Fourth annual synchronized skating training festival in Delaware this weekend
(06/25/2009) - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - More than 550 participants will descend on the University of Delaware in Newark, Del., June 25-28 for U.S. Figure Skating's Synchronized Skating Training Festival, National Coaches College and newly-formed DREAM program. The event begins Thursday morning with the National Coaches College and DREAM program track, and will conclude Sunday night with an exhibition performance by each of the eight teams and the Dream Team at the Fred Rust Arena. Approximately 175 coaches will gather Thursday and Friday at the National Coaches College to learn about such topics as "IJS Math," "Transition and Choreography" and "Teaching Technique in Elements and Features." Faculty includes former Haydenettes coach Lynn Benson; World synchronized skating judges Judy Blumberg, Lois Long and Jeanette Davey; international technical specialist Kelley Ristau; and U.S. Figure Skating Senior Director of Membership Susi Wehrli and Director of Synchronized Skating and Collegiate Programs Kelly Hodge. In tandem with Thursday's event, 10 athletes will participate in the DREAM (Determination, Responsibility, Education, Achievement, Motivation) program, a special leadership track for chosen athletes to join U.S. Figure Skating in programs that support and promote synchronized skating in the United States. The track will include sessions on the international judging system, becoming a coach and how to teach parents education. Additional faculty for this program will be Synchronized Skating Development Committee chair and creator of DREAM Becky Search, Skyliners coach Josh Babb and Team Boston coach Becky Stump. Two hundred athletes will take part in the training festival segment of the event, which begins Friday night with a kick-off orientation. Athlete classes begin Saturday morning. Athletes will be divided into eight city-themed teams for the weekend. Each team will have four on-ice and four off-ice classes per day on topics such as "Developing Turns and Edges," "Step Sequences," "Developing Skating Skills" and "Musical Interpretation." Off-ice training will include dance classes, "IJS Jeopardy," team building and stretching. One of the event's highlights is its coaching staff, which is made up of Team USA coaches, including Babb (Skyliners), Jill Cipresso (California Gold), Lisa Darken (Chicago Jazz), Vicki Korn (Miami University), Saga Krantz (Haydenettes), Pam May (Team Braemar), Merita Mullen (Colonials) and Holly Teets (Crystallettes). Coaches will have the opportunity to observe their colleagues' teaching techniques in addition to attending roundtable discussions. Other opportunities include four parents' education classes, for which approximately 125 parents have registered, and a Saturday evening collegiate skating seminar, where athletes and their parents can learn about U.S. Figure Skating's collegiate programs and what individual schools have to offer. Twenty volunteers from Team Delaware and the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club will also be on hand to help organize the event.