Skating Fridays

Thoughts From a Judge

At my Sectionals event a few weeks ago, I noticed that one of the judges on my panel was a skating friend of mine. I met her at Adult Nationals a few years ago and I’ve made sure to throw her a tossie during competitions. I reached out to her to see if she would be willing to provide me some feedback on my performance.

She happily agreed and spent over half an hour on the phone with me. She had taken copious notes during my 2 minute and 40 second program. It was fascinating to see what types of things (good and bad) stood out to her.

Since there was a lot that she covered, I will only note some of the highlights in hopes that this will help somebody else out there. Even if you are not an IJS level skater, many of these themes should apply. Keep in mind that this is only from one judge’s perspective so it might not be true for all judges.

Skating Skills

  • This judge was looking for speed, acceleration, balance, cleanliness of steps and being multi-directional
  • She noted that Skating Skills determines her baseline for judging and then she assigns scores from the other portions of PCS from there


  • “Transitions are the threading of elements from one to the other”
  • She is looking for the difficulty and quality of transitions
  • Examples: Twizzles, counters, rockers, chocktaws, spread eagles, spirals, split jumps, Ina Bauers, mazurkas, bunny hops


  • Delivery and emotional involvement – are you smiling? Are your eyes up? Are you relating to the audience? Do you have personality?
  • “Make me believe that you love this program”


  • Cover all ends of the ice. Seriously. Do not fall a few feet short.
  • Are all your spins in the same place? Are all your elements towards the middle of the ice? If so, move them.


  • Are you effortlessly moving?
  • Do the judges know your music?
  • Are you changing your body with the music? Are you doing something with your arms with every crescendo?
  • You must show the judges that you know the music is playing! Otherwise, if they played someone else’s CD, it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

Based on this judge’s very helpful and specific feedback, we’ve been making major edits to my transitions. The overall structure of my program is still the same, but now it should flow better for my skating style and ability.

I’m excited to put this together and hope that I perform better at Adult Nationals in a few short weeks!

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