FAQs - Developmental Teams (Shooting Stars)

Who are the Shooting Stars?

The Shooting Stars are the Hayden Synchronized Skating Teams’ developmental
program. There are three teams within this program: Mini-Shooting Stars (ages
8-10), Shooting Stars Preliminary (ages 8-12), and Shooting Stars Pre-Juvenile
(ages 8-13).

Our developmental program will teach your skater the fundamentals of
synchronized skating with an emphasis on basic skating skills. As an
organization, our philosophy is that strong teams are made up of strong skaters.
We provide skaters with not only the basics of synchronized skating, but with
skating skills that will benefit them in all aspects of figure skating. One way our
organization separates ourselves from other synchronized skating organizations
is our focus on basic skills. Besides regular program practices, we also conduct
“Skills and Drills” practices that teach skaters individual skating skills in a fun,
team atmosphere.


(From U.S. Figure Skating's "All About Tests")
If you or your child recently started taking private lessons in figure skating or if
he/she has earned badges in the Learn to Skate (Basic 1-6) or Free Skate
programs, you may have heard from your coach, or other skaters about the test
structure, or been told the next step is to start working on “moves in the field” or
“pre preliminary”. The test structure can be confusing to new skaters, but it is one
of the most important parts of figure skating, and will soon become an integral
part of your skating language!

What is the test level and what does it matter?

The test structure is often called the backbone of U.S. Figure Skating. Starting
with the first test you take, through your entire career, it is the national standard
that you are measured against. When you fill out applications for just about
everything in figure skating, the first question will be What is the highest U.S.
Figure Skating Test passed? U.S. Figure Skating tests are offered in the
following tracks:

1. Moves in the Field
2. Free Skate 
3. Pattern Dance or Solo Pattern Dance
4. Free Dance or Solo Free Dance
5. Pairs


Where and when are the practices for the Shooting Stars?

The Hayden Synchro home rink is the Hayden Recreation Centre, 10 Lincoln
Street in Lexington, MA. We also regularly practice at the New England Sports
Center, 121 Donald Lynch Blvd in Marlborough, MA and occasionally practice at
other rinks depending on the time of year and the ice time available at our regular

We are currently working on the practice schedule for next season and should have a draft schedule ready by the placement sessions held in the spring. Here are practice times from the 2016-2017 season:

Mini Shooting Stars:  Thursdays at Hayden Sundays at Hayden

Shooting Stars Preliminary:  Thursdays at Hayden, Sundays at Hayden

Shooting Stars PJ:  Saturdays at NESC, Sundays at Hayden

Skills and drills practices are not mandatory but they are recommended because
of the extra instruction each skater will receive. Practices begin with Spring
Training in May/June and our Regular season practices begin around the time
when school resumes. For mandatory practices, we do understand that conflicts
occasionally arise. If you anticipate missing a mandatory practice, please
communicate with your team’s coaches and team managers in advance.


What do the coaches expect for skating levels/test levels/private coaches?

The Basic Skills and Free Style classes and Moves-in-the-Field test levels for the
Shooting Stars teams are given below. If you have any questions on the test
levels please consult your private coach or ask your private coach to contact a
Hayden Synchro coach. We are more than happy to discuss our teams with your
private coaches and we encourage them to reach out if they have any questions.
The Hayden Synchro coaches believe that strong teams are made up of strong
individual skaters. We encourage all skaters to practice individual skills on a
regular basis by taking private lessons and individual skating practice. It is a
good rule of thumb that for every 30 minute lesson your skater takes, he or she 
should practice an additional 30 minutes on his or her own.


Is it possible to compete other skating disciplines at the same time I am
competing with the Shooting Stars?

Yes! It is definitely possible to compete in other skating disciplines besides
synchronized skating. Synchronized skating involves all aspects of figure skating:
moves-in-the-field, freestyle, dance, and even lifts! If your skater wants to
compete in any other discipline, we encourage it. The more competition
experience a skater has the better competitor they will be when they get older. If
you do want to compete in other disciplines, we ask that you discuss your
competition schedule with your Shooting Stars coaches as soon as you can.


What is the annual tuition for a Shooting Stars team?

At Hayden Synchro, we try to make tuition as simple as possible. Each skater’s
tuition (paid monthly) covers ALL expenses associated with the team: travel, ice
time, coaching, competition expenses, wardrobe, and even most meals and other
expenses associated with the team. We try to avoid any “add-ons” during the
season with exception of certain “new skater” wardrobe items. An initial deposit
upon acceptance with a team is due in March and tuition installments are paid for
6-8 months completing before the competitive season ends. Our fees are
comparable to other competitive synchronized skating organizations. You will
receive a team-specific information packet at try-outs with more information.
Note: Each skater must be a member of United States Figure Skating and the
Hayden Recreation Centre. Membership with the Hayden Recreation Centre
allows your skater to take advantage of inexpensive ice prices at Hayden Club
ice. These costs are individual costs and are not included in team dues. 


How can I get involved with my skater’s team?

Hayden Synchro would not be where we are today without the incredible support
and contributions from our volunteers. If you decide to join Hayden Syncho, we
ask that all parents serve a minimum of 20 hours a year to help support your
skater, team, and the organization. There are many different ways to get active in
the sport and we encourage you to contact a Team Manager to find out ways to
fulfill your hours.


How do the Shooting Stars teams handle alternates?

The Shooting Stars Developmental Program is designed for your skater to learn
the fundamentals of synchronized skating. One aspect of our program is learning
the ability to compete. For all Shooting Stars teams, each skater will be
guaranteed the opportunity to compete in at least one competition and as
many exhibitions as possible.

Alternates are an important part of the Shooting Stars Program. Learning the
ability to skate more than one spot, sportsmanship, teamwork, and individual
practice are all benefits of having alternates. In sports, injuries, illness, and other
conflicts occasionally arise so it is important to have more skaters than just the
minimum number that can compete. Therefore, each Shooting Stars team will
have 2-4 alternate spots that rotate between the skaters.


Can I travel with my skater to competitions?

One of the best parts of synchronized skating is the team aspect of the sport. At
all times, we try to promote teamwork between the skaters and team bonding
beyond the time skaters spend on ice with each other. For competitions that
require travel, the Shooting Stars teams travel as a team with an appropriate
number of chaperons and prepare for competition as a team. Parents typically
travel individually and stay together at different hotels. For local competitions,
skaters will carpool as a team. Team Managers will ask for volunteers to carpool
a group of skater to and from the rinks. Skaters may not always be in a car with
their parent and not all parents will be needed to drive. But, we do understand
that individual families have different needs and we do our best to accommodate


Can I send a video of my skater instead of attending tryouts?

No. Unfortunately, video is not an alternative to tryouts. It is not possible to
accurately evaluate skaters or their ability to perform the skills required by our
coaches on a video. It is important for each skater to be evaluated in the context
of other potential team mates. Please contact us if you are unable to attend our
scheduled tryouts to determine if there is another opportunity.

Who attends tryouts?

All skaters, whether on one of our other teams or not, who wish to be considered
for a team attend our tryouts. Skaters from the current season who are not
changing teams, do not attend tryouts. Our coaches use the input of outside
advisors including US Figure Skating judges to assist with placement choices –
as such all skaters are required to wear a number that we provide for easier
identification in the tryout process.

Can parents observe the tryouts?

No. Tryouts are closed to all spectators to allow skaters to fully concentrate and
perform at their best without the distraction of an audience.

We hope the answers to these questions have provided you with some basic
information about the Shooting Stars teams. Please feel free to contact us at the
specific email addresses for the Shooting Stars teams located on our website.
We look forward to seeing you at our placements in spring!

Hayden Synchronized Skating Teams, Inc.
P.O. Box 493
Lexington, MA 02420