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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.

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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

Synchronized Skating (Synchro)

Pairs Skating  

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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Skate School

Aussie Skate lessons are provided by the Skate School at the IceArenA 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). 

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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 posted on the Policies page). 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. 

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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  and the Adrenaline Ice Hockey Team.  

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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.

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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.

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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). 

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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.


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What are the opportunities in ice skating?

Learn to Skate
Join a Club 
Join a Synchro Team 
Join a Management Team 
Volunteer to help (it is community based volunteering)
Become an Official (this can require very little training or some expertise) 
Judge competitive or Artistic events 
Represent South Australia
Attend or compete at National and International Competitions
Combine skating with your holidays  
Represent Australia 
Aim for the Winter Olympics 

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Do I have to compete if I take lessons?

You can just learn to skate. You may like to take part in club events such as their Christmas shows or the AM Club sessions run by the Skate School.

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I wish to compete and/or perform

There are many opportunities to compete or perform, particularly if you join SAISA and / or a SAISA affiliated club.
The Silver Blades Figure Skating Club holds two competitions a year and Noarlunga Figure Skating Club holds several competitions and fundraiser skates. Both Clubs hold Club Championships and End of Year shows. 
SAISA holds two Interstate Competitions (SA Skate and Spring Cup) and the State Championships.
The Clubs and SAISA may run skating seminars (sometimes called workshops or camps) during the year.
SAISA also receives the right to be involved with the Disney On Ice Pre-Show, Winter Wonderland and Riverbank Rink Shows and Santa's Wonderland Shows.

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I wish to return to skating

You would be very welcome. Skate School can assist you to work out which class to enter or which coach to ask, or you can approach one of the SAISA Member coaches. Ask the Skate School about their AM Club/Coffee Club. You may also like to try Synchro. Solo Dance is also possible and you don't need a partner.
If you have done Tests in the past, find your Test results and bring them with you or just let the coach know where you were up to with your Tests. If you learned to skate in a different system or an older version of the Test schedule, we can ask ISA (Ice Skating Australia) to grant equivalent status where possible.

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What about the Tests?

Skating involves many skills that are learned in a progression, just like in ballet or gymnastics.
In Aussie Skate you may be assessed during a lesson or alternatively a special session may be arranged for Testing. These tests or assessments help the coaches advise you to move up to the next class or to practice the elements a little longer first in the same class. To compete in Aussie Skate competitions you need to first pass the correct Test level and no higher. This helps keep the competition even.

After Aussie Skate you can keep on learning new skills and do the ISA Tests at separate Test Sessions organised by SAISA. Trained judges will assess these tests and the test result will be registered with ISA. You need to be a SAISA member to do the ISA Tests. 

To compete in higher levels you also need to pass the correct Test:

  • A singles competitor needs to pass both the correct Technical Pattern Skills Test (edges & Turns) and the Technical Program Test (jumps & spins etc). Adult singles skaters, however, need only pass the Technical Pattern Skills Test to compete in Adult divisions. 
  • Synchro skaters need either a Dance Test or a Technical Pattern Skills Test for most divisions. Some Synchro divisions don't require Tests or only require a percentage of the team to have tests.
  • For Ice Dance and Pairs there are separate Tests.
  • The Tests needed for a competiton division are described in Section ...

Even though Technical Pattern Skills Tests (edges and turns) don't involve jumping learning for these Test can greatly enhance a skaters skills. You can take these Tests right up to the Senior Pattern without having to do any of the Technical Program Tests.

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Do I need to be a member to join in activities?

To enter Club Competitions and activities you will need to be a Club member or a guest skater from another club.

SAISA and the Clubs sometimes run Interstate Competitions. These are Ice Skating Australia (ISA) sanctioned competitions on the National Calendar and they must follow the rules of ISA and the ISU (Ice Skating Union), the international body which holds World Championships and Winter Olympics Figure Skating, and incidentally, govern Speed Skating as well. To enter an event described as an 'Interstate Competition' you need to be a member of a State Body (e.g. SAISA).

To enter any other activity run by SAISA you also need to be a member of SAISA.

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I can't skate but would still like to be involved

Volunteers are highly valued by the sport; without them the sport could not be offered. You would be very welcome to be a club or SAISA volunteer. Some tasks don't require much training, others maybe a little more. Some volunteers are short term volunteers others are long term. All are valued. Some volunteering counts as community service or coach accreditation maintenance points.

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Could I learn to judge figure skating?

Yes you could. See the Judging page.
Judges don't need to be able to skate though having skated at some time makes it easier to progress at first.

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Can I claim to be an elite athlete in figure skating?

Athletes are usually classified as elite because of the intensity of their training schedule and their level of competition.
Find out from your school or university what they consider as 'elite' training. SAISA can confirm your participation as an elite athlete.

Go to the Federal Government's Elite Athlete Friendly University Program page here for further information on support for elite athletes wanting to combine study, training and competition.

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How do I get to Nationals?

Nationals are the Australian Figure Skating Championships and to enter you must be nominated by a State or Territory Association and meet their requirements; you must make their State Team.

This usually means you must qualify for the State or Territory Championships and be selected at the Championships by the State or Territory body. 
To qualify for the SA State Championships you must compete in the prior SA Skate (or another approved Interstate Competition) and meet the residency and Test level requirements. 

Singles skaters at Basic Novice A Test level can compete in the Basic Novice A trial event (a 2 year trial started in 2016):
Singles skaters can compete at Nationals from Basic Novice B Test level;
Pairs skaters from the Basic Novice Pair Test;
Ice Dance skaters from the Basic Novice Dance Test;
Adult skaters from Elementary Technical Pattern Skills Test;
Synchronized Teams (including Adult Teams) have varied Test requirements but in some tdivisions there can be a percentage of skaters with no Test requirements.

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How do I get to World Championships or even the Winter Olympics?

The pathway to World Championships and the Olympics starts with Aussie Skate.

From there you move to the ISA levels. 
ISA's Basic Novice levels and higher are in line with the ISU (International Skating Union) levels which are used around the world by other ISU member countries. Therefore it is possible for you to be selected by ISA's Junior Development or High Performance Committees for international competitions and championships. 

You must meet the age criteria and attain the benchmark score at approved benchmark competitions in the appropriate division to be considered for nomination.
You will then recieve a season's ranking. 
Selection for any event will be allocated in order of season's rankings.

You may also be selected to be part of the National Squads.
See the current squads and rankings here

As part of the National Squad you could be eligible for special traing scholarships (such as with SASI and the AIS), study considerations from your school or university, or other special offers.

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Can I still compete overseas if I am not part of a National Squad

Yes you can.
But it depends on which division you are eligible for and whether the event you are looking at is on the ISU (Ice Skating Union) Calender  of Events or not.
If it is not on the ISU Calendar but nevertheless sanctioned by an ISU member country (such as the NZ Nationals or Regionals) you just need to apply to SAISA who will request approval from ISA. You will receive a formal letter from ISA to send to the oraganising committee of the event. The letter will cover you for the season.

It will be up to you to make sure you don't attend non-ISU approved events which would compromise your eligiblity to compete again.

If the event is on the ISU Calendar:
Competitions on the ISU calendar usually require the entries to be made by an ISU Member country (e.g ISA for Australia) and may have restrictions on how many skaters that county can enter. Therefore, countries usually send their highest ranked skaters available at the time of the competition and this is where National Squads and rankings come into play.

Adult skaters:
Adult skaters frequently compete at events such as the Oberstdorf  International Adult Figure Skating Competition which is on the ISU Calendar. Adults need to apply to the ISA Sports Development Committee for checking and endorsement of their entry. SAISA needs to be informed of their intent to apply.

Sycnhro teams often compete overseas. 
They need to put in an expression of interest to the ISA Synchro Chair via SAISA and then meet all the requirements which culminate with their skate at Nationals where they will be nominated by ISA if they skate well and continue to comply with the requirements.

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