November-December 2008,PS Magazine
Going over the minutes from the May Board of Governors meeting in Chicago, I found a gem of an analogy from then PSA Vice President, Christy Krall, “…with so much to know…Coaches now feel like a plate spinner on the Sullivan show.” For those of us that remember the Ed Sullivan show, I can hear the Sabre Dance playing in the background as the tuxedoed circus performer ran from plate to plate, frantically trying to keep the china from hitting the floor. Well, as our industry becomes more competitive in an unstable market, coaches are running from rink to rink, trying to find ice time and students, learn the IJS, and fulfill their Continuing Education Requirement, I can see her point. What we have to remember is that if we are going to keep those plates from crashing to the floor, we must learn to work together; arena’s, coaches, parents, skater’s, clubs, PSA, U.S. Figure Skating, ISI, STAR, and the U.S Olympic Committee. As I have often pointed out, it is the coaches who drive our industry. Rinks may provide the ice, skaters may provide the TV ratings, clubs may provide the testing, and U.S. Figure Skating provides the stage…but it is the coaches that find the talent, nurture the talent and mold them into tomorrow’s champions, all the while providing a vital lifeline of income to the rinks and clubs. Guiding skaters through a mine field of issues takes a skill set that must be learned. Although many feel pressured from both the PSA and U.S. Figure Skating to spend more of their hard earned money on education and registration, it is imperative that coaches take advantage of what is offered. Last year, the PSA asked our members to invest in yourself. Most purchased liability insurance, attended educational programs, took ratings, applied for rankings, and networked with fellow coaches…all of these programs are here to help you.
For this year, PSA and one of our insurance partner’s, Association Marketing Group (AMG) is working on affordable health care plans with savings in many areas of up to 50%. By January 1, AMG will hope to be making available this insurance in over 18 states. AMG now offer’s PSA members dental and vision plans in all 50 states. The PSA has worked hard to improve communication to members through the Area Representative Outreach program, mass e-mails from the office and IJS alerts to your telephone. As CER classes come online, the joint PSA and U.S. Figure Skating CER committee plans to launch up to 36 more online courses in which to choose from. The key word although is “choose.” For you to be successful, you as a coach must “choose” to participate. The USOC calls this model for victory, “Athlete Centered, Coach Driven.” Coaches must make the decision to participate. Coaches must make the decision to be ethical. Coaches must make the decision to take the steps necessary to ensure their own achievement and the success of their athletes. The PSA, U.S. Figure Skating, ISI, STAR, and the USOC will provide you with the opportunities and tools required. You have to make the choice to accept it.