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.