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Author Topic: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)  (Read 10727 times)

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Offline Clarice

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Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« on: April 28, 2016, 07:20:47 PM »
The USFS Basic Skills program is going to be rebranded this summer, as a stand-alone program called Learn to Skate USA.  This new program will be endorsed by US Figure Skating, USA Hockey, and US Speed Skating.  Under the new program, as skaters pass each level, that will be reported to Learn to Skate USA which will maintain a skater's records much like US Figure Skating already does for its test structure.  If skaters move from one program to another, their test levels will follow them.  I expect that there will be a certain amount of instructor education coming, so that passing standards will be more uniform around the country.


Mod Note: Created new topic from "Transitioning from ISI to USFS?" and placed in members-only forum due to US Figure Skating news embargo.

Offline twinskaters

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2016, 07:23:18 AM »
The USFS Basic Skills program is going to be rebranded this summer, as a stand-alone program called Learn to Skate USA.  This new program will be endorsed by US Figure Skating, USA Hockey, and US Speed Skating.  Under the new program, as skaters pass each level, that will be reported to Learn to Skate USA which will maintain a skater's records much like US Figure Skating already does for its test structure.  If skaters move from one program to another, their test levels will follow them.  I expect that there will be a certain amount of instructor education coming, so that passing standards will be more uniform around the country.

Wow, that is interesting and kind of exciting news! I will be curious to see how our home rink handles the transition. They are a USFSA program but very very fast and loose with it. They combine levels (Basic 3 & 4, 5-7, and don't even have 8), don't give kids badges and stickers, and the passing standards are bafflingly low. Would love to see if this forces their hand to get themselves organized.

Offline Clarice

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2016, 07:48:55 AM »
From what little I've seen of the program so far, it seems very exciting.  I'm a little concerned about the registration process, though.  There will be a transition period, but eventually all skaters are supposed to register for Learn to Skate USA through its own web site, and then sign up for classes at their nearest rink.  At this time, our rink automatically registers all the learn to skate students for Basic Skills.  I'm afraid that when that responsibility passes to the skaters themselves, many of them won't do it.  They tell me USA Hockey uses this procedure and it has gone well, but I still have reservations.  I like the program, and want all the students to take full advantage of it, but am not at all sure that will happen.  Perhaps it will make more sense to me when I see all the information.

Offline twinskaters

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2016, 10:59:33 AM »
That's pretty interesting. Our program seems not to register kids at all unless they are doing basic skills competitions, so that might actually be an improvement for kids whose parents (like me) give a hoot to do it themselves.

Offline Isk8NYC

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2016, 12:06:58 PM »
There's a YouTube video recording of the announcement webinar.  In it, tptb were adamant that nothing should be revealed until June 1st.  I split/moved this topic so as to comply with the USFSA request.

The video is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mczo93rRXJs

Losing the abbreviation for "Basic Skills" (ie. "BS") is good for two reasons: (1) "BS" is not a nice thing to put in communications -- I always use "BSS" to get around it; and (2) skaters in Freeskate levels resent registering for "Basic SKills" events - they think they're being downgraded to Basic 1-8.

I think the new logo looks very retro roller-rink. I like it, but it doesn't look modern or sleek.  I'd love to see it rendered in neon, though.

The USA Hockey support is great.  They've been supportive in helping define the Hockey curriculum but to make a statement that new players must have a year of skating classes sends a strong message about skating skills being required to play hockey.  Too many people think hockey is all about hitting slapshots.  (They'll never get the chance to take the shot because no one will pass to them if they can't skate.)

Skating schools can still manage the USFSA registrations.  If you think about it, the programs must manage classes and skaters, regardless of USFSA membership status.  The new Admin tool will let the program use the USFSA website to manage registrations and scheduling.  I'm not sure if facilities will want to use this system if they already have an in-house system in place.  For rinks that don't have that capability, it'll be a great asset.

The main change is that instead of the program receiving all of the USFSA welcome/membership materials to hand out to the skaters, the packets go by direct mail to the skater's address.

Can't wait to see the new curricula to find out how they changed the Basic levels to support "all skating sports" - did they remove the figure skating moves like side toe hops, bunny hops, spins, pivots, etc?
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Offline Query

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2016, 07:25:01 PM »
Note that they already called their program "Learn to skate".

To be honest, I think re-branding is almost always a mistake.

It's what companies do when people figured out they had lousy products, or lousy customer service. That's what I always assume when a company changes its name, or its name for a product.

Plus, you lose name recognition.

Think of confusion that the transition from "USFSA" to "USFS" and "US Figure Skating" has caused. USFSA and "US Figure Skating Association" are the official legal names, and possibly still, the official name within ISU - but USFSA wants everyone to call the "US Figure Skating". Plus, they own "usfsa.org", but not "usfs.org".

OTOH, maybe there will be a greater commitment to Basic Skills instruction, and a greater degree of inter-program consistency??

It may also give PSA an opportunity to sell new training and certification. :)

Given the comment on usfsa.org that there will be more news next month, let's wait and see.




Offline riley876

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2016, 07:45:05 PM »
It's what companies do when people figured out they had lousy products, or lousy customer service. That's what I always assume when a company changes its name, or its name for a product.

Bingo!    Biggest telco here just did that, after many years of abusing their effective monopoly position.  Utterly transparent move.

I have this little rule of thumb I go by:   If an organisation has corporate style branding, it is exactly that.  A corporation.  A sociopathic, empire building corporation.   In which everyone and everything will be sacrificed to expand the glory and reach of the organisation.

So what value is USFSA bringing to the party here?   What's actually wrong with just clubs/rinks running their own unaffiliated programs?


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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2016, 09:11:05 PM »
There's a YouTube video recording of the announcement webinar.  In it, tptb were adamant that nothing should be revealed until June 1st.  I split/moved this topic so as to comply with the USFSA request.

The video is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mczo93rRXJs



Don't get this veil of secrecy.  The video was uploaded on Feb 6 of this year for public viewing, so it's been out there.  What's the point of hush, hush until June 1?

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2016, 05:19:22 AM »
I wonder if this will affect ISI LTS.

And they made this change, what, a little over a year after changing the adult program to Basic 6? It will be interesting to see what happens to the adult program, because in my eyes, there's no reason for it to exist.

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2016, 08:57:05 AM »
I wonder if this will affect ISI LTS.

And they made this change, what, a little over a year after changing the adult program to Basic 6? It will be interesting to see what happens to the adult program, because in my eyes, there's no reason for it to exist.

Okay, watched the video, got a blog post out of it, including screen captures. It had a standard youTube license so if they want to keep it a secret they should learn to make people log in to see it.


Adult LTS stays.
They're adding Adult Fitness.
And Special Olympics, Therapeutic skating, and recreational skating is merged into a Therapeutic Recreational Skating program (yeah, no idea what they consider a recreational skater).
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Offline Clarice

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2016, 11:45:47 AM »
I'm so sorry!  I was not aware this wasn't to be discussed until June!  Thank you to the moderators for moving it.

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2016, 02:57:55 PM »
I'm so sorry!  I was not aware this wasn't to be discussed until June!  Thank you to the moderators for moving it.

Unless you have a contractual relationship with USFS, you don't have to worry.
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Offline Matsumoto

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2016, 07:31:33 AM »
I wonder if this will affect ISI LTS.

And they made this change, what, a little over a year after changing the adult program to Basic 6? It will be interesting to see what happens to the adult program, because in my eyes, there's no reason for it to exist.

I'm curious about why you think that the adult skate program should be eliminated.  Is it because the skills/tests are similar between the Basic levels and Adult levels?

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2016, 08:33:28 AM »
I'm curious about why you think that the adult skate program should be eliminated.  Is it because the skills/tests are similar between the Basic levels and Adult levels?

Well, let's start with Basic 1-8, the 'kids level', it doesn't do enough to get skaters ready for Freeskate. It's got so many gaps that numbers of rinks have developed 'bridge' programs of their own. I ranted about the skills gap here.

Now the ADULT program has even *less* in it. So it might prepare adults for dance, but if USFS had its act together, it would have a dance program or dance skills to substitute for jumps in the regular program for those who don't want to jump. Instead, USFS arbitrarily makes decisions about what it thinks adults should do, rather than letting the ADULTS make decisions.

My rink has probably the loosest adult program in the US. Unless you're doing basic skills competitions they're very relaxed about everything. And they do Basic 1-8 for Adults.
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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2016, 06:33:53 PM »
Is it because the skills/tests are similar between the Basic levels and Adult levels?
On the contrary: The former Adult 1-4 curriculum "skipped" a whole bunch of development skills that were in the Basic 1-8 curriculum.  Some were important stepping stones, such as the two-footed backward-to-forward turns. 

There were several Freeskate 1-6 skills in the adult curriculum that were definitely geared towards ice dancing.  I always waived the pivots and jumps for the wanna-be hockey players who took adult lessons. Which is why I should be paid extra for teaching adult groups since I'm simultaneously teaching Adult, Basic, Freeskate and Hockey skills in every class.  (For the record, our rink still uses the Adult 1-4 evaluation sheets.  Adult badges have been out of stock for several sessions; I assume they're on back order due to the rebranding.

The newer Adult 1-6 curriculum fills most of those gaps but steers the skater towards freestyle or dance. 
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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2016, 07:54:46 AM »
How does this compare with ISI's group lessons?  It seems like the ISI Alpha through Delta levels program prepares motivated skaters (both kids and adults) for progressing to Free Style or Dance (or even Hockey) without needing a lot of remedial training.  I have to admit that after passing FS-1 I shifted from group lessons to private lessons so I haven't paid too much attention.  I'm a member of both our rink's ISI Team and USFS skating club.  I still use ISI as a dress rehearsal before testing dances in front of USFS judges but as a recreational skater who competes once in a while (so far only at ISI events) I like the ISI system.  I hope that USFS's "rebranding" doesn't spill over.

Offline dlbritton

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2016, 09:21:26 AM »
On the contrary: The former Adult 1-4 curriculum "skipped" a whole bunch of development skills that were in the Basic 1-8 curriculum.  Some were important stepping stones, such as the two-footed backward-to-forward turns. 

There were several Freeskate 1-6 skills in the adult curriculum that were definitely geared towards ice dancing.  I always waived the pivots and jumps for the wanna-be hockey players who took adult lessons. Which is why I should be paid extra for teaching adult groups since I'm simultaneously teaching Adult, Basic, Freeskate and Hockey skills in every class.  (For the record, our rink still uses the Adult 1-4 evaluation sheets.  Adult badges have been out of stock for several sessions; I assume they're on back order due to the rebranding.

The newer Adult 1-6 curriculum fills most of those gaps but steers the skater towards freestyle or dance.

When I stated skating it was under the Adult 1-4 program and at the time I noticed there were quite a number of skills from the "kids" 1-8 program that were omitted. After completing Adult 1 and understanding more about the sport I was somewhat surprised at the skills that were omitted from the adult program. While I was still in the program the Adult 1-6 curriculum was introduced which did introduce a number of new skills but still omitted others. Since I really wanted to learn the sport I would work on the skills that seemed to be omitted from the adult program.

I assume the Adult 1-4 program was created to lower the "intimidation" factor for prospective adult students. 4 levels (to achieve "proficiency") seems to require less time commitment than 8 levels. I would assume USFSA found over time that adults coming out of the 1-4 program were really not prepared for the Free Skate program so the Adult 1-6 program was created. It seems to me the 1-8 program should be used for adults as well, but with separate classes for adults and kids.

I probably come to this with a different perspective from most beginning adults since I understand learning to ski well is a long term commitment so I knew learning to skate was a long term commitment as well.
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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2016, 07:14:22 PM »
I would assume USFSA found over time that adults coming out of the 1-4 program were really not prepared for the Free Skate program so the Adult 1-6 program was created. It seems to me the 1-8 program should be used for adults as well, but with separate classes for adults and kids.
I said this years ago when I was in the process of moving to FS. One of the first things was an "advanced" something that appeared NOWHERE in the adult curriculum. I don't remember what it was, but the kids learned it along about Basic 5. I felt like I was so far behind the kids. 

I also think the adults should use the Basic 1-8 plan. It just makes more sense if you want to advance to testing as an adult. I also think hockey players (kid and adult) should have to pass through enough levels to stop/start/change direction via mohowk or 3turn/edges.  All solid basic skills that will help with playing.
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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2016, 11:05:40 PM »
Got a look at the curriculum changes today.. not sure I like all of them.  As I am under a contractual relationship with USFS I can't really go into details, but I can say that I really don't think this transition is going to be a good one.

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2016, 01:03:17 PM »
Got a look at the curriculum changes today.

I'm curious - who got to see the tentative changes this early?

Not me. But I'm only at the lowest rung, a registered Basic Skills instructor.

Hope none of you just paid the PSA fees to train to become instructors under the current program! :(

Wouldn't it be cool if they made it identical to ISI Basic Skills? Well, OK, no yelling and screaming, just my oponion. :)

My figure skating director has been planning for the change for quite some time, has scheduled a training session for us (her instructors) this August. Cool.

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2016, 03:51:32 PM »
I had hoped to finish Adult 6 either this month or by July, but won't be back on the ice before July or August. Hopefully the changes won't be too extensive, especially for those of us almost finished with Adult 1-6.
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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2016, 08:02:09 PM »
I'm curious - who got to see the tentative changes this early?

Skating directors (I'm not one, ours shared the materials with our rink instructors) were sent an email with a link to dropbox a couple of weeks ago.

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2016, 08:15:38 PM »
I'm actually less interested in the curriculum changes (though I do want to see that) and more interested in the idea that people sign up with USFS individually rather than through the LTS program.  My current rink is ISI (and doesn't bother with testing for the LTS adults), but I did one session a couple of summers ago at another rink that's USFS and I never got any of the materials I think I was supposed to get, so I'm not sure they ever even bothered to register me.  I like the idea of being able to control my own membership.  I'll be curious to see how that's actually implemented.

ETA:  Would this mean that I could register myself and then officially take/register BS tests through my private coach (who's USFS as well as ISI), or would tests still have to be done through a LTS program?

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2016, 08:19:55 PM »
I'm curious - who got to see the tentative changes this early?

They provided information at governing council. I'm not sure what all it entailed as I was not there, but I saw pictures from GC of some of the new materials, etc.

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Re: Learn to Skate USA (USFSA Basic Skills Rebranding)
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2016, 07:31:14 PM »
I did one session a couple of summers ago at another rink that's USFS and I never got any of the materials I think I was supposed to get, so I'm not sure they ever even bothered to register me.

I'm not certain what you are supposed to receive. If this isn't out of date:

  http://www.usfigureskating.org/story?id=84165

I think you should have received a subscription to "SKATING magazine" (the normal edition, or the Basic Skills edition), for that season.

Let me assume for the present that you are talking about a USFSA Basic Skills class.

You can view or print stuff about the current USFSA Basic skills curricula from this page:

  http://usfsa.org/programs?id=84094&menu=basicskills

and more stuff, intended for instructors, but informative to skaters too, here:

  http://usfsa.org/programs?id=83994&menu=basicskills

If you were registered in the USFSA Basic Skills program by your rink, I believe they would have assigned you a member # and password, so you could sign on here

  https://www.usfsaonline.org/

to check your status. I could be wrong - I'm currently only registered as an instructor, not a skater. But if you ask the rink for your member # and password, perhaps they would be honest about whether you were registered with USFSA. Of course, memberships expire after the skating season is over, so they may have discarded the info. Or maybe you were in the USFSA class before USFSA required all Basic Skills students to be registered with them.

Note that USFSA Basic Skills registration does not record your skating level - but maybe that will change in the near future, if what some people here are saying is correct.

BTW, last I checked, most ISI rinks do NOT register ISI LTS students, and aren't required to, though that may be out of date.