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Author Topic: Finding a new coach  (Read 1189 times)

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Offline jlspink22

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Finding a new coach
« on: May 17, 2015, 12:10:57 PM »
I suspected my daughter's coach had other life things going on and I knew he was commuting between cities coaching and running a business with his partner. But he's decided to completely relocate to DC but now I only have a week to find someone for lessons since groups don't start til mid June... And I'd like to keep her consistent. He recommended someone who I think I remember from groups but she focuses quite a bit on hockey now.


There are other coaches at her home rink but her soon to be former coach didn't really ever work with them. So I'm not sure how to tread here.....


She needs someone who is disciplined but caring and will push her because that's how she works best. Advice???

Offline saje

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2015, 02:24:11 PM »
I know in the past, I've read/heard about people doing trial lessons with coaches.  I've never done trial lessons myself, but it might be something to consider if you're unsure of which coach would be best for your daughter.  That way, you could see the way she interacts with the coach before committing to them full time.  Not 100% sure how you'd go about doing a trial lesson, though.
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Offline fsk8r

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2015, 02:24:38 PM »
I would not worry about relationships of her former coach with the new one. I would start approaching coaches based on who you think would work best with your daughter.
The previous relationships start becoming irrelevant once the old coach is in a different city.
I would also say not to dismiss the person he's recommended completely out of hand. I know some coaches get a reputation based on their current skaters and people don't necessarily realise that coach A used to be considered an excellent free coach but they just currently have a lot of beginners and not too many high level skaters so is now considered to be only suitable for beginners (until the next wave of skaters start making their mark).

Offline rd350

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2015, 02:24:56 PM »
People here have often recommended doing "trials" with various coaching and being upfront about it to avoid any tension.  I think it's a great way to proceed.  See who works best with her.  Good luck!
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Offline jlspink22

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2015, 02:48:41 PM »
Is it normal to be slightly annoyed? They could have worked on introducing her/transitioning her before he left.... Who knows.

Offline amy1984

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2015, 04:07:40 PM »
I would say that most coaches put some thought into who they rec for their students.  They know the student, know the other coaches, and can make a good suggestion.  That said, you are in no way bound to the suggestion the coach makes.  Ask around.  See who's available.  See who other people like but be polite about it.  Then make a choice.

As for more notice... yah, that would have been nice.  But the coach is essentially a private contractor.  You have no contract with exit instructions (I'm guessing) and this is what sounds like a major life decision for the coach.  It sucks because a kid is involved, and of course you're going to view it from the POV of you and your child, but keep in mind that it's probably not personal.  We've all come to times in our lives when we feel like we need a change.  Sometimes you have to put yourself first.

Offline jlspink22

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2015, 05:14:13 PM »
He said he was leaving in June anyways but his timeline got moved up... his behavior cued me to something being up like months ago, I just hate surprises.

Offline Query

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2015, 10:04:38 PM »
Sounds like you want to look for a coach who cooperates with other coaches?

Strictness isn't everything. There are a lot of other differences. Remember that teaching style (e.g., words, demos, being physically guided through a motion, explaining the physics of how to move, explaining how to use each muscle and joint, etc.) should match the learning style of your daughter. Some coaches can teach many different ways, and are able to adapt to their students. Some can't. Also, style of motion has to match. E.g., if your daughter isn't very flexible, she can't take advantage of the types of motion a very flexible coach is accustomed to using, and vice versa. And coaches who move very differently from her current coach will be hard for her to adapt to. And there are coaches who are very competition/test oriented, and coaches who aren't, and coaches who give time priority to their best students around competition/test time.

I personally think most people should stay away from anyone who seems in the least bit abusive - e.g., who sometimes shouts at students, or other skaters and coaches. Also someone who does a lot of unnecessary touching - though sometimes touching is the only way to teach - can be very bad news.

You didn't mention her age, but your daughter may have very good ideas of what works well for her in a coach. So may her friends.

If you know any judges, and they are comfortable giving recommendations, they often have a very good idea of how well the students of each coach test and compete.

And talk to other skaters and parents. They often have very good reasons for not liking some particular coach, which may or may not apply to your daughter. But remember - most students are quite happy with their current coach, and were quite unhappy with a coach that other students are happy with. It's like asking someone whether they love the car they just bought. The answer is almost always yes.

It's a shame your DD doesn't have a lot of time to switch. Watch lessons taught by other coaches. If you like what you see, try lessons with a few of them. I wouldn't trust any coach who objected to that. Watch the trial lessons, and talk to your daughter afterwords, to try to figure out who has been effective at teaching her.

View it as an opportunity to figure out what is best for her, without having to worry about upsetting your current coach. Maybe it will be a good thing. A coach who can't work with other coaches maybe wan't very good at working with his students either?

Don't get too upset. If you do, your kid will too. It's not the end of the world.

Offline fsk8r

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2015, 11:54:26 PM »
To be fair to the coach he's running a business and if you tell people that there coach is leaving in a month, then they all rush off to reorganise lessons and for the last month he starts losing money as they start switching. It's human nature.
I understand the business aspect of this, it's just not nice to be the skater on the receiving end.

(And I was told this by my old coach when he was emigrating - I was overseas at the time so I was considered safe to tell what was happening. And I'm now witnessing another coach who was polite enough to tell everyone a month to go, rapidly losing lessons before he finally switches).


Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2015, 01:48:14 AM »
I had a coach once who was moving to another state. She recommended another coach for me then she left for a month. When she got back for her last month at the rink, she wanted me to start up skating w/ her again on our old schedule, but I had moved on to the new coach. Whether it was a miscommunication or unreasonable expectations, it certainly put both of us in an awkward position.


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Offline jlspink22

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2015, 07:23:06 AM »
Fsk8r this was not his primary source of income for a long time (meaning he did it because he enjoyed it at one point). He commuted from DC to Philly for the equivalent of gas/tolls $.

He also cancelled quite a few times on me in the last 2.5 months, to the point where it bugged me because we dropped groups temporarily to prep for a competition. Thankfully those start back up in June just as her dance recital wraps up.  My time is valuable too. He once texted that he can't make it as I'm halfway home from work (1 hr drive) to pick up my daughter to take her to the rink. A lot of the other coaches make more of an effort to fit you in or they work in teams to put together an entire "package".

This same coach suggested I put her back into group lessons all of a sudden too when he always maintained they were "secondary" for a skater who wanted to compete.   This summer I plan to keep her in groups 2x a week while we try out coaches, since it will be her only activity for a bit. 

That being said, we have 1 lesson left on Wednesday that I already paid for since he canceled on me last week again. He offered to do Tuesday also but I declined because it will only confuse my daughter more and I can't really trust he won't cancel after I rearrange my schedule.

She's young, she's only going to be 6 soon, so she can't tell me what she wants in a coach, I can only tell you what I've seen that works.

She does need someone who doesn't mind the occasional hands on approach. For example she's learning a sit spin and she wasn't getting the foot position he showed her. I could instantly tell why she couldn't hold the spin.  As a former dancer I'm used to the occasional physical correction, so At publics I put her in the position he kept demonstrating and explained to her about center of balance. Would you believe it she got 2 good revolutions after that.

Spirals are arabesques without the standing foot being turned out. I helped her with that too because she was bending from the waist not the hip.

She needs praise when she does well but she also does best with those who command respect. Her dance teacher does it well - no BS but she knows her teacher always in her corner. Sometimes I felt current coach could be a little "soft" which is asking for trouble in the long haul. Been there done that with other things like school and gymnastics.

It's not just the skating either - I'm not trying to produce an Olympian here. Right now it's about balancing fun and learning to focus and self discipline. We talk about how much hard work and practice goes into what she sees the big girls do.



Offline Query

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2015, 10:13:06 PM »
Oh, wow. You were a dancer! Your daughter is in luck. As a dancer, you probably have all the right instincts for judging who would be a good coach.

And if she misses a couple skate lessons while you pick the next coach, you can teach her dance stuff instead.


Offline jlspink22

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2015, 08:46:12 AM »
Update.

Coach recommended by former coach is so far so good. Rink she teaches at is right down the road from my house and practically EMPTY!

Plus new coach is a former teacher and now a nurse-both pluses in my opinion.

Also, while former coach was teaching skills all over the place from Basic to Freeskate, new coach agrees with me that we should aim for DD to check off the rest of Basic Skills this year (which is reasonable considering she has most of them but needs to learn a couple and "master" a handful...master as in as best she can for her age). She will still challenge her of course, but she will have more empty ice to practice and will have goals to meet.

Offline fsk8r

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Re: Finding a new coach
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2015, 08:57:10 AM »
Sounds like it is currently a really good move. Hope it continues like that.
And you're really lucky to have changed rinks to a quiet rink.