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  1. #1
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    The History of Learn to Skate.

    Say,does anyone know if we have a History of Learn to Skate....as far as who founded it,were it was first held,how people were first introduced to it,etc.?

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    From a search of their website I found that USFSA started their basic skills program in 1985. I imagine many clubs participated the first year, so it wouldn't be anywhere it happened first.

    ISI had a program before that. According to their website the alpha-beta-gamma levels were started in 1964. Again, since ISI was already a large organziation at that point, I would assume many rinks participated in the first year.

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    In Canada, in the 1960's, a lady in Ottawa (where the Canadian Figure Skating Association was based-as Skate Canada was then called) named Frankie Stark developed a series of organized learn to skate skills which the association developed into the National Skating Test. This was a series of 12 badges: Beginner, Stroking, Elementary, Basic, Speed, Novice 1, Jump, Novice 2, Figures, Freestyle. These were added to and changed over the years and eventually evolved into the Canskate program, which is Canada's national learn to skate program. This program is now under review and will be changing again next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by googooeyes View Post
    In Canada, in the 1960's, a lady in Ottawa (where the Canadian Figure Skating Association was based-as Skate Canada was then called) named Frankie Stark developed a series of organized learn to skate skills which the association developed into the National Skating Test. This was a series of 12 badges: Beginner, Stroking, Elementary, Basic, Speed, Novice 1, Jump, Novice 2, Figures, Freestyle. These were added to and changed over the years and eventually evolved into the Canskate program, which is Canada's national learn to skate program. This program is now under review and will be changing again next year.
    What does an on-line encyclopidea search show as well? BTW. did she give us Learn to Skate here in the US. too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    From a search of their website I found that USFSA started their basic skills program in 1985. I imagine many clubs participated the first year, so it wouldn't be anywhere it happened first.

    ISI had a program before that. According to their website the alpha-beta-gamma levels were started in 1964. Again, since ISI was already a large organziation at that point, I would assume many rinks participated in the first year.
    This makes sense because I remember about 20 years ago that ISI was "the" program for beginner, recreational skaters, and adults, and if you were "serious" or highly competitive you went with USFSA. My rink did not even teach beginners USFSA. It seemed to be something exclusive.

    In the past few years, however, that's changed drastically to where USFSA has a very good beginner program, an extensive adult program, and I hear through my friends who are coaches that ISI is going by the wayside, with many rinks now teaching only USFSA to beginners. I personally have let my ISI membership lapse, because USFSA now provides for all of my testing and competitive needs, and I don't have to do silly (to me) tricks like jumping in the opposite direction or doing quarter jump sequences.

    In fact, after I made the switch and started testing MIF, my skills improved so drastically. Looking back, I'm disappointed that we young ISI skaters were not taught MIF. If you have ever looked at ISI levels, there's about one footwork sequence per test level, and until the last few years recently, some levels didn't even have a footwork sequence. So you can theoretically test up through all these difficult doubles and triples and never learn how to do difficult turns, loops, twizzles. It's just not enough moves to make you a solid skater.

    The other problem that turned people off is that ISI did not allow you to compete *anything* above your test level, in an effort to prevent sandbagging. For example when I was in FS2 I got moved to last place because I did a back pivot (which is in FS3). Rules like that just seem silly. Many ISI coaches would not even start teaching you the camel spins from FS5 until you could land an axel. Crazy.

    In USFSA you can perform any spin/footwork at any freestyle level, even though there are a few jump restrictions at the lower levels. ISI seems to have "woken up" a bit and now has a separate track called "open freestyle" where the choice of maneuvers is a bit more relaxed. Also the "open freestyle" allows you to skate up a level like USFSA.

    I don't know anything of the history of either organization, just my personal experiences. I don't know what's going on in ISI now, other than they have a bunch of novelty categories like skating with a ribbon/ball. In my opinion if you want to become a good solid skater (even as a beginner), go with USFSA.

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