6) Student Achievement/Rankings - This is an undisputable [sic] test of a professional’s worth. Coaches who consistently produce champions and who are able to get the best from each of their students are worth their weight in gold!But what if achieving "championship" level is not your goal? What if you're just starting out and have no idea what kind of skater you or child will, or wants to, be?
I agree with the PSA--student achievement is an excellent metric for coaching excellence. But the emphasis on champions is too narrow, although to their credit they follow up with "get the best from each of their students."
EDIT, due to some confusion over the nomenclature!
Just to clarify, there's "ratings" and then there's "rankings" in the PSA:
Ratings indicate that a coach has gone through competitive exams before a panel of judges in one or more of 11 different disciplines such as Group, Dance, Pairs, Free Skating, etc. There are 4 levels through "Master" and you can get as many ratings as you want to put yourself through.
Rankings indicate your competitive success, starting with Level 1-- has students in recreational and nonqualifying competitions, through Level 10- multiple world medalists.
One is an indication of commitment to continuing education, and one is a measure of your success as a competitive coach. I would say that a coach with one or more ratings at the Senior level plus a mid-level ranking indicating that they've taken students to or through Regionals or beyond, would be a pretty good bet as a coach who takes instruction seriously.
I believe that all coaches should have, or be working on, a PSA rating as a minimum requirement to employment, but that ranking is a less important measure based more on your overall goal.
So what's the broader way to look at this metric?
From the outside, it's hard to judge the success of a student. A student who isn't competing by definition isn't going to be a "champion." Does that mean that coach isn't any good? You might look at a coach and think "her kids can't skate, I don't want to work with her." Or "he's only got the one really good student, he must be putting all his effort there and neglecting everyone else."
What you're not seeing are each student's goals, and where each one started. That teacher with all the "terrible" skaters? Maybe they were kids in trouble, who are now spending afternoons in the rink instead of on the street. Maybe that one really good student is a star, but the other ones started with time, money, or talent deficits that this coach is working with, to get "the best from each" of them.
A better "undisputable" test of a professional's worth is the focus and commitment they exhibit in the lesson. Is their attention on the student like a laser beam? Are the respectful and firm with the student? Do they have a good relationship with the parents? In a funny way, coaches who can turn out champions are a dime a dozen. But if you don't happen to have, or want, a champion, the firm, engaged, respectful, affectionate coach is the rarer bird, and the more desirable one.
As in, you want the coach who is teaching her skaters to be good people, and not just good skaters. That coach with all the fabulous but cliquish, snotty ones? Forget him. Go with the sweetheart whose students volunteer to help with the tots and the special needs kids.
In other words, get the stars out of your eyes, and find the coach with her blades firmly on terra glacialis.