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  1. #1
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    Adult skating track

    Alright, hoping for a bit of an explanation. I'm 21 and have been skating 2 months now. Currently taking learn to skate lessons and just started privates. I am floating between low freestyle 1-3ish (have a solid waltz, learning salchow, one foot spins, etc). I'm interested in eventually competing but confused as to how to get into it.

    At what level does one need to be at in order to compete at?

    Do I need to join a club? Most in my area seem to be geared to kids but I'm willing to be the giant on ice!

    Do you need to test first? I think I just got confused with all the different types of competitions and testing (sectional, nationals, etc)

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    Are you talking about USFS or ISI testing and competition?
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

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    Both USfsa and Isi have competitions at the absolute beginner level. I would find out which system is more common in your area and study a rule book.

    You will need to join the organization to compete, but possibly not a club. USfsa has an option for individual membership, I'm not sure about Isi.

    To compete Isi you need to test, but the low level tests are just done with your group lesson program. USfsa has a " no test" level, after that you would first test pre bronzes moves in the field and then you can test free skate. It is not until bronze that you are eligible for nationals, but at that level you do not have to qualify. Most people start at local competitions, yes, they are over run with kids, but you will not compete against them in most cases.

    You should talk to a coach at your rink. They can help guide you.

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    If I was only 21 and was going to do USFSA tests, I'd stick to standard rather than adult track. Reserve adult track for after you hit your 30s.

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    I am wondering why you suggest that. The adult tests were created for skaters such as the OP, who are learning to skate as an adult, so it would seem to me that they would be the ideal place to start.

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    Upon looking into it, it appears I would be looking more at USFSA. Individual membership would mean I wouldn't have to pay club dues. What would be the advantage of doing standard track versus adult testing?

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    I agree with sk8er1964 - since you are starting at age 21+, you are eligible for adult track testing, which makes the most sense since you are learning to skate as an adult. You are probably a good year away from being ready for testing, although that depends on how far you progress in your private lessons. To compete on the adult track in USFSA, you actually can qualify with standard track tests, but the disadvantage is the standard, once you get past Preliminary (2nd level), is higher on the standard track - so the judges would expect a higher level of skating, particular power/speed, than they would if you were testing the same moves on the adult track. The choice is up to you, but since you are starting as an adult, there's no reason not to choose the adult track. If you progress well, you can eventually pick up standard track testing with the Intermediate level (after passing Adult Gold), so if you do reach the point where you have an axel and some doubles, you could take standard track tests at the higher levels and compete at the Adult Masters level.

    Generally, the lowest level of adult competition offered is Pre-Bronze, but you can always 'skate up' a level in club comps (at Adult Nationals, where you must have passed the test for the level you are competing), so you can compete Pre-Bronze FS without passing any tests. In PB, you can do all singles through flip (no lutz or axel) - most PB skaters are landing waltz, toe, and sal, and sometimes loop. At the Bronze level, you are allowed all singles through lutz (no axel) and most Bronze skaters have all their singles, although the test only requires toe, sal, and loop. Bronze is the lowest level of competition offered at Adult Nationals, but you have plenty of opportunities to compete in local comps at the PB level. I don't know where you live, but if you have the opportunity to go watch an adult competition or adult events at a regular 'kid' competition, that is a good way to get a feel for what adult skaters in your area are doing.

    To compete in USFSA comps or test, you will need to be a member either individually or through a club. It depends on your club, but in my area, it is actually cheaper to join USFSA through a club than individually. The drawback to being an individual member is that you will have to pay guest (non-member) fees at whatever club you test. And if the test sessions fill up quickly, you may get bumped b/c usually home club members have priority. Check out the clubs in your area and talk to the adult skaters who are members there to see what their experience has been. The majority of club members anywhere are going to be kids, but that doesn't mean a club is not adult-friendly. Look at the programs the club offers and if they have club practice ice, are the times convenient for you? See if any adult skaters are on the board - adult skater involvement is a good sign. Each club tends to have its own personality and sometimes it's trial and error to pick a club that's best for you. The first club I joined was OK, but not as adult-friendly (or as conveniently located) as my current club, so I switched after a few years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vahornet View Post
    Upon looking into it, it appears I would be looking more at USFSA. Individual membership would mean I wouldn't have to pay club dues. What would be the advantage of doing standard track versus adult testing?
    For me, individual membership is more about not having to put up with club politics. It actually costs more than club dues for me (some clubs are very expensive though). If your club offers a lot of practice ice, then that is a benefit to joining the club. I am a club member now because I like my club, but was at one point an individual because the clubs were all a bit crazy... It is also nice to be a club member because I am eligible to skate in exhibitions. For my particular club, it is cheaper to skate an exhibition than compete, so that is a nice way to show off your program.

    Adult testing introduces skills at a slightly different rate. The biggest difference at the low level is that the jumps required for the tests aren't quite as difficult. Moves in the field you won't have much difference on the first two tests, but at Silver some 'harder' moves are at a slightly lower standard. Also most of the moves that require power for standard ask for continuous speed and flow for adult; but unless you have a lot of adults testing in your area, that might not really mean anything to the judges. For me, the required jumps on the freeskate tests made a nice difference.

    I never intend to compete standard track, so it made perfect sense for me to just go with adult track. There are crossovers if you test standard track that allow you to compete at the adult levels.

    although the test only requires toe, sal, and loop.
    Just to clarify, the test requires toe, sal, and one other single jump. Most skaters do choose loop, but a flip is some-what common, and a lutz would also meet the criteria.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8er1964 View Post
    I am wondering why you suggest that. The adult tests were created for skaters such as the OP, who are learning to skate as an adult, so it would seem to me that they would be the ideal place to start.
    Eh....I was in my late twenties and so far all my tests were standard track. (Note I'm not doing freestyle.) If I get back to lessons and can get the muscles back (it's just laziness and not having skated in a while) I would probably pick up at pre-Juv moves again and normal dances, despite being 34. But power is the one thing I don't have issues with (power pulls are one of the things coming back to me pretty fast) and I'm not trying to jump. I would say it depends on the shape you're in and how fast you learn.

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    I agree. If you are starting at age 21, there is no good reason to choose standard track (meant for those starting as kids) instead of adult track. Do adult track. I would recommend finding a coach at your rink who is used to working with adults and has had adult students compete at your adult sectionals competitions. Then join your club and have your coach start preparing you for the Adult Pre-Bronze test!

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    I can think of a few reasons why a 21-year-old beginner might want to take standard-track tests.

    *You're very athletic, and already very comfortable skating on one foot at a time at speed right from the beginning, and you intend to devote many hours per week to training. You and your coach anticipate that you will learn single jumps quickly and double jumps within a couple years, so you want to aim to compete in Open Juvenile or standard Novice competitions in your mid-20s.

    *You intend to train hard and pass as many tests as you can so you can eventually become a skating coach working with low-test or even intermediate-level skaters.

    *You start working on the moves and find that you actually do best at the ones that are omitted from the adult tests, so they will help your confidence or help you pass the respective tests they are on.

    *You want to test more often, so you plan to take tests on both tracks.


    Unless one of these applies to you, there's probably no need.

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    gkelly- I agree with you about Open Juvenile, but if an adult wants to skate Novice, they can get there via adult track tests. The test after Adult Gold is regular Intermediate.

    ETA: There are new 'adult' standards to pass the higher tests. I think if you take those you aren't eligible for standard track competition. I forgot about that. (Also a Master's age, I think 50, and that lowers the standard further.) So my statement isn't entirely true anymore. But you can do the low level adult track and then move to the higher standard track.

    Second edit: You know the rulebook actually doesn't say whether taking intermediate or higher at adult/master's standards prevents you from entering those levels at the standard track. It just says you have to have passed the test, and nothing about what passing standard you have to pass it at.
    Last edited by Skittl1321; 03-13-2013 at 07:07 PM.

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    Good to know, Skittl1321.

    I thought of another reason -- if you want to become a judge, it might be useful to have done all the moves that you'll be judging at the lower levels. (Starting as an adult, you'd more likely be ready to judge intermediate and higher tests before you'd be ready to test them yourself, if ever.)

  14. #14

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    Open Juvenile has a max age of 18 (like Intermediate), right?

    I started with adult track and did go back and pass Pre-Pre and Prelim MIF after Silver MIF. So you can always take some standard track tests even after you start adult track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie S View Post
    Open Juvenile has a max age of 18 (like Intermediate), right?
    Is that new? I know a 22 year old man who skated open-juv. It might also depend on the competition announcement. Since it isn't a qualifying level, the rules often vary.

    ETA: Rulebook says 14 years or older, no limit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I can think of a few reasons why a 21-year-old beginner might want to take standard-track tests.

    *You're very athletic, and already very comfortable skating on one foot at a time at speed right from the beginning, and you intend to devote many hours per week to training. You and your coach anticipate that you will learn single jumps quickly and double jumps within a couple years, so you want to aim to compete in Open Juvenile or standard Novice competitions in your mid-20s.

    *You intend to train hard and pass as many tests as you can so you can eventually become a skating coach working with low-test or even intermediate-level skaters.

    *You start working on the moves and find that you actually do best at the ones that are omitted from the adult tests, so they will help your confidence or help you pass the respective tests they are on.

    *You want to test more often, so you plan to take tests on both tracks.


    Unless one of these applies to you, there's probably no need.
    Those are actually good reasons (I'm afraid my initial response was a bit of a blanket statement). I tested on the Adult track, then took the Intermediate MIF test after passing my Adult Gold MIF test. What I liked about that path was that the adult track allowed me to move up fairly quickly, rather than getting stuck just because the MIF tests were so hard to pass. When I passed the Intermediate test, USFSA did not yet have the adult passing standard, so I was held to the same standards as the kids. I can tell you it was *much* harder to pass the same moves that had been on the Adult Gold test when I had to perform them at the higher passing standard!

  17. #17
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    If you plan on skating for a while and want to learn solid skating skills, don't choose ISI.

    There's nothing wrong with the adult track. The adult tests are not going to keep you from coaching or judging. I know one coach who only passed her adult bronze and she has coached girls through their axels.

    Don't forget, Gus Lussi was not even a skater and he was one of the greatest coaches. Anyone can judge as long as they have the proper level of education.

    The adult tests are still really hard. Harder than spectators realize. An adult with less time left in their body and less time in their schedule, may find it less frustrating to go ahead and take the adult tests instead of standard. You will learn the same skills. The adult tests are almost identical to standard except there is a slightly lower passing score. You can be a bit more wobbly than a kid and still pass. If you make it past gold you can switch to intermediate standard anyways.
    Last edited by leafygreens; 03-18-2013 at 06:46 PM.

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    If you are just starting I think adult track would be the way to go, if you want to try regular, nothing is stopping you though. I got standard track gold dances in my late 40's but I had been skating for a long time.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by leafygreens View Post
    If you plan on skating for a while and want to learn solid skating skills, don't choose ISI.
    I'd have to disagree with this. There are good and bad coaches in ISI, just as there are good and bad coaches in USFS and Skate Canada.

    And it isn't an all or nothing choice. You can test and compete in ISI and USFS at the same time. I know some adults who prefer ISI because there are usually more events to compete in, and ISI has more age/skill categories.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie S View Post
    the disadvantage is the standard, once you get past Preliminary (2nd level), is higher on the standard track
    The passing score for prebronze-gold moves/freeskate are the same as Prepreliminary-Juvenile. For Intermediate and higher, the passing score is higher on standard track.

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