This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

- factors

Does it really take a specific coach to create a skater of national quality? When I evaluate all of the growth factors that I attribute to a skater, a coach, a ballet teacher and the skater's parents, I'm somewhat unsure that the coach contributes as large an impact as we all think. If I were to graph it piechart-wise I'd say Primary Coach: 20%; Specialty coaches (combined total from 4 of them): 25%; Involved parent: 15%.

Gee that only adds up to sixty. And the remainder? Yeah a full 40% is solely due to the natural abilities, the developed skills, the dedication, the body build, and the injury avoidance of the skater herself.

What's the difference then on the actual development of a skater overall between the best possible and the typical average coach? Well if the worst coach is zero and the best is 20%, then from average to best works out to half of that, or around ten percent. Heck yeah at the elite level this is tremendous, but at the local competitive level guess what? It's mostly irrelevant as it becomes overwhelmed by the other factors.

Now mind you I'm not saying that you can get by with a coach that is a competent lout. You should strive to find a primary coach that your daughter finds *inspiring*; this is the key trait to discover, and it involves having that right "chemistry" between your skater and her coach.

Make sure your skater is comfortable with her everyday coach, but as long as the coach is competent and inspiring don't fret if she's not the best at the rink.


Bonus: check out this retrograde duck: pretty much impossible on the ice, but on wheels....


  1. Happy belated "Skate" Father's day. From one skate dad to another.

  2. Thanks! Actually I went to see the L.A. Dodgers on Father's Day; they do a really nice job of the pre- and post-game, with the players and their families on the field beforehand. Afterwards they let Father-fans and their kids out on the diamond to play catch! (picture link below)

    Thanks for reading the blog and for your comment!