Late summer: major Club competitions, like Broadmoor, Detroit, DuPage.
Fall: qualifying competitions (Regionals and Sectionals)
That's the competitive schedule. Spring through early summer is time for learning new programs and skills and taking qualifying tests; late summer is for gearing up conditioning and perfecting the program.
EVERYBODY takes a break after their final competition, be it Regionals, Sectionals or Nationals.
But below the top couple of hundred skaters, who make it past Regionals, or the several dozen who make it past Sectionals, there are lots and lots of local club competitions.
Lots and lots.
I hear about skaters doing 7, or 8, or 12 or 13 local competitions, plus Regionals.
And all I want to say is: are you insane?!
Most coaches will have a competition circuit-- the several competitions to which they always take their skaters. My daughter used to do 3 to 5 non-qualifying competitions each year.
If you are doing a competition a month, when are you learning those new skills, or preparing the next test, or improving conditioning and strength? All you'll be training is the program.
In academic parlance, you'll spend all your time teaching the test.
If your non-elite Juvenile through Intermediate child makes it to Sectionals, he should not be doing any competitions between Regionals and Sectionals. If he makes it past Sectionals, he should probably not be doing more than one local, low-pressure competition before Nationals. Here is the U.S. Figure Skating recommendation for "periodization" or annual training arc.
So what do you do if your coach is constantly scheduling competitions?
If you have a coach who is encouraging a heavy schedule of non-qualifying competition, make him tell you why. What is your child getting out of it? What clear progress should you expect from the activity? What are the coaches' goals for all this competing? Younger coaches in particular might be more susceptible to feeling like they have to have kids in every competition, partially because they're still finding out which competitions they like, or because they think they should, or because that's what their coaches did.
Also ask the skater-- does she like competing this much? Sometimes kids will just go a long to get along and will start to passive-aggressively check out: by resisting practice, deliberately throwing competitions, non-deliberately throwing competitions (i.e. missing solid skills, because they're stressed), etc. Remember that a lot of kids won't complain about a heavy schedule. For one thing, most kids trust the adults to know what they are doing, and are unlikely to question an authority figure. (Unless they're my kids, who somehow never got that message. I wonder why?)
Ask parents of other coaches and find out if they have similar competition obligations. (Yes, you can talk to parents of other coaches about anything you want.) If it's wildly different, ask your coach about this.
Aside from the impact on skill acquisition, there is considerable cost-- costume, travel, time lost from work or school. Your coach should not get to make financial choices for you. If your coach isn't hearing your despair, pull the money card. Give her a competition budget, and tell her you can do competitions within that amount, and not over, without an extremely compelling reason. (In fact, if more parents just had a skating budget, instead of just coming up with whatever the coach demands, there would be a lot fewer unhappy skating parents.)
What are we missing?
Is there another activity that you or your skater would like to do that is being squeezed out by "extra" competitions? Cross training, after-school activities, academics, "me" time are all lost in a packed competition schedule.
Competitions, even the "serious" ones, can be fun, or they can be a chore. Don't make it a grind.
How many competitions does your skater do each season? Is there a plan?