Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Synchro: No Way. We Need Ice Dance, Too?

This guest post comes courtesy of Synchro Mom, who will be blogging at SynchroMom.net starting this Saturday, April 3.
Mom decided one day her daughter needed to try a sport! Not having any sports ability, we just decided to put it out there. First we tried softball, no good: Mom took a ball to the face.

O.K. let’s try volleyball, no good: Daughter took a ball to her face.

Much dental work and many oral surgeon visits later, Mom with her swollen face decided that Daughter would try ice skating. Off to the rink, which, lucky for us, is almost in our backyard, to begin our journey. At our rink, Daughter loved the ice and the sport! YAY!

At our rink, synchronized skating is HUGE and I mean HUGE! We have several teams at different levels and skaters with competitive spirits that skate daily to win! Synchro Girl watched in awe as the skaters linked together and covered all areas of the ice.

She wanted to join immediately; that was not to be the case. First, she had to participate in a three-week synchronized training session in the spring and then tryout. She was placed on a preliminary team and we were off and skating sync.

Through the years, she has skated her way up to different team levels and is having fun and working hard. Please join us in our journey to see what the synchro world has to offer. It will be fun-filled and I hope useful. I’ll also explain the use of white bobby pins for competitions! (Please Ice Mom: let me keep blogging, I promise to be good!)

Many of us Synchro Moms sit in the stands at the end of each night, frozen, yet smiling merrily as our skaters glide by. We’re just waiting for the Zamboni buzzer to go off and our skaters to exit the rink until tomorrow. Isn’t it funny, how even frozen to the core, you still have some of your senses? I can pick up a conversation, down three rows, from one end of the bleachers to the other.

I’m sitting all alone, trying to read, when I hear something I haven’t heard in the four years I’ve been warming that stupid bench.

I looked up from my book and shouted, “What? You need ice dance, too?”

After four years of synchro-skating where did that come from?

I moved down the bleachers. O.K., I ran down the bleachers so I could listen to the other Synchro Moms discuss the benefits of synchro-scholarships and how ice dancing is a requirement for many of the college teams.

So we will now add ice dance to Synchro Girl’s lessons and I will explore the requirements a synchronized skater would need to be eligible for college synchro-scholarship. (Should we just say watch for this blog posting as I want to list all or many of the colleges that offer scholarships?) Thoughts?

What do you think, Synchro Moms? Should Synchro Skaters take Ice Dance? Do you recommend anything else? Heard any rumors about Synchro-Scholarships? Let's share our knowledge!

As always, if you have some brilliant idea for a post, please let me know! If you have any questions for me, the Ice Moms, Ice Coach, Ice Girl, Synchro Mom, or anyone else, I'll try to lend you a hand. If you're an expert, you can be my new best friend if you consider posting for the Wednesday Ask the Expert feature. Just send me an e-mail! icemom.diane@gmail.com

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Anonymous said...

Yea! I am a synchro mom too, my skater loves synchro.... sadly our club and rink do not .. every year it is a struggle to put together teams. As for ice dance.. YES YES YES! From an observer's point of view it adds poise, posture, synchrony, presence and yet another ability to pull of potentially ridiculous looking skate dresses. As for college teams... my skater is approaching the time to pick colleges and it is true. We've had synchro skaters from our club skate in college and the dance makes a huge differnce.
Looking forward to your new blog!

jumpingbeanmom said...

So far, the colleges are not offering much in way of scholarship, most synchro teams in college are clubs. I am hoping by the time my skaters (9 and 10) get there, things will improve. My 10 yo started taking dance, but my 9 yo hasn't yet, mostly because she also competes freestyle and there just isn't enough time!

jumpingbeanmom said...

Anonymous, our rink struggles too, we just don't get the support from the LTS programs and private coaches like some other rinks do. It is a shame, because there are lots of very talented skaters that are just not huge jumpers and synchro is a great competitive outlet for them.

Anonymous said...

I'm very excited for your blog! My daughter (5) is looking to get into synchro. It's not at our rink but we would have to drive to the next city.

Worth it to make friends skating. There just aren't any serious skaters her age at our rink.

Ice Mom said...

I'm telling you: Synchro Mom's club is a synchro machine. Classes, edgework, summer practices, tryouts...they have it going on.

Amazing fund raising, too.

Ice Mom

jumpingbeanmom said...

Anonymous- I am so jealous of THAT other rink as we struggle! Lots of our synchro skaters drive way farther than the next city to be on a high level team

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear we aren't the only club struggling; we have the skeleton of a program; tryouts, summer practice, etc, but little support and too much "in fighting" for growth and retention.

My skater will never to triples, but, synchro is a great way for her to compete and feel successful.

Xan said...

Despite the fact that figure skating is a huge sport for grade school and high school girls, especially because of synchro, you may be surprised to learn that it is NOT an NCAA sport; this is why there are very few, if any, scholarships for skaters. However, high-test skaters, and that includes those on Novice and above Synchro teams, can and do get scholarships not FOR their skating, but based on that accomplishment.

The place to start is with all the colleges that have competitive teams (see who's competing at the USFS collegiate championships) and synchronized skating. Write to those college athletic directors, and to the competition, membership and collegiate committee chairs at USFS and the membership director at ISI and ask them what you can do to lobby the NCAA to get both team and singles skating added as an NCAA sport.

Ice Mom said...

Some Synchro scholarships are available, but they tend to be private scholarships.

On Twitter, @whitethenubeige wrote this yesterday:

Team Excel of Boston announces intercollegiate synchro scholarship for those attending any school in and around Boston: http://ow.ly/1s6zE

Ice Mom

jumpingbeanmom said...

Ice Mom...that is very new, and it really a stipend that only covers what it costs to be on the team. The Hayden team is doing it too, but it does nothing to defray college expenses. I agree it needs to be an NCAA sport- but my older daughter is an equestrian and even though it IS (for some 12 or so colleges) an NCAA sport, there are still very few scholarships compared to other NCAA sports.

Ice Mom said...

Hey, jumpingbeanmom.

Yeah. I would love a good figure skating/synchro scholarship.

Dreaming? Probably.

I'll say it again: the only bargain in figure skating is Learn to Skate.

Ah, well. A gal can dream about scholarships, hey?

Ice Mom

Katrine said...

I think whether or not ice dance is worth it depends on your reasons. If your reasoning is that you want the skater to get a scholarship to do synchro in college, that's probably not the best reason. Scholarships are too slim and the odds don't make it likely.

If you're considering ice dance so that the skater can make a competitive synchro team in college, that's a better reason. Dance definitely helps with extension, musicality, and edge work, and all the college synchro skaters I know have done ice dance at least up to their pre-silvers.

If you're considering ice dance because the skater thinks it sounds like fun, that's the best reason of all. I started ice dance when I was completely stuck on getting my stupid axel. I'd been working on it for over two years, and I desperately wanted something else to work on. Ice dance was fantastic for me, and I actually landed my axel just a few months after starting dance. That might've been a coincidence, but dance definitely did a lot for my speed and technique, so that couldn't have hurt!

Ice Mom said...

Hey, Katrine.

I think you're right. You can really tell those who've had ice dance. Beautiful edges and a musical quality to their skating.

Thanks for the comment.

Ice Mom

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to try synchro and ice dancing-- unfortunately, my rink barely has Learn To Skate classes, much less freestyle ice time and FORGET about synchro. :'( But maybe I'll have to go find a rink with synchro/ice dance for that scholarship. ;-)

Ice Mom said...

Hey, Anony.

Our rink makes an attempt at synchro. Actually, for the amount of practice Ice Girl had with the team, I thought they did pretty well.

However, Synchro Mom's rink is NUTS. I'm not kidding you. It's a synchro machine.

I've always said that if Ice Girl were ever serious about synchro, we'd switch clubs and drive a bit farther for her to skate at the synchro-focused club.

However, she was content to be on a team that didn't compete much. She wanted the experience, but not a huge commitment. Individual skating is her huge commitment.

Ice Mom

Synchro Mom said...

Anonymous, It is true clubs have to work very hard and stay committed to their synchro teams. We were very lucky to have a strong group of past/present synchro moms and coaches lead the way for us! Check out the colleges that offer synchro skating, some have already released their newsletters. UW Madison has their "Want to Skate WI" invitation set for April 17th!

Synchro Mom said...

Katrine, Thanks for you comments and you are right, most competitive college synchro teams require ice dancing. Synchro girl is absolutely thrilled she can be on the ice for additional lessons. She would live there if she could! Our rink is less than two miles away and this year she could not understand why we wouldn't flood our backyard for additional ice time!

sk8rmom.p said...

I think Ice dancing is wonderful for all disciplines, especially since figures went out of competition. Single skaters I know who take ice dancing very polished in edges and posture etc. I agree that it helps if your skater finds it interesting, and you have a good ice dancing coach!

I am looking forward to your blog. We don't have many synchro teams in our area, and if there are any, they consist of 3 or 5 people, and I am curious about things like if the teams have to rent ice or if they practice on regular sessions. It's crazy when the TOI practices on freestyle sessions over here. I couldn't imagine many people linking up and other skaters practicing around them ;).

pghicemom said...

Our rink has synchro teams: we have our own ice time, etc. There's no way you could link up 8-12( or more) skaters during freestyle ice. Our skaters have enough trouble getting around the adult pairs team and high level field move testers!!

I too am looking forward to the synchro mom board.

jumpingbeanmom said...

Ice Mom

We are in the same place with jumping bean, she is 9 and thus far appears to be a talented freestyle skater. She does synchro on a local team. We are trying to see what happens come age 11 or 12 and how juvie goes, she can always try out for a bigger more serious synchro team then, she will STILL be young. Of course, right now she is OUT with a stress fracture of the heel on her landing foot- jumping bean is NOT a happy camper.