FAQs - National Competing Teams (Ice Mates, Star Mates, Mini Mates)

What is the National Competing Progression?

The National Competing Progression is our program for National qualifying
teams. Hayden Synchro currently has six teams that are eligible to qualify for
Nationals: Mini Mates Juvenile (ages 10-12), Star Mates Intermediate (ages 12-
16) and Ice Mates Novice (13-17).

We call this program a progression because success at the highest level of
synchronized skating requires that skaters learn the fundamentals of each
synchronized skating level before moving on to the next. We encourage our
skaters to set high goals for themselves at the beginning of their national level
careers, and we will help your skaters achieve those goals as they progress
through the organization. Skaters with experience on other teams are welcome to
try out for our national level teams. We will discuss where your skating skills fit
into the progression.

If your skater decides to join a national level team, they will learn the elite
aspects of synchronized skating in a competitive, but fun, atmosphere. At
Hayden Synchro, we have developed a program that has repeatedly proven
successful through the years. Our national level teams regularly medal at local,
regional, national, international, and world competitions. 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 parts 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 train skaters in the technical aspects
of synchronized skating, with an emphasis on individual skating skills. Our
Director of Synchronized Skating, Saga Krantz, has developed a system of skills
training that teaches skaters the basics of the sport in a challenging, yet inspiring,


What is the practice schedule for next year?

We are currently working on the practice schedule for next season (2017-18) and should
have a draft schedule ready by tryouts in spring.

Team 2016-2017 Practice Schedule:

Mini Mates (Juvenile) Program practice Friday & Sunday;
Skills & Drills (Optional) Saturday

Star Mates (Intermediate) Practices Tuesday, Friday, Sunday

Ice Mates (Novice) Practices Wednesday, Thursday,

Practices begin with spring training in May and the beginning of June for the next
season. Summer training begins early August and our regular practices resume
in September. All scheduled practices are mandatory. If you anticipate missing a
mandatory practice, please communicate with your team managers in advance.
Hayden Synchro’s home rink is the Hayden Recreation Centre, 10 Lincoln Street
in Lexington, MA. We also regularly practice at the New England Sports Center
at 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


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

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 to one hour on his or her own.
For National Level teams, skaters should develop their skills in all skating
disciplines. This means actively practicing moves-in-the-field, freestyle, and ice
dance. At the highest level of the sport, synchronized skating involves jumps,
spins, intricate footwork, and even lifts! Starting to practice these skills early will
help your skater succeed as he or she progresses through the organization. The
preferred and required test levels for the National Level Hayden Synchro teams
are here. 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. 


Is it possible to compete other skating disciplines at the same time I am
competing with a National Level team?

Yes! At the National level, it is possible to compete in other skating disciplines
besides synchronized skating, and we encourage that you do. If you do want to
compete in other disciplines, we ask that you discuss your competition schedule
with your coaches as soon as you can so that the coaches can plan absences in


What is the annual tuition for a National Level 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 National Level teams handle alternates?

The National Competing Progression is designed for your skater to learn the elite
aspects of synchronized skating. One aspect of this program is learning how to
be an alternate. All competitive teams have alternates; some international teams
even have 5-10 alternates per team! Our coaches are committed to giving every
skater the opportunity to compete, and we give the same level of attention and
coaching to all skaters on each team. For each national level team, there will be
2-4 alternates per team.

While all skaters will have the opportunity to skate in the line during practice,
some skaters will not be selected for competition. Coaches will select skaters for
competition any time prior to competition. The group of skaters selected for a
particular competition may not be the skaters who are selected for the next
competition. Skaters on our teams should expect that changing skating positions
and sharing spots is common and an excellent learning experience. Our coaches
firmly believe in the ability to improve individually and will reassess skaters with
every competition. For the Mini-Mates Juvenile level, coaches guarantee each
skater the opportunity to compete in at least one competition.


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 overnight travel, the national level teams travel as a team with chaperons
as appropriate 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. 


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 these questions have provided you with some basic information about
the National Competing Progression. Please feel free to contact us at the specific
email addresses for the National level teams located on our website. We look
forward to seeing you at our tryouts in spring!

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