Changing Figure Skating Coaches - we all wish we didn't have to do it... but in every skater's life comes time when saying goodbye to your coach is in fact, necessary.
Often, we get e-mails asking what are the proper procedures and what's expected when changing skating coaches.
If you have a young skater and are looking for advice when time comes to change your coach, please read information on this page. There are set rules that need to be followed.
Once your skater reaches the international level, rules and expectations may be a bit different. This is no longer about "lessons" and drama at the rink.
At the highest level, skaters training for international competitions need to do whatever is in the best interest of their training and their own development as an athlete.
Changing figure skating coaches will be stressful, often very difficult, so it really needs to be handled with care. Everyone involved should take time to talk things over. If there is a conflict and lack of communication, resolution will most likely not be reached.
Since coaches receive money from their skaters (or skater's parent's or skater's Federations), they do in fact work for them, and they are obligated to work in a way that will first and foremost benefit their skater's development as an athlete and better their chances of improvement and progression in the international standings.
The skaters, the parents, and their federations have every right to expect their Coach to fulfill those obligations. Never forget however that as a skater you also have obligations.
When time comes for changing figure skating coaches, you need to make sure that your current coach understands your reasons for looking to train with someone else. If you are lucky, your coach will be the first one to suggest such change.
Remember, they should have your best interest in mind. If they can't get you any higher in your results, they should be the first to notice and be able to let you go.
Once the decision is made, try to work out and pinpoint your needs as an athlete with your current coach and ask for guidance when choosing the next. Remember at this level, all coaches know each other or know of each other.
Your current coach will be the best person to suggest the best successor as they already know you well enough, know your style, and your training needs. He also should be able to contact your chosen new coach and introduce you and your needs to them.
Your current coach should offer to take care of this introduction for you, they should be professional enough to understand that this is about more than just the paycheck. They should be gracious and supportive when you are faced with this difficult decision.
Whatever the reason for parting with your coach, make sure to say your goodbyes and stay on good terms with them... this skating world is very small, you can be sure you will see your past coaches at competitions; you don't want them to be cross with you, why make your future encounters awkward?
It is important that you finalize all your bills and pay your coach what you owe them before you move one to another coach.
Once you make your decision about changing figure skating coaches, it is important that you do your research. You should familiarize yourself with your prospective Coach, their accomplishments, their training style and their payment requirements.
This is all before you (or your current coach) make the first contact with the new coach.
Remember that at the highest level, the coaching partnership has to work for both the skater and the coach. Often you will undergo a test, that will determine if your chosen training team will allow you to train under their guidance.
There is only a handful of top quality skating coaches around the World that accept new students. Those students however have to be of a certain caliber. You better know your way around the ice before you go see them. If not... you may be faced with a strict "no, thank you". If you need to improve... get on it, before you purchase that plane ticket.
Be ready to drastically change your training style to accommodate the style of your new coach if he or she expects that. Those people are true geniuses in their field and there is no room for drama on their ice. You will be expected to work hard and work smart.
Training at some of those top schools in the World is a privilege and the skaters know it. For someone used to a local ice rink politics, such transition can be quite difficult as they enter "another world". Quite often Head Coaches at those skating academies, come from "old school" Russian or Eastern European skating themselves.changing figure skating coaches
Their training methods and general approach may be slightly different than what you are used to, but if you want to get to where you need to be, you will follow through, adjust to your new environment fast and get on with the program.
If you are relocating from another country, you will also face local customs and traditions, be sure to do your research beforehand so you know what to expect.
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