Choosing a Coach
Choosing a coach for your skater is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child in their skating career. The coach you choose will likely be with your child throughout their years of skating so you should be sure to choose someone who reflects the values and teaching style you want for your child. Children can often tell you who they are comfortable with and should be a part of your decision making process. Skating should be a fun and enjoyable activity and your child's relationship with their coach will be a big part of this.
As the parent you have the right to approach any qualified coach on the session and inquire as to their availability to teach your child. You do not have to wait for the coach to approach you nor are you obligated to go with a coach who does. Not all coaches are comfortable soliciting business in this manner but that does not mean that they aren't available. Choosing your child's coach is an important decision that will impact their enjoyment of skating for many years to come.
As all coaches are self-employed, setting their own hours and fees, there are several other things to consider when choosing a coach - cost, availability and qualifications being a few. Feel free to make enquiries to ensure that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Cost – Coaches rates will vary based on qualifications and experience. On average you can expect to pay anywhere from $9.00 - upwards of $12.00 for a 10 minute private lesson. Each Coach sets their own rate and as such they are not always an indication of qualifications. Keep in mind that rates will vary if there is more than one person in the group (semi private or group instruction) and length of the lesson (10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes or more). Some coaches will only teach private lessons, others are more flexible, if you are unsure and are shopping around, be sure to ask the coach for a fee schedule before committing to any lessons.
Availability – Check to see if the coach is available on the sessions you are planning to skate on. If you are interested in a specific coach, check their availability first and then try to skate on those sessions. If skating on a certain day is more important, register for the session and then check with the coach for their availability.
Qualifications – All coaches are required to be registered with Skate Canada, the governing body of skating in Canada. This ensures they are qualified as coaches, have current first aid, and are insured. The standard qualification levels are mandated by the Coaches Association of Canada and are based on the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). Coaches are designated through certification as CanSkate coaches or NCCP Levels . Levels range from Club Coach to National and International Coach. Each level indicates the level of competition the Coach is able to attend. Be sure the Coach you choose is qualified to teach your skater to the level you desire.
Your Rights as a Parent
As soon as you have made arrangements for a Coach to begin working with your skater you have entered into a business arrangement with this Coach. All issues regarding lessons and billing will be dealt with directly with your Coach. Any decisions regarding your child's skating or the engagement of additional or alternate coaches must be made through your Coach.
As your skater progresses and matures you may find that your current coach is no longer the right fit for your skater. Coaching changes don't happen very often and can be difficult to manage but as the parent you always have the right to switch coaches if you follow the proper procedure. First you must indicate to your current coach your intention to switch and then request a final bill. All fees must be paid prior to another coach beginning work with your skater. The new coach is also ethically obligated to tell your current coach that they have been contacted about starting lessons and must confirm that bills have been paid. It would be advisable to seek out a new coach prior to parting ways with your current coach to avoid any lapses in your skaters progress.