The U.S. Figure Skating Coaches College and Training Festival is an annual summer event for coaches and skaters of qualifying level teams. This year Team Braemar hosted the event in Prior Lake, Minn. Past locations include Delaware, Ohio, and California.
Coaches and skaters from across the nation, and the world, flock to the Coaches College and Training Festival to learn from the best of the best. Technical specialists, judges, U.S. Figure Skating officials, and Team USA coaches lead lessons, discussions, and on-ice sessions to educate coaches and skaters on rule changes, IJS strategy, elements, altitude training, step sequences, and program components.
The experience is unparalleled. Rival coaches and skaters come together to participate in a weekend of learning and team building to enhance the sport of synchronized skating on a grand scale. Participants strive to aid their colleagues with improvements and new ideas that will ultimately strengthen the entire synchro community. For official U.S. Figure Skating information on this event please visit: http://www.usfsa.org/Athletes.asp?id=367.
Included below are some concepts from the Coaches College portion of the event that may benefit coaches who were not able to attend this year. For detailed slides please visit our facebook album: Coaches College 2013
• New ISU Communications are usually released on Thursdays. Check ISU regularly for these updates.
• A technical notification for 6.0 deductions will be posted within the next 6-8 weeks.
• Open Adult 2 will be a new division this season. Open Adult will remain the more compeititve division with open adult 2 available at non-qualifying competitions for adult skaters who want the competition experience but might not be ready for the open adult division. More information will be available soon.
• Robin Greenleaf and the Synchronized Skating Committe are working on a recommendation for governing council next year on the juvenile age change. Coaches of teams in the juvenile age range will receive a survey to provide input on this issue. Please be sure to complete your survey and contact Robin Greenleaf at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional feedback.
• U.S. Figure Skating is doing everything in their power to get synchronized skating into the Olympics. The sport is moving in the right direction. Over the past decade the competition and participation in the World Championships has increased and synchronized skating has been included in the World University Games. The remaining roadblocks are at the ISU and IOC level. The only thing we can do at this point, in addition to continuously improving our sport team-by-team, and skater-by-skater, is to put pressure on the president of the ISU, Ottavio Cinquanta, to push the IOC to include synchronized skating in the Olympic games.
• Stay tuned for a potential collegiate track in conjunction with the training festival for high school juniors and seniors to skate with collegiate skaters and learn about the student athlete experience during college.
IJS & Program Components:
• Focus on performance
• Start and end with strong elements
• Be smart. Note which elements are worth more points and give those elements more training time.
• Buzz Words:
o Skating Skills = Balance
o Transitions = Connection
o Performance/Execution = Delivery
o Choreography/Composition = Design (this is the coaches main responsibility)
o Interpretation = Feeling
• Components of a good transition:
o Skaters move positions and skate next to new people
o Surprise factor
o Variety (not always in pairs or groups of four)
o Make each transition a challenge, not just the easiest route from point A to point B
• Use every highlight in the music somehow (arm, head, body position, change of pace, change of shape, step)
Ideas to improve your organization:
• Host skill sessions for your team run by private coaches to help develop and nurture relationships with those coaches. Think of specific things other coaches could help with such as step sequences or pairs elements.
• Let skaters who may be aging off a younger division “train up” with an older team during the summer or a portion of the season to get them ready for the next level of competition.
• Teach skaters and parents how to read and understand IJS protocol. Review protocol with your skaters and parents after competitions to make sure everyone understands the marks. The bus is a good opportunity to review this since you will have everyone’s undivided attention and the potential to use the tv screens to review the program along with the report card.
• Host a “bring your friend to practice” in the spring, specifically for non-qualifying divisions so they have something to look forward to and you can use it as a recruitment opportunity.
• Create a “Play Synchro” program in partnership with your basic skills program. Have current skaters volunteer during basic skills classes to teach young skaters basic elements like a circle or a wheel. Have parent volunteers at a sign up table for interested parties to sign up for more information and an info session with the coach.
• Host “skate with the team” sessions for younger skaters to experience practice with the older skaters and give them something to work towards.
• Develop relationships with Theater On Ice coaches.
Thanks to Leslie Graham, Kelley Ristau, Kristin Abbott, Dann Kreuger, Karen Wiesmeier, Robin Greenleaf, Kelli Evers, Kelly Vogtner, Jenny McMahon, Josh Babb, Saga Krantz, Wendy Deppe, Megan O’Donnell, Geri Lynch-Tomich, Pam May, Carla DeGirolamo, Heather Paige, DREAM skaters, and the Team Braemar volunteers for a successful and informative Coaches College.