Jun 7, 2012

I'm jealous of my daughter's coach

The title was a phrase from the keyword search, but I could immediately relate.

I raised both a high level skater, my daughter, and a high level musician, my son. Never for a moment did I ever feel competitive with my son's orchestra directors or piano teachers. But I confess that I sometimes felt usurped by my daughter's figure skating coach.

What is it about the coaching relationship that makes it so different and so special? How do parents cede the control over this relationship to a stranger?

The sport's physical and emotional demands and the safety concerns compel the student to endow the coach with a significant level of trust. Because of this, the coaching relationship is a deep bond, nearly parental in its intensity. It is not just a trope to say that I love my students.

The coach often represents a child's first emotionally intense relationship outside the family unit. And a coach has access to the child that other beloved adults--teachers, soccer coaches, etc.-- do not. They have a lot of one-on-one time, and a shared knowledge and culture that excludes the parent.

It's insultingly easy, on the other hand, for a young student to leave a coach. I know that I've had students who loved me very much--who cried when I left, or their parents moved them. The first couple of times you see them after, they throw themselves in your arms. In a month, it's "Oh hi Xan."

It's hard to remember down in the trenches that you do eventually climb out of it. Even highly successful competitive skaters will eventually leave the coach; careers end after all, or move into a phase where a coach is occasional, or even superfluous. The coach eventually becomes a friend. But there you will still be, still the parent; the bond that need not ever be broken.

Have you ever been jealous of your child's coach?

19 comments:

  1. Oddly enough, no. I was once jealous of my girlfriend's Ballroom dance partner... is that the same? (smile)

    I could definitely envision this happening though. At root of course jealousy comes from both hunger for love and the observation that someone else is getting that love instead. So both the hunger and the observation of love's diversion are required.

    The way "out" is to recognize that souls take their own paths. From Kahlil Gibran...

    You may give [your children] your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their soul,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you
    cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

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  2. I need your help! I'm 12 and in freeskate 1. Do you think I could make it to Regionals? I want to start private lessons, but my parents said no. I'm working to convince them, and I think they're almost convinced, but not quite. Any tips on convincing your parents? I also want them to take me to public sessions more often so I can practice more. I must make it to Regionals. And one more kind of random question about jumps. Why do you cross your left leg over your right, if you're jumping to the left. Wouldn't it make more sense to cross your right leg?
    Thank you for reading.

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    1. Short answer is, anyone who has passed the prerequisite tests can go to regionals--the tests are the qualifications. But you have to have passed at least your Pre-Juvenile test, Moves and Free Skate. As for whether you can go, I don't know your test level, so I can't say. It's a great goal, but not the only goal, so if you can't go this year, talk to your parents and/or an older skater you admire about helping you with some good goals.

      Short answer on jump position: counter clockwise jumps (jump to the left) land on their right leg. It needs to be in the back or this will be really hard.

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    2. Oh, you're twelve. Levels age out in the qualifying competitions around your age; check with a coach to see what level you need to be skating for your age at regionals. Not sure they have the "open" (i.e. not age-restricted) levels at regionals.

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    3. If you just want to go to regionals, you can compete as low as pre-pre level, as you did not say you want to compete at qualified or non-qualified event. If you want to compete at qualified event, then that means you have to pass both Juv MIF and FS test in order for you to compete at Juv level. Regional do not allow skate up. For Juv level, the age cut off is 14, can't not be 14 or older by 09-01 of that year.
      Hope this helps.

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    4. Thanks! I figured someone here would have that info at their fingertips!

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    5. Thank you! I hav'nt actually done any figure skating tests, but I know enough to pass pre preliminary, and almost enough to pass preliminary. If I get a coach I could pass those two, and try to pass pre juvenile before regionals this year. Does anyone know what month regionals is in this year?

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    6. Good luck to you Mia! If you can, I would go see some local USFS competitions this summer. They are always fun. Most girls do competitions this time of year to gear up/fine tune their programs for regionals. Do you know where your regionals will be held? Ours is out of state so not something we can manage this year (we would have to pay for our skater and her coach (travel/hotel/food/missed wages)). Love that you are so excited about skating!~Meg PS - about falling...you just have to fall. A lot. Pads can help, but the more you fall the better you get at losing that fear.

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    7. Thank you! If I go to Regionals it will be in California, which is out of state. I really hope I can go this year, since I might be too old next year. I really hope I'll be going to Regionalsz Its been my goal ever since I started skating.

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    8. Regionals are usually in October. Southwest Pacific Regionals is in Phoenix (Peoria) this year.

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    9. I'm going to have a hard time making it to a juvenilke level by October! From this day onward, i'm going to work SO hard!

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  3. I also need help with not being afraid to fall.

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    1. Now THAT's a blog post!

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    2. Yes make it a blog post! That would help me a lot!

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  4. I'm not jealous. I am amazed. I was a child (and even an adult) who does not make a lot of super close relationships. I have lots of friends, but very few super close friends. I'm not a huggy or demonstrative person outside of close family.

    It brings me a great deal of joy to see my daughter glow when her coaches enter the rink, when she throw her arms around them, and has this love she wears on the outside for them. She is so easy and carefree.

    It has been a fantastic joy and blessing to watch her grow up. Not jealous at all. ~Meg

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  5. Does it count if I'm jealous of my kids' coach because she's almost my age but is still fit enough to do double jumps?

    I'm not at all jealous of her relationship with my children. On the contrary - she's a great role model and a good influence. They adore her, and she seems to genuinely care for them, which I really appreciate. How can you not like someone who loves your kids?

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  6. Yes! My daughter is 9. This is the first time in her life I have ever spent so much time away from her, and this is the first person she has had such a strong relationship with outside of our immediate family. I see the bond they have, the secret handshakes and sideways smiles. She really looks up to her coach. I feel like her coach/the ice gets the best of her, when she comes home she is often tired, grumpy and emotional. I can tell she is feeling it too. That doesn't make her want less ice time, maybe just more closeness with me when she is home. She skates 4 days a week, and has a 30minute lesson every day she skates(and this summer has done a skating program two hrs a day with her coach+other skaters). Shes currently spending about 12-14+hrs a week on the ice(some days she stays all day -social aspects that summer gave her). Id like to think that might decrease when the newness wears off(this is her first year) but shes been good at it, and that's really just made her crave it more. I miss her. I confess to sometimes watching videos of her skating while shes gone. I'm proud of her, just really jealous of her coach :p

    ~Renee

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    1. I meant to add we home-school, so this really IS the first time shes been away from me.

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