Jun 16, 2010

Your coach is your coach

I got the raw end of a very bad situation yesterday, where a mother decided that I was not a child's "real" coach, and told two other coaches that her daughter did not have a regular coach (although she apparently DID tell them that she had "just done a couple of lessons with Xan"), as she arranged to have the child work with someone other than me (all unknown to me). Turns out this person "coached" the child when she was 2, so apparently that makes her the child's "real" coach. Since I had reserved a very desirable lesson time and had to turn away two students who wanted that time, and had just confirmed this with the mother, this came as quite a shock.

I walked into the rink and there was a friend of mine coming off the ice with my student. Further, the actual new coach apparently was out of town and rather than telling the mom, just stay with Xan for now, actually arranged for this third coach to work with the girl. Furthermore, they are now apparently getting ready for testing, which this mom had specifically told me she did not want to do. If she had, I would have told her I was not the right coach for her, because I don't take kids through testing.

I feel like the mother lied to me, by both commission and omission. Both those coaches should have called me first and they know it. My friend feels terrible. The other coach should know better. All of them basically defined me out of the picture to suit their own needs.

So, Skating Parents, listen up:
  • If you have arranged more than a one-off with a coach, that person considers him or herself your coach.
  • If you have asked for a regular skating time with a certain coach, that is your regular coach.
  • If you worked with a certain coach years ago, that person is not your "real" coach. That is your "former" coach. The coach you are currently paying is your "current" coach and deserves the courtesy of being fired in person.
Every one in coaching has experienced the loss of a skater. We can deal with it. It happens all the time. But coaches are colleagues, and we need to be able to get along. If you want to change coaches, well, folks, MAN UP and tell the current coach what's going on. You cannot imagine how awful it feels to walk into a rink and see someone else with YOUR student, when this is the first you've heard of it.


  1. Good post, Xan.

    I think that some parents don't understand how this works. That's no excuse for her crap behavior, though. Courtesy is courtesy, after all.

    I know that PSA members know how the system works, though. The new coach should have called you, right? She had to verify that the bill was paid up, right?

    This is SO NOT COOL. May your day go better today.

    Ice Mom

  2. Wow how completely unacceptable! I mean its one thing for the parents. It another for multiple coaches to be involved. As soon as the other coaches heard your name as being involved they should have talked to you. And everyone should have know better in this situation. Sorry to hear how poorly you were treated. I just posted on this last week actually, I think its that time of year.

  3. It was a terrible ending of a truly terrible day. I've cleared the air with the mom and both coaches, but I think everyone is aware how disrespected I feel. But it's something I think parents need to be aware of.

  4. It's sad to hear that, Xan. But I'm glad you posted this to help new skating parents understand the right way to go about things.