What Makes a Great Figure Skating Coach?

Written By: Riedell | September 22, 2011

A skater’s success on the ice is a sum of input from both the individual skater and the skater’s supporting team—including their coach. Finding the perfect coach is an important step for skaters who wish to improve their abilities and take their skating to the next level. When a skater finds a coach that they work well with, the impact is great. From improved skating abilities also come self-confidence, self-discipline and a healthier lifestyle.

Our team at Riedell has had the opportunity to work with many amazing coaches like Carla DeGirolamo who coaches Miami University’s Synchro team, Lorie Charbonneau who coaches Kate Charbonneau and Kiri Baga, and Audrey Weisiger from the wonderful Grassroots to Champions organization. While every coach has a unique style, all great coaches have a few traits in common. When you seek a coach, be sure to keep these characteristics in mind.

Qualities of a great figure skating coach
  • A great coach is passionate about skating. Their knowledge of the sport is vast, but they are always trying to learn more—such as rule and regulation changes, the latest trends in choreography or how to best communicate with skaters and parents. There are wonderful organizations to which coaches can belong, like PSA and USFSA, allowing them to stay up-to-date on the latest in skating.
  • They understand skaters. Many coaches were competitive skaters at one point, so they understand and can relate to their skaters facing the same challenges. They also recognize that a teaching technique that works with one skater might not work for another and aim to individualize ice time.
  • They communicate and listen. Not only can a great coach explain their ideas and instructions clearly, they also know how to listen to their skaters’ needs. They are willing to be flexible and use a skater’s (or a parent’s) feedback to make ice time more effective for everyone.
  • A great coach leads by example by being committed, disciplined and respectful.
  • A great coach motivates and inspires their skaters with honest feedback and support.

Who is your coach and how have they helped you reach your skating goals?

And check back next week for our October Boot of the Month! Hint: many coaches rely on this boot when they hit the ice.