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Q & A

We have put together the questions & answers directory below to assist you find your way around the world of skating.

If you were just looking for the SAISA Membership Application/Renewal Form, here it is (it is also on the Forms page).

Why start skating?

Would you like to glide along the ice, spin and fly through the air in a jump, increase you fitness, balance and coordination, skate with friends or dance on ice?

You can compete and follow the elite pathway, or just keep fit skating. You can perform in shows or artistic performances/showcases. Many skaters regularly travel overseas to take part in events. Its a great opportunity to travel.

Joining in also means you can become a coach, judge, official or valuable volunteer.


What types of skating are there?

Figure skating is the name for a range of different ice skating sports (also known as disciplines).
You may have seen some of these disciplines broadcast from the Winter Olympic Games (Singles, Pairs and Ice Dance).

Figure skating also includes Synchronized Skating (Synchro), Theatre On Ice (TOI), Solo Dance and Adult Figure Skating.
Singles Skating: More about Singles Skating here

Synchronized Skating (Synchro): more about Synchro here

Pairs Skating: more about Pairs here

pages under development:
Ice Dance: more about Ice Dance and Solo Dance here

Theatre On Ice: more about Theatre On Ice here

Adult Figure Skating: more about Adult Figure Skating here 

How do you start?

Going along to a general session at a rink can get you started. General sessions (sometimes called 'public sessions') are open to anyone. You can just turn up during the session time and have a go yourself. Birthday Parties and Snow Play Sessions may also be available for groups by booking ahead of time. For further information visit the IceArenA website here.  During the year there may be pop-up rinks available which have general sessions and party bookings; Winter Wonderland at Glenelg, the Riverbank Alpine Winter Village and Santa's Wonderland at the Wayville Showgrounds are examples from 2016.

Come & Try Sessions 

Rinks run Skate Schools offering extensive learn to skate lessons for all ages, toddlers to adults. They regularly run 'Come & Try' sessions where you can have a go in a group with a qualified instructor. It is also an opportunity to ask about lessons and times and costs. There is usually a discount for signing up at the Come & Try. You are advised to book ahead to take part in a session. Go to IceArenA Come & Try here


Learn to Skate

Whether you want to learn to skate backwards and forwards comfortably or do a triple axel, a few lessons are a good idea.
Aussie Skate TM
 is the nationally accredited learn-to-skate program used all around Australia. It is designed for beginners of all ages and is suitable for prospective ice hockey players as well.
The IceArenA runs a Skate School which provides Aussie Skate lessons.
When you sign up for Aussie Skate, you will be learnig in a program that focusses on fun, participation and basic skill development. You proceed at your own pace. Lessons are given in a group format and led by a certified professional coach. Aussie Skate is administered by Ice Skating Australia, the National body for figure skating. When you join Aussie Skate you will be registered with ISA and insured via their skater accident insurance.

Aussie Skate TM is used all around Australia so if you attend a lesson or competition anywhere in Australia it likely will be very similar. 

More about Aussie Skate here.

Skate School

Aussie Skate lessons are provided by the Skate School at the IceArenA (see Skate School webpage here)The Skate School is a project of the South Australian Ice Sports Federation (SAISF) and forms part of the IceArena's business operations. The coaches you will see giving lessons in the Skate School are hired by the rink. The Skate School has an office at the rink and has a manager who coordinates the lessons and coaches. Skate School also oversees the figure skating Practice Sessions (see below). 

Practice Sessions

Skate School oversees the figure skating Practice Sessions. Practice Sessions may be available to all levels of skaters or only some levels. Care must be taken when practicing as there can be many skaters on the ice. See Figure Skating Etiquette & Safety Rules here. These sessions may be used by 'private' coaches to give individual or 'private' lessons. Coaches giving individual lessons are 'sole traders', ie in private lessons they act as a separate business. These coaches must be approved by the SAISF to teach in Practice Sessions. These coaches pay the rink a weekly fee to operate at the rink and skaters pay the coaches for their individual lessons. More about SAISF here   More about Skate School here


The South Australian Ice Sports Federation Inc (SAISF) is made up of the three State bodies for ice sports: Ice Hockey SA (IHSA), Broomball SA (BSA), and SA Ice Skating Association (SAISA) and their task is to keep a rink open for public skating, the three recognised ice sports and special projects such as the Skate School, the IceFactor (see Ice Factor webpage) and the Adrenaline Ice Hockey Team.  
SAISF webpage here

Does SAISA run the Skate School and Practice Sessions?

No. Practice Sessions are run by the Skate School. The Skate School is part of the SAISF business operations. See above.

How old must I be to start skating?

Tiny Tots Aussie Skate classes offer lessons to 3 year olds.
You can learn to skate at any age: primary school, high school or later.
Age isn't a barrier as shown at a recent Australian Masters Games where there were quite a few competitors over 65 years of age.
Olympic singles hopefuls however do need to master certain skills in their early teenage years as competitors entering their first World Championship, World Junior Championship or Winter Olympic event maybe in their midteens. Synchro, ice dance and pairs skaters often take up those figure skating disciplines later. Skaters on Senior Synchro teams competing at World Championships are often in their 20s and 30s.
All skating competitions provide age restricted and age appropriate events to assist skaters.


I would prefer individual lessons

Coaches accredited to Level 1 or higher are able to take private lessons. Engaging a coach doesn't mean you need to progress rapidly if you don't wish to. This is something to discuss when interviewing a coach.
Coaches taking individual lessons can be sourced through the Skate School or you can contact SAISA member coaches directly. See the SAISA Ice Skating Coaches pages here.  
Individual lessons are usually scheduled during Practice Sessions (see above). See also
 Practice Sessions information on the IceArenA website.

How do I find a coach? Are coaches accredited?

SAISA has a coaching page to assist you here.
Coaches should be accredtited and have currect membership and insurance through the Australian Professional Skaters Association (APSA). Members of APSA will be part of the Australian Sports Commission's National Coaching Accreditation Scheme. South Australian coaches are members of APSA through the NSW branch, NSWPSA (NSW Professional Skaters Association); their website is here.
When you enrol in Skate School classes coaches will be assigned to your class. You may have several different coaches while taking Aussie Skate classes. These coaches will be engaged by the Skate School. 
When you wish to have an individual lesson with a coach, you engage the coach yourself.
Just so you know, SAISA doesn't engage coaches for regular skating lessons but may engage coaches for special tasks such as seminars.


more Q&A coming!