Cheam Skating Club
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Frequently Asked Questions

Question Topics


What is proper figure skating attire?

The more experienced skater should wear a skating dress or skirt with warm tights, bodysuit or warm-up pants. The male skaters should wear straight-legged stretch pants and sweater. This enables the coach to see proper body positions. Gloves should be worn for practices and warm ups. Long hair needs to be tied back.

What equipment does my skater require?

What your skate bag contains is largely dependent on what level of skater you are. The following is a guide on what type of equipment is appropriate for each level and sources on where to find it.

CanSkate, Jr. Achievers & Pre-Hockey

Skates - The type of skates you choose to wear will reflect what discipline you are learning to skate for. Those interested in figure skating or recreational skating (particularly girls) will prefer a figure skate while those keen on hockey should be in hockey skates. Skaters in the Early Figure Skating Program must wear figure skates.

Whatever skates you do select to wear, there are some fitting guidelines to follow. New boots should be comfortable although one should expect some initial discomfort around the ankles and other "pressure points". Often these can be relieved by "popping out" the boot*. The skater's heel should fit snugly in the heel area. A quick test is to have the skater stand in the laced skate. Hold the boot down on the floor and ask them to try and lift their heel. If the heel slides up, then this boot is not right for the foot. Toes should not be cramped and there should be room to raise them slightly.

* This is one of the reasons that we don't recommend that skaters wear the solid plastic skates. They do not offer any way to make adjustments for fit and they simply do not permit the skater to bend properly.

If you are looking for a good basic figure skate, there are several available. Check out the Skater's Edge Shop on Schoolhouse in Coquitlam. They can fit you into a CanSkate appropriate level boot.

For young skaters it never hurts to look at a pair of good used skates. Rarely do young children break down their skates. They grow out of them before that can ever happen. It is better to purchase a pair of good used skates rather than inexpensive new ones. Every September during our Open House, our club also has a used apparel and skate sale.

Helmet - All children are required to wear a CSA approved Hockey helmet on Intro-CanSkate, CanSkate and Pre-Hockey (hockey helmet with face mask) sessions.

Skate Guards - Save your skates and your sharpening. Skate guards are inexpensive and should be worn when skaters are walking in their skates off the ice. Be sure to label your guards with your skater's name.

Soft Rag - Keep a rag handy to dry blades and skates after use. Do not put wet guards back on after drying!

Fabric Blade Covers - (Optional but recommended) Skaters with figure skates should consider using fabric blade covers to put on their blades after they have been dried off with a rag. The fabric will absorb any additional moisture that wasn't caught by the rag and will protect the blades in the skate bag. These covers can be made or purchased at a skate shop (all colours and patterns are available now including ones with animal heads and legs!)

Clothing - Ensure that they are dressed warmly. Pants that are made on nylon and that are thin are good to wear over warm pants, these nylon pants will keep the skater dry, if they fall and get wet. Nothing fancy is required. Just ensure that the clothing is not too loose and provides some warmth. Mittens or gloves must be worn.

StarSkate and Competitive Skate

Skates - Selecting Skates becomes a little more involved now. While the basic fitting rules suggested above for CanSkate still apply, there are other considerations. It is highly recommended that you see a professional skate fitter to ensure the right fit and get a boot with the appropriate stiffness.

Skate Guards - Save your skates and your sharpening. Skate guards are inexpensive and should be worn when skaters are walking in their skates off the ice. Be sure to label your guards with your skater's name.

Soft Rag - Keep a rag handy to dry blades and skates after use. Do not put wet guards back on after drying!

Fabric Blade Covers - (Optional but recommended) Skaters with figure skates should consider using fabric blade covers to put on their blades after they have been dried off with a rag. The fabric will absorb any additional moisture that wasn't caught by the rag and will protect the blades in the skate bag. These covers can be made or purchased at a skate shop (all colours and patterns are available now including ones with animal heads and legs!)

Screw Driver - (for those with separate blades that are screwed to the boot). Always handy to have incase a screw becomes loose.

Hair Elastics and Clips - There is nothing more frustrating than trying to skate with your hair flipping into your face. Keep extras in your bag for rush days or the day after the new haircut that created more wisps than you could have imagined.

Clothing - Skaters should wear figure skating attire. For girls, a skating dress or skirt with leggings is appropriate. For boys, skaters should ensure that they do not wear loose clothing. There are several different stretchy skating pants on the market. Again, so long as they can move easily and the pants are not baggy, they are fine.

What difference does a skate sharpening make?

The simple answer is A LOT! Figure skating blades must be ground to create a hollow. The depth of the hollow depends on the skater's preference and the discipline they skate in (freeskate versus dance). The hollow creates two edges, inside and outside. The big rule of thumb is: NEVER EVER give your figure skates to someone who only sharpens hockey skates or use any automated skate sharpening machines which are found at some arenas. Trust your skates to someone who knows what they are doing. Close to Coquitlam, there are excellent skate sharpening services at the Skater's Edge Shop. Brad McLean is their master skate technician and this guy knows his stuff. If you want to know about the science and technical stuff about figure skating blade sharpening. 

How Frequently Should I Sharpen My Skates?

Once you feel that your edge is slipping, skidding or you lack the control you feel you normally have, it is time to sharpen. Some skaters don't mind slightly dull blades while others find that they require them to be really sharp. Skaters should take notice how they like their blades so that they can get them sharpened early enough (or close enough) to competitions and tests so that they are perfect when the time counts.

How do I choose a professional coach?

How do I choose a coach?

1.) First decide what the goals are for you and your child.

2.) Determine your budget.

3.) Ask lots of questions & talk to a variety of coaches (to determine their availability, qualifications and rates).

4.) Observe various coaches as they instruct other skaters – how they conduct themselves and interact with students.

5.) Talk to the coach of your choice and discuss the first 2 points listed above. Your coach will work with you to meet your needs.

Other Considerations:

a. Although you are ‘hiring’ a coach, it is important to realize that you always have the freedom to choose who you work with. (…In accordance with the Code of Ethics)

b. You get to choose what disciplines of skating you wish to pursue.

c. You can modify your goals.

d. If there are financial considerations, you can ask your coach to organize ‘small group’ or semi-private lessons.

e. You must make a commitment to the agreed schedule/lesson times with your coach.

f. Your coach must make a commitment to the agreed schedule/lesson times with your child.

g. As a courtesy, a minimum of 24 hours notice is appreciated should coach/skater need to cancel a lesson.

PLEASE NOTE – Code of Ethics: Ethically, it is the ‘new’ coach’s responsibility to ensure that you are not currently engaged in a coaching arrangement with someone else. If you are, you are certainly free to decide whom you hire, but you MUST first notify the ‘old’ coach you are switching from, that their services will no longer be required. All outstanding bills must also be paid to that coach in full before lessons with the new coach can begin.

My Skater is Entering Their First Competition, What Do I Need To Know?

Competitions are great fun for skaters and a great experience too. It is an opportunity for them to show all the great skills they have learned and meet other skaters from other clubs at their level. All local competitions use the same calculation system as at international competitions (OBO, which stands for One-By-One). With the exception of Section (BC and Yukon) Championships and other high level competitions, marks are not displayed at the conclusion of each skater's performance. A system of closed or semi-closed marking is used instead and these marks are not published. Only the judges placements are posted along with the final results.


So, now that your coach has approached you about entering a competition, it's time to get organized.

How to Enter a Competition

Each competition has an entry form that will ask you to fill out basic personal information, your skater's Skate Canada registration number and indicate which category your skater will be competing in. Your coach will tell you what category to register for.

Submit the completed entry form and cheque for the entry fee to the test chair (unless specified, it is always payable to the club).

Closer to the date of the competition you will receive by mail information listing: the name of event and group number that your skater is competing in. Pay careful attention to the group number as not all groups may be run together on the same day. If a schedule is not included, ask your coach or test chair for one. Inform your coach of the group that your skater is in so they can plan their schedule accordingly.

Now that you have entered the competition, it is time to answer that all important question:


What To Wear??
When in doubt, the rule of thumb for competition wear is Keep it Simple!

Your coach will probably have some suggestions, but if they aren't too particular or forthcoming, go by these guidelines:

  • Consider the music your child is skating to.
  • Look at ready made dresses for ideas and ask other parents if they have any suggestions.
  • Consider your child's colouring and what looks good on the ice.
  • Remember that they have to jump and spin in this outfit.
  • Test Drive the Outfit. Have your skater try out the dress or outfit on a practice session prior to the competition to ensure that everything looks and works the way it should.
  • Consider the Cost: There is a dress for every budget out there particularly at the upper end. If you sew you are definitely at an advantage. Absorbing the labour costs, particularly when it comes to adding sparkle, can save you money. To purchase a ready made dress, you are probably looking in the neighbourhood of $80 and up. Sometimes, it is advantageous to purchase a basic ready made dress and add the sparkle yourself. Your coach and other parents can also recommend sewers in and out of the club to you. Just remember that like skates and the jeans you bought your skater in September, they will grow out of the competition dress soon enough and they won't get nearly the wear out of the dress as they do the jeans. Many competition dresses (if not too tight) are often retired to practice dresses when their day is done.
  • Leggings. While some skaters like to only wear a pair or two of nylons, most choose to wear leggings. Leggings that just cover the top of the boot or cover the entire boot are both fine. While there is no rule against stirrups, many people (including some judges) view them as practice wear and find them distracting to the eye. Just remember that if you are wearing the type that doesn't cover the entire boot, your laces and boots should be clean and polished.
  • Hair & Makeup. It must be well secured to ensure it won't fall out half way through the program. While pulling only half the hair back may look great with the dress, the back (if long) still tends to flop about and look messy while they skate. Buns, French Braids and even a neat and tidy pony tail are always a good bet. Makeup wise, don't overpower young skaters. A bit of colour is all they need and don't push the issue if they don't want it.


Competition Day - The Checklist
  • Skates
  • Extra Laces (you never know when a break will happen)
  • Skate Guards
  • Extra Tape or CD of Program
  • The Outfit
  • Leggings
  • Club Jacket or sweater and gloves (to wear during warmup)
  • Toiletries (hairspray, bobby pins, make up etc.)
  • Camera and/or Video Camera. Note: Flash photography is NOT permitted during performances but there is a place (with a professional photographer) where you can take pictures.
  • Map to Arena (know the route and alternatives to take to get there).

If you forget something, there are usually skate shop vendors on site that can help you out with things like guards and laces. But depending on when your skater is scheduled to skate, they may not be open.

Ensure that you are at the Arena at LEAST one hour prior to the scheduled start of your event.Competitions may run ahead of the scheduled time by up to 30 minutes and it is your responsibility to ensure that you are there on time. Use the road reports on the radio to help you avoid traffic problems and allow plenty of time if you are traveling during rush hour and are unfamiliar with the route or how busy it becomes during peak travel times.

At the Competition

When you get to the arena, look for signs indicating the skaters entrance and directing you to registration.

  • Register your skater
  • Submit your music to the registration desk. A volunteer will then provide your skater with a competition ribbon (if available) and any other goodies if they have them. They can also help give you an idea of whether the competition is running on schedule.
  • Locate the Starting Order for your Group. Skaters in a group are further divided into flights. There is a separate warm-up for each flight of skaters. Determine which flight your skater is in so that you can tell your coach and prepare your warm-up accordingly.
  • Locate your Coach. Your coach may be with other skaters that are competing before you. But, be assured they know you are coming and will be there to help you. You can help them out by taking time to start warming up and stretching.
  • Do a Proper Warmup. Find a warm place to get your muscles moving and stretched out. Your coach will also help to ensure that you are warm and ready to go. They will also tell you when you should get your skates on and take you down to the dressing rooms.
  • Check in with the Starter. The starter is the person who stands by the side of the ice making sure that the right skaters go on the ice at the right time. Periodically they will go down to the dressing room area to see that the next group of skaters are in attendance.



Did you know? All judges are volunteers too. They are not paid locally or internationally


When it is your turn to skate your program, go out and have a great time! Enjoy the moment and just give it your best effort.

Don't forget to smile (and a curtsy or bow at the end to the spectators and judges is always a great way to finish your program).

After You Have Skated

After your group has skated, the results will be posted. If you are not sure where they are posting results (sometimes they are in the same place as the Starting Orders) ask the volunteer at the Registration Desk. If there are finals for your event, see if you have made the cut. If so, check to see when you are scheduled to skate again. There are often medals and ribbons presented to skaters in the first 6 places at the Pre-Preliminary to Junior Bronze levels. There will be a notice above the results section indicating what the competition policy is. Usually medals and ribbons are presented about 30 minutes following the posting of results at the photographer's podium. Be sure to congratulate your fellow competitors on their efforts.

Before you leave the arena, remember to pick up your CD from the registration desk!

Always remember to have fun and enjoy the experience of competing. That is what it is all about. You are representing our club when you compete so be sure to show your fellow competitors what a great sportsman you are. It is OK to be disappointed if you don't skate the best you can. We all can't be at our best 100% of the time. All anyone expects of you is that you try. No matter what result you receive, your club and your parents are proud of you for trying your best!



Skaters Code of Conduct

 This is a code of conduct for skaters to abide by at all Cheam Skating Club (CSC) sessions. The code of conduct is to be observed for safety and to ensure that everyone can make effective use of their ice time. Please read, keep the upper portion for reference, sign and return the bottom of this form when you register for sessions at the Club.

a. All skaters are expected to treat others with respect.
b. Parents and other skaters are requested not to interrupt coaches while lessons are in progress.
c. The “right of way” goes first to the skater in a harness, then to the soloist, then to the skaters in a lesson. Note that there are usually multiple lessons at the same time. Other skaters must avoid undue interference with the skaters who have the “right of way”.
Skaters having the “right of way” must also remember to keep an alert eye open to avoid collisions and may respectfully remind others of “right of way” e.g. “excuse me”, except when both skaters have equal “right of way”.
d. Pay attention to the position of other skaters at all times. Be especially alert for reverse jumpers.
e. When standing near the boards, don't enter the flow of skaters without checking to make sure you're not going to cut someone off.
f. Look in the direction of travel when skating backwards.
g. Do not sit or lay on the ice. Get up as quickly as possible after falling.
h. Avoid skating and spinning in the Lutz corners of the rink for prolonged periods as this impedes other skaters’ ability to perform their elements and programs. Be especially aware of your surroundings when you are in these corners as the approach to a Lutz is long and blind. The skater doing the Lutz is not likely to see you.
i. Avoid skating in the centre of the rink for prolonged periods as this impedes other skaters’ ability to perform their elements and programs.
j. Refrain from standing around and socializing on the ice. This wastes expensive ice time, interferes with other skaters’ training and presents an additional hazard for other skaters to avoid.
k. Sitting or climbing on the boards in the arena is not permitted.
l. Eating, chewing gum, or drinking (with the exception of drinking water) is not permitted on the ice.
m. Pushing, shoving, throwing snow, or damaging the ice surface by kicking or stomping is not allowed.
n. Solo music will be played as per the Music Playing Policy:
- After a five minute warm-up, the Music Player starts playing the music and goes through the list. A different skater starts each session.
- If a skater chooses not to do their solo when it is their turn, they go to the bottom of the list before the Buy-On skaters.
- Coaches may request solos when they are coaching a skater, but a skater who had their solo in a lesson does not get to have it again until everyone else on the list has skated their solo.
- A volunteer music player, who would also look after buy-ons, must be present at every session. If the designated person cannot be present for their session, they must find a sub for this session.
o. Coaches may request solo music for a skater during a lesson only.
p. Abide by session designations: No dance, skills or prolonged stroking exercises are allowed on Freeskate sessions.
q. Abide by session criteria: skate only on sessions for which you qualify. Requests for exceptions may be made in writing to the Board.
r. When the buzzer sounds and the Zamboni doors open the session is over. Stop skating, help patch holes if requested and clear the ice quickly.
Detach and return this portion of the page
I have read, understand and agree to support the Cheam Skating Club’s Code of Conduct for Skaters. I understand that failure to abide by this code may result in consequences ranging from a warning, being sent off the ice for the remainder of a session, and possibly being suspended for the season without refund.
Skater’s Name (print):________________________________ Skater’s Signature: ______________________
Parent’s Signature (if skater is under 18): ____________________________ Date: ______________________
Rules and Regulations

 Ice Etiquette and Safety Guidelines

Skating is basically an individual sport, and activities during most practice sessions are fairly unstructured.  Some basic on ice rules must be observed for safety and to ensure that everyone can make effective use of their ice time. Cheam Skating Club (CSC) has its own set of rules, and you should be sure to know and follow them.  All skaters above Jr. Achiever level are required to read, sign and return the Skaters' Code of Conduct when registering. 

While the club has grown significantly in the past year, the number of ice sessions has not, so there will be times when junior skaters will be sharing the ice with more advanced skaters. These rules will help everyone have a satisfying and safe time while on the ice.
First and foremost is courtesy.  Respect the rights of other skaters and be constantly aware of who is around you. If you seem to be surrounded by skaters of significantly greater or lesser skills, be especially careful!  Strive to avoid collisions!
All skaters, coaches, parents and volunteers are to be treated with respect.Do not interrupt coaches when they are giving lessons.
Follow Session Designation and Criteria as described on current Season brochures.
Abide by Session Designations: No dance, skills or prolonged stroking exercises will be allowed on Freeskate sessions, unless otherwise approved by the CSC Board of Directors.
Abide by Ice Session Criteria: skate only on sessions for which you qualify. Requests for exceptions may be made in writing to the Board.
Priority/Right of Way
The “right of way” goes first to the skater in a harness, then to the soloist (whose music is playing), then to the skaters in a lesson. The skater performing the program must also keep an alert eye open. Note, that there are usually multiple lessons at the same time. Other skaters must avoid undue interference with the skaters who have the “right of way”. Skaters having the “right of way” must also remember to keep an alert eye open to avoid collisions and may respectfully remind others of “right of way” i.e., “excuse me”, except when both skaters have equal “right of way”.
Dangerous Singles Moves
When you are practicing elements like camel spins and back spirals be especially aware of the danger your exposed blade poses to other skaters. Recognize that once you've started the element it will be hard for you to see those around you.  Take a good look at your expected "space" before you start the element, and abort it if it looks like you could cause a problem. Other skaters are expected to give the skater free manoeuvring room once performing such an element.
Lutz Corners
Because of the nature of the Lutz jump, it is most commonly performed in opposite corners of the rink. These corners are informally called the "Lutz Corners". Strive to avoid long-term practice activities in these corners, and be especially aware of your surroundings when you are in them. The approach to a Lutz is long and blind. The skater doing the Lutz is not likely to see you.
Falls and Injuries
If you fall, get up quickly. Other skaters will have a much harder time seeing you when you are down low on the ice. Don't stay there any longer than you have to.  While falling, keep your fingers away from your blades. Learn to fall properly so that you can protect your head as much as possible. Learn to keep "loose" when you fall and this will help you to avoid breaking things.
If you see someone else is that has fallen and may be injured, don't just drag them off without being certain that doing so won't hurt them further. If you suspect that someone is seriously hurt, the best thing to do is, 1) have someone stand "guard" over them to make sure that other skaters avoid collisions with them, and 2) get a qualified adult to come and help them.
As you skate more, you'll get to the point where you'll recognize that a practice session has a certain "rhythm" to it. People tend to do pretty "expectable" or "predictable" things, and you can usually pretty much guess where somebody else is going, based on what they're doing when you see them (the normal approaches to each jump or spin are pretty recognizable). Try not to skate or behave in a way that would surprise other skaters.  If you're standing near the boards, don't enter the flow of skaters without checking to make sure you're not going to get into someone else's way. Be especially alert for reverse direction skaters.
General Expectations
  • Be aware of other skaters’ positions at all times, especially before entering the ice or starting from a stopped position. Be especially alert for reverse jumpers.
  • Look in the direction of travel when skating backwards.
  • Refrain from standing around and visiting on the ice.  This wastes expensive ice and presents an additional hazard for other skaters to avoid.
  • No skaters may push, pull, grab or purposely bump into other skaters. Games such as Snap the Whip or any form of tag cannot be played. Skaters cannot make or throw snowballs. Kicking or digging holes in the ice, except as a normal consequence of toe jumps, is forbidden.
  • No food or drink on the ice (this includes chewing gum).
  • No sitting on the boards.
  • No large hair barrettes, hair baubles, or jewellery.
  • Skaters should avoid skating in the centre of the rink as this impedes on the other skaters’ ability to perform their programs.
  • Skaters may request solo music up to twice per session, unless played in lesson. This rule may be relaxed for sessions that are not busy.
  • When the buzzer sounds and the Zamboni doors open the session is over. Stop skating, help patch holes if requested and clear the ice quickly.
Helmet Use- All CanSkaters must wear CSA approved hockey helmets.
What are the Criteria for Awards?

Stroking:  Works hard on improving the quality of their stroking skills

(i.e., crossovers, toe pushing, edge control, glide, posture and power). Skater must also show improvement in their stroking skills as well as shows up on time and does not take breaks. Does not give attitude and is willing to demonstrate or lead.
Skills: Is working on improving the quality of turns, speed and edge control. Has mastered new turns and can demonstrate an improvement either through testing, competition, and/or effort.
Dance: Has an enjoyment for dancing and learning new steps. Improvement may be achieved through tests, competition, and/or effort. Skater is willing to help other skaters by leading them through dance steps. Shows up on time and uses the dance time effectively.
Interpretive: Ability to interpret music through changes in body movement and musicality. May see improvement through competition either as an interpretive program or regular solo. Skater shows willingness to participate in interpretive sessions. This skater works on achieving different levels of skating in high, medium, and low.
Jumps: Shows improvement of flow into and out of jumps, does not wrap, cheat, or consistently pop jumps, has nice height for both single, double and triple jumps, is able to put jumps in combination or sequences, and has good body position on the entry, air and landing. Landings are strong and can maintain landing edge for at least a count of 4. Lands and takes off on the correct edge for the jump.
Spins: Skater works on improving the speed and positioning of their spins in addition to the entry and exit. The skater must have the ability to centre a spin in one position or multiple positions while maintaining speed. This skater will work on a variety of spins. Keeps strong positions in the spin, doesn’t give up and demonstrates control.
Most Improved: This is a skater who has shown an improvement in areas of speed, balance, control, and flow. This can be achieved in spins, jumps, dance, skills, and/or stroking. They have improved in attitude, dedication, and focus.
Most Sportsmanlike: This is a skater who is cooperative with coaches, skaters and parents. They are willing to take direction from all coaches and are involved in any session(s) they skate. They are aware of other skaters on the ice and courteous of them. They are willing to help in any situation (i.e., help another skater with skills or help an injured skater). They are conscious of others (i.e., do not talk about another skater, coach, and/or adult). They are willing to lead and/or demonstrate.
P.A. of the Year: This is a skater who is willing to give their free time to help out on any session that is needed. They come prepared to the session, have ideas and/or games to share, and help with supplies (i.e., either bringing them on or off the ice). They do not use the session as their own personal skating session and they interact with the skaters. They are able to demonstrate the skills required for the level they are teaching or they are willing to ask for help. They are able to relate to the kids they are helping with and they show patience and understanding. They interact well with the coaches and show respect. This skater will have a basic knowledge and be able to break-down skills, they will pick out trouble areas and assist the skater with how to improve, they will show initiative and take control when needed and they will not have to always be directed.
Skater of the Year: This is a well rounded skater who can demonstrate an improvement in many aspects of skating (i.e., dance, synchro, stroking, skills, and/or freeskate). This skater participates in stroking, volunteers as a PA or in other areas, shows respect for fellow skaters, coaches and parents. This skater has a good work ethic, they look to improvement either in tests, competition, seminars or attendance on their scheduled sessions.
NOTE: to be eligible for any awards you must follow the rules and regulations with the club, and be in good standing with Skate Canada. In addition, skaters must demonstrate 110% at all times, be courteous to all coaches, skaters, and/or adults.
Why sign up for CanSkate?

CanSkate is Canada's only national learn-to-skate program. It was developed by experts to teach the fundamentals of skating in a progressive and sequential manner.

When you/your child registers for a CanSkate program at your local Skate Canada club, you also become a member of Skate Canada, the national sport governing body for figure skating in Canada. Membership benefits in the
CanSkate program can include:
·        badges
·        stickers
·        tattoos
·        colouring sheets
·        parent information sheets
·        progress updates and report cards
·        special CanSkate events and club functions
·        BMO CanSkater of the Year award program
·        opportunity to be talent-scouted
·        opportunity to participate in a positive healthy lifestyle activity
These are some of the awards and incentives that have been developed to encourage athletes in CanSkate:
CanSkate Badge- stage 2
CanSkate Stickers
CanSkate Badge- Jump
Cheam Skating Club
Sardis Sports Complex
5275 Tyson Road
Chilliwack, BC
V2R 3R6

(604) 824 9544