Sunday, February 27, 2011

The USFS Basic Skills Book

Stitch was all excited to get a Book from Basic Skills. It's pretty neat, but it's not without it's share of wacky skating weirdness. Let's take a look.

This is it. I was told, "This is his forever and ever. Don't lose it, because it's ten dollars to replace it." Okay, so you're being tasked to maintain this thing for at least two years, longer depending on how quick your skater picks up on the skills.

Inside, we find instructions. General instructions are Holy Grails for skating parents. "What do I do? Where are you going? What is that? Why is it sharp? It goes where?" This section alone answers 90% of the questions I get from other parents. I don't know why they think I know these things. Maybe it's the glazed expression. But seriously, common sense tips like "dress in layers" and "Don't talk while you're getting lessons," and "leather skates, not that crap vinyl please." Okay, they don't say Crap Vinyl, but they should.

Open it up, and you get a rundown of what skills your kid will be learning at each given step. Remember, USFS breaks skating down into its basic ingredients, unlike ISI which gives parents the whole cookie. The kids don't go right to "forward crossover," they have to do "forward 1/2 swizzle pumps on a circle" first. But the kids will start doing cool stuff like spinning a lot sooner. Two foot spins are in Basic 3, while in ISI you have to wait until FS1 for that. (Though most kids learn them long before FS1.)

You also get these. Little gold stickers that look like a cross between a Skater and a Star. I called these "Kwans." The kid gets a Kwan sticker beside each individual skill as they go. You get two sheets of Kwans, and they are hard to get off that damn paper.

Stitch, of course, wanted to put his Kwans on himself. Since they're so difficult to get off the paper, what ended up happening was that most of our Kwans became amputees. Worse, the Kwans wander off pretty easily. I've lost both sheets twice before I decided to just take the whole thing to work and staple them in the back.

The book has every basic skill badge you can get, from FreeSkate to Dance, Hockey, Speed and Pairs. This bit of confuzzlement is a Dance Pattern. Stitch looked at all of these and groaned. "Do I have to do ALL THIS to be a Big League Skater?"
"I don't think so, but talk to Coach. She knows how all this works, not me."

Then there's The Stupid Bear and his Ridiculous Sidekick. Seriously, the kids who love skating really love skating and they don't need some bear who looks high on something bad to keep them interested. This bear scares me. And when I look at the bruises on Stitch's legs, the absolute last thing I'm thinking of is a cuddly bear.

Then on the back page you can color the Ridiculous Bear, and you get a short paragraph on "What's Next." I'm guessing that we get tossed to the Clubs. I don't even know if we'll get to that point, much less if I can keep up with the book that long. Can I get a PDF with some e-Kwans?


  1. The stickers are an Evil Plot. I don't think one has EVER ended up in the book where it belongs (cue the mom who simply put all the stickers in the book herself and then presented it as evidence that her Basic 3 child was ready for Free Skate. Not. Kidding.)

  2. captcha was synthboot. You can't make this shit up.

  3. Stitch seems to think that Free Skate is when the skating becomes Free. And hey, she got those three revolutions of a two foot spin, clearly she was ready for a half lutz or whatever.

    Synthboot, is that like Crap Vinyl?