Figure Skating
hosted by
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
a non-profit educational organization

Building A Program of
Synchronized Team Skating

      Your local rink and/or USFS club is the place to become familiar with the basic skating skills program. After acquiring these skills, the skater may desire to learn more about the following figure skating disciplines:
  • Synchronized Team Skating,
  • Competitive school figure skating teams,
  • Free skating (singles),
  • Pair Skating,
  • Dancing,
  • Artistic and Interpretive skating,
  • Showcase,
  • Theater On Ice.
      It can be especially confusing for parents of skaters who are just enrolling in a beginning group class program. Just relax and take your time in making decisions. Your child may not even like the experience. However, if they demonstrate they would like to continue to skate, you should consider investing in a proper fitting pair of ice skates.

      The next step is to learn about the opportunities available as their skating skills improve. Don't be in a great rush. Continue taking group lessons, but increase the number of practice sessions per week. Eventually the investment in a weekly 15 minute private lesson should be considered. Take advantage if the rink or figure skating club offers a seminar to prospective skating parents, on-ice evaluation of new skaters, and a used skate and equipment sale. Attend skating recitals, and an Ice Carnival to see examples of different figure skating disciplines such as synchronized skating.

      The facilities of each rink may vary according to the size of the ice surface (NHL or Olympic size), operating year round or seasonal, plus various amenities such as off-ice dance rooms, a pro shop, skater repairs and sharpening, skate rental, food concession, and group class registration office.

Skating Activities
      The lower event levels are fun activities. To gain the skating skills necessary to compete at the top level and be selected to compete international involves the same commitment in time energy, and funding that is associated with becoming an elite skater in singles, pairs, or dancing.

      Skaters can compete in ISI, Basic Skills, and USFS club, open, and qualifying competitions. There are different levels (ISI, Basic Skills, and USFS) Synchro and Theater On Ice teams that have brought the team concept to a sport that has focused on singles and couple skating.

Synchronized Skating Teams
      Synchronized skating combines the grace of ballet, the elegance of ice dancing and the thrill of split second maneuvers. Each team skates as one unit, executing difficult patterns with speed and precision.
      Synchronized Skating Teams are open to different age and skill groups. See the Synchronized Team Skating Requirements.

It is essential that a system of beginning synchronized skating teams have a series of levels that they can progress through over multiple seasons that can ultimately lead to the elite level.  This can only occur if there is a strong group class program that provides skaters to acquire their fundamental skating skills prior to exclusively concentrating in one figure skating discipline.

It is very important that synchronized skating coaches pursue both ISI and Basic Skills options because there relatively few USFS teams on the west coast. In fact the Pacific and Midwestern Sectional synchronized skating championships are held together at a location in the Midwest. This puts a considerable financial burden on the less experienced, low level synchro teams who have to travel from the Pacific coast for their first qualifying competition.

Some USFS Coaches from the Pacific Coast bring their team(s) to the Dr, Porter Classic, held in Ann Arbor, MI in early Dec., to provide the necessary competitive experience for their skaters prior to the sectional championships.

Participation in ISI competitions can also provide teams with competitive experience, usually within easy driving distance. Sometime the host clubs organize their schedules so synchro teams can complete the initial and final round on the same day so an over night stay is not required, thus reducing expenses even more.

      It is sometimes difficult to recruit enough skaters to field a full synchro team with a few alternate skaters in case of an illness or unforeseen accident. This causes coaches to recruit skaters to crossover (have a secure position on two teams) or have a secure spot on one team while being alternate skater who practices with a second team, but only competes when a member is missing. 

      The rink's Skating School and/or local USFS club must develop a policy to encourage a high quality diversified instruction program of ISI, Basic Skills, and USFS to maximize opportunities for all skaters to have fun, and competitive opportunities for all ages. Rink management and coaching staff are dedicated to maintaining high standards that are necessary to produce nationally ranked skaters.

      Each spring, after the conclusion of the USFS National Synchronized Skating Championships, an orientation program, followed by tryouts, is usually held to determine the field of interested participants who could be assembled as a team for the next competitive season.

      An Orientation Program is designed to introduce skater to the skills they will nee to acquire and training regime that is part of the synchro program. A series of workout sessions on and off the ice are usually held for several weeks prior to the team tryouts.

      It is very helpful to have skaters from previous teams available to act as assistants and mentors.  It is very important to provide a positive learning experience to these prospective members.  It is also helpful to have the parents conduct some sessions for their parents.

Life Lessons Learned
      Synchronized skater learn valuable lessons that will serve them well as they grow.  Participation on a team can be the first time they work together with a group toward a common goal. They learn that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and can often accomplish more with a team than they would on their own.

      No matter how hard the skaters train - there is no guarantee a team will win at a competition. Skaters need to learn how to handle stress in competitive situations, develop sportsmanship qualities, and an appreciation of participation in a sports activity. These attributes combat many of the negative messages they receive via TV, internet, and at school. Every skater is a winner when they learn to try their best to support  other members of the team.

      Each individual skater learns take on responsibility, accountability, and punctuality by participating on a team that allows them to meet others with similar interests helps in the development of social skills, self-image, and personal development.

      A competitive skater must learn the art of self-management to succeed in team sport. A key requirement of participation on sports team is traveling to compete. Students schedule their time and plan farther in advance to communicate clearly with their teachers and to complete work with minimal supervision.

      There is time for practice, team activities, school and homework, and fun with friends if a skater  develops the ability to focus on completing daily assignments at school, rink, and at home. Procrastination results in degraded performance and ultimately complete failure.

      The ability to manage time, energy, and expectations is a key to being successful in college. It is possible to teach the tools of self management, but the discipline to employ these tools must come from the individual. Colleges have found that students who do not struggle with the basics of time management have the highest rate of success in their first semester.

Skills Needed for Tryouts
Beginning skaters of all ages
  • Forward stroking
  • Backward warm-up with pumps
  • Forward Chasses’
  • T-Stop (left and right)
  • Two-foot turns forward to backwards & backwards to forward
  • Bunny hops (left/right)
  • two foot spin
  • Forward spirals (left/right) in a straight line
  • Forward lunges (left/right)
  • Forward dip
 6-10 year olds
  • Forward stroking
  • Forward outside and inside edges
  • Backward warm-up with crossovers in a figure eight
  • Forward Chasses’
  • T-Stop (left and right)
  • One-foot turns forward to backwards & backwards to forward
  • Bunny hops (left/right)
  • Waltz jump
  • One foot scratch spin
  • Forward spirals (left/right) on outside edges
  • Forward lunges (left/right)
  • 135s (the skater lifts one leg over head and skates on one foot) forward (left/right)
  • Forward shoot the duck (left/right)
10-13 year olds
  • Forward & backward warm-up in figure eight pattern
  • Power three turns forward & backwards (inside/outside)
  • Brackets (forward inside/outside edges)
  • Double three turns forward & backwards (inside/outside)
  • Single & one and a half twizzles forward inside (left/right)
  • Single & double twizzles backward outside (left/right)
  • Spread eagles, inside & outside (left/right)
  • Backward spirals (left & right) on outside edge
  • Back pivot (left & right)
  • Scratch, camel, and sit spin
  • Waltz jump and full revolution jumps except for Lutz
  • Shoot the duck/hydroblade forward & backward (left/right)
  • 135s (the skater lifts one leg over head and skates on one foot) backward (left/right)
  • Bauer (left/right)
Elite Skaters
  • Power skating - forward & backward warm-up in figure eight pattern
  • Power three turns forward & backwards (inside/outside)
  • Brackets (forward and backwards, inside/outside edges)
  • Rockers (forward and backwards, inside/outside edges)
  • Counters (forward and backwards, inside/outside edges)
  • Choctaws (forward and backwards, inside/outside edges)
  • Double three turns forward & backwards (inside/outside)
  • Single & double forward and backward twizzles inside and outside (left/right)
  • Forward and backward outside/inside loops (left/right)
  • Spread eagles, inside & outside (left/right)
  • Backward spirals (left & right) on outside and inside edges
  • Back pivot (left & right)
  • Change foot layback, camel, and sit spins
  • Flying camel spin
  • Axel jump and one double revolution jump
  • Shoot the duck/hydroblade forward & backward (left/right)
  • 135s (the skater lifts one leg over head and skates on one foot) backward (left/right)
  • Bauer (left/right)
  • Forward & backward warm-up in figure eight pattern
  • Power three turns forward & backwards (inside/outside)
  • Brackets (forward inside/outside edges)
  • Double three turns forward & backwards (inside/outside)
  • Single & one and a half twizzles forward inside (left/right)
  • Single & double twizzles backward outside (left/right)
  • Backward spirals (left & right) on outside edge
  • Back pivot (left & right)
  • Scratch spin
  • Waltz jump and half revolution jumps except for Lutz
NOTE: Skaters are not expected to be proficient at all of the above skills.
Skaters will be judged in comparison to the others who try out, and the
clinics will teach basic team skills that skaters can use during tryouts.

      Appearance is important for tryouts; proper skating attire is recommended. Please wear a practice dress with tan tights and your hair in a neat bun.

Schedule Starting out a New Season
      There will be fees for ice time and coaching fees associated with the following activities:
  • Orientation #1 - Ages 6-10  held early April
  • Orientation #2 - Ages 10-13 held early April
  • Orientation #3 - Ages 13 and older held early April
  • Orientation #4 - Adults held early April
  • Tryouts - Ages 6-10 held late May
  • Tryouts - Ages 10-13 held late May
  • Tryouts - Ages 13 and older held late May
  • Tryouts - Adults held late May
NOTE: All skaters must tryout each year. Both changes in skills and body types occur rapidly in young skaters/
  • Clinic #1 held early June
  • Clinic #2 held early June
  • Clinic #3 held early June
  • Clinic #4 held early June
  • Boot Camp 2011 held early Aug. 
  • Summer Recital  held late August
  • November Recital
  • Winter Ice Carnival held early December

Estimated Synchronized Skating Expenses  2011-2012 Season

     *Member Expenses:
  1. Monthly Payments $75 for 10 Months for 1 weekly practice session including coaching fees
  2. Monthly Payments $150 for 10 Months for 2 weekly practice session including coaching fees
  3. Monthly Payments $225 for 10 Months for 3 weekly practice session including coaching fees
  4. Monthly Payments $300 for 10 Months for 4 weekly practice session including coaching fees
                       Changing the following assumptions will change the projected expenses.
Hourly Cost of Private Ice
Number of skaters

Head and Assistant Hourly Coaching Fee -

$175 18 $9.72
30 Minutes on ice; 30 minutes off ice, plus coaches time

Number of Weekly Sessions
Number of Weeks


Number of Weeks













*The ice and coaching fees for weekly practice sessions are combined and divided into
ten monthly payments.  Weekly practice schedules are subject to cancellations for Holiday interruptions.  On average, three weekly practice sessions has been assumed. This may
vary according to ice availability and competitiveness of the individual teams.

NOTE: Competitive teams will skate more than 3 sessions a week. The US Olympic Committee estimates that 10,000 hours of training is required per individual to achieve
an elite competitive level in any sport.

Crossover skaters (have a secure position on two teams). A rotator skate has a secure spot on one team while practicing with a second team and they compete only if a skater is missing. Crossover skaters and rotators will pay the full fee for one team and a discount fee for the second team.
  • Expenses to register and travel to competitions, meals, plus lodging are calculated for each individual date/location. Will vary according to distance traveled and if an over night stay is required.  Schedule and estimated expenses for competition will be announced in mid Aug.
  • Extras (Parties, Hair Supplies, Etc.) $40 Flat Fee
New Member Expenses:
  • Team Outer Jacket $185
  • Team Pants (zip-up) $75
  • Team Lightweight Jacket $115
  • Team Fleece vest $80
  • Team Practice Dress/scrunchie $65
  • *Under Armour Practice Shirt $25
  • Teams Elite guards $8
  • Competition dress $140 (Approximate Price)
  • Over-the-boot tights (optional) $15-16/Pair (check for required tone)
  • Footed tights (optional) $10-12/Pair (check for required tone)
  • Teams Elite Carry Bag (optional) $150
* Under Armour AllSeasonGear features a unique blend of moisture management and temperature control that is perfect for both the heat of competition and the cool down on the sidelines.

Competition Expenses:
  • Competition dress $140
  • Transportation, lodging, meals to competitions
  • Bus fee for transportation to practice rinks and arena from hotel
  • *Bus fee for each non chaperon parent - $50
  • Over-the-boot tights (optional) $15-$16/Pair (check for required tone)
  • Footed Tights (optional) $10-$12/Pair (check for required tone)
           Official chaperon parent(s) not charged.

Skating Requirements:
Skaters must participate in the following:
  • One beginning and one free skating class (ISI or Basic Skills) during the Fall and Winter Sessions. Cost varies according to geographic region.
  • Synchro Clinic in June  – (Approx. $175)
  • Aug. Boot Camp – (Fee varies according to geographic region)
Parent Commitment:
Skating parents must participate in the following:
  • Fundraising for Scholarships
  • Fundraising for Competition Travel Expenses
  • One shift (4 hours) during the annual Winter Ice Carnival - early Dec.
  • One shift (4 hours) during hosting ISI or Basic Skills competition(s) – late spring to early summer.
  • One shift (4 hours) during Club's hosting of its Open Championship – early spring
  • Staffing Exhibitions, bus trips, etc. Duties: security, general staffing, (Hair/Make Up Moms)
    Each team will skate together weekly on a regular basis (the exact schedule will be determined by the number of teams and available ice). Older teams will usually schedule practices before school during the week and on weekends.

    Off ice training is necessary to maximize the effectiveness on the limited practice time on the ice. Each individual skater will also be required to establish a regular schedule of improving their individual skating skills by participating a weekly group lessons and practice sessions. Private lessons are optional.

   “Extra practice” weekend sessions will be scheduled before competitions throughout the season.

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:

Learn to Skate Program  
Table of Contents - Basic Skills Bridge Program Handbook
USFS Basic Skills
Basic Skating Skill Classes
Basic Skating Skills Program
ISI & Basic Skills Badge Levels
Basic Skills Competitions
ISI & Basic Skills Competitions
ISI & Basic Skills Programs
Test and Competition Strategies
Transferable Skating Skills
Basic Skating Skills Q &A Topics
Eligibility Rules ISI Competition Participation
ISI Endorsed Competitions
Figure Skating Development Programs
The Sport of Figure Skating
Figure Skating Disciplines
Free Skating
Ice Dancing
Pair Skating
Building a Program of Synchronized Skating
Artistic, Interpretive, & Showcase Events
Theater On Ice Events

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