Don't Forget to Register!

Basic Skills Instructor Registration

All Basic Skills instructors 18 years and older that have not registered as a coach will need to register as a Basic Skills instructor and submit their information for a background screen. The fee is $32 and includes Basic Skills instructor registration and a background screen. No additional insurance is required since the activities of Basic Skills staff are covered under the general and sports accident coverage U.S. Figure Skating provides. To complete this process, go to the Members Only site and click "Basic Skills Instructor Registration."

If a Basic Skills instructor has already completed the coaches registration or is under the age of 18, he or she needs to enroll as an instructor in your program for $12 to receive the teaching materials.

Please verify that your instructional staff has followed the proper process before they instruct in your Basic Skills Program this coming year. For more detailed information, click here.

CER C is now available for all Basic Skills directors, instructors, assistants and volunteers for additional online training. There is a $15 subscription fee for these courses.

All CER Category C courses are designed specifically for group skating instructors. All courses will be relevant to the roles and responsibilities of Basic Skills and entry-level group skating instructors. Teaching skating in a group setting carries its own unique set of challenges; however, if managed properly, group teaching offers tremendous opportunities for the growth and development of all U.S. Figure Skating programs.

In order to complete the CER C requirement, instructors need to pass three courses, one from each of the different topic areas:

1. Class Organization and Management
2. Basic Skating Skills, Teaching Techniques and Evaluation
3. Growth and Retention of Members

There are eight courses loaded and more in development:

  • Best practices of Basic Skills
  • Being an Effective Group Instructor
  • Skating Skills and Evaluations
  • - Snowplow Sam
    - Basic Skills
    - Free Skate
    - Basic Skills and Beginner Synchronized
  • Basic Skills Competition Rules
  • Working and Communicating with Parents
Teaching Methods

As a group instructor, you will teach hundreds of beginning skaters throughout your career. You will be influencing the lives of these skaters; therefore, it is important to prepare for this task. Instructors need to be proficient enough with their own skating to be effective. Teaching is an art and in order to perform well, your teaching skills need to be nurtured and developed. The following will provide information for beginning group instructors in the areas of class procedures, class structure and learning styles.

Class Procedures

Your skating director will provide you with the rinks' specific policies and procedures. Class procedures are defined as the order of sequential steps necessary in preparing for each class activity. Some questions to consider when thinking about your class procedures are:
  • How will I take attendance?
  • How should I get skaters on and off the ice?
  • How should I plan for emergencies?
  • What do I do first, second and third during an emergency situation?

The following are examples of steps you need to think about before, during and after class. This list is in no way all inclusive.

Before Class
  • Preparing for class (lesson planning) - This should be completed before you walk into the rink for group class. It should not be thought about 10 minutes before class starts! Lesson plans should be written out in sequential order with skill progression in mind. (Sample Lesson Plans for Snowplow Sam 1-3 [PDF])
  • Arriving at the rink - You should arrive at the rink at least 15 minutes before your class begins. This time is spent putting on your skates, talking with parents, putting out the cones, gathering your supplies and meeting your skaters rink side.
  • Checking skaters' skates - Before skaters take the ice, you should check their skates to make sure the skates are on the correct feet, proper fit is achieved, appropriate socks are worn and that they are laced and tied correctly. Parents and skaters will appreciate this.
  • Talking with parents - New parents might have questions about class procedures and different skills needed to achieve success in the class, and they want to get to know you. Take time to establish a good working relationship with parents.
  • Preparing the ice - If cones are used to separate class spacing, this should be finished before the skaters start class, not while they are coming out. You may use other props for Snowplow Sam and Basic classes, which should be placed safely in your teaching zone.

During Class
  • Getting skaters on the ice - It is important that the beginning skaters are able to properly get on the ice. Traffic flow is important because you don't want everyone jammed into the same small space. To solve this problem, draw a map of your rink and figure out how you can safely have skaters enter and exit the ice.
  • Taking attendance - Some instructors may take attendance in the lobby area, inside the rink, while skaters are on the ice or, better yet, at the end of class. Whatever you prefer, make sure it does not take up valuable class time.
  • Emergency procedure - A skater falls and bumps his or her head, and hr or she is bleeding...what do you do? You should not think that you can rely on other instructors; you need to handle the situation. You are the first one responsible, and you need to take charge and keep all the skaters safe. Being certified in First Aid is an excellent idea; in some facilities, it is mandatory.
  • Restroom procedure - You are responsible for knowing where every skater is in your class. If you send a skater to the restroom during class, will you know if something goes wrong? What will you do if the skater doesn't come back?
  • Testing procedure - At the end of every group lesson session, each skater will be evaluated. Prior to this, you should have certificates and/or report cards written, badges ready and information about signing up for the next session of lessons. The skating director should discuss the format and procedures for the evaluation. Use the descriptions in the Basic Skills Instructors Manual for specific information regarding skill standards and expectations.

After Class
  • Practice time - After class, skaters may have a practice session, review what was learned or work on specific things given to them.
  • Cleaning up the ice - If you used different props, make sure they are stored safely away and nothing was left on the ice.
  • Talking with parents - Parents love feedback about their child's progress. Take a second or two to give them a "warm fuzzy" about their child.

Class Structure

Class structure is defined as the teaching styles and/or techniques used to bring together and arrange the different aspects of the whole class. Imagine that a video camera is positioned at the top of the rink looking down on your class. What would we see while you are teaching? Would your class be moving, standing by the wall, practicing their elements or goofing off? What type of traffic patterns would we see the skaters using? Are there smooth transitions from one skill to the next?


Flow in teaching is the ability to effortlessly transition from one skill to the next. This transitioning to different skills should be progressive in nature. All the maneuvers in the Basic Skills curriculum have been carefully placed in a sequential order so that each skill builds onto the next. While transitioning, you need to have quick and easy access to your skaters and also allow them proximity to feel safe and comfortable.


Visibility is being able to see all your skaters at the same time and having them see you. Being able to see them greatly increases the level of safety in your class. When demonstrating a skill, visibility of the instructor keeps the skaters engaged in the activity.

Traffic Flow

Traffic flow is arranging the skaters in varying formations to teach a skill. These formations allow the skater greater access to learning the skating maneuvers. Some of the different formations are circle, line, staggered lines, semi circle, etc. Study some traffic patterns and decide which ones best suit different skills.
Learning Styles

There are three basic different learning styles that people share: visual, auditory and tactile. Visual learning style is the learner needing to see what he or she is to perform. Auditory learners need to hear you describe the skill. Tactile learners need to perform the skill in order to learn how to do it. When teaching, say what you are going to teach: "Today we are going to learn how to do a swizzle." Demonstrate the element while talking about body position, weight on the blade, arm placement, etc. Once you have completed these two styles of learning, have the skaters try the skill. Make corrections and have them try it again.

Most important in keeping all of this in mind is to have fun and enjoy your students. If you are enjoying what you are doing, they will too!

Breakdown of a Half-hour Class
  • 3 min. - Gather class, settle down, announcements
  • 3-4 min. - Review prior skills (warm-up)
  • 5 min. - Learn new skill
  • 5 min. - Practice another skill
  • 5 min. - Practice another skill
  • 5 min. - Educational games to reinforce the skills learned
  • Extra time to review or practice time, individual help time - (Take attendance during this time, as class is doing an exercise, so to catch all of those tardy skaters.)
  • Final words and see you next time!
Every class should have a definite beginning, middle and end.

10 Tips for a Great Class
    1. Keep all skaters moving
    2. Give short, precise instruction
    3. Break down all skills into easier steps
    4. Positive feedback
    5. Deal with discipline immediately
    6. Be organized! Have all supplies, materials and lesson plans done ahead of time
    7. Know your stuff!
    8. Give rewards after class
    9. Have fun, smile and enjoy what you are doing
    10. Be on time!