March/April 2019

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A STRONG FIGURE SKATING PROGRAM IS A DIRECT RESULT of the quality of professional coaches and instructors working in the facility. A well- rounded staff needs to be balanced with high-end competitive coaches, develop- mental coaches, enthusiastic group lesson instructors, trained assistants and volun- teers. Most importantly, the staff must be qualified, well-trained, and be an asset to your facility. Having an untrained profes- sional staff is like handing over the key to the ice resurfacer to someone just because they have a driver's license. 18 / MARCH.APRIL.2019 USICERINKS.COM Is Your Skating Coach Right for the Job? The importance of a hiring a quality coaching staff Before you hire or allow a coach to work in your facility, do some homework. Ask about their teaching and skating credentials, experience, industry member- ships, and what they are going to bring to your facility. Also ask them if they are a compliant coach with U.S. Figure Skating and/or Learn to Skate USA. The biggest favor you can do yourself is call references and previous places of employment. Any glaring red flags should pop up at this time and you can make the decision if this person is worth the chance if the refer- ence is questionable. Secondly, don't be fooled into believing that a gold medal or the ability to com- plete triple jumps automatically makes them a good teacher—it doesn't. Coaches need to have formal training, just as with any reputable profession. When looking for quality coaches, it is important to understand the "lan- guage" of figure skating. For example, ratings, rankings, apprentice, and intern are programs of the Professional Skaters Association (PSA). While a PSA rating represents what a coach knows, ranking represents the competitive success of a // by ANGIE RIVIELLO

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