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Saying Goodbye to your Coach

Saying goodbye to your coach...  Not something we like to do... 

One of the most difficult conversations in your skating career will be saying goodbye to a coach.  But sooner or later there comes a time, when such goodbyes are necessary. There may be many reasons why you need to face your coach in this difficult conversation. 

Perhaps you no longer see "eye-to-eye", or maybe you are just outgrown your club and your coach.  Or maybe you found another skating partner and need to move to where they train and start "new" with their coach.  

Whatever the reasons; often, just the thought of that one meeting can paralyze the strongest athlete.  Sometimes however, you need to face the greatest obstacles to move onto the better things. 

So how do you do it?

How do you face someone who has been with you through so much to tell them: "I need to move on..."?    Saying goodbye to your coach

Heart breaking, isn't it?

Saying Goodbye to your BELOVED Coach

Perhaps we should start with "how not to say goodbye to your coach"

As a young ice dance team with a lot of potential our Dance Director has placed us in a care of a wonderful Coach. We were his "wonder team", year after year placing in podium positions at each competition we entered; steadily moving up the ladder towards our big skating dreams.

Over the years we became very familiar with our Beloved Coach; the security, stability and consistency of our skating routine became our door to mediocrity. With time, we found out that he was no longer able to push us when we needed to be pushed, that he could not drive us to train the way we needed to train… he was a great Friend, but no longer an authority figure.

How do you tell the men who beams with pride, each time you step on the ice, someone who has given you so many years and countless hours; how do you tell him that it's time to say goodbye?

Oh, how difficult it was to come to terms with what we needed to do; so difficult in fact that we needed to ask for help. An e-mail was sent to our Dance Director for advice. He in turn responded by sending the answer (by mistake) to both us and our Coach... 

Painful and sad; we never thought that he would find out our plans in this way.  

Saying goodbye to a Coach who no longer cares about you...

As Skaters, we hope that we work with people with solid integrity, those who are proud of our accomplishments as much as our Parents would be; after all it is those people we spend hours with each day. Saying goodbye to your coach

Regretfully, it's not always the case.

Sometimes, after literally growing up at the arena and knowing every person there, from the head coach to the last Zamboni driver, you believe that all those people love the sport as much as you do and are there because they cherish the opportunities to teach and grow with their skaters…

And then you find out that you are no longer valued as a talented athlete.

Your only worth are those checks that your Parents sign each month. This simple realization is like a painful slap in the face.

Sometimes such coach is bold enough to tell you straight out that you are only there to bring those checks in, and that you should keep your mouth shut; because it's not up to you to decide which costumes you wear, what music you skate to, and which airlines you fly to the competitions; you are no-body who is there to sign checks, that's all. (And yes… we are quoting here)

After the initial shock wears off and the tears dry up, you are able to take the next step. With time the worst day of your skating career turns into one of the best days, as it opens the new doors to incredible new opportunities and new beginnings.

It is no longer painful to say goodbye to those coaches; those are the people who no longer care for you, people who shamefully cashed checks month after month while blaming your team for all the shortcomings over the years. saying goodbye to your coach

Then the greatest reward for the pain and suffered during those last few years is stepping onto the ice at Worlds, while your new Coach stands at the boards and smiles with pride. The best feeling ever!

Saying Goodbye to your Coach

I guess the question remains… How do you do this?  saying goodbye to your coach

The answer will always come from your Coach and will be based on the relationship that you have with him or her.

If your Coach values your development, and places your needs before his own (there are wonderful people like that), than your decision to leave will be accepted and understood in just the right way, as your Coach will be the one who recognizes your need to move on.

Coaches like that (those who appreciate your hard work and your time invested in your skating career) will be secure enough to let you go, further more, they may suggest a move themselves simply because they know their own limitations and would never want to hold you back.

Such goodbyes will be difficult, sometimes tearful, but there will be smiles of happiness too. It will be a good feeling to say goodbye, as you will have your Coach's blessing to go on and reach higher; he will be there cheering you on, always.

If, on the other hand, you have a misfortune to discover that you are a dollar sign in someone's book… than do not look back!  Find someone who truly believes in you and your abilities, and say your goodbyes with no regrets. Any Coach who is unable to appreciate the opportunity to teach when there is potential and talent in a Skater, does not deserve the cutesy of a heartfelt thank you and tearful goodbye.

The gratitude and appreciation should always flow both ways.  Without great Coaches the Skaters would not have a chance to grow and develop into the best athletes they can be. Without hardworking, dedicated and focused skaters... Coaches would need to hang their skates.   

Simple.   So, even though saying goodbye to your coach will almost always be difficult, sometimes that's exactly what you need to do to grow and reach higher to those dreams of yours, and to somehow honor the work and dedication of every coach you ever worked with, starting with the first one who showed you how to tie your skates.    

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