United States Figure Skating, or USFS, is the national governing body in the United States for the sport of figure skating and is both a member of the International Skating Union (ISU) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The USFS is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado and has over 173,000 members that include more than 700 member clubs, collegiate clubs, school affiliate clubs, and registered Basic Skill Program skaters. United States Figure Skating offers the Basic Skills Program as well as a more competitive structured path so that a skater can learn and test their skating skills and may choose to compete in USFS sanctioned competitions within their club or nationwide. United States Figure Skating can be a stepping stone to the Olympics should a skater decide to take the competitive path.
The Basic Skills Program was created to provide a fun and safe environment to learn correct techniques of the basic elements of ice skating while promoting good health and fitness. The skater does not have to be a member of USFS to participate in the Basic Skills Program. Lets take a look at the 13 different programs the Basic Skills Program has to offer. The "Snow Plow Sam Program" has 2 levels and was designed to help the pre-school aged child gain strength and coordination while becoming comfortable on the ice. The "Basic Skills 1-8" program teaches skills such as forward skating, backwards skating, stops, edges, crossovers, mohawks, and turns. When a skater completes all 8 levels they will have a basic knowledge of skating and will move on to more advanced skills. "Hockey Curriculum" is a 4 level program that teaches the fundamentals of ice hockey skating. The program teaches proper skating technique and although hockey skates and an ice certified hockey helmet are required equipment, no pucks are used. "Adult Curriculum" is a 4 level program designed for the beginning adult skater and teaches proper skating technique while promoting physical fitness along with improving balance and coordination. The "Free Skate Curriculum" is divided into 6 levels in which each level is divided into 4 sections covering moves in the field, spins, dance / footwork sequence, and jumps. At this point, a skater may decide to pursue a competitive path.
The "Dance Curriculum" is a 6 level program that focuses on ice dance techniques and teaches the first 6 ice dance patterns in the USFS test structure. The "Synchronized Skating Curriculum" is a 4 level program that introduces the skater to the circle, wheel, intersection / transition, line, and block, which are the 5 basic skills of synchronized skating. The "Pairs Curriculum" is a 6 level program in which the skater must have passed the Basic 8 level or be recommended by a class instructor in order to participate. Each level is divided into sections and will cover handholds and positions, moves in the field, individual spins, pair spins, side-by-side jumps, and lifts.
After completing, Pairs level 6, the skaters will have a strong foundation to build upon and the program can be used as a preparation to the US Figure Skating Pairs preliminary pairs test. "Artistry in Motion (AIM) Curriculum" is a 4 level program in which the skater must have passed the Basic 8 level. The program teaches the basic principles and philosophy of choreography and teaches the fundamentals of body alignment, movement, lines, facial expressions, arm movements, extensions, and music interpretation. The "Speed Curriculum" is a 6 level program for skaters that have completed Basic Skills 1-4. Skaters are taught basic edges, turns, starts, and speed development and will be ready to race after completing all 6 levels. The "Theater On Ice Curriculum" uses choreography, movements, and the skaters will create programs to be skated using the four themes: Joy, Fear, Anger, and Growth. The "Special Olympic Badge Program" and "Therapeutic 1-14" program teaches skaters, who are mentally and / or physically challenged, skating skills while providing the benefit of healthy exercise and fun. The USFS Basic Skills program offers many programs for many different skaters of all ages, levels, and abilities. A skater may choose to continue on through the Basic Skills Program levels or choose to take a more competitive …