The National Ice Skating Association’s inaugural event for Beginner to Level 3 Skaters, Young Stars, has come to a close after three action-packed days in Sheffield.
The competition kicked off on Tuesday the 29th of August at iceSheffield, with young skaters flocking from far and wide to take part.
The NISA event is the very first of its kind, and was designed to introduce young skaters to a nationally-organised competition in a fun, supportive and encouraging environment.
In total around 160 skaters aged between 5 and 22 attended the event, which welcomed Singles from Beginner – Level 3.
To encourage and inspire young skaters even more, the event ran special masterclasses in which all skaters could participate outside of competition time.
The event provided the stage for the masterclasses to make their debut, as the NGB hasn’t run the concept at a competition before.
But competitors enjoyed getting stuck into different sessions as a group on every day of the event.
The classes were split into three categories to ensure skaters got the very most out of the experience, with a seminar, on-ice session and off-ice session.
They were led by a group of experienced coaches, judges and performance specialists. NISA Judge and Board Chair Maggie Worsfold and Murrayfield Head Coach Alice Fell, first lead skaters through a seminar which covered points on what a judging panel look for, components and more.
On-ice sessions were taken by International skaters-come-coaches Jenna McCorkell and Mark Hanretty, who many may also recognise as a professional on Dancing on Ice.
International ice skaters and coaches Joseph Buckland, Peter James Hallam and David Richardson also lead competitors through different exercises and training on ice.
Classes were designed to boost confidence and develop skillset both on and off the ice, with sessions held by Kelly Buddery, Off-Ice Specialist, Professional International Show Skater & Choreographer.
Kelly has performed in ice shows all over the world – she led competitors through flexibility exercises, ballet-based bar work and much more to improve posture and balance.
NISA Technical Director Alistair Wilson said: “It was very pleasing to get positive feedback to this new event from skaters, their coaches and parents.
“Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and hopefully the skaters have been inspired by the master classes.
“My thanks go to the Elite Coaches and Officials that provided the master class sessions, who all did a splendid job, and the NISA staff for organising the event”
Mum to Beginner skater 9-year-old Kodi said: “Kodi found the off-ice classes really good, and had a lot of fun on the ice as well.
“She enjoyed absolutely everything, and I’m sure she’s learned such a lot to take back to her rink. The seminar was particularly helpful as she learned more about scoring – something she can try and help to teach me more about, as I’m very new to it!
“I’d like to thank organisers for putting all of this together, I’m sure everyone must be just as pleased with the event as we were – thank you.”
Mum to Young Star competitor Millie added: “My daughter Millie had a fantastic time. Overall her enjoyment is what counts and she had an absolute ball. She got to meet new people in a safe environment, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Podium-place medals were up for grabs as usual, but organisers also pushed the boat out to recognise skaters with the most creative and entertaining routines with ad hoc 'Spot Prizes'.
To encourage skaters even more, a second event, which will carry scores from Young Stars 2017, is planned. Here, skaters who are the most improved will be recognised and rewarded at the end of the season.