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Becoming a Figure skating judge

Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by Eladola, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

    Say it's been a dream of mine to have my life revolve around Figure skating as more than just a hobby,
    And say i do not have skating experience, Other then following it,
    And say i would like to take a few years, or as much as it may take, to become a Judge, or maybe an Organizer or an official, Or whatever,
    How could i go about that ?
    if say, my federation isn't exactly the vastest ^_^ or the most cooperative.

    I assume i would need to learn some skating?
    read all the ISU books?
    go see competitions?
    get in touch with a bunch of people? do training for it ?
    maybe i could use a degree of some sort ??

    ANY thoughts on the subject would be appreciated,

    And yes, I realise judges probably aren't paid that much, or at all ;)
  2. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    Does your country have any figure skating clubs/rinks near where you are?
  3. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

    i'm from Israel,
    And i rarely see any Israeli judges ( maybe once every few years in Ice dance )
    I would assume there is not much demand ?
    Also they are so hard to reach...

    A new rink has just opened around where i live, That's where they did the National event
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  4. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    Did you know about Israeli Nationals that took place this past weekend?
    That would have been a good place to start.

    ETA: Did you attend?
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  5. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

    A friend of mine found out about this the evening before it happened,
    Naturaly it's not on the news here,
    I couldn't get out of work in time sadly :'(
    But she went and gave me reports ;), Though she didn't really come in contact with anyone
    i Also got the phone number of the secretary of the head of the federation, But i can never get an answer

    Are you trying to say that i should basically just talk about it with the Federation and they would have all the answers ?
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  6. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    You starting point should be the rink - see if they have a skating club that runs local competiitons.

    To be perfectly honest, you need to think small. It is probably not just a matter of saying "I want to be a judge" and you instantly become a judge. I would start off volunteering for events (eg playing music, announcing, gate marshalling, working on the sale table) and get your foot in the door that way. You can also do things like Data Entry or Accountant which involve computer skills. Although Data Entry again I think requires some skating knowledge to do the job effectively.

    As for judging, it really does help to be a skater. You don't have to be a high level skater (my skating experience is as an adult so what I can do is limited) but you do need to know what you are looking at (being able to tell the difference between a flip and toe loop) and gradually you learn what it is you are looking for with regards to good things and bad things about elements. But it takes lots of practise and watching lots of skating. And it isn't necessarily about top skaters. Most of the time you will be judging young skaters who are only doing singles or doubles or even just learning to skate.

    Hope that helps. Any questions please ask.
  7. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    If you are serious about learning to be a judge, not only do you need to spend countless volunteer hours, but also have people willing to work with you, starting at the local rink.

    ETA: It's a big commitment to make, and you have to be able to enjoy the process, the grunt work, etc., and not expect any "rewards" other than the satisfaction of contributing to the successful running of the sport, starting at the grassroots level.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  8. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

    Yes, i understand :)

    But before all the grunt work, countless hours and people working with me,
    I'm just trying to understand the A B C, AT least,

    What could help me, For instance, Is pointing me to someone who knows these things,
    Like if i wanted to be a Doctor, I would know i have to achieve a certain grade to get accepted to medicine school
    Study for an amount of years, Go be an intern, Then work for less working my way up

    It would'nt really have helped me JUST to know that it's hard work ...

    If you believe that what i should do is to haress ( :) ) my federation until they soften up to me, and then try to learn it myself from there,
    Much like an actor or a musician trying to get booked, Then i guess that's what i'll do,
    I just kinda hoped there's a more, hmm, orthodox way ^_^ ...

    Oh, And thank you for the links btw !
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  9. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Contact the your local ice rink, ask them for a contact person for the club that is based there and volunteer - that is your starting point. Things will develop from there. However unless there is someone on this forum who is going to know what the situation is for you locally, you are going to have to do a bit of research yourself to find the contacts.

    There are no golden rules about how people get involved in the sport. It happens in a variety of ways and everyone will have a different story of how the started in whatever roles they do, whether that be judging or just being a volunteer.
  10. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

    Ok willie,

    Thanks a lot ;)

    Have you been involved in FS in some way ?
  11. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    I started skating nearly 20 years ago and it grew from there. Currently I am a judge and administrator, but I have basically done any role that is involved in running the sport and competitions. So you could say I have been involved in some way. :)
  12. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    I thought about trying to become a judge, but it was to be an expensive process. In the United States you have to trial judge a number of events, and none of your expenses are reimbursed- since we do not have many local competitions, that meant a lot of traveling: hotels and flights. You have to work towards a test judge appointment first, and then work towards a competition judge appointment. I decided it wasn't worth it. I've volunteered to judge Basic Skills events at my rink, and also got my ISI Bronze judge test (that is just taking a test if you are a coach) and judged a few of those competitions. They aren't really "real" judging though.

    I thought I'd post a few of the US links for reference:
  13. RFOS

    RFOS Well-Known Member

    In the U.S. they are now offering judges schools that allow for testing for an appointment for those who have no appointment. You need peer evaluations from other judges and need to really know the tests before attending the seminar, because you need to take an exam upon signing up for the seminars and then do mock judging at the seminar. It's not practical to just sign up for the seminar with no experience and expect to get a judging appointment but it might be faster than the "usual" process, especially since you can test for more than one appointment and can test up more than one level if you are really knowledgeable. The seminar that was recently announced and whose deadline hasn't passed is in Warwick, RI in July. There is supposed to be one in the Midwest to be announced soon.

  14. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    In the US, it's relatively easy to become a test judge if you live somewhere close to several different clubs that hold test sessions several times a year. And if the clubs also host competitions, you will get experience judging lower levels under 6.0 and maybe even to try IJS judging before getting a competition judging appointment.

    For a nonskater, it will be necessary to spend a lot of time in the local rink getting familiar with the different skills and skill levels. Taking lessons is a good way to spend that time, on the ice. If that's not possible for physical reasons, then volunteering in capacities that allow you to watch the skating (e.g., ice monitor) can be useful. It would also be useful to volunteer in capacities that allow you to interact with the officials personally and ask their advice.

    Even in the US, if you live somewhere that is more isolated from skating activity, e.g., only one club in driving distance that only has one or two judged events a year, you would have to travel quite a bit at your own expense to become a judge (or accountant) and to move up the ranks.

    Once you do get the higher appointments and get invited to judge at different events, though, you would end up traveling at the host club's expense.

    This is far from glamorous. Most US judges spend much time judging low-level skaters in local tests and competitions, and comparatively little time judging elite skaters. Those with national appointments will judge more at higher levels and may not have time for as many club-level events.
    Only a small percentage of the domestic judging corps go on to become international judges.

    I don't know how it works in other countries. I imagine it's much harder for a nonskater to become a judge in Israel because there must be few judged events in the whole country, so there's not much opportunity to learn by doing. I don't know whether there would be opportunities to trial judge abroad, if you can afford to travel to places with more skating.

    I would not be surprised if a small federation of this sort relies only on former skaters to serve all its judging needs.

    I would hope that there is some process for skaters who train in Israel to become judges for their federation when they become adults, if they're interested.

    But of those who do become judges within a small federation, the opportunities for international judging would be greater, if they start young enough.
  15. jjane45

    jjane45 Active Member

    Thank you everyone for such an informative thread!! Good luck Eladola!
  16. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    It definately costs money to be a judge. Whilst I do get a reimbursement for my expenses for local competitions, I end up spending way more than what I get back. Going to Australian Nationals the last couple of years has probably cost me $2,000 alone for flights, accommodation and other related expenses. That does not include the time you take off work (two weeks paid annual leave) which would probably bring the total cost to $5,000. That is time you volunteer to the sport that could be your own time. Over the last three years I would have volunteered over a full month of my annual leave for skating related events.

    I sound like I am complaining, but the reality is, I can understand why people drop out of judging or don't get started because it does cost you at the end of the day to be a judge in the sport. And you talk to people from other sports who do get something for their contribution and they think you are mad that you are doing it.

    It is also a reason that if people are going to get shitty at me I will give them shitty back (or at least not put up with it and tell them to suck it up in the nicest possible way). I literally don't get paid to put up with shit.
  17. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    I don't recommend "harassing" your federation at this point; start at your local rink, like Aussy Willy suggested.
  18. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    I totally agree. I know I certainly would not appreciate anyone who was not currently involved in the sport trying to weedle their way in out of the blue. And then I would recommend they contact their local club if they want to volunteer.
  19. luna_skater

    luna_skater Well-Known Member

    In Canada, there are documents outlining what qualifications are needed to begin the process of becoming an official. To answer your question about what is required of you (eg., whether you need a skating background, or a certain amount of volunteer hours), try to find out if that exists. I agree with others who have suggested contacting a local club. Every club and organizing body will be slightly different. For instance, in Canada, some Sections pay to send their trial judges away to get more experience, and some judges have to pay their own way to get more experience. Some positions require a skating background (judges and tech panel), and some don't (data specialists, accountants, data input, video replay). It's best to ask questions locally to get started. Good luck!
  20. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

    Thanks everyone for the Tips and wishes ;)

    I do believe i have my good knowledge of this system and skating elements going for me (Been watching since i was 8)
    And also that i am willing to travel, this season i went to Trophee Bompard, And next season i'm planning on hitting SA, SC and Europeans, Possibly Bompard again,
    And if the good lord Jesus christ smiles down upon me, The Olys :)

    I think from what i gather out of all of this, Seeing options in ISR are limited and i might want to spend a few years in north america for school, Is i should get in contact with a big club, Volunteer there, Learn to skate, Read the books, go to the events, perhaps let them in on my goals and after a couple or a few years see where it goes from there ?
    If anything maybe then my federation will recognise me as someone who knows what's up .

    Heading towards the new Rink in a couple of days to have a look and skate around btw, Hopefully there might be someone to talk to there :)

    Also, who do coaches usually use for musical edits ?
    being a former music student i should be able to assist with that i guess
  21. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Eladola - Going to your new rink is the best starting point. Just see how it goes from there.
  22. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind, if the federation can use you as an official, it will probably be mostly at lower levels. Especially if you were going to be judging, you would need to be very familiar with the skill levels of beginning and intermediate skaters, not elites. Go get familiar with the skating at your local rink, and start doing it yourself if you can.

    If you do spend time in North America for school and will be located in an area with one or more active figure skating clubs, that would be a great opportunity to get more involved than might be available near you in Israel. In the US you could do some trial judging (it seems Canada doesn't accept nonskaters as judge candidates).

    Are you good at the technical aspects of audio production?

    Could you be the person who volunteers to play the music at tests and competitions? That's a good way to make yourself useful and spend time at ice level in front of the skating.

    Could you take a long recording, or several different recordings, and edit down to a coherent 1- to 4-minute program? If so you could probably be useful to coaches who don't have those technical skills. But they may have strong ideas about exactly which sections of music to use, for how many seconds, to meet the aerobic needs of their skaters. Some may welcome your advice if you know more about music than they do, some may not -- depends on their individual personalities and insecurities.

    Again, remember, most of the skaters you'd encounter will be kids doing single and bad double jumps. It won't be glamourous. Spend time at the rink and find out whether you love skating at that level.
  23. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

    I make Mashups, So you could say that's my expertise ;)

    And i didn't know they had volunteers play the music, I'll definetly volunteer for that !!
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  24. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Again, just to be clear--you won't be judging elites. Not any time soon. You wouldn't be judging anything at all for a very long time and then it will be, as gkelly said, kids doing singles. Go to a club (local, or when you get to the US/Canada) and volunteer to help *doing anything you can*. That may (using US clubs as my experience base) be things like taking tickets at the club ice show and getting doughnuts and coffee for the judges' room at a test session. Skating runs on volunteers doing the boring, unglamorous stuff.
  25. Doubletoe

    Doubletoe Well-Known Member

    I agree with the suggestions to find your closest figure skating club and volunteer. I would also suggest taking some beginning figure skating classes and getting to know the coaches at the rink. Then you can bring up the fact that you do music edits and offer to do the first one for free. I charge $40, which I think is pretty standard here in the U.S.
  26. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    In the UK, you have to pass certain level of skating. I think it is NISA level 6, but I am not sure if that means all level six tests (such as for freeskating: field moves, elements and program, and for dance: pattern dance, free dance and field moves), or if any L6 test will do (for example just field moves and not the elements and program...)
  27. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

    Every ISU Member Federation has their own proceedure for the training and appointment of judges. You should contact your Federation and request help from them.

    Here are the contacts for your Federation:

    Address: P.O. Box 3533

    Holon 58135

    Telefax: (+972) 3 504 97 42
    Telephone: (+972) 3 504 97 46
    Email: info@iisf.org.il

    Webpage: http://www.iisf.org.il/
    President: Chait Boris, Mr
    General Secretary: Hasday Carol, Mrs
  28. frbskate63

    frbskate63 New Member

    It's all parts of level 6 in the chosen discipline - so field moves, elements and free, or field moves, pattern dance, original dance and free dance. (Not sure how much longer the original dance test will continue to exist, though.)