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a. STAR 1-5 Introduction and Overview


STAR 1 to 5 offers a solid development pathway for skaters who are entering a figure skating program for the first time. The complete STAR 1-5 Resource Tool Kit will offer coaches and clubs information to help deliver their program in a fun, enjoyable and challenging format.


This stage of development (Learn to Train), as described in our Skate Canada Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) document, states:

In the Learn to Train stage skaters are encouraged to acquire a skill set that will allow them to reach the highest level of proficiency that their unique talent and commitment will allow. It is defined by technical development rather than chronological age. There is a free skating bias at this stage as skills learned in freeskating will transfer easily to the other disciplines.

Technical development is the defining characteristic of this stage. All other development supports and accommodates technical development. Aptitude in other areas such as performance and mental training skills may be identified and should be introduced but should not replace skill acquisition. The volume of training in the Learn to Train stage may not be any greater than others but the range of skill acquired and personal growth attained is substantial.

General Objectives

  • To increase the commitment level of athletes to our sport as demonstrated through increased yet effective training time
  • To develop the language and rules of figure skating
  • To develop the ability to practice/train in different ways (i.e. private and group lessons, as well as independently)
  • To develop and consolidate basic sport specific skills while continuing to develop motor skills

(agility, balance, coordination, rhythm, time/space orientation, speed, dexterity) and control

of movement

  • To acquire and demonstrate a good understanding of the mechanics of jumping and spinning
  • To develop some understanding of artistic training, under the umbrella of technical training. Artistic knowledge is relative to the technical proficiency and age of skaters
  • To introduce conditioning, off-ice technical jumping skills and fundamental mental skills including concentration, self-motivation, visualization, relaxation, positive self-talk and goal setting
  • To create awareness and enthusiasm for the various testing and event opportunities available to athletes in Learn to Train
  • Introduce ancillary capacities (warm-up, hydration, cool-down, stretching, etc.)





The STAR 1-5 program will introduce skaters to the sport of figure skating and its disciplines:

  • Freeskate, Skills, Dance and Synchronized Skating (optional)


All coaches teaching skaters at the STAR 1-5 level of development must be trained on the contents of this program.


As explained in the LTAD Philosophies, the importance of strong technical development is critical at this stage.

The STAR 1-5 Resource Tool Kit is designed to give coaches the tools and information to ensure programming and delivery formats cover the crucial areas necessary to build strong foundations for all skaters.


STAR 1-5 Philosophies:


Golden Age of Learning:

Section 1 – page 9 of the LTAD Model explains the “Windows of Trainability” athletes go through as they mature. In order to maximize the skater’s potential, coaches should be familiar with each of these windows. The Learn to Train stage generally hits two of these windows: Skill development (ages 8-12) and Flexibility (ages 6-10). The importance of training proper technique during this “golden age of learning” is paramount for optimum skill development. To take advantage of the flexibility window, coaches are encouraged to offer off-ice programming and promote the participation of other sports during this phase.


Remove barriers for progression:

During this “golden age of learning” it is imperative that skaters are encouraged to move through the assessments at their own rate. Coaches and skaters no longer have to wait for test days or adjust their training plans to accommodate dates for testing as coaches will be assessing this program. Coaches can spend time on training, development and skill acquisition and assess the skaters when ready. For many clubs this will open up huge opportunities for growth and progression as acquiring officials on a regular basis is a difficult task (due to availability) and can be very costly in remote areas. 



Strong focus on quality basics:

The STAR 1-5 program is designed to encourage skaters and coaches to strive for the highest quality of skill execution and acquisition. A strong foundation at this level will enable skaters to progress more quickly in the higher levels of figure skating and be ready for the next level of skills. This philosophy is reinforced by encouraging skaters to achieve the “Pass with Honours” designation on their assessments, as well as achieving “Gold” status on their performances at events.



Introduce more complex skills earlier to allow for a better foundation for development:

As in CanSkate, many skills in the STAR 1-5 program will be introduced early to allow coaches to work with skaters on developing these skills over time. Many skills in skating are complex. Introducing these skills early will enable coaches to hone and develop the skaters’ technique over time. This will allow the skaters to have sufficient practice of the skill before it is required in our sport. Be mindful that many of these skills are not expected to be performed at an advanced level, but rather at a level that is in development. It is critical that coaches are aware of each standard of the skills as they progress through the STAR program.



Create a better bridge from CanSkate to Figure Skating:

The entry level of STAR 1 is designed to meet the exit level of Stage 6 in CanSkate. It is imperative that all skaters beginning STAR 1 have the skills of Stages 5 and 6 in CanSkate. STAR 1 Skills and STAR 1 Freeskate are designed to be achieved within three to nine months of exiting CanSkate. The remainder of the STAR 1-5 program is designed to assist the skater’s development in a progressive manner. Skaters may move through the STAR program at their own pace per discipline. For example: A skater may be working on STAR 3 Skills, STAR 1 Dance and STAR 2 Freeskate.

Why Coach Assessed Tests?


Assessment in the STAR 1 -5 program will be performed by the coach who is teaching the skater the discipline that is being assessed.  There are many reasons why coaches will be assessing their skaters:

-          Clears the pathway for development by removing time and logistic barriers. Skaters will have access to assessment opportunities as they are ready and their development progresses. Without the demands of readiness following a pre-set test day calendar, the skaters are free to move through the program at their own rate without obstacles. STAR 1-4 assessments are designed to be available to the skaters on their regular session and during their normal time slot, thus allowing the assessments to be convenient and free of additional ice or travel costs.

-          Opens up equal opportunity to all skaters regardless of location in Canada. Being able to use the club coach to perform assessments enables all skaters in every region of Canada to have the opportunity to be assessed when ready. This eliminates the geographical advantage or disadvantage due toavailability of officials. During the “Learn to Train” stage of development,  the ability to move through the program when ready is a critical component of maximizing skill progression in this “golden age of learning”.

-          Allows coaches to be 100% accountable for skater development. Coaches will have total command over skater development from CanSkate to double jumps. This opportunity is advantageous in ensuring skater development quality is consistently monitored, nurtured and encouraged.

-          Costs to the skater is reduced. The STAR 1-4 assessments can be taken at any time during the year on the session they are skating. STAR 5 assessments for the pattern dances and freeskate programs, must be skated on clear ice. This can be done on a session that has been cleared (Freeskate program or dance pattern), or can be scheduled on a separate session. 

For the level:

-          Every skater will go through early, moderate and advanced stages of development for each skill and area of technique. The STAR 1-5 program allows skaters to be rewarded for being on the pathway of development at each stage. A STAR 1 skater will be at the early stages of development in all areas, therefore the assessment standards will reflect an “early stage” performance. The new assessment standards will reflect a satisfactory or good performance “for the level” regardless of the stage of development.


Coaches will be given more information on assessments in the STAR 1-5 Assessor Training and STAR 1-5 Assessment Guidelines & Procedures



STAR 1- 5 Content Format

Colour Coded: Each discipline has been assigned a colour to assist in easy recognition of documents and reference.

Skills = Green                                        Freeskate = Purple                                  Dance = Blue


In all areas of development, skaters will be introduced to simple and then more difficult concepts throughout their progression. Many elements will be repeated to allow coaches to introduce technique, develop the technique and finally master the technique needed for solid development.


The next chart shows a list of all skating elements that are included in the STAR 1-5 Assessment pathway.


Main focus of each discipline:



The main focus in the STAR 1-5 Skills discipline will be the development of edge and turn technique using “figure form”.

Stroking exercises will also be introduced to enhance power and rhythm. Skaters will also be introduced to a variety of field moves to help develop balance, flexibility and strength.




The dance development at this level will focus on the execution and comprehension of dance technique with skaters learning the dance steps before the dance patterns. Skaters will be encouraged to master timing and pattern execution before introducing partnering technique by using “shadowing” for their assessments.



Shadow Dance

Shadow dance is the term used when a skater skates the full pattern of the dance with another skater, coach or PA using a “shadow” formation.


STAR 1-5 freeskate development will concentrate on jump and spin technique, along with the development of programs using program components as the focus.


The assessment criteria will follow the same guidelines as the criteria used in events at the STAR 1-5 level and higher to bring awareness to technical requirements of our sport.


Example: Basic Spin Position Definitions

For a full detailed list of each skill and its description, along with the standard needed a successful assessment, please see:

Descriptions and Standards - Skills

Content and Training - Skills

Descriptions and Standards - Dance

Content and Training - Dance

Descriptions and Standards - Freeskate

Content and Training - Freeskate (Coming soon)

SYNCHRO: Descriptions and Standards Chart (in development)

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