Programs Designed to
Retain Figure Skaters


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San Diego Figure Skating Communications
  
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Conflict Management
and Resolution


Conflict in Sports
     
In every group of individuals there is a potential for disagreement in policies and management styles.  Every those organization, even those that are nonprofit and staffed by volunteers will encounter conflicts over substantive issues and individuals who hold unshakable beliefs or who have very emphatic, forceful,  and/or domineering personalities.

Business Model

     Every successful for profit organization uses an established business model to develop a specialized  plan involving establishing departments with detailed policies to deal with:
  • Legal Counsel to advise and provide legal assistance,
  • Accounting/Tax Preparation  to insure all business practices conform with accounting principals and tax regulations,
  • Human Resources for hiring,
  • Information Technology to handle computer related issues,
  • Marketing to expand market share,
  • Public Relations to provide a positive image of the organization,
  • Resource Training to insure employees are current with the latest rules and regulations,
  • Conflict Resolution designed to prevent age, sexual discrimination, and associated issues that create a hostile work environment.
     Business employees are hired and trained to do their jobs according to specific job descriptions that allow performance evaluations to rate the employee's performance. Counseling is provided to help the employee correct any deficiencies that are identified in a performance review. These evaluations can also document reasons an employee is not performing at an acceptable level and thus reduce potential litigation for discrimination and bad faith by the employer.

Non-Profit Organizations
     Volunteer organizations should operate using accepted business, moral, legal, and ethical principals as applied to a for profit business. Unfortunately the management of many non-profit organizations lack the proper direction and foresight to spend time securing and training new volunteers. As a result they may operate in a capricious manner that creates a hostile climate for volunteers and to members of the organization.

     The directors of for profit and non-profit organization's must attract and utilize volunteers whose labor, knowledge, and expertise are necessary to the organization to function for its stated purpose in the 501(c)(3) tax exempt filing.

     It is common for individuals in a non-profit organization to both share and have different goals, aspirations, while failing to establish common ground on some subjects. Such behavior is a common reality in schools, churches, in the work place, and in family dynamics. It is therefore not surprising that in volunteer organizations that there are times, places, and circumstances where conflicts can arise between members - parents, skaters, coaches, and volunteers.

The Importance of being Proactive
     Most national sports associations have developed a set of guidelines and training workshops to train volunteer in defusing situations that occur through the use of conflict management techniques to reach a resolution before situations escalate.

     When fewer and fewer people stepping forward to volunteer, those who do the bulk of the work may take on a feeling of ownership of the volunteer organization rather than aggressively recruit and train additional volunteers. In extreme circumstances they actually begin to reject efforts of others to volunteer for positions of leadership and assume some of the responsibilities of assisting in providing direction plus the physical effort to plan and carryout new projects and ideas.

Negative Effect of a Toxic Volunteer Environment
     A hostile environment of new volunteers can be caused by passive aggressive behavior of those who are established in a power position. This can escalate into whisper campaigns to discredit individuals and make it very unpleasant for them to continue to assist in performing volunteer duties such as test chair, newsletter editor, and promoting Basic Skill programs, etc..

     It is very difficult to change this type of hostility since the attitude is usually held by a key group of individuals who can manipulate the elections by rotating the positions of officers to circumvent term limits in holding the same position. The rational is that these individuals are indispensable and thus changes are stiffed.

     Conflict in sports may be considered as an essential part of sport activities; however, many of the interpersonal conflicts are not necessary and can be avoid or mitigated. The following are examples of potential areas of conflict:

Conflict Areas - Figure Skating
Synchronized Team Skating and Theater-On-Ice Team Selection
The mechanism of selecting athletes to participate on teams has proven to be a potential problem area when a few individuals are designated as "alternates" and are required to pay practice and coaching fees, but they may not actually compete unless someone is hurt, ill, or otherwise unable to skate on the day of the competition.  NOTE - alternates practice and travel with the team, skate with the team on the event practices, but do not actually actual perform in the event unless there is an accident or illness requiring a substitute.

Coaches and Parents
Friction related to perceived favoritism over the placement in the team line - end or middle of the line or being paired with specific skaters on each side.

Free Skating, Pairs, Dance, Showcase, and Interpretive Skating
Coaches and Parents
Friction related to perceived favoritism over preferred time slots for lessons.

Coaches and Parents verses Officials
Friction related to perceived favoritism of competitors and negativity towards their skater in tests and competitions.

Skaters verses Skaters
Some skaters become very concerned due to their perception of how much attention the coach is paying to other skaters he/she coaches, and feels hurt and left out.

New Volunteers verses Old Timers
Volunteers run the skating club and there are always complaints that people don't volunteer, yet new ideas and methods are frequently ignored or even denigrated by those who do attempt to volunteer. As a result people tend to stop volunteering if they are constantly rebuffed.

Conflict Areas - Hockey
Coaches and Parents
Friction related to perceived favoritism over preferential team tryouts and playing time. There also may be complaints as to the position the skater is used.

Skaters verses Skaters
Some skaters become very concerned over their perception of preferred treatment the coach gives to other skaters.

New Volunteers verses Old Timers
Volunteers run the skating club and there are always complaints that people don't volunteer, yet new ideas and methods are frequently ignored or even denigrated by those do attempt to volunteer. As a result people tend to stop volunteering if they are constantly rebuffed.

Conflict Areas - Speed Skating
Coaches and Parents
Friction related to perceived favoritism over selections in team tryouts.

Coaches and Parents verses Officials
Friction related to perceived favoritism of competitors and negativity towards their skater at competitions.

Skaters verses Skaters
Some skaters become very concerned over their perception of preferred treatment the coach is paying to other skaters.

New Volunteers verses Old Timers
Volunteers run the skating club and there are always complaints that people don't volunteer, yet new ideas and methods are frequently ignored or even denigrated by those do attempt to volunteer. As a result people tend to stop volunteering if they are constantly rebuffed.

Conflict Areas - Curling
Coaches and Parents
Friction related to perceived favoritism over selections in team tryouts.

Coaches and Parents verses Officials
Friction related to perceived favoritism of competitors and negativity towards their curler.

Curlers verses Curlers
Some skaters become very concerned over their perception of preferred treatment the coach is paying to other curlers.

New Volunteers verses Old Timers
Volunteers run the curling club and there are always complaints that people don't volunteer, yet new ideas and methods are frequently ignored or even denigrated by those do attempt to volunteer. People tend to stop volunteering if their ideas and suggestions are constantly rebuffed.

References:
Resolving Team Conflicts - Key Topics
  •   Definition of a Conflict Situation
  •   Four Sources of Conflict
  •   Sources of Conflict Management Styles
  •   Five Conflict Management Styles
  •   Working through Differences
    • Step 1 - Specify the Differences
    • Step 2 - Explore Alternative Solutions
  •   Guidelines for Working Through Differences
  • PDF Conflict Resolution - Oxford Skating Club  Note: United States Figure Skating strongly recommends that each club handle conflict and the resolution of such conflict. These grievance policies are used to handle matters that may arise in a skating environment with minor children,
  • Bibliographies in Conflict Management and Mediation  Links to annotated bibliographies related to conflict management, resolution, and mediation, and provided for faculty and student research and for public interest in achieving solutions to resolve conflicts in a sports environment.
  • Conflict Management  is the process of planning to avoid conflict where possible ... This happens in the fields of sport, culture, religion and the workplace and can benefit by openly confronting and facilitating the resolution of conflicts.
  • Conflict Management in Sports  April 2, 2009. Everyone would agree that coaching by its very nature can be very stressful. The coach by choice has agreed to be in situations where conflict is expected to be part of the job.
  • PDF  CONFLICT MANAGEMENT FOR LEADERS  Groups might set up a Web site with conflict management tips. Sports teams could address ways to reduce violence that's not part of the game plan.
  • Conflict Management - Parenting Teenagers  Aug. 4, 2010. Fighting with a teenager is frustrating for parents and teens alike. Fortunately, handling problems with teens doesn't have to become an a full blown crisis.
  • Hockey Team Tryout Format  Every effort is taken to avoid conflicts with school vacations, ... Obviously players who are on the ice have the best chance to demonstrate their ability. .... Forwards & Backward Skating; Puck Carrier - Puck Handling, Shooting, etc.
  • PDF Figure Skating Program Information Packet  Skater, coach(s) and parent(s) must act as a team. Occasionally, conflict will arises and coaches on the ice are the first who are responsible for dealing with discipline and infractions of club rules and regulations or ethical issues.
  • Goals and Responsibilities of USFS clubs  If you are part of a figure skating club or part of a group considering forming of a new organization, review the suggested bylaws and conflict resolution policy to deal with member conflicts by serving as a touchstone for every decision. Be responsible for handling tax issues of club or for finding a resource to preserve your non-profit tax status.
Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Focus of USFS Clubs
  Figure Skating Club Topics
Your Local Skating Club
Communicating with Club Members
Skating Workshop Plans
Special Olympians Program
Seminar Ideas On & Off Ice
Amateur Ice Shows
Rink Facilities & Club Activities
Skating Events
Well Balanced Program Cards
Interpreting Judges 6.0 Scores
Becoming A Judge    
Conflict Management & Resolution Policies
PDF  Conflict Management
PDF  Personal Experience of home schooling
PDF  Financial Donations
PDF  Athlete Funding Opportunities
PDF  USFS Sponsorship Information
   
   
   
All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.


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