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Author Topic: Becoming a technical controller / judge  (Read 1038 times)

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Offline axelwylie

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Becoming a technical controller / judge
« on: May 06, 2015, 05:51:33 AM »
I have been toying with the idea of becoming a technical controller. I know that one of the pre-requisites is being a qualified regional judge.

Does anybody have experience or thoughts about what it takes to become a judge and/or controller? I have read the materials on the USFSA website but would love any advice first hand.

When you are a judge/controller, do you have to go to the events you are invited to? Is there any flexibility? What out of pocket costs would one need to take care of other than training seminars?

Thanks in advance for your expertise!
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Offline karne

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Re: Becoming a technical controller / judge
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2015, 06:27:59 AM »
I have not embarked on this journey (in spite of a few nudges from people around me), but I have worked closely with some judges before, and it is not easy. They are constantly studying and sitting more exams at both national and ISU level. There is little money involved; they might get a token amount towards expenses and no more for most competitions. I think that if you judge a Grand Prix or above, the LOC pays expenses, but no more than that.

It takes many years of study. You need to trial judge at tests and competitions, and there are certain tests, I think. I am not sure how the process works exactly in the US. Of course you can say no to any competition, but the less available you are, the less likely it is that an LOC will ask you again.
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Offline PinkLaces

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Re: Becoming a technical controller / judge
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2015, 10:31:40 AM »
I am not a judge, but worked with trial judges quite a bit as a test chair.  It is a long process. There are several levels of judges Bronze, Silver, Gold, etc. I know you have to have a standing judge mentor you and do so many trials: tests and competitions. I had to send the copies of the trial test papers along to the mentor. Getting a pairs test seemed to be a big obstacle, too. I had one once and I had five trial judges there for just that test.


Offline icedancer

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Re: Becoming a technical controller / judge
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2015, 03:30:58 PM »
I am a Gold Dance and Gold FS/Pairs judge.  It is a long process - as described on the USFS site - and becoming a Regional Competition Judge is another long process - so if you have the time and the interest it is a good thing to do and you will learn more about skating than you ever thought was possible and so that is a good thing.

You might start by "practice judging" at some test sessions in your area just to see if you like it - you can either just do this on your own, staying out in the cold for long periods of time, print out some trial judge sheets and just have at it.  Then if you like it you might want to contact some of the judges and perhaps test chairmen, etc., in your area to find out how to get started with your local judges.

Depending on your own personal skating level you might be eligible to be on an Accelerated or Select Trial judging track - you will have to check on the USFS site for that - so if you are going to trial judge you need a certain number of tests trialed at each level and then you have to have scored a certain percentage with the actual judging panel.  Like another poster said - it is sometimes really hard to get certain tests - like Pairs - this can hold people back somewhat.

I think I started trial judging in early 2002 and got my first appointment (Bronze Dance judge) in around 2004.  Getting the first FS/Pairs appointment was easier than dance because my area has more FS than Dance and we happened to have some pairs tests for me to trial judge. 

I think I finally got my Gold FS in 2013 or 2014 - but it was fairly recent.  I know that I was approached by several people to try for a Regional Competition appointment but I realized that I didn't have the stamina to do it and so I have not pursued that.  That is a whole rigorous process in itself.  And then I honestly don't know what it really takes to become a Controller - I know that becoming a technical specialist is also a very rigorous process.

As far as who pays for it?  When I are starting out for my first appointment I found I had to pay for everything - judges schools, etc., myself.  Once I got my first appointment I have been able to get my travel (for judges schools) paid for by either my club or our regional Council but that will vary by region.

You definitely have to plan to spend a lot of time and some money learning to judge and going to seminars, etc.

As far as having to show up at various events - that is up to you - but I think if you don't accept a judging assignment one year you will be less likely to be asked again.

It's a great process - I actually love being a judge but you will have to decide if it is right for you once you start the process and see how far it takes you.

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Becoming a technical controller / judge
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2015, 05:43:28 PM »
If I ever get around to taking my first pairs test, will a bunch of people show up to trial judge it?

Offline icedancer

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Re: Becoming a technical controller / judge
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2015, 05:47:48 PM »
If I ever get around to taking my first pairs test, will a bunch of people show up to trial judge it?

Probably!  So if you see a whole bunch of people sitting on that panel, you know they are there to trial judge it - ALTHOUGH I think the first pair test is the pre-Juvenile and to get a Bronze appointment you need to have trial judged a Juvenile Pairs.  This actually does not make that much sense to me.

Luckily with Pairs you can Trial Judge at Sectionals and use the programs for your trial-ing. 

Offline axelwylie

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Re: Becoming a technical controller / judge
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2015, 08:47:00 AM »
Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I passed my Gold Freestyle, and from what I am reading online, that gives me the option to apply for the accelerated judging track. I don't quite know what that means in terms of requirements or timing through.
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Offline icedancer

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Re: Becoming a technical controller / judge
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2015, 11:39:23 AM »
Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I passed my Gold Freestyle, and from what I am reading online, that gives me the option to apply for the accelerated judging track. I don't quite know what that means in terms of requirements or timing through.

Here is the document that outlines the requirements for the different judging levels.  Look at page 2 for Bronze Test judge- this document kind of becomes your "bible" of Trial Judging requirements (until they change it - which they do periodically) - for Accelerated Track you need to trial at minimum 4 each of MITF and FS Pre-preliminary through Juvenile. Plus one Juvenile Pair test trialed. 

If you were Standard Track you have to do five each - minimum - so the different between Standard and Accelerated Track is not that different at Bronze level.

There is Trial judging, judges school (also required to go to a school) and also a written test and peer evaluation.  It is a pretty rigorous process! 

Good luck - I encourage everyone to try judging - and it definitely gives you an idea of what it is like to be up there and having to make pretty quick decisions (in the cold) -

Offline blue111moon

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Re: Becoming a technical controller / judge
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2015, 07:32:43 AM »
I'm an Accountant, not a judge, but expense-wise the tracks are similar:  as a trial judge or prospective accountant, you're expected to pay your own way to tests and competitions.  It can be expensive if you have to travel and rent hotel rooms.  Your best bet is to make friends with other judges who will share with you.