swimmers, gymnasts, ice skaters, trampoline, lacrosse, golf and other minor sports, which serve as an alternative outlet to traditional sports facilities. Minor sports provide opportunities for success for individuals who don't wish to participate in contact sports. 

      Minor sports attract fewer total athletes compared to traditional team sports such as basketball, baseball, football, track and field, etc.. However, every young boy or girl, who participates in minor sports and is serious about their practice and training sessions, has an excellent chance of attracting the attention of minor sports coaches and officials. 
  • Hockey coaches stress that success is a team effort, but reality suggests that one or two star players can make a major difference on a team's winning percentage. In general, there is less emphasis on individual hockey players working on improving their skills compared to the emphasis coaches place on team drills and practice games so parents can see their son or daughter get playing time instead of sitting on the bench.

  • Speed Skating is largely a individual sport except for relay races, especially on the hand off of the baton between skaters.  Aggressive and smart skating are extremely important in short track events. The time watch measures the time off the block and stamina are important factors in long and short track events.

  • Synchronized Skating teams are constrained by the weakest skater on the team. Individual abilities defines the team's ability to perform more difficult team skating moves that are part of the program's choreography. Continuing to work on individual skating skills is a very high priority established by team coaches and choreographers.

  • Theater-On-Ice team choreographers have a lot of flexibility to choosing individuals whose free skating (jumping and spinning) abilities need to be reasonably well matched. Their ability to consistent perform the free skating elements and their primary direction of rotation are important factors.  Skaters of different ages and skill levels can be mixed together in one number.

  • Curling is a sport with specific positions that have different requirements. Individual skills may make an athletic more suited for one position than another. This sport is a mixture of individual skills, strategies of play, and the execution of putting the stones exactly where the skip has identified.

      It is important to note that frequently the term "Team" is used when "Squad" might be a better choice.
A squad consists of specific number of athletes who compete individually. In some sports like gymnastics, the lines are blurred as there is an all around team championship involving the total points scored by individual participants of a team school or country.  After this initial competition, the top leaders of each event compete to become individual champion of the event. The competition events are:

ladies - uneven parallel bars, balance beam, vault, and floor exercise
mens - pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel barshigh bar, and floor exercise 

      There are community based alternatives to elementary, middle, high school, and college sports programs.
  • State and National Games
  • Park & Recreation leagues
  • Church leagues
  • Pop Warner football
  • Little League baseball
  • Club sports
     The following is a partial list of minor sports offering possible alternatives:

  • Archery
  • Ballroom Dance
  • Baseball/Softball
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Beanbags 
  • Bowling 
  • Climbing
  • Cricket
  • Curling
  • Cycling
  • Diving
  • Equestrian
  • Figure Skating
  • Floor Hockey
  • Football (flag)
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Handball
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial arts
  • Rhythm & Dance
  • Roller Skating
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Skiing
  • Speed Skating
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
Recommended Reading:

Physical Education 7 - Beginning Team Sports Activities Core
Beginning Team Sports Activities is an entry level course emphasizing beginner skills in a broad spectrum of activities in order to develop a foundation for future


College Club & Varsity Skating Teams

Aspiring To Achieve Elite Status

School Skating Clubs & Teams


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:

Ice Sports & Activities
Aspiring To Achieve Elite Status
Managing A Sports Team
Team Teaching and Coaching
Building an Effective Team
Interscholastic Winter Sports
PDF  How to Start a High School Program
PDF  School Affiliated Membership Letter
PDF  Application School Affiliated Club Membership
PDF  List of School affiliated Clubs

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.

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