The Learning Process
 
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Evaluating Ice Rink &
Skating Club
Activities

There is a symbolic relationship between rink and skating club management

      The skating school director is usually the first contact beginning skaters and parents have at an ice rink. They generally do not make contact with a USFS club until much later unless the club is sponsoring a Basic Skills "Learn to Skating group class program".

      Rink management and Directors of the local skating club should evaluate skater satisfaction to see how
their organization and staff are doing to meet the needs of all skill levels of figure skaters who patronize the skating facilities.   

      Repeat business is essential for a rink and the affiliated skating club.  Ideally the rink's "Learn to Skate" group classes are successful and a high percentage of skaters continue to enroll in multiple group classes until they acquire the skills to consider transitioning into a USFS membership. 

      Prior to developing a market survey, the designer of the survey should start with a clear understanding of the expectations of the skaters and their parents. These expectations are unlikely to be stated or published so it might be wise to organize a focus group to establish the basis for evaluating customer satisfaction.

If people have expectations which go beyond stated and actual responsibilities, then further investigation should be pursued because it will almost certainly offer an opportunity to add
new services that add value and competitive advantage to the rink and skating club as symbiotic organizations.

      Considering the economic conditions that presently exist, the rink management is more likely to see and respond to new opportunities for the support and development of the beginning skaters. Too many skating organization lack the volunteers and expertise to recognize potential problems, understand the need, propose solutions, and take the steps to quickly respond.

      Some progressive rink management and the club directors are frequently talking to their clientele and are fully in touch with skaters and parent's expectations. Every facility would be well served by circulating a survey/questionnaire and conducting group discussions (focus groups) to gain the necessary data to plan and develop new programs for all levels of ISI and USFS skaters.

      The following examples of services spectators, skaters, parents, coaches, clubs, and judges may be interested in utilizing if offered. The rate of participation would likely be high if offered in conjunction with the ice rink, preferably in the same complex. Some dedicated skaters may participate in community college courses or privately operated businesses with in a reasonable driving distance of the home, school, and ice rink.

Collection of Marketing Information
      Instructions: please fill out the questionnaire with the numerical score reflecting your interest in using the services, if offered at a reasonable cost. 

1   Very Unlikely
  2    Unlikely  
3   Undecided     4   Likely   
5   Very Likely


    
On Site of ice rink
    
Off site
<15 minute drive
     
Off site
30> minutes drive
On-ice Services


Exercise, weight, flexibility training


Ballet, ballroom dance, rhythmic gymnastics. modern dance, hip hop, etc. classes


On-ice Classes/Workshops



  • MITF



  • Free Skating



  • Compulsory Dancing



  • Synchronized Team Skating



  • Theater on Ice



Off-ice Classes



  • Nutrition



  • Injury Prevention



Seminars



  • Opportunities for club volunteers



  • Understanding IJS



Club Activities



  • Conduct Test Sessions



  • Host open competition(s)



  • Sponsor ice shows, carnivals, exhibitions



  • Club Jackets



  • Fund Raisers



      This is not intended as an exhaustive list. Other examples that contain elements are typically only found at larger facilities - lodging, restaurants, winter sports apparel, etc.  Smaller sports facilities might serve as an anchor for a cluster of small businesses that specific support sporting activities by conveniently offering related services not in the sports facility.

      The beginning skater and his/her parents generally don't have any knowledge or expertise about ice skating sports and specifically of figure skating. Whose responsible is it to provide the necessary information for these new skaters to be successful?

      In this fast changing world, the local figure skating club is usually unlikely to have the financial resources to provide the funds to underwrite the training expenses of its USFS. Sometimes parents of younger skaters and older skaters will work at the rink to pay for their skating equipment, practice sessions, skating costumes, and coaching fees.

      Coaches will provide a valuable service to their skaters by encouraging their parents to become involve with helping the club build a strong figure skating program. Parents need to volunteer so they can be part of club fund raisers to assist skaters who qualify to compete in sectional and national championships. 

References:
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:

Starting An Ice Skating Rink    
PDF  Recreation Facilities PDF  Discussion of Multiple Ice Surfaces
PDF  Skating Training Center PDF  Marketing Skating to Schools
PDF  History of Ice & Refrigeration Systems

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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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