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  1. #1
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    Need MITF info for USFS

    Was wondering.....

    1. If someone brought an individual membership off the USFS website, then, theoretically, that individual could take the USFS tests even without having an actual skating club? Right? (I think I know a skater who does this in my area, but I don't know her well enough to approach her and ask.)

    2. Can a skater take the USFS tests without having a club or coach but still being a USFS individual member? I mean in theory. I know I will get a lot of advice and/or insults about the coach thing....Go ahead ...But that's not what I'm asking for..... I'm not saying this to start a fight. I just want to know if, theoretically, this is possible, or if I'd have to get a coach to "sign me in," so to speak.

    Note: Obviously, I will hire a coach for 1 or 2 lessons to go over my MITF when I think they are ready in order to "catch" any errors. But I doubt that any coach will want to sign me in after only 2 lessons knowing I will only hire them a few more times to check out some MITF, not for freestyle. I have already printed off the diagrams from the USFS site. They look relatively simple to follow. (I didn't say to skate, I just mean following the diagram around the rink.)

    Yes, I'm thinking about it....as long as there is actually an "adult passing average" when (and if) I make it to Intermediate (so I can skate Masters.) Even intermediate is pushing it, but with the new "adult passing average"...It just might be worth a try. At best, I pass. At worst, I "donate" a lot of $ to the USFS in membership and test fees.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly123 View Post
    1. If someone brought an individual membership off the USFS website, then, theoretically, that individual could take the USFS tests even without having an actual skating club? Right?
    Yes, you can test as an individual member, but you will have to pay a guest (non-member) fee wherever you test.

    2. Can a skater take the USFS tests without having a club or coach but still being a USFS individual member? I mean in theory. I know I will get a lot of advice and/or insults about the coach thing....Go ahead ...But that's not what I'm asking for..... I'm not saying this to start a fight. I just want to know if, theoretically, this is possible, or if I'd have to get a coach to "sign me in," so to speak.
    Most clubs' test applications require a coach's signature certifying you are ready for the test. And they won't let you test w/o it. If you only work with a coach for a couple of lessons, that coach won't really be in a position to determine if you are ready, and probably won't feel comfortable signing off. And really, looking at diagrams isn't going to prepare you for the test - it's not enough to know the patterns; there are a lot of nuances that only a coach who has experience with skaters taking these tests can point out and teach.

  3. #3
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    Oh....so you can't test without a coach, then? I didn't know that. (I thought a coach might have to sign you in, but didn't know for sure.) Well...thanks for the info.

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    If you really want to do it this way . . .

    Do you want to do adult pre-bronze through gold and then intermediate, or standard prepreliminary through juvenile and then intermediate?

    Either way it would be the same number of tests. If you go the adult route you would miss some moves and end up doing a few that are on both gold and intermediate tests twice.

    The prepreliminary is a little easier than the adult prebronze. If you go that route, try to get the first test out of the way as soon as you become a member. The only thing that should require some real practice time and probably a lesson or two would be the waltz eight.

    WATCH a lot of tests to see what the moves are supposed to look like and what the standards are.

    There are videos of the adult moves, and of the new MITF that will be introduced this fall, on the USFS website. Keep in mind that not all of the moves in the videos would pass the tests, and some are demonstrated by coaches/former elite skaters at well above passing level.

    Attend your local test session and watch the other skaters. If possible, try to find out which tests pass and which don't. You can also find many skaters who have put their tests up on youtube. If they say that was the official test and that they passed, then you know that's at least close to what your judges might expect.

    It's important not to misunderstand the patterns or what's expected and spend hours practicing something incorrectly. Waste of your time, waste of your test fees if you do it wrong in the test, and can ingrain habits that will be hard to break when you relearn the move correctly.

    Sometimes even skaters with inexperienced coaches make those kinds of mistakes, so when you do check in with a coach make sure it's someone who has a good track record.

    At a minimum, take an hour or so of lessons with the coach at the beginning of working on each test, and then again when you think you're ready to test it, to get feedback whether you are indeed on the right track. To be safer that you're not wasting many hours practicing things wrong, you might at least want to schedule about half an hour of lesson time a month -- not enough to break the bank or interfere with your rebellious need for independence. Explain that money is the main reason you don't want to take a lesson every week, but you do need to check in semi-regularly to make sure you're learning the moves correctly.

    You're an adult, you pay the lesson bills. Find a coach who will understand your goals and work with you as a partner to help you achieve those goals. Don't go into the relationship expecting the coach to treat you like your childhood roller coaches did -- make a new relationship as an adult. Don't go in with a chip on your shoulder -- treat people with distrust, and they will give you reason to distrust them. Treat people with respect, and most of them will do you the same favor. If not, they're not the right coach for you -- find someone who respects your goals.

    Treat the moves with respect. They will help your skating and, yes, help your jumps. If you complain about the basics of skating technique, you will alienate people whose professions are to teach skating technique and you'll get off on the wrong foot with any coach you try to establish a relationship with.

  5. #5
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    Do you want to do adult pre-bronze through gold and then intermediate, or standard prepreliminary through juvenile and then intermediate?
    Yes, that was my plan.

    Thank you for your advice (as always) If I do decide to test your points are very well taken.

    But do I really need a coach to sign me in? I once heard a rumor a long time ago that Michelle Kwan snuck behind her coach's back and signed herself up for the senior test. (He had wanted her to stay in juniors a bit longer.) Obviously, I am not Kwan. But did another coach sign her in? (I can't imagine they dared to go against Frank Carroll). Is it really absolutely required to have that signature, or can I, theoretically, leave that space blank and still test. (Or is it all up to the individual club offering the tests?)
    Last edited by Firefly123; 04-30-2010 at 03:30 PM. Reason: Added faces

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly123 View Post
    Is it really absolutely required to have that signature, or can I, theoretically, leave that space blank and still test. (Or is it all up to the individual club offering the tests?)
    I don't remember ever seeing a test application that does not require a coach's signature. I suppose you could try leaving it blank, but what is your backup plan if they return your application as incomplete?

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    Good point. The only way to really solve this question is to go to the source. I will ask the USFS. Thanks everyone for the help. When (and if) I get an answer, I will let you know what they said.

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    Or ask the test chair at the club where you plan to test. Different clubs might structure their forms differently.

    Getting friendly with the test chair and keeping lines of communication open could help a lot throughout the whole process.

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    gkelly,
    That's true. I'll definitely do that if I decide to pursue this idea. (That is dependent upon the answer to this question coupled with the lower passing average for adults, so I'm not even sure if I really want to try yet.) ...But I've already written to the USFS info email just to see where this stands. We'll see what they say. It might very well come down to the decision of the individual clubs. It would be interesting to know the "correct" answer, although I think I'm the only one who will probably bother trying without a "real" coach. It's such a "weird" senario that the USFS is probably reading the email going "WHAT?? (Or, more likely thinking I am in a fight with my coach who doesn't want me to take a test that I think I'm ready for.) In either case, the answer probably does not fair well for me......

  10. #10
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    My coach is not a USFS approved coach (she's perfectly qualified, but I'm her only student right now so it's not worth the money for her to sign up. She has insurance through the Basic Skills program, and we only skate on sessions that are covered by that), so when I went to take my MITF test I just wrote "no coach"- I was a member of a club at that time, not an individual member. The test chair said since I was an adult it was no problem, I just would not be allowed to have anyone at the boards with me during the test- because i had "no coach". (It was fine- because she was at a football game anyway.)

    I also took a test while I was an individual member, before USFS had the registered coach restrictions. So my coach signed the paper, and I just put n/a where it had the space for the test chair signature (for guest skaters), since I did not belong to a club.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly123 View Post

    Note: Obviously, I will hire a coach for 1 or 2 lessons to go over my MITF when I think they are ready in order to "catch" any errors. But I doubt that any coach will want to sign me in after only 2 lessons knowing I will only hire them a few more times to check out some MITF, not for freestyle. I have already printed off the diagrams from the USFS site. They look relatively simple to follow. (I didn't say to skate, I just mean following the diagram around the rink.)
    If you'd like to hire a coach only to work on your MITF, and not to work on freestyle with you, that's completely fine. A lot of skaters have separate coaches for separate things, and it's also normal for an adult skater to specialize with a coach - to work with, say, a generalist coach, but only on MITF. That's fine. You can do that.

    In addition, if you don't want to work with them weekly, but instead maybe bi-weekly, or once a month, or some other schedule that works for you, then that may be possible - you'd need to ask the coach. It depends on their schedule and etc., but it's possible that you could find someone.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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    Skittl, Oh, thank you for sharing that information!!!! (As usual, you are very kind.) It gives me some hope.....

    Yes, I'm actually thinking about it....Dying Swans notwithstanding
    I do love ISI, but the competitions are just so far away. If I could just skate both, it would be so much easier.

    GarrAarghHrumph,
    Yes, I would definitely have to have a coach take a look at each test (and tweak them) before I ever tried to actually take them....unfortunately. (Note: For my phobia of coaches, see other threads.) But yes, there will definitely have to be a coach involved in this MITF thing someplace....

  13. #13
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    Got the Answer (sort of)

    OK. Got the official answer from the USFS.....(This is a copy paste so it's word for word).

    "There is no U.S. Figure Skating rule that states a skater must have a coach to test or compete. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me."
    Cool.

    So I guess you just put N/A on the form like Skittl said and go from there.

    Also, it's interesting that you don't need a coach to sign up to compete. (I really thought you did.)

    I just thought of something. The way it is worded. She said that there is no USFS rule against it but, I wonder if an individual rink/club can still refuse??Um....Going to have to get chummy with the test chair and ask.

    Still waiting to see about the lower adult average, though ......

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly123 View Post
    I just thought of something. The way it is worded. She said that there is no USFS rule against it but, I wonder if an individual rink/club can still refuse??
    Yes, clubs can have their own rules as long as they don't expressly violate USFSA by-laws. For something like testing, clubs can run it as they see fit, as long as they follow the basic rules for judges, test registration and reporting, etc.

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    Yup, going to have to buddy up to test chair.
    Maybe coffee and roses....

    Luckily, there are several clubs in the area that do USFS tests. Going to need lots of coffee and roses....LOTS.....

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly123 View Post
    Yup, going to have to buddy up to test chair.
    Maybe coffee and roses....

    Luckily, there are several clubs in the area that do USFS tests. Going to need lots of coffee and roses....LOTS.....
    Start with whichever club has the most convenient test sessions for you, in terms of location and/or timing.

    Also a test chair is an adult skater might be more receptive than one who is a skating parent etc., but you probably won't know till you get to know them.

    Depending on the person, it might be easier to butter the test chair not by plying her with roses but by volunteering to help out with a test session -- providing refreshments for the judges; monitoring the skaters getting on and off the ice, giving them their judges' forms and getting them back again; recording the info from the forms, etc. Offer to do something that fits your schedule; an hour of your time would probably be welcome. It could also allow you to watch the test session and get a feel for what to expect when you test yourself.

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    Thank you everyone for all the good ideas. I think I will try to help with a session at one of the clubs if they'll let me.

    Maybe I was wrong about this test thing.....Will try again (adult tract this time) and see what happens.

    This might take a while. I'll try to keep you updated. Wish me luck!!

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    Since you are an adult skater I really don't think anyone will have a problem w/ not having a coach to sign your form.

    You've already gotten some good advice here. I think it's great you're considering it! Here's my 2 cents:

    START w/ a lesson or 2 from a coach, to be sure you're practicing the moves correctly. Sometimes the diagram doesn't tell the whole story, and sometimes there are certain pieces that the judges nitpick that is good to know up front, which a good coach should know. Then go practice them on your own & when you feel like they might be ready, have the coach look at them again. If you start just on your own you will likely waste a lot of time practicing something that isn't quite right & you'll have to re-learn it later, which is a pain.

    (side note: I started testing moves late because I'm a dancer & dancers aren't required to take them. So I started pre-pre moves as a pre-gold level dancer--more than capable to skating the patterns. But I took a couple lessons w/ a coach up front to be sure I was doing the elements correctly, get the intro steps set, and any little tricks that would help. If I hadn't done that, I would have been doing some of the elements wrong---or just 'not quite right' for what the judges are looking for. And I was already well versed in USFSA test rules, reading pattern diagrams, etc.)

    Many coaches will be happy to work w/ you on an "as needed" basis & don't require you to sign up for weekly lessons or anything like that.

    If nothing else, it would be a good investment to get the PSA videotapes on moves--they show passing level execution, they discuss common errors, and they show how to actually teach, or do, some of the more difficult elements by breaking them down into pieces. Very useful. -- However, since the moves are changing as of Sept 1, it's probably not worth it to get the existing videos, but to wait until they've updated them.

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    While it's always nice to volunteer for the club (and fun, I think)- I don't see any reason to need to suck up to a test chair. Just turn your papers in and pay the fee.

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    I agree - no need to suck up. You can just email the test chair and ask your question.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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