Synchro... Putting It All On The Line
Posted by Marion Cepican on
The USFS National Synchronized Skating Championships are on the horizon and teams are planning or holding team tryouts. They are looking for both experienced and basic skaters to fill in openings on their teams or create new teams at varied skill levels. This is a perfect opportunity to see if Synchro is a skating discipline that you might enjoy. If you think that team skating is easy; perhaps for skaters who just can’t compete as individuals because they lack the skills, think again.
Synchro skaters are required to perform moves from every skating discipline: the speed, precise edges, jumps, spins, and moves in the field requirements of freestyle, twizzles, footwork, musicality and close skating of Ice Dance, lifts, and pairs maneuvers, all done in groups of 10-20. Synchronized skating also consists of forms, speed, coordination, and formation with elements in synchronized skating known as intersections, blocks, circles, lines, wheels, spins and moves with a partner. (usfs,2019)
It’s all performed at different skill levels, of course, so each skater is placed in a group with similar abilities and tests. Like in all team sports you learn as you go and have the benefit of camaraderie, shared experience, friendships, mutual assistance and back up. It’s comforting to know that you have team mates out there on the ice with you, all working together; sharing the victories and defeats. It is skated worldwide, having first begun in the UK in 1838, with the first US teams formed in 1956 by Dr. Richard Porter.
Both my skating daughters were on synchro teams growing up in ISI skating at our local rink. It made a huge contribution, not just to skating, but to their lives. It taught patience, the ability to work in tandem with others, tremendous focus, and learning not to rush to judgement. Mistakes happen, skaters fall, the team must maintain focus and performance level. Good life lessons. My younger daughter, after years of freestyle, synchro and theatre on ice, went on to be on Team USA in ice dance with her partner and then to do 5 years with Disney on ice. Team skating was a tremendous benefit to her touring with Disney, as were her years performing with Theatre on Ice. Synchronized skating is currently the only ice discipline (not counting hockey) for which Universities provide scholarships. Collegiate Teams are often comprised of synchro skaters from all over the country/ world yet have a common bond.
Looking at Theatre on Ice as another Team discipline, while it is more performance based, flexible and low key, it still requires focus, musicality and team skills. It follows the same skill /test levels and competitions both domestic and international plus is a tremendous preparation for live touring ice shows like Disney on Ice or the Bietek tour on cruise lines. If show skating is something that you think might be in your future, Theatre on Ice is a great place to start.
Skating, itself, can be a great stress reliever as well as providing amazing health benefits. Just like every sport, all skaters must be in physical shape in order to achieve high performance skills The “skill development and advanced performance standards within all disciplines of figure skating have led to increased physical demands being placed on skaters’ bodies (Lynn, Darby, Morgan & David, 2016). As a result, focus on sport performances testing, training, and injury prevention specific to synchronized and any form of team skating has increased. For all forms of skating, it’s essential to be aware of individual physical and mental strengths and weaknesses.
Synchro can also be done in a more recreational vein with lower pressure and less emphasis on competition. Adult skaters frequently participate on local teams for fitness and social interaction. For every hour of leisurely, ice skating, the average person can expect to burn from 200-650 calories, depending on weight and energy expenditure. I’d call that a real bonus.
So why not try out for a team? Skaters landing Greenwich has been a consistent source for essential skates and equipment for all skaters including specialized models for synchro skaters. We coordinate with a special independent shop dedicated to providing the team equipment and apparel called "Team Landing." Get involved in a remarkable ice activity, and in the meantime check out The USFS National Synchronized Skating Championships March 1, 2023- March 4. 2023! It will be streamed on Peacock and NBC. I guarantee you will be amazed at the skill and presentation of these marvelous teams!
For additional information on the US Synchro program and to find a team near you go to: https://www.usfigureskating.org/skate/skating-opportunities/synchronized-skating