How To Begin Synchronized Ice Skating

Written By: Riedell | April 15, 2024

Beginning a journey into the world of synchronized ice skating opens up an exciting opportunity where skaters hone their precision skills as part of a team while learning the value of teamwork and camaraderie. Formed in 1956 by Dr. Richard Porter and originally known as “precision skating,” this sport captivates audiences and athletes alike as skaters perform intricate step sequences, jumps, and spins in unison. We’re here to help you understand this fascinating discipline of figure skating and the ways you can get involved. Whether you’re looking to understand its core principles or ready to take the first step onto the ice as part of a team, we’re here to illuminate the path forward.

What Is Synchronized Ice Skating?

Synchronized ice skating, also referred to as “Synchro,” is a team sport that involves 8-20 skaters performing challenging formations and step sequences together while moving as a flowing unit at high speeds over the ice.

It’s an impressive combination of artistry, athleticism, teamwork, and precision. Synchronized skating is also the most recent addition to the world of competitive ice skating. The first U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships were held in 1984 and the first World Synchronized Skating Championships in 2000.

About 600 registered synchronized teams exist in the United States. Those competing in synchronized ice skating are judged based on the same system as singles, pairs, and ice dance. All teams perform a free skate with required elements, and a short program is also performed by junior and senior level teams.

How To Get Involved in Synchronized Ice Skating

Ready to take your skating skills to the next level by performing as part of a team? You’re in luck! Synchronized skating is open to individuals of all levels, though each level has a skills test skaters must pass in order to get involved.

The first step is to find a team near you, which you can do by contacting U.S. Figure Skating. It’s also helpful to understand the various levels involved:

  • Aspire Synchro: This is a Learn to Skate USA badge program designed for group classes. It involves Aspire 1, Aspire 2, Aspire 3, and Aspire 4. These are the beginning levels of synchronized skating offered at synchronized skating non-qualifying and Compete USA competitions. 
  • Developmental Levels: The developmental levels involve preliminary, pre-juvenile, open juvenile, open collegiate, open adult, and open masters. Skaters can compete at any non-qualifying synchronized skating competition, and these levels are offered at the U.S. Synchronized Sectional Championships.
  • Competitive Levels: Competitive levels bring an extra sprig of excitement for athletes, as top-performing teams at the junior, senior, and senior elite 12 levels can earn the opportunity to be part of Team USA, with two teams going on to represent the United States at the ISU World Junior and ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships. These levels involve those in juvenile, intermediate, novice, junior, senior, collegiate, adult, masters, and senior elite 12, and skaters can compete at any non-qualifying synchronized skating competition. Skaters can also enter their respective sectional championships to qualify for the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.

Synchronized Ice Skating Tips for Success

Whether you’re involved in the Aspire levels or pushing boundaries in the competitive tiers, it’s always helpful to hear tips other skaters have found helpful during their journey. Synchronized skating is distinct from singles or pairs as it involves a group moving together as one while performing very intricate moves. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

  • Make Connections: Reach out to those on the teams you want to join and say hello! Making connections will help you feel more comfortable during auditions and start developing the bond you’ll need with your teammates.
  • Multi-Disciplinary Training Helps: The skills learned in other skating disciplines will help you in synchro. Many elements are worked into synchro programs, so learning dance and skill patterns will help sharpen your memory and hone your skills as you learn step sequences and choreography in programs.
  • Be Confident: Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed! Keep working hard, listen to your coach, and share tips with other skaters. 
  • Edge Control: Edge control is very important in synchro, so make sure to work hard on mastering this skill and developing your spatial awareness. 
  • Never Stop Improving: The quality and musicality of synchro programs requires skaters to continuously work on improving their flexibility, turns/step sequences, posture, glide, interpretation, etc. Keep practicing and improving at every level!

Olympic Synchronized Skating’s Quest for Recognition

You may have noticed that synchronized skating hasn’t made it to the Olympic level yet–but it could be part of the 2026 winter season! A process must be followed for synchronized skating to become an Olympic Sport. 

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board needs to propose it, and the rest of the IOC would then need to hold a vote. The International Skating Union announced the appointment of a working group to investigate, strategize, and gather the information required for synchronized skating to be accepted as an Olympic discipline. U.S. Figure Skating has stated that it stands strongly in favor of this sport making it to the Olympics, so hopefully this sport will be a contender in the 2026 season.

Skate To Success with Riedell

Whether you’re a hobbyist or hoping to become one of the top names in synchronized ice skating, having the right equipment is essential in supporting your journey. We have everything skaters need across all levels, from those just starting out to athletes deep in the competitive levels.