USFS Skating

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San Diego Figure Skating Communications

Judging Protocols

Be Prepared
       Judging can be very stressful unless you are prepared to do your job by focusing completely on what each skater is doing. It is very easy to attempt to make a notation and end up missing a required element! Practice by watching tapes of actual competitions. It is very helpful if the tapes are of competitions outside your regular judging area. This eliminates the possibility of a skater's reputation influencing your marking.
  • Watch the warm-up and get a feeling for the range of skating skills. This is especially helpful if there is only one warm-up to establish a range of marks and the base mark for the first skater potentially fits into your marking range. Official USFS judges may judges groups as large as 18. Develop the habit to use a range that avoids "clustering" marks so close together that it is difficult to insert later skaters to achieve your intended ranking. Make concise notes on the sheet in the event you discover you have tied skaters. Allow enough space so you do not have to erase and change multiple marks. The pressure to hand in your judging sheet, so as not to delay the start of the next event, encourages the possibility of errors and increases that possibility with each change being made.
  • Make sure you have one or two spare pencils equipped with an eraser prior to the start of each skater performing their program. This helps to avoid scrambling for a pencil to make notes while the skater is performing their program.
  • Make sure you have have scheduled a bathroom break prior to your judging events. Be sure to allow enough time to arrive at the judges stand five minutes prior to the start of your event. This helps avoid being physically uncomfortable during your event as there is rarely is enough time during a warm-up to allow a trip to the nearest restroom facilities.
  • Be aware of the number of skaters in the event before you are to judge and the length of their programs. Estimate in the time to travel from the judge's room to the judging area to allow enough time to arrive at the judges stand five minutes prior to the start of your event. This helps avoid upsetting the event referee and causing you the embarrassment of being replaced!
  • Dress so you remain warm for your entire event. Some rinks can be bitterly cold, especially in the winter. Experienced judges will layer their clothing so they can adjust if the temperatures change. Expect the rink to be colder if you judge the first event at 8:00 am. Be sure to have warm footwear and bring gloves to the competition. Being prepared for cold temperatures helps you remain warm, alert, and focused on your judging duties.
  • If you judge the first event at 8:00 am, be sure to arrive early to have sometime to eat, have a hot drink, and review the required elements of your event. Most Referees do not allow cell phones, food and drinks once you take your position on the judging stand. Referees may schedule a brief judges meeting prior to your event. Be sure to attend this meeting. Being prepared helps you to focus on your judging duties.
  • Be sure to check the POSTED judges schedule when you arrive and before you LEAVE the rink to insure the chief referee has not added events to your schedule because a judge has become ill or is delayed. Your will endear yourself to the referee by checking your schedule and being on time for your events.

Test Judging Topics

ISU Figure Skating Judging

The International Judging System (IJS)

IJS Judging Criteria


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

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