Coaching and Lessons
Private lessons are available to all skaters in the club, but are sometimes suggested for skaters in the CanSkate level and required in the StarSkate program. The co-ordinator of the program your skater participates in can provide information about private lessons and advice about whether they would benefit from them. Skaters working at all levels of the STARSkate programs develop their skills through private lessons. Semi-private and group lessons may also be an option, depending on the coach’s availability and the skater’s needs.
Skaters register for specific ice sessions (for which they are qualified by test level) during which they will work with their coach. Typically on a 60-minute ice session, a skater will sign up for 15 minutes of coaching and spend the remainder of the time in a combination of group lessons (depending on level) and practicing individually. Learning to organise their time and work independently is an important skill for a developing figure skater.
Engaging a Coach
Private lessons are not organised by the club. Skaters (and their families) contract individually with a coach. Coaches set their own rates, according to their experience and qualifications, usually expressed as an hourly fee. Choosing a coach is an individual decision. A list of coaches is available through the Club office and here. Sometimes skaters/coaches arrange to take a trial lesson from a coach, to ensure that personalities and teaching/learning styles are compatible.
Coaching arrangements, including payment, are made directly with the coach, who operates independently of the Club. It is advisable to discuss expectations in advance. Coaches will expect skaters to be prompt and to attend lessons regularly, and to give advance notice whenever possible if a lesson must be missed.
Skaters can expect coaches to be in attendance; sometimes, however, coaches may have to miss a scheduled lesson in order to attend competitions, tests, or educational workshops with other skaters. In such cases the coach is expected to provide advance notice when a lesson must be cancelled or rescheduled.
There is a nice article in the publication produced by the US Figure Skating federation (here), which gives some really useful advice about communicating with a private coach and how to change coaches if necessary.
Skaters experiencing conflict with a coach are encouraged to meet with the coach to discuss the problem. If a skater plans to change coaches, for any reason, the coach should be advised of the decision, by phone or in person, and outstanding coaching fees must be paid in full. Keeping relations cordial contributes to a productive and cooperative atmosphere in the Club generally.