FAQ/Parent and Skater Resource page

Learn To Skate

Figure Skating

A: Skaters that have completed Stage 5 of our CanSkate (Learn to Skate) program have many different options.

STARSkate: Figure Skating

STARSkate sessions start at STAR A, and are generally the first steps after Learn to Skate for the skaters to continue to develop their skills. There are many sessions available, so you should be able to select a time that is convenient for you. This session has some group coaching so your skater will still receive instruction, followed by some free time to practice what they are learning.

As the skater progresses, they can move up through the different STAR ice sessions. More information on this is available on the STARSkate programming, plus schedule and prices, by following the Figure Skating link above.

While STAR A sessions offer group coaching, many skaters benefit from more tailored, personal coaching. Skate Oakville has many coaches for all different levels and skating disciplines. If you feel your skater is ready for private coaching, please contact the office, and they will be able to connect you with an available coach. More information on coaching is available in the coaching section below.

Competitive Figure Skating: Competitive Singles | Competitive Pairs

Entry into the competitive singles program is by invite only. Club coaches will approach the skater’s parents to see if the skater is interested. There are many levels to progress through: Pre-Comp, Base Comp, Advanced Comp, Elite Comp and Select Comp. As skaters progress and continue competing, they can be invited up to the next level of Competitive programming. More information on program requirements, schedule and prices can be found on the Competitive Singles link above. With the exception of the Pre Competitive program, skaters registered in Competitive programs are required to compete.

Entry into the competitive pairs program is by invite only and is at the sole discretion of the Competitive Pairs Director(s). Club coaches will approach the skater and/or their parents directly to see if the skater is interested. Competing is a requirement for the Competitive Pairs program. Should you be interested in Pairs skating, please speak directly to your coach. More information on program requirements, schedule and prices can be found on the Competitive Pairs link above.

Ice Dance: Competitive Ice Dance

Entry into the Competitive Dance program is by invitation only. For skaters interested in ice dance, there are dance options available at the club for both solo dancers and dance teams. This is often complimentary to solo figure skating, and interested dancers will start at the Junior Dance level. More information on the program can be found by following the Competitive Ice Dance link above.

Synchro: EDGE Synchro

The club also offers a comprehensive synchronized skating program, called EDGE. This is a team sport learning choreographed dances and is a great option for skaters who would like to skate as part of a team. Skaters must continue to improve their singles skating while on a Synchro team. More information including the different teams available and the age and skill criteria are available by following the EDGE Synchro link above.


All of these options are also available for boys interested in figure skating.

Skating programs at Skate Oakville

A: Shinny is a term used for informal time on ice with no scheduled programming. This is the name for the Skate Oakville ice time available during the day from 8am to approximately 4pm (times may vary), Monday to Friday, September through June. Visit our Daytime Ice Schedule page for more information. These are not scheduled sessions, and skaters are able to pay for blocks of time on the ice during the day. Skaters must pay and sign in at the office before stepping on the ice.

Shinny time usually has a lot of skaters having private coaching, so it is valuable time for those who can manage their school schedules accordingly. Please contact the office for more details and different payment options, or visit our Daytime Ice Schedule page. Beginner skaters should have a coach with them during their ice time, as many high level skaters tend to be on shinny ice.

A: Figure skating is a relatively inexpensive sport to start as there are only a few items of equipment needed. Please see more details on this in the Skating Supplies/Costumes section below.

After paying for the program you have selected, please note that coaching fees will be an additional expense unless the program you have registered for has group coaching included. Coaching fees are further explained in the Coaching section below.

As a guide; Learn to Skate will cost approx. $200 for one session per week, per season (seasons are 8-10 weeks). STAR A-D ice will cost anywhere between $350 to $950 for each session. Session fees depend on the number of weeks the program runs, and whether any group coaching is included on the session. Each session has its own day, time, and cost. Full details, including start and end dates, are available on the Registration pages of the website.

A: As a Skate Oakville parent, you will be expected to pay for all of the programs you register your skater for, or your skater will not be allowed to skate at the Club.

When registering for programs on the website, you will notice that there is a Volunteer Commitment note which you must read and accept before your transaction can be completed. Skate Oakville is the largest skating club in Canada and can only function, and host events, with the support of dedicated teams of volunteers which are drawn from the Club membership. Volunteers are needed for all types of roles from playing music rink-side, skate sales and test days, to hosting large skating competitions. If you cannot commit to your volunteer commitment, there is a buy-out option. More information is available on our Volunteer Information Page.

As a parent, you are also expected to understand the policies that Skate Oakville has in place including on-ice etiquette, skater code of conduct, concussion policies, missed classes, withdrawing from program and supervision.

Parents are also expected to respect the coach-skater relationship and allow the coach to coach the skater while on the ice. Any concerns or queries about the coaching, or the skating programs, should be addressed with the coach off the ice and outside of coaching time. More coaching details can be found in the following section.



A: Skate Oakville has coaches who specialize in Learn to Skate, STARSkate, Synchro, Competitive Singles, Competitive Pairs and Ice Dance, plus a lot of coaches who can work across many disciplines. Many of the coaches have short bios and photographs on the website.

Please visit Our Coaches page for more information.

A: When your skater moves from Learn to Skate to STARSkate, they often cannot remember which skills they learned previously and may struggle to use their ice time effectively. While private coaching is not required, eventually it is necessary for your skater to progress through the levels.

If your skater wishes to progress, the best way is to hire a coach. A coach helps to focus your skater and will build a plan for their ice time to build on the skills they have already learned, helping them to develop current skills and learn new skills. When the skater is ready, coaches will also do tests with the skater that allow them to progress through the different STARSkate levels.

A: The Skate Oakville office staff will be able to provide you with a list of coaches that may be available on your skaters session.  You will be able to email the coaches directly to discuss availability and other details. Sometimes the skater connects with a coach during their group coaching sessions. In this case, you can approach the coach directly, outside of coaching times and on-ice sessions. The coach will be able to tell you if they are available, and when they are available, and you can move forward from there.

A: Coaching fees can run anywhere from $45 per hour to $80 per hour. For skaters that are straight out of the Learn to Skate program, you should expect to pay for a coach at the lower end of the scale. Each coach has different fees so this should be one of the first things you should confirm with them.

Coaches fees are based on their level of coaching achieved, years of experience and other factors.

Coaches tend to coach in 10, 15 or 20-minute increments. This may not seem like a lot of time, but it provides a solid base from which the skater can learn incremental skills which they can then practice. This also helps to minimize coaching fees early on in your skater’s career. Cost is a discussion you should have with the coach before you officially hire them to determine if the cost fits within your budget.

A: Coaches vary on the way they invoice for their services. Most coaches will issue an invoice for the coaching time at the end of the month, either electronically or manually. Coaches also vary on the payment methods they prefer. Please make sure you check with your coach before you prepare payment. Payments in envelopes can be dropped off at the Skate Oakville office and the staff will get the payments to the coaches. Envelopes should have the coaches first and last name, as well as your skaters first and last name on them.

Parents should try to pay their skating fees and invoices on time, as many coaches are self-employed and rely on the coaching fees as their source of income.

A: Once you have secured a coach for your skater, they will need to know which sessions you have already registered your skater on. Coaches may suggest alternate sessions that work with their schedule. Skaters can register or switch to these sessions provided there is space and they are qualified for it. Please note: All session changes must go through the office (office@skateoakville.ca) and skaters cannot be placed on full sessions or sessions they do not qualify for or have not been invited to. Coaches suggestions do not override the wait list, current registrations, or qualification requirements.

A: Apart from the items mentioned above (fees and availability) you should ask your coach to explain what skills they will be working on with your skater, and agree on a plan for their continued progression.

You should also make sure that your skater understands what the coach is asking them to do. The coaches will usually only coach in short intervals, as the skater needs time on their own to practice the skills they are learning. This is a system proven to work over time as most parents do not want to pay for a coach to watch their skater practicing.

Sometimes a coach will be referred to as a "base" coach. This coach is your main coach, and is typically the first coach you have hired. Your base coach is responsible for guiding your training, and securing lessons with additional coaches as needed. If your base coach is not available on a session you have registered for, and you would like lessons, they are responsible for working with other available coaches to secure lessons.

A: The coach should make sure that the skater understands the instructions they are being given on the ice. They will make sure that the skater is comfortable, and work with the skater to determine when they are ready to progress further.

A: Competitive skating can be quite stressful for all parties, and skaters need the support of both their parents, and coaches, to achieve their goals. Skaters do build strong relationships with their coaches and parents must be aware of that.

Sometimes, despite best efforts, the skater/coach/parent relationship does not work. Any disputes should be addressed directly with the coach, as they arise. If the parent does not feel that there is a resolution, the Skate Oakville Executive Director may be able to help.

If the skater/parent/coach relationship breaks down permanently, the Executive Director will be able to assist you in securing alternative coaching.

Dispute resolution is discussed further on the Ombudsman page of the website here: Ombudsman

A: There are several different types of coaches at the club. Some specialize in dance, synchro or jumps, and others are more general. When skaters start on their figure skating journey, one of the ways skaters and coaches can assess the skaters progress is to test them on the Skate Canada leveled assessments. These assessments are designed to assess a skater’s footwork, edge-work, posture, speed, and eventually jumps and spins.

Many coaches work with other coaches to ensure that your skater will learn the elements and skills to create a strong skating foundation. This will mean securing additional coaching time and additional coaching costs.

Throughout your skater’s journey, there will be times when you or your coach identify areas that need more focused work, and your coach will help secure more specialized coaching as needed.

There are also coaches who work on choreography for programs, for skaters, under the guidance and direction of your skater’s coach. After the choreography has been completed, the coach may suggest additional sessions with the choreographer to modify or add new elements as needed.

A: The parent/coach relationship should be respectful, with ongoing communication and a shared goal of supporting your skater to be happy, healthy and successful.

Figure skating and injury prevention

A: Figure skating is a high impact sport with the hardest affected areas being the joints, tendons and muscle tissue of ankles, legs, back and shoulders. Plus, ice is a very hard surface, and skaters fall, a lot.

Injuries can be minimized by wearing the correct equipment, warming up and cooling down properly, and educating themselves about on-ice etiquette.

If you suspect your skater has been injured, please seek appropriate medical advice. It is a good idea for skaters to have regular check-ups with a Family Doctor, and many skaters regularly visit massage therapists, physiotherapists and other medical experts.

A: Skaters should arrive at the arena with plenty of time for warming up and putting skates on. For many skaters, this means 30 minutes before on-ice time. Your coach will be able to recommend warm up exercises, and there are plenty of videos online that your skater can look up.

Basically, the skater should warm up the muscles and joints before getting on the ice. Once the skater gets on the ice, they should skate to continue to warm up, to prepare for more focused skills and on-ice work.

Once the skater leaves the ice it is important to cool down and stretch to release the acids built up in the muscle tissue. Sample cool down exercises can be found online, and typically incorporate stretching.

A: Skate Ontario has a Concussion Policy which all skaters competing in Ontario must read and acknowledge. This covers the identification of a concussion, removal from activity, and return to activity protocols. Details of this policy and documentation needed for return to play following a diagnosis can be found here: Skate Ontario Concussion Policy

Skate Canada is continually working towards a national approach to the issue of concussions. There are many organizations and leaders in Concussion Medicine in Canada, so please make sure to research your options fully. Skate Canada has the following policy statement available in the Skate Canada Info Centre: Skate Canada Concussion Policy

Skate Oakville's page relating to Rowan's Law: Concussions


On-ice protocols

A: Skaters with a solo program that they need to practice are allowed to play their solo music during any free skate, STAR, Mixed or Shinny session.

Skaters usually line up their CD’s in the music booth and are responsible for playing their own music unless the session has a parent music volunteer. If the club tablet is being used, there is usually a clipboard with a list for skaters and coaches to add their name to. If a coach wishes for their skater to practice their solo during their lesson time, the coach can jump ahead of the CDs/skaters in line and play their skater’s practice music during their coaching time.

Skaters practicing their solo are required to wear a belt or sash around their waist to indicate to other skaters that they are performing. Even though many of these sessions are busy, other skaters on the ice must give way to the skater with the belt or sash.

A: During freeskate, coaches are often in private sessions, skaters are practicing their skills, elements or pattern dances, and skaters will be performing their solos wearing the belt or sash.

This is valuable ice time for the skater to practice all of the elements and skills that they have learned so far. Coaching is important but the skater must have practice time to continue to progress.

Skaters need to be aware of the areas of ice that are being used for certain jumps and spins. The four corners of the rink are used for jump practice and the centre ice is generally used for spins. Skaters are asked to not socialize and gather on the ice in these areas.

Skaters are also asked to not gather at the boards during ice time as skaters coming out of jumps may collide with them. If a skater needs to stop, for safety reasons, they need to leave the ice surface and sit on the bench.

More details of on-ice etiquette can be found in the Shinny Ice Etiquette available here: Shinny Etiquette


Facility protocols: change rooms/hallways/benches etc

A: Each arena has TV screens or boards which indicate the rink that your skater will be skating on, and an allocated change room. It is important that your skater uses the assigned room to change and put their skates on as the arena facilities are extremely busy, and putting skates on in a corridor or on a bench can cause major disruptions and could lead to accidents.

Change rooms are usually assigned male or female and are not locked during ice sessions. These ice facilities are public places and skaters should be reminded to not leave any items of value or of a personal nature in the change rooms while on the ice, and bring them with them to the bench, rink side.

A: Skaters can warm up in the corridors if they can find a relatively quiet area. This can often be quite difficult to find, especially if there are lots of skaters warming up together. There are no designated warm-up areas, unless there is a competition, so skaters need to be resourceful. Skaters are also asked to be respectful when warming up and be aware of their surroundings.

A: The bench is an area through which the skaters, and coaches, enter and exit the ice and as such should be kept clear at all times. Under no circumstances should parents, siblings, and the general public, be on the bench during an ice session.

If skaters for the next ice session are ready, for safety reasons they must still keep the bench area clear until the skaters from the previous session have left the ice and cleared the bench area.

If a skater feels that they need a break, have issues with skates or laces come undone, they can return to the bench area until ready to enter the ice again.

A: The Town of Oakville Customer Service desks at the arenas have Lost and Found bins. The Skate Oakville office also has a lost and found bin containing items that have been left at the rink or in change rooms, and found by coaches or other skaters. Music that has not been collected from the music booth rink side after the ice sessions may be available at the office. Skate Oakville highly recommends that skaters label all items of clothing and equipment, and music CDs clearly, to increase the chances of them being returned. Items that have been in our lost & found for extended periods of time and have not been claimed will be donated at Skate Oakville's discretion.


Skating supplies/costumes etc

A: Helmets: It is essential that each skater wears the correct equipment. When starting out in our CanSkate / Learn to Skate program skaters must wear CSA approved hockey helmets. Please note that helmets are not provided by Skate Oakville, nor are rentals available, you must bring your own. The hockey helmet must be in good condition, not broken, or missing pieces, and must fit properly.

CanSkate (3-5 yrs): Skaters require a CSA approved hockey helmet with a face mask

CanSkate (6-10 yrs): Skaters require a CSA approved hockey helmet, face mask is optional

TeenSkate: Skaters require a CSA approved hockey helmet, face mask is optional

Adult LTS: Skaters require a CSA approved hockey helmet, face mask is optional

Intro to Figure Skating/Synchro: Skaters require a CSA approved hockey helmet, face masks are required for skaters aged 3-5.

Details on helmets are available here: Policies.

Skates: First time skaters do not need to spend a large amount of money on skates as entry level figure skates are widely available at skating stores and big box stores. Used skates are also acceptable. Skates are not provided or rented out by Skate Oakville, please bring your own skates. More information on Learn to Skate equipment and skates is available in the Learn to Skate section of the website here: Learn To Skate FAQs

It is important that your skater wears the correct skates appropriate to their ability level. Specialty skating stores such as The Figure Skating Boutique, Esta, Ice & Nice, can size properly and fit the skates according to the skater’s ability. Lower level skaters will often buy skates complete with blades, but as the skater performance increases, more specialized blades and boots will need to be purchased.

Clothing: Skaters should dress warmly, especially in the Learn to Skate program as skaters are often closer to the cold ice surface, fall more frequently, and so usually wear thick jackets, pants and gloves.

As skating skills improve, it is important that skaters dress warmly, in layers, and in clothing that they can easily move about the ice in. Skaters need full peripheral vision, on free skate sessions especially, so hats and hoods are not recommended.

Gloves: Skaters of all levels should wear gloves. Gloves will help protect the hands from ice burns and scrapes due to falls, and will help to keep your skater warm on the ice.

Padding: As skaters progress through jumps and spins, they will fall a lot more. Some skaters find it useful to wear pads that you can purchase from skating stores and these provide a little protection against repeated falls.

Tights and dresses: Many new skaters are excited to wear “competition” clothing when they start to skate such as tights and dresses, or skirts. Please note this is not necessary for the ice sessions. The skaters need to be warm and comfortable, and able to move comfortably on the ice.

Skate bags, ZUCA bags, and Kiss and Cry bags: Skaters usually keep all their equipment in a large sports bag or wheeled hard-shell case, or ZUCA bag. Sports bags or hard-shell cases can be bought at many sports or big box stores, and ZUCA wheeled bags come in a variety of designs and can be purchased at skating stores. Kiss and Cry bags are the small bags that skaters carry rink-side and contain water, tissues and other essential supplies. Kiss and Cry bags are also available at skating stores.

Off-ice: Skaters warming up before putting their skates on and entering the ice should be warming up in comfortable athletic clothing and running shoes. Competitive programs and synchro include off-ice training sessions. In these sessions, skaters should be wearing athletic clothing and running shoes, and may need to bring additional training aids such as skipping ropes and yoga mats.

A: Figure skates are basically a sturdy boot with a blade. The more advanced the boot gets, the more complex the boot and the blade are.

Hard and soft guards: Most skaters use two different blade guards. Hard guards are used for walking to and from the change room to the ice rink. They help protect the blade from any debris that might be on the floor, and from changing surfaces which blades should not come into direct contact with.

Hard guards are very snug fitting, made of plastic, and should not be used for extended periods of time, or when the blade is wet or will have a condensation build up on the surface from sudden temperature changes.

Soft guards are used on the blades for storing, between on-ice sessions, and to assist in drying off the skates after being on the ice. The soft, padded fabric allows the skates to breathe and condense and will soak up any moisture. They will also protect the skate while the skates are in storage and stop the blade from cutting and damaging anything else being stored in your skater’s bag.

Skate storage: Skates can be stored in a skate bag with the soft guards on. Bags should not be kept in a car, or anywhere else where they can be subject to extreme changes in temperature.

Skate boots are made from multiple layers of leather which are glued together. These layers help the skate fitter heat the boots and mold them to a perfect fit on your skater’s foot. Extreme heat can cause the glue to soften and possibly affect the structure, strength and fit of the boot. Extreme cold can crack the glue, and possibly have the same effect.

A: Skates should be sharpened as soon as they are purchased, and need to need to be sharpened again when the inside or outside edge has dulled, affecting the skater’s performance. Some skaters can feel this straight away, while others may not realize until they try to do a spin or practice edges on the ice.

There is no hard and fast rule on when skates should be sharpened. Some skate fitters will say every 20 hours, other coaches will say that is far too much and reduces the life of the blade. Learn to Skate and entry level skaters should have their blades sharpened before each new season. For the more advanced skater, it depends on the intensity and type of skating on the ice, heavy footed landings, blade storage and the use of hard guards. If the skater cannot feel the loss of an edge, then ask your coach to check the edge for you.

If you notice any rust on the blade, or chips or dents on the blade, from improper care, storage, or not using hard guards, you should sharpen the blade.

All sharpening should be carried out by figure skate sharpening experts. Please do not take your skates to the local sports store or to hockey skate sharpeners as figure skating blades are expensive and complex, and need different sharpening machines and treatment.

A: Skates generally fit a couple of sizes lower than regular shoe sizes and because they are made of leather, once they are molded to fit, they can stretch a little with wear. If the skater starts to feel pressure at the heel, or over the toes, then they should return to the skate store for a new fitting. Sometimes the existing skate can be remolded, sole inserts can be removed, and slight adjustments can be made, but the experts in the skate store should be able to advise you.

If skates rub with movement, sometimes this can be from foot position while executing the element on the ice, or from incorrect sizing and the boot being too big. Insoles can be added, thicker socks worn, gel pressure pads added to the uncomfortable part of the inside of the boot, or, gel socks can be worn to reduce the pressure.

Some coaches recommend the use of small plastic bags (poop bags are ideal) under the socks if blisters form to reduce the friction so the blister can heal.

Skaters will scratch and scuff the leather on the top of the skate, from the blade on one foot catching the top of the boot of the other foot. Skaters may also wear down the inside and the outside of the boot soles from getting deep edges on the ice – and this is a good thing! These make the skate look messy and old, but it does not mean that the boot needs replacing.

A: Entry level skates and lower level skaters may be able to wear used skates. These are often an attractive, low-cost option, and many used skates are in extremely good condition. Used skates’ blades can still be sharpened, and long as the boot has integrity over the heel and ankle, your skater should be able to get some use out of them.

A: Many skaters choose to skate in layered athletic gear and this can be purchased at any sports or athletic store. Jackets should fit in such a way that the skater can move their arms freely, without a hood, and pants (male and female) should be more fitted and not flapping loosely around the skater’s ankles.

Some skaters choose to skate in thick tights which go over the top of the boot, similar to those which they would wear in competition. These flesh toned tights can be purchased at dance and ballet stores, and skating stores.

A: Skate Oakville has recently partnered with Corbetts to supply Skate Oakville clubwear. Corbetts are sports specialists, who now have a location in the Sixteen Mile Sports complex, in addition to their locations on North Service Road and on Speers. Through Corbetts, skaters can order garment bags, fleece jackets and vests. More items will become available in the future.

A: Your coach will be able to advise what your skater should wear for their tests and for any competitions. For dance tests, coaches often like the skater to wear a dress (females), or shirt and tie (males). For elements and skills, the skater can usually wear their practice clothes, and for Freeskate tests, skaters should wear their Freeskate costume.

Freeskate costumes will vary depending on the solo music selected. Coaches will work with the skater once the music has been selected, and the choreography finalized, to suggest costume ideas. Many costumes can be bought off the rack at skating stores, or some coaches have costumes that they loan out for the season. There are also dressmakers who can make something bespoke. Freeskate costumes (dresses or bespoke shirts for boys) can cost anywhere from $120 new, and significantly less if rented or purchased used.


STAR Assessments

A: STAR Assessments (formerly known as STAR Tests) are a way of evaluating your skaters progress through the essential skills and elements of figure skating. Skate Canada offers a nationally standardized assessment system designed to evaluate several fundamental areas;

Skating skills; edge quality, control, power and speed.

Ice Dance; timing, musicality, rhythm interpretation, structure, flow on the ice and skating skills.

Freeskate: execution of jumps, spins, footwork, field movements, stroking, in isolation or performed in sequence to music.

A: Assessments allow the coach and skater to formally review their skills and progress through figure skating elements. This is important because figure skating is a sport where progress is achieved through the overlaying or development of additional skills on top of existing skills. You cannot add on additional skills unless the basic skills are in place.

For instance, a triple axel cannot be landed or learnt without first landing a waltz jump, then single axel and then double axel. In the same way, a flying sit spin cannot be learnt without learning a sit spin first.

STAR Assessments also allow skaters to progress through the STAR levels at Skate Oakville.

A: At Skate Oakville, assessments are important because it allows ice time to be allocated based on STARSkate skill level. Each STAR Assessment passed has a point value, and as skaters accumulate points for assessments passed, the skater can move through the STAR A – D ice based on their accumulated points. This helps the club manage the ice by having skaters with similar skill sets on the ice at the same time.

In the STAR Assessment system, STAR 1 - Gold, all tests are equal to 1 point. When a skater has passed a test and the coach has returned the completed test sheet to the office, a skaters points and account will be updated.

A: Any skater at the club who meets the requirements and has a coach can be assessed. For STAR 1-5 Assessments, skaters must be registered on at least 1 session, and must have paid the Mandatory Membership fees for the year. Some STAR Assessments are coach assessed, and will be done during your private lesson time with your coach. Other higher level assessments are assessed by judges on an Assessment Day. Coaches enter the skaters into the assessment day list through the Skate Oakville Office. Skaters must pay the fee for each STAR assessment before being assessed, and pass each level before moving on to the next level.

This policy is for both intermediate assessment days (STAR 6-8) and high assessment days (STAR 9-Gold and Diamond).

Main Season: Skaters must be registered in a minimum of two (2) sessions per week

Spring Season: Skaters must be registered in a minimum of two (2) sessions per week

Summer Season: Skaters must be registered in a minimum of two (2) weeks of programs OR twelve (12) Open sessions

Synchro Team Skaters: Synchro teams count as one (1) registered session.

Shinny Ice: Shinny Ice sessions do not count as registered sessions

Non-Skate Oakville Members: Coaches may request special permission for a skater to participate, this does not mean the skater will be allowed to participate. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on the size of the assessment day and how much time is available. An additional surcharge would apply to any Non-Skate Oakville members participating. This must be requested minimum three weeks ahead of the Assessment Day.

A: The assessment levels are pre-determined through a nationally standardized assessment system and this was recently changed to better reflect the evolution and needs of the current skating community.

The charts are available on the Assessment Days tab on the Figure Skating page here: Assessment Days and should help to explain the current assessment levels. STAR 1-5 Assessments will be done during private lesson time with your coach, STAR 6-Gold assessments are most often done on an Assessment Day at the club. If you have any questions, please ask your coach or the Skate Oakville office staff.

A: Each assessment has a prescribed list of skills and elements that will be assessed. Coaches, skaters and parents can access these lists through the Skate Canada Info Centre accessible here: Info Centre . The coaches will work through these requirements on the ice with the skater before entering them for the assessment, and before the actual assessment itself.

A: High and low test days were the two test days used by Skate Oakville in the old Skate Canada system of test assessments. Given that the testing has now changed, the low test days have gone, and have been replaced by assessments by your skater’s coach on ice during a regular session.

The high test days have been changed to: intermediate assessment days (for STAR 6-8 tests), and high assessment days (for STAR 9-Gold and Diamond tests). The dates for each of these test days are available on the Assessment Days tab on the Figure Skating page here: Assessment Days

As Skate Canada updates their STAR Assessment system, new information will be added.


A: Competitions are open to any Skate Canada member who meets the criteria for any of the categories available at that competition. Coaches will usually decide with the skater if they are competition ready and at which level they should be competing at.

A: Skaters will know, from working with their coach, which level they should be competing at. Coaches will let the parent know which competitions they should be registering for and at what level. There are many levels available at the competitions. Each competition is different and offers different entry level points and disciplines.

Competitions can offer categories for STARSkate athletes, and categories for Competitive Singles from Pre-Juvenile through Senior, competitive Pairs and Ice Dance. Some of the categories have age restrictions, and full details can be found on the Skate Canada Info Centre here: Competitive requirements

Skate Canada defines the competitive stream as Juvenile through Senior and offers competitions from the regional level through to Nationals.

A: Skate Ontario, as with other regions, compiles a list at the beginning of the season listing all upcoming competitions, by date. When a competition is open for registration, an announcement is posted on line (up to two months in advance) which details everything that skaters and coaches need to know in order to sign up for the competition. Please note, coaches, generally, do not enter skaters into competitions.

The announcement contains details on the categories that the competition will include, registration deadline, fees and registration instructions. Competitions are usually entered on line by the parent and will require the skater’s Skate Canada number, and a valid payment method, as payment is required at time of registration.

A: Once registered for a competition, the skater needs to make sure that they have multiple copies of their music CDs, if applicable and their costume finalized.

In the weeks leading up to the competition, the skater will practice their program or dances, and the elements that they need to perfect, during their regular sessions.

Skate Oakville offers Simulations before most major competitions that the skater can register for on-line. These are on-ice sessions blocked off solely for competitors to run through their program as they would in a competition. Skaters wear full costumes, make up (if applicable) and supply copies of CDs for playing.

Skaters are allowed a warm up on ice for several minutes, then in a designated order, are announced on to the ice, perform their competition piece, and then receive valuable feedback from independent coaches. This may be the first time the skater has performed their competition piece on empty ice and it helps the skaters overcome nerves and feel more confident.

A: There is no set rule on how many competitions a skater should enter for a season. For the higher levels, where skaters are seeking to qualify for places in regional competitions, there may be pre-determined competitions that the skater will need to enter for their scores to count. Your coach will be aware of these requirements but details will also be available on the Skate Ontario or Skate Canada website.

Competitions are a good way to track your skater’s progress. Star 5 to international competitions use the same judging system. The system incorporates two panels of officials; the technical panel identifying elements, and the judging panel evaluating execution of the elements and the overall program. The skaters then receive a detailed scorecard that shows how each element of the program was assessed by each judge, and how the final score was calculated.

The scorecards are complicated, full of coding and numbers, so, it is recommended that parents and skaters competing Star 5 and up read the explanations on the Scale of Values (SOV) for each element for the current season on the Skate Canada Info Centre.

A: Once the registration fee is paid and confirmed, the skater has a deadline by which they can withdraw from the competition without penalty. Skaters can withdraw from a competition at any time, and may do so for a variety of reasons.

A pre-requisite of entering the competitive program is competing, so those skaters who choose not to compete can still develop their figure skating skills through the STARSkate program.


Additional training

A: Off-ice training is the name given to the training, which is not on the ice surface. Often called dry-land in hockey, this training complements the skill development of the skater and can include jumping, flexability training, cardio and strength training.

A: Skate Oakville currently only offers an off-ice training program for competitive program skaters and some synchro teams. If you feel your skater could benefit from off-ice training, speak to your coach as they can provide off-ice exercises for your skater.

A: The off-ice training program for the competitive and synchro skaters is delivered onsite by a combination of Flexafit (an off-ice training package for figure skaters) created by Signe Ronka of the Figure Skating Bootcamp Inc, and Skate Oakville coaches.

A: Many skaters choose to complement their training with other disciplines including ballroom dancing, ballet, gymnastics, yoga and pilates.




General Health


Health and wellness for High Performance Athletes









Athlete Development


Off-ice program Flexafit, by Signe Ronka of the Figure Skating Bootcamp Inc



Long-Term Athlete Development by Skate Canada



Safe Sport Programs by Skate Canada



Skate Canada Info Centre



Skate Canada Programs



Skating Ahead of The Curve by Cheryl Richardson



International Skating Union



Skate Ontario



Mariposa Training Centre (Barrie) Coaches instructional videos



Additional Resources

Skating Terms Glossary

This glossary can help you determine the differences between jumps, spins, positions, etc., and any other terms related to figure skating.

How Judging Works

This page explains the judging process for STAR 1-4 and STAR 5 and above for those that are unsure on the process or are new to the sport.