Skills, Tests, Achievement, Recognition – this is what STARSkate is all about!
STARSkate offers opportunities for skaters of all ages to develop fundamental figure skating skills in the areas of free skate, skating skills, ice dance and interpretive skating. Unique in Canada, this program teaches figure skating skills in a group and/or private lesson format in a progressive and sequential manner and includes specifically designed awards and incentives. Skaters have the opportunity to take Skate Canada tests through a nationally standardized testing system. Skaters who have mastered figure skating skills in STARSkate may also choose to pursue competitive skating, synchronized skating or pairs skating.
Trained and certified professional coaches provide the instruction for this program, focusing on fundamental physical movement and skating skills. At BFSC we are proud to offer group instruction for our STARSkaters which provides them with active, engaging and fun programming that is skater centred and allows each skater to progress at their own pace.
How STARSkate works
The STARSkate program consists of figure skating skills in four disciplines – Free Skate, Skating Skills, Ice Dance and Interpretive. In accordance with Long Term Athlete Development philosophy skaters exit the CanSkate (Learn To Skate) pathway and enter the STAR 1 to 5 (formerly Preliminary and Junior Bronze) pathway which is geared to skaters who are entering a figure skating program for the first time. At this stage the focus is on the development and consolidation of basic figure skating skills, with an emphasis on free skating, while continuing to develop motor skills, agility, balance, coordination, rhythm, time/space orientation, speed, dexterity and control. At this point in a skater’s development the goal is to provide internal, informal assessment that removes any barriers that may hinder the skater from progressing as they acquire skills in the four disciplines. Skaters may progress at different rates through the different disciplines – everyone has their own strengths and areas of interest and the informal assessment system encourages this individuality.
As skaters grow and develop they are ready to acquire more complex skills. At this point in their skating they move into a more formalized external assessment system. Test days are scheduled throughout the skating year and skaters will be tested by trained evaluators when coaches have determined that they have attained and surpassed the minimum standards required to pass the tests at that level. Test are arranged to become progressively more challenging and at this stage skaters generally progress at various rates through the four disciplines.
Throughout their journey through the different levels of STARSkate, skaters are provided with opportunities to compete/perform in events that are scheduled both within and outside of the community. At the initial levels of competition skaters are not ranked and receive individual assessments of the skills they have performed. Skaters have an introduction to the performance aspect of the sport without the added stress of worrying how they will compare to the other skaters in their event. This non-ranked format has been adopted by most sports in Canada at the introductory levels to allow young athletes the best possible environment in which to develop their performance skills. As skaters progress to higher levels of competition they will enter ranked events when it is felt they have the appropriate sport specific skills and mental strength to handle this more challenging environment. From here skaters can attempt to progress to the Provincial or National level in various categories through qualifying competitions in the disciplines of Free Skate, Pairs and Ice Dance.
HELPING YOUR SKATER GET THE MOST OUT OF STARSKATE
There are a lot of options within figure skating and that can sometimes be overwhelming; here are some tips to make this a positive and fun experience for parents and children.
Keep it Fun. The focus of STARSkate should be on the development of figure skating specific skills within an enjoyable environment. Encourage skaters to have fun, try their best and learn to find joy in all aspects of the sport. Remember this is their sport.
Ask Questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the way the skating world works! The professional coaching staff at BFSC have a wealth of experience and knowledge of the sport and are happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also find excellent information on-line at www.skatecanada.ca as well as on your section and club websites.
Reward Effort. Personal progress and effort are the focus in STARSkate and successes will come at different times for different skaters. Skaters will quickly learn the benefits of hard work, perseverance and sportsmanship - life skills that will benefit them as they grow and develop outside the arena.
Provide Emotional Support. This is a really challenging sport. Even in the STAR 1-5 competition program skaters attempt fairly complex movements on a thin blade on slippery surface; that’s enough to make anyone nervous! Being anxious before a competition/performance is normal and it can be helpful to explain to your children that their nerves just show they care about how much they want to do their best.
Model Healthy Eating and Physical Activity. Even beginner athletes need the right fuel to help them perform at their best. Modeling healthy eating behavior and providing meals that are nutritious and balanced will benefit your entire family. Encourage participation in a range of physical activities in addition to skating - can you find physical activities that you can do together as a family? Encourage your skater to participate in off ice programming that is offered at BFSC to enhance their participation in the sport and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Communicate with your Club/Coaches. The BFSC is here to provide the best possible skating experience for your child and your family. We will do our best to ensure that you are kept up-to-date with any information that is important to your child’s participation in our sport. In the event that you have any questions at any time our BFSC Board and Professional Coaches are your point of contact to get the information you need. Our newly revised website is an excellent place to start!!