Basic Skills Competitions

Basic Skills Competition Mission Statement

The purpose of a Basic Skills competition is to promote a FUN, introductory, competitive experience for the beginning skater.

U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills competitions incorporate moves from the Basic Skills Program into a competition format that can easily and successfully be conducted by registered Basic Skills Programs or member clubs. The competition is open to all beginner skaters who are registered members in a U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills program and/or are current full members of U.S. Figure Skating. Members of other organizations are eligible to compete but must be registered with the host Basic Skills program/club or any other Basic Skills program/club.

Basic Skills competitions are designed to promote a positive competition experience at the grass-roots level. They have proven to be a success in increasing skating participation and generating enthusiasm. A successful competition can realize a profit for your club or program, provided your competition is well planned and well organized. If the skaters have a favorable competition experience, chances are they will sign up for more lessons, which ultimately means more revenue for your club or program. It is also likely that they will enter future competitions.

Approval Procedure for Hosting a Basic Skills Competition

To improve the quality and uniformity of the Basic Skills competitions, the Basic Skills Sub-Committee requires all Basic Skills competitions to follow the guidelines as set forth in the Basic Skills Competition Manual (see Resources box above). The appointed Basic Skills representative must approve these competitions before the announcement is made public.


To request approval to host a Basic Skills competition please follow these quick and easy steps!

1. Visit the "Members Only" section.

2. Login your membership number and password information

3. Go to the "Basic Skills" section

(If you do not see the Basic Skills tab, you do not have the necessary access to upload the application. In that case, please email Erin Schopf, U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills Program Manager at She will take the necessary steps to get you set up correctly. You must have this tab to upload your applications. Applications sent via email will not be approved.)

4. Click on "Approvals"

5. Under the sub section titled- Basic Skills Competition Approvals, Click "Submit new approval"

6. Type in your competition information, browse your files to find competition announcement. Click "Upload announcement".

7. An email with then be sent to your Basic Skills Competition Approver in your region.

They will then approve your document and you will receive confirmation. If there is a problem with your announcement form, your regional approval representative will contact you directly. You will then need to make the necessary changes and resubmit the announcement through the members only section.


For Basic Skills competitions, three judges, not related to the competitor, are required for each event. Judges may be:
    1. Any official U.S. Figure Skating or Skate Canada judge
    2. Any qualified eligible or ineligible person in skating who is a U.S. Figure Skating member and/or Basic Skills member appointed by the organization conducting the Basic Skills competition

For Basic Skills competitions, the member club or other organization sponsoring and conducting the competition shall approve all judges and officials. All persons serving as judges and officials shall be at least 16 years of age.

Suggested Judging Criteria

It is recommended that you have at least one official U.S. Figure Skating judge on each panel of three judges. The competition chair may wish to enlist a referee who may assist in the selection of the additional judges and officials and to serve as liaison between the judges, accountants and skaters. Contact your regional vice chair of judges for a list of the prospective judges or trial judges in your area. Check the U.S. Figure Skating Rulebook for directions on this.

The chief referee may also be expected to schedule the judges' rotation for the events and handle any disputes that may occur. Invite judges and officials (i.e. referee, accountant, etc.) as soon as the announcement is complete and has been approved. Make sure the panel of selected judges is familiar with the Basic Skills curriculum and event structure.

Basic Skills competitions may use qualified skaters and/or instructors who are 16 years of age or older and/or persons who are trial judging for appointments. This should be an unbiased group.

Try to use your Basic Skills instructors to run the logistics of the competition, particularly if you do not have a lot of volunteers. They can get skaters lined up, get them to the place where they need to go on the ice, meet them when they come off the ice and take them for pictures and awards. They are usually very knowledgeable in any capacity you may have a need for them. Schedule judges panels in blocks of 45-60 minutes. Provide judges with at least a 15-minute break between assignments and 45-60 minutes for meals. Each panel of judges should designate a referee or spokesperson for that panel. Make sure the judges are well informed as to what you expect of the competitors so that they are able to make deductions as needed. Instruct the judges to do their best to avoid ties, but plan your medal needs based on several ties.

It is wise to schedule a judges meeting prior to the beginning of the competition to familiarize them with the logistics and events of your competition. Make sure to discuss deductions for illegal moves.


The competition is open to ALL skaters who are eligible members of either the Basic Skills Program and/or are full members of U.S. Figure Skating. To be eligible, skaters must have submitted a membership application or be a member in good standing. Members of other organizations are eligible to compete but must register with the host Basic Skills program/club or any other Basic Skills program/club.

Eligibility will be based on skill level as of closing date of entries. All Snowplow Sam and Basic Skills skaters through Basic 8 must skate at highest level passed or one level higher, and no official U.S. Figure Skating tests may have been passed, including moves in the field or individual dances.

For Free skate 1-6, Test Track and Well Balanced levels, eligibility will be based on highest free skate test level passed. (The moves-in-the-field test will not determine a skater's competitive level.) Skaters may skate at the highest level passed OR one level higher but not both levels in the same event during the same competition.

Organization of the Competition

Organizing Committee
  • Responsible for organizing and running the competition
  • Should include a chair, co-chair and treasurer
  • Chair and co-chair will share primary responsibilities for larger competitions
  • Co-chair should be next person in charge in the event that the chair cannot fulfill his/her duties

Remember, if you want to plan a competition and do not have a lot of volunteers, it is possible to handle all aspects of a Basic Skills competition with two to five people. Additional help of up to 10 people will be needed the day before the competition and the day of the competition. However, it is advisable to have some reliable committees to relieve the chair/co-chair of some responsibilities.

Competition Chair
  • Responsible for ensuring the event runs smoothly and efficiently
  • Selects reliable, qualified committee members
  • Responsible for setting dates, preparing facilities and obtaining judges

Competition Co-Chair
  • Should be knowledgeable in all aspects of the competition
  • Able to assume any or all responsibilities of the competition should the need arise
  • Able to assist the various committees whenever necessary

Responsibilities of Both Chair and Co-Chair of a Basic Skills Competition:
  • Selecting events - Choose which events to offer based on the needs and levels of the skaters in your program and/or surrounding areas. The core events you choose must follow the same format as those found in the Basic Skills Competition Manual.
  • Setting dates - Take into consideration other competitions and community activities going on in tandem with or around the dates you have chosen to attract as many competitors as possible. Try to pick several dates that will work, and then contact the arena personnel to tentatively book ice.
  • Obtaining ice - In estimating the costs of ice, take into consideration the following:
    • Number of events offered/tentative schedule
    • Warm-up time needed
    • Time required for ice resurfacing and the number of resurfaces
    • Practice ice, if desired
    • Awards

  • Announcement - Try to include everything in your announcement. Create your announcement carefully, as many questions may arise that can easily be answered by checking the published announcement. A copy of the announcement must be emailed to the Basic Skills approval representative for approval and issuance of a Basic Skills approval number. This needs to be done 30 days prior to distribution of the announcement to the public.

It is very important to the success of the competition that skaters are placed in the correct levels. If, for whatever reason, the competition organizing committee discovers that a skater has been placed in an incorrect level, the chair and referee will have the option to move the skater into the proper level, even if this has to be done the day of the competition. This will ensure that every event is as fair as possible to the competitors.

For information on running a competition, please read the Basic Skills Competition Manual.