Communications

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Skater Feedback
 
Feedback is Essential part of Communications
       A necessary part of being a coach, judge, or USFS club official is developing a means of determining if communications with skaters and parents is effectively delivered and the recipients have a clear under- standing of the information.

       Skaters and/or parents who have communication problems, will sooner or later, become unhappy with the relationship with their coach either change coaches or cease skating entirely.  If the problems that are experienced are related to their home club affiliation, they can change their club membership or become independent members. A third option is that they become so discouraged and upset, they quit skating entirely which is a loss to the sport that can be avoided if clear channels of communications had existed.

Work on Improving Observation Skills
       Parents who observe their children daily don't see the changes in their child's personality, growth (height and weight), or athletic skills and academic skill development as readily as individuals who see the children less frequently and to whom the changes are more apparent.

       Unfortunately, if there are things that need attention, delays in observing the child may allow the problem(s) to spiral out of hand. Being in contact with parents requires them to want to be involved without their interest becoming obsessive. Parents too often are in denial that there is a behavior, disciplinary, and/or learning problem that needs to be addressed.  

Parents need to be involved in the school PTA, classroom activities, and sports organizations.
       A child's school teacher will schedule parent conferences in the fall and spring, notify parents of homework assignments and grades (many establish electronic office hours and use personal e-mail), and if necessary develop student/parent contracts in an attempt to establish an awareness of assignment deadlines.

       Figure skating coaches would be well advised to adopt a similar program to keep parents in the loop so they can monitor the child's skating progress prior to not passing tests or placing at or near the bottom in competitions.

       Parents should arrange to have a video record of each competition the child enters. A great program for a skating club would be offering a similar service for tests. Such a video could help to clarify the judges comments - concerning elements that are positive and especially those that identify areas that need improvement.

       Individual judges will be happy to discuss the test sheets after a test session. It is very helpful to have a copy of the judges test sheet to assist in their recall. They can only comment on their marks and the reasons that the marks were based on.

       Coaches can inquire if a judge(s) are willing to come into the rink to critique a skater's performance before testing or competing. Most judges require a minimum of three weeks prior to the test or competition in the event to elapse after viewing the skater as they may have to judge the skater at the test session or competition.

Establish Fair and Realistic Expectations
       To be fair to judges, coaches should not ask judges to volunteer their time to look at a skater's performance when prior experience suggests the skater will not be receptive recipients of the judge's input. Judges make every effort to make positive, constructive comments and suggestions, but there must be sufficient time available for the skater and coach to implement the suggestions. Children are far more resilient and more quickly assimilate comments than do adults.

       Coaches should not put up a test if the skater has not demonstrated the skills in practice sessions that meet or exceed the minimum passing level of each element prior to signing up to schedule the test. It is the responsibility of the coach to not set the skater up to fail on the day of the test become "stressed out" from self doubts about their ability to pass.   See self-confidence.

What Kind of Problems Can Be Typically Observed
       Judges are trained to evaluate the five program components and the grades of execution of jump, spin, and step sequences. The question to pose to skaters is "Does the skater believe they have a problem relating to these areas?"

       If they don't feel they have a problem, there is not much that can be accomplished by continuing along this path. It is very likely the coach is already aware of the skater's disconnect between what is being observed and what an objective observer has witnessed. 

       It would be helpful to know in advance if the skater has a problem admitting they have problem areas when they review a video of their performance. Denial of there being any deficient areas poses a major obstacle to begin to attempt the correction of technical and presentation problems that exist.
   
Peer Reviews
       Novice level skaters of a coach, who participate in being “critiqued”, should also experience being the “critiquer”. This helps them understand the importance of providing constructive, positive feedback. It takes practice to develop the communication skills to provide both explicit and implicit information in an effective critique.  Feedback given to skaters, should be precise, clear, and complete while exploring the athlete's goals, discussing their process, and explaining what corrective action can achieve.

       Always provide honest and objective comments in critiques. Attempt to solicit feedback during the critique. Attempt to implement a plan to provide guidance and support to enforce the recommended changes discussed.

Recommended Reading:

Principles of Training Athletes:

Developing Course Materials:

References:

PDF Beyond Content, Deeper than Delivery: The Critique Feedback  Feedback is necessary every time a critique is given! Critique feedback is illustrated the importance of design process.

DOC Peer Critique/Feedback Protocols  Peer Critique/Feedback Protocols. There are many ways of giving and receiving feedback in structured ways.

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:
   
   
   
Choreography and Artistic Performances
Choreography - An Art or Science?
Role of Skating Technique in Choreography
Music's Role in Creating Skating Programs

Role of the Choreographer in Figure Skating
A Choreographer's Role & Duties
Choreography & Presentation
The Role of Choreography in Presentation
Event Required Elements
Choreographing Free Skating Programs
Choreographing Artistic Skating Programs
Differences in Artistic, Interpretive Events
Choreographing Showcase Events
Theater On Ice
Creating Dance Content
Skater Feedback

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