Stale pastry is hollow succour to a man who is bereft of ostrich. - Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
I see what he means about the cost of ice time being a problem, and figure skating getting bumped for hockey. But I do not believe testing is the issue. The field of senior skaters in the U.S. is extremely deep.Why not forget the tests and let all compete, just forcing the top placers to move up each year?
I don't agree. I participated in a high level group class and it was a waste of time. We stood around watching each person do a move and each person did not get much actual skating done. Most of class time was spent standing at the boards. With ice time being so precious, this was not a good use of ice time.Why let the Professional Skaters’ Association force all but beginners to take ridiculously costly individual lessons? Classes work better and save a lot for skaters without hurting coaches, except that fewer coaches will be needed. Ballet and gymnastics do that; why hasn’t skating learned? Top ballet folk take master classes, right? A class of four can reduce the skater’s cost to one fourth without affecting the coaches’ income.
I do agree with this, but not as a means to "reclaim" men. I think it would make the sport more interesting in general.To help reclaim the men, drop the men’s short program in favor of an track and field athletic event of jumps, spins and speed trials on ice, measured, not judged, true athletics.
Yes, it would cut down on the need for judges.
I'm not sure how allowing all skaters to compete without testing and not to offer the tests at all would encourage more people to stay in the sport.
Would there still be senior, junior, novice, etc. divisions? But a skater could enter at senior level whenever s/he felt ready, or whenever s/he reached a minimum age? (Or would have to if there were maximum ages for junior and novice?)
Would the rules for senior competition remain the same as now, same as internationally, with required triples in the short program?
If you're an older teenager who's been skating for a few years, still struggling to get consistency on double jumps and not doing any triples at all, would it really make sense to enter senior competitions? Or to be forced to do so if the events are divided by age instead of test level?
If these such skaters have the choice to enter preliminary or prejuvenile or open juvenile or intermediate competitions, and can choose to move up to novice or junior or senior whenever they feel ready, or to go back down to lower levels if they discovered they really were not ready, that would make some sense and would prevent a few skaters from quitting who are frustrated by not being able to pass a few specific required test moves.
If they don't want to/can't afford to spend the money to train up to senior level, letting them compete at whichever lower level they feel appropriate is another way to keep skaters in the sport. BUT THAT ALREADY EXISTS.
Forcing or strongly encouraging people to compete above their skill level will make competing less attractive, not more so.
Also, many skaters don't compete at all for various reasons but do like to take tests. So if testing was no longer available at all, the sport would lose more skaters than it would gain.
There could be ways to cut down on the number of tests, to facilitate the path to the highest level a skater feels ready to compete at and save money. E.g., you've been skating intermediate for X years and now want to move up to senior? OK, go ahead and take the senior tests; you're welcome to skip the novice and junior. Maybe even get rid of the freestyle tests entirely.
But I think we do want to make sure that anyone who competes at the elite levels does have all the basic skating skills. So do at least keep the moves in the field tests as an entry to those levels. And if you decide to skip the novice and junior moves, you'd better have learned the necessary skills independently to be able to pass the senior test. Or the novice test at a senior passing average, since some would argue that the novice test is the hardest.
There's nothing in the US Figure Skating rules that requires private lessons.
Here's one group-oriented program that is managing to produce successful dance teams.
Maybe it works better for ice dance than for freestyle. Maybe not. Other countries seem to use other models of instruction.
Any individual coach, group of coaches, or club is free to design a program that maximizes the available ice time and the financial resources of the participants to provide steady income for the instructors and quality skating outcome for the participants. Different models might work best in different communities, with different amounts of ice time available and skaters with different goals. Trial and error might be needed to find the best program for each situation. But mandates from officialdom would not be the way to make that happen.
I think group Master Class could work very well. Just because it hasn't in the US, for skating, doesn't mean it couldn't. I think it's more an issue of needing professionals and students invested in making it work.
Not that it needs to completely replace private instruction, but I do agree with the idea.
Especially among lower level skaters, passing the next test is a big deal achievement. In addition to requiring coaches to develop those techniques, it gives the skater good interim goals and motivation to keep practicing even when there are no competitions coming up for a while.Also, many skaters don't compete at all for various reasons but do like to take tests. So if testing was no longer available at all, the sport would lose more skaters than it would gain.
I think the USFS already has age ranges for some levels, but there also is a body of adult skaters and teenagers who are skating for fun and recreation and they are USFS members too. The USFS is not just about producing international athletes.
Last edited by Susan M; 09-01-2013 at 06:14 AM.