SKATER INFO CENTRE
FAQ FOR NEW STARSKATERS
- What is the STAR program?
The STAR program is a test stream program where skaters learn how to figure skate. Skaters with recreational or competitive figure skating aspirations both enter the STAR program after completing our Intro to Figure Skating program. "STAR" is an acronym that stands for Skills, Tests, Achievement, and Recognition. Skaters of all ages can pursue their recreational figure skating goals in the STAR program. Younger skaters with aspirations to compete in the national qualifying competitive stream complete their early skill acquisition in the STAR program until such time that they are invited to try out for our competitive figure skating team.
- How many times a week should a STAR 1-4 athlete skate?
A minimum of twice per week; however, three sessions per week is recommended to optimize learning. It is recommended that skaters who are just entering the STAR program skate one day of Group STAR combined with one or two days of STAR 1-4.
Detailed information on skater development can be found in Skate Canada's Guide to Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD). Skaters entering KWSC's STAR 1-4 program are at the Learn to Train stage within Skate Canada's LTAD framework.
- Should I choose Group STAR” or STAR 1-4”?
A combination of learning styles can help a skater excel and rapidly acquire skills. Traditional “STAR 1-4” lessons involve a base coach who teaches in small group lessons with a coach:skater ratio of 1:3 or 1:4. Group STAR is STAR 1-4 taught in a 1:6 ratio, and is an excellent entry step towards the STAR program.
- Does STAR programs run the same year round?
Fall/Winter and Spring seasons usually have a similar schedule. In Summer, we offer skating sessions in weekly packages that can be purchased separately for flexibility and to accommodate summer vacations.
- Will my child work with more than one coach?
All KWSC coaches work as a team. On traditional sessions, most lessons are led by your base coach for the first year. After that, other coaches may be used to enhance certain skills. In Group STAR, your child will be taught at different times by various members of the KWSC Base Coaching staff.
- How many lessons does a STAR 1-4 skater get per week?
This varies, but typically if a skater skates two or three times per week, your selected Base Coach will teach in a small group setting the entire sessions, with costs divided by the amount of students in the group; the coach invoices the parents directly for their child's portion of the lesson time. In Group STAR, all skaters learn in small group lessons for the entire session, and the coaching cost is included in the program price.
- Who decides lesson times in traditional training?
Together the parent and coach determine the best approach for the skater, but ultimately the parent determines the number and length of lessons that fit their budget and their child's interests and ability. Shared lessons can be more cost effective, but some parents/skaters prefer private instruction. Both are acceptable and the decision is made by the parent.
- How do competitions work and how often do skaters attend?
It is unlikely that a skater will attend any competitions outside KWSC in their first year of STAR 1-4. Skate Canada encourages skaters to attend very few competitions in early development, and instead use their time, resources, and energy for skill acquisition. When the skater begins competing, there are entry fees and coach expenses on top of regular program costs.
Detailed information on skater development can be found in Skate Canada's Guide to Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD).
- How do I care for my skates?
For daily skate care you will need plastic or rubber "hard guards", fabric "soft guards", an absorbent cloth, and a storage bag.
To prevent damaging the delicate sharp edges of your blades, always wear plastic or rubber "hard guards" when walking off ice. However, skates should never be stored with hard guards installed because they retain moisture, causing the blades to corrode and become dull. Instead, wipe your boots, soles and blades dry using an absorbent cloth after each use, and protect the blades from damage in your bag with cloth blade guards. These will prevent nicks, and will absorb condensation that forms on cold blades.
When you get home, skates should be removed from your bag and allowed to dry at room temperature to prevent moisture from damaging the boot leather and sole. If you will not be using your skates for several weeks, you can prevent corrosion by coating the blades with a thin layer of oil or other corrosion inhibitor such as WD-40.
- How often do skates need to be sharpened?
Blades should be sharpened when they lose their ability to grip the ice and slide sideways too easily. The time between sharpenings varies considerably depending on the quality of the blade, how you skate, and how you care for your blades. For example, walking on concrete without blade guards will make it necessary to sharpen your blades immediately. But as a general guide, properly maintained high quality figure skate blades should be sharpened after about 20-30 hours of use. Blades made of softer steel likely require more frequent sharpening.
Figure skate blades should only be sharpened by a skilled technician who understands the gometry and special requirements of figure skate blades. An experienced figure skate technician can be found in Waterloo at the RIM Park Skate Shop.
- What is the parent's role in their child's training?
It is critical that the parent know the exact goals and timelines for their skater and are comfortable with their coach's direction, so their input is needed. Parents create the most important role of supporter in the team. Parents should meet with their child's coach annually to develop a YPI (yearly planning instrument).
Parents know their child better than anyone and should be very open with coaches about learning opportunities and challenges. Parents are always encouraged to take the initiative and speak to their coach when needed.
- If there is concern about progress, where should a parent do?
The coach is the parent’s skating expert. It is therefore important that parents speak to their child's Base Coach about any concerns. Our Technical Director can also provide support and advice.
- How long do skaters usually remain in the STAR 1-4 program?
Typically 2 years, at which point they may progress to the STAR 4-7 or STAR 4-10 program; but this will depend on the skater's goals, age, effort, and progress.
- How does the relationship between the club and private coaches work?
Our coaches are club employees when teaching on group programs such as CanSkate, Enrichment, Intro to Figure Skating and Group STAR. However, they are independent contractors when teaching private lessons where you become their customer directly. You are billed directly by your coach for the lesson time you select, while paying the club a registration fee for everything else (ice cost, fitness classes, etc.). As independent business people, coaches apply for new club affiliation agreements each spring, and some work at KWSC as well as at other clubs. Selecting the right coach for your skater is an important responsibility, so we suggest you interview two or three. Before you decide, you might want to ask questions such as: What is your style of teaching? What is your hourly rate? Do your rates include HST? Do you teach all skating seasons? Are you available to teach any day of the week? Do you work as part of a coaching team?
- What are tests? Will I take those?
Tests are the progression markers in skating and are typically only tried after at least several months of skating. In the STAR 1-4 program, skaters will typically be trying one or two dance tests in their first year.
Additional test information is available by returning to the Skater Info Centre menu, and clicking Test Info.
- How does purchasing ice and lesson time work?
All skaters are required to pay an annual Skate Canada membership fee. In the CanSkate, Enrichment and Intro to Figure Skating programs, teh cost of coaching, administration, off-ice fitness, and ice fees are built into one program price. The payment structure changes beginning with the STAR program. STAR skaters pay a "base fee" to the club once per season, and then add program fees (for ice cost and off-ice training) separately to facilitate the customization of their training.
The base fee is mandatory and covers all club membership, administrative costs, and selected special events. For group sessions (such as Group STAR), the lesson cost is included in the program price.For traditional sessions, skaters purchase ice from the club based on the number of sessions they choose to skate; however, they pay their coach separately for lessons. Coaches typically invoice their clients either once or twice per month. It is the responsibility of the parent to discuss lesson costs and budgets with their coach.
SKATE ONTARIO RESOURCES (external links)
SKATE CANADA RESOURCES (external links)
LEARN-TO-SKATE and POWER SKATING programs are offered year-round, organized into 4 seasons:
- Fall: Sep-Dec
- Winter: Jan-Mar
- Spring: Apr-Jun
- Summer: Jun-Aug
You can register separately for each of these seasons.
FIGURE SKATING programs are offered year-round, organized into 3 seasons:
- Fall/Winter: Sep-Mar
- Spring: Apr-Jun
- Summer: Jul-Aug
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