Saturday, April 30, 2016

US Figure Skating Changes Its LTS program....again (EDITED)

This is a review of the coming USFS/USA HOCKEY new Learn to Skate Program. You won't hear about it at your rink until June. 
Welcome To the New Logo

The New Logo
To summarize, USFS is partnering with USA Hockey and some speedskating group to create a new skating program that supports all of the ice skating sports. The new LTS program will be completely revamped.

I like many of the proposed changes. In fact, I look forward  to our new Learn to Skate Overlords.

The  program materials will be made more diverse (which I hope means more boys and more races other than Caucasian to be pictured in materials) and the program will be made more clear to parents. Both of these are fantastic and long needed changes.  My rink's LTS program has kids from many races and areas of the world. We also have an amazing lot of boys. Materials need to reflect the American population of today. And boys on materials makes them feel like they belong in the program. About the clarity of the program to parents and adult skaters, LONG TIME COMING! How many of you felt that figure skating has the tenor of a private club or secret society to it? You have to root around in USFS website to find anything out. How many parents (or even adult skaters) take the trouble to sort it out? Not many.

The actual skating program seems to have only had some superficial reorg to Basic Skills. However, they're adding more programs for Hockey, such as Power Skating and for Figure Skating they've added something called Shadowing.

I'm hoping "Welcoming and Orientation" teaches parents and skaters how to tie their skates.

Here's the new program as a chart
(Sorry it's hard to read)
Note that the totally unnecessary ADULT LTS still lives.
But they've added Adult Fitness which I look forward to!

Here's Some Other Changes

I like the additional Snow Plow Sam Levels--great idea
However, is combining 7-8 really going to make a skater ready for freeskate?
Half the rinks around here have Freeskate bridge programs because the transition is so big.

Also, there will be a website to record your passed levels and stuff. Therefore, when you switch rinks, the new rink can look you up. This is just like ISI runs it I'm told.
  But here's the big problem:
This is a skater

 These are Skaters!

Maybe the Logo should be:


  1. As usual, the focus is pushing more kids into the front end and adults are sort of the caboose on this train. Not that I blame them since USFS's goal is moving kids through the system to get people for the Olympic team. But I'll bet that the fastest growing demographic in ice skating is...adults. As for the negative feedback being 'poor early experiences in classes for the kids,' my question would be - tell me more. What made the experience bad and make the child not want to come back? Child was dressed in cotton sweats, got wet and cold and was miserable? (in which case, the parents need to be told more explicitly how to dress the kids in terms of snow pants or fleece pants that won't get wet and make the kid cold. Is it a skate fit/lacing up issue? A lot of parents taking their kids to lts are not skaters themselves - a short fitting and lacing up workshop before the first class would be a good thing to do. Are the parents' fears of the kids falling and hitting their heads (even with a helmet) transferring to the kids? In which case, parents need to be sent the workbook BEFORE the first class and it should definitely say something like, "Your child is going to fall on the ice. This is part of the learning process. Please do not be overly anxious with the child; we want the kids to enjoy their experience. Or, is it a problem with instruction - I don't know how the lts instructors get trained but it certainly seems to me that there are ones which are really good with the little, new skaters and some who really don't care to deal with kids at that age and stage. On the other hand, there are people teaching at the adult level at my rink where frankly, I'm not sure they have a good idea of what makes adult new skaters different than kids, how to deal with physical limitations and so on. So I wonder about that issue as well.

    1. I agree with you on the fitting and tying issue. However, I'm concerned that USFS didn't address the issue that the rental skates at most rinks are absolute crap--no sharpening since Hector was a pup, and all the support of a lace handkerchief

  2. Adults have always gotten the shaft with ice skating. Rinks cater to young skaters and hockey, at least in my area. Freestyles and group classes are almost non-existent for adults with day jobs.

    1. In my area, rinks cater to hockey, freestyle gets what's left over.

  3. I'm curious to see how this all pans out...

    1. USFS just ought to lift the entire LTS program from ISI because they've copied everything else.