Team Coaching
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San Diego Figure Skating Communications

Team Teaching
Form of Coaching

     There has been an evolution from the day of the single room schoolhouse to the present system used by the majority of elementary schools with one teacher being responsible for the teaching all of the core subjects.

     Some schools may enough funding to support highly specialized teachers available for computer science, art, music, physical education, and state and federal programs that fund teachers for disabled students and student who qualify for special reading and math "pull out" programs.

     The shift to having students change classes generally starts in the seventh grade in most school districts. This also corresponds with having different teacher credentials issued by the vast majority of State Boards of Education which issue different academic requirements for elementary, middle, and high school credentials.

     NCAA school is usually organized along the lines of a Dean of Athletes and Physical Education, a head coach, and various assistant coaching positions. A professional team is usually organized as a general manager, a head coach, and various assistant coaching positions, such as:

•    Offensive coordinator
•    Defensive coordinator
•    Specific positions with responsibility for – quarterback, kicking, hitting, pitching
•    Strengthening – weight lifting
•    Flexibility – Ballet, stretching
•    Conditioning/stamina – running, stationary bikes. etc.

     The coaching organization structural design serves the purpose of maximize results, time, and resources. The exact time devoted to specific types of training and strategy development depends on the available funding, skills of athletes, the quality of the training facilities, and of specific coaching style/philosophy of the head coach.

Coaching Figure Skating - Private verses Group or Team Lessons
    Figure skating generally is not sport commonly included in NCAA programs, except for a few school that have varsity Synchronized skating teams and ice hockey teams. The hiring of a college's athlete coach(es)) is a process involving a school's board of regents and the Dean of the College of Athletes and Physical Education. Sometimes an "Athletic Booster" organization plays a large role in raising funds for the school athletic department.

    The participating athletes on varsity teams do not pay any coaching, travel, equipment or practice fees. 

Note: Not all intercollegiate athletic activities are sanctioned by the NCAA. Activities
such as table tennis, archery, bowling, and rugby are not administered by the NCAA
at the Division I level. 

     According to a listing of NCAA colleges obtained from the NCAA, there are 955 colleges that make up the NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III colleges; 305 are classified as Division I, 260 are classified as Division II, and 390 are classified as Division III.

    The NCAA report Participation Statistics Report, listed men as participating in 19 major Division I sports including baseball, basketball, cross country, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey , lacrosse, rifle, skiing, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor track, outdoor track, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. Not all sports are supported by each of the 305 NCAA Division I colleges. Only 10 colleges men's skiing. Women were reported to have participated in 15 sports including basketball, cross country, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, skiing, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor track, outdoor track, and volleyball. For background information, refer to College sports and Institutional Choices.

    Most of the coaching of figure skaters does not involve a school component for skaters who are in kindergarten through high school.  All skaters should receive a conventional high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) diploma as an alternative that is accepted by most employers.  See the information on Skaters Educational Choices for those who compete in the USFS qualifying structure who choose not to attend traditional public or private schools. Alternative education programs can either lead to a high school diploma or to a high school equivalency diploma.

    Generally the employment of figure skating coaches in the USA occurs as independent contractors, who have financial arrangements with skater(s) or if under the age of 18, with the parent(s). These agreements are rarely formal written contacts commonly used by ballroom dance studios and most gyms/fitness centers. In the sport of figure skating, generally oral contracts are used that can be unilaterally dissolved by either party without penalty or advance notice.

    Most academic institutions have employee unions that negotiate contracts wish the school administration. Teachers can acquire job protection (tenure) after they complete a probationary period - usually three years. Classified works do not have that same protection. However, they generally have a seniority provision that provides for last hired - first laid off. Most districts have a form of civil service system for classified job positions and salaries based on detailed job descriptions.

Note: Some clubs will sign contracts with coaches guaranteeing them a specific minimum
annual income from private lessons and group classes to acquire their services.

Coaching Contracts with Ice Rinks
    Generally there are formal written business contracts that spell out the arrangements between each individual coach and a rink that covers terms of service for use of the rink's facilities and financial payments to the rink. Some rinks may require the figure skating coaches to teach their group classes.

    Rinks increasingly require coaches to be members of the USFS and PSA and/or the ISI. All rinks now require background checks and liability insurance coverage, Most rinks require all instructors to be rated as to the levels they have achieved to teach various skating disciplines. There may be a termination clause in the event of the coaches conduct on the premises and outside of the rink that brings negative publicity or embarrassment to the rink and/or sport of figure skating.

Team Coaching
    Some figure skating coaches are forming team coaching or teaching arrangements that are rarely formalized by written contracts; however,  usually one person is designated as the "primary or head coach" of team with delegated assistants who have specific teaching responsibilities and other part time individuals who provide specialize support services.

    Training centers generally provide access to a wide range of fitness or wellness services on site. Such centers are more likely to be available in major metropolitan areas or as part of relationship with a public or private educational institution or medical facility with injury preventive and sports medicine, and/or sport psychology departments.

    Some coaches use their personal contacts to help students arrange off-ice, stretching, ballet, Moves in Field, or choreography lessons.  This helps to ensure that these individuals will coordinate their instruction with a set of goals and objectives approved by the primary coach. It is very important that the use of multiple individuals does not muddy the waters by sending mixed messages and all communications are supportive of the main goal established by the skater.

    The approach of a team of coaches can be more cost effective and produce better and faster results than an individual coach who works alone. A fellow member of the team can step in when a coach is ill, on vacation, or away with competitive skaters entered in qualifying competitions. The caveat is that the team members must all have the skills to get the job done, plus being focused and respectful of one another.

    Working as a unit on a specific project allows each individual to be exposed to concepts from team members who may use different ways of communicating the same ideas, but resonate with the athlete. Access to different members of the teaching team provides perspectives from different subject matter experts who have access to ideas and expertise that the athlete would otherwise would not be able to tap into. As a result of this collaboration, the team teaching approach should result in the athlete exceeding the expectations of any individual teacher.

Socratic Teaching Style
    The concept of public and private school education is based on a subject matter expert (teacher) lecturing to a classroom of 10 to 15 students for graduate courses, larger classes for upper division courses, and a hundred or more students for freshmen and sophomore undergraduate classes.

    This approach has been combined with improved communications and computer technology interface that frees the classroom from a brick and mortar institution to an internet driven and delivered educational institution. Educating the masses has now become a cradle to the grave system that is highly responsive market driven supply and demand environment involved with mid-life retraining and elder study classes to stimulate brain activities of the growing numbers of retirees.

    High school and middle school classes can range from 25 to 40 students. Private tutors generally work with one or a maximum of two students.  Sometime times a teacher will provide a list of advance students who are qualified and available for tutoring. The fees would be substantially lower than those charges by certified/accredited teachers whose fees vary depending on their degrees and state teaching credential.

Effective Communications and Human Relations/Skills For Success
    All coaches must be prepared to manage stress in their clients. The sport of figure skating is under going many changes on an annual basis. The only area that is unchanged is the need to impart good basic technique to new skaters. The cost of acquiring skating skills may require an expansion of group class lessons to include intermediate and advanced topics in response to changing economic conditions.

    Advanced/complex topics require the instructors to spend more prep time in developing lesson plans and to generally becoming better equipped to be persuasive communicators, problem solvers, and focusing on inspiring small groups in tutoring private, one-on-one lessons.

    Group class instructors need to understand the need to develop their marketing skills and promote the group classes rather than persuading students and parents in taking more expensive private lessons. Group class lessons can generate more revenue for the sponsoring institution and the instructor. Parents who can affording semi-private and private lessons will eventually mode to this modality while providing opportunities for the recreational athlete.

    Team coaching members must strengthen interpersonal relationships with other coaches while learn to manage stress and handle fast changing collaborative workforce environment . A truly great coach or teacher can be described as a persuasive communicator, clear thinking problem solver, and a leader in a  specific field(s) of expertise.

    Each individual members of a coaching team must be willing to expand their capabilities and remain on the “cutting edge” of their field. The team must have someone who takes charge, inspires confidence, and enthusiasm in meeting with prospective clients. As the team becomes empowered, it is possible to move far beyond individual comfort zones to envision and attain ambitious new goals for new clients.

Stressing the pursuit of Academic Studies
    Acquiring a well balanced education is essential for any athlete whose primary goal is becoming a professional in their sport and earning a commensurate level of income. Note that professionals have a relatively short career due to physical injuries. Coaching can provide a more secure income and the  likelihood of a career ending injury is extremely remote compared to the performing athlete.

    Public and private schools have professional counselors who can administer aptitude tests which are designed to explore broad based interests besides an highly specialized interest in sports. A counselor can provide information concerning sports and academic scholarships that are available in large and small colleges and universities close to home and requiring relocation to other states. Some state colleges change out of state tuition until a residency requirement is met - usually a year residing in the state.

Figure Skating Coaching Team Members
    The primary coach should have a gold medal in and knowledge how to teach figures, MITF, and free skating. It also helps for a coach to have experience in selecting and cutting music for programs and choreographic experience in setting programs that complement the musical score. A well rounded coach would also have knowledge and experience in teaching pair, dance, and synchronized team skating.

    It is also very helpful for a coach to also have theatrical experience in putting together high quality skating show numbers and to produce ice carnivals. A background in creating showcase and artistic numbers for Theater On Ice events would round out the qualifications for a rink's skating director or a club's head coach.
  • Specific areas of responsibility – spins, jumps, footwork

  • Strengthening – weight lifting

  • Flexibility – Ballet, stretching

  • Conditioning/stamina – running, stationary bikes. etc.

  • Choreographer – marrying music and creative body movements with the use of ice as performing medium to enhance and become an extension of the musical score created by the composer.


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:

Team Ice Skating Sports High School Skating Clubs
Managing Sports Teams
Team Teaching/Coaching
Team Building and Cohesion
Interscholastic Skating
State Interscholastic Sports Federations
School Club Teams
PDF  List of School affiliated Clubs
PDF  Starting High School Club
PDF  High School Club Application
USFS High School Skating Clubs & Teams
Active Skating During High School
High School Skating
High School Team Skating Programs
High School Figure Skating Programs
High School Club Policies & Participation
PDF  Member Application School Affiliated Club

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