I purchased the new DVD published by the Professional Skaters Association, The Forgotten Art of Skating Etiquette. Complaints about skating etiquette are probably in the top 3 queries here--along with coaching changes and, lately, weeks-long discussion on underwear (just kidding).
The DVD hits all the standard rules: skating patterns, spin area, right of way, off-ice behavior. It talks about neatness, avoidance of cliques, proper attire and coaching suggestions. It's got some nice bits of humor and the kids in it clearly had a lot of fun making it. There's a great scene of a locker room tantrum, someone violating the 5-second rule (yuk), and a dreams-of-glory moment when one skater pushes another one over on the ice. We've all wanted to do that.
The host is a young woman with a sincere delivery (although she needs to learn how to use a teleprompter without looking like she's reading) but I would like to see a host with more gravitas. Specifically, I think Jimmie Santee, the Executive Director of the PSA and the writer of the DVD, should have been the host. It would give the whole thing more a tone of "I'm sick of reading the grievances about shit that could be fixed with a little courtesy and common sense." The younger, unknown person leading the DVD just makes you think of some sweet new coach who, gosh, just wants everyone to get along, 'kay?
Some of the common etiquette lapses it misses is dealing with divots, lefty skaters, and high and low skaters sharing practice sessions. It also entirely leaves out group lessons. I guess we don't have to be nice to each other in group.
It also doesn't address non-collegiality among coaches. I have seen
coaches deliberately stand in the line of sight between another coach and her student; talk on cell phones during lessons, ignore class skaters whom they do not teach in privates, ignore private lesson students if their star student is also on the ice (or worse,
ignore their own private student to watch and discuss someone else's
star). I've seen coaches stepping off the ice to go talk to a parent (of another coach) or to talk to parents during a group class that they're supposed to be teaching. I've seen group lessons in the lutz corner on practice sessions (in fact, large group lessons on practice ice at all), and coaches who refuse to discipline their own skaters, including a coach making jokes about one of their skaters injuring someone. You get the idea.
Not to mention trolling innocent bloggers.
What's missing from the script is any suggestions for fixing a program where etiquette has given way to every-skater-for-herself. Having just left a program like that, I can tell you, having everyone watch a DVD isn't going to fix problems. Every coach and high level skater I know understands these rules. The PSA should be helping coaches and programs with ideas to fix problems internally, and should be stating how the PSA can support coaches and skating directors who try to clean things up.
The package would also be stronger with printed materials-poster-sized print outs of the suggested practice patterns that are used in the video, and blank sheets for rinks to create their own (the practice pattern at my rink, for instance, is slightly different than the one proposed). A small booklet with the common-sense rules from the video would also be a nice addition; or even several, so any coach buying this could give one to each of his or her students.
This video is a great idea, and PSA is exactly the right institution to promote it. I call this a great start. The content needs to be more comprehensive, with some print extras, and it needs to be backed up by an actual project of the PSA to improve courtesy on the ice.
Finally, at $15, this 10-minute video is a little pricey. I think the PSA would better serve the problem--the increasing loss of civility and common sense on practice sessions--by simply sending these out free to every coach in their membership as they renew. That way, everyone in the industry would know that the PSA is serious about returning collegiality to the rink.