Communication is a vital part of an athlete centered training environment’s success. Communication includes dialogue between parents and coaches, coaches and skaters, coaches and coaches, parents and their children, even parents and parents. If we are all better informed, our involvement can be more supportive and effective.
Coaches should inform parents what to expect in figure skating, the training environment the coaches promote, and how parents can support their children without being over-involved. We also believe that if we educate parents on both the values and components of our program and how we apply them, then we can better earn their trust. We are confident in our methods and, if we want our athletes to develop into confident and capable learners, it is important for parents to learn about and (hopefully) incorporate them at home.
Unfortunately, in traditional training environments, communication is very limited and, in some cases, non-existent. In some situations, parents are left so much in the dark that they must become managers of their children’s training. However, we believe parents should always feel they can ask questions about coaching decisions, progress, upcoming plans and so on. Though they should do so with respect for the coach’s expertise and time (coaches cannot be available 24-hours a day!).
We deeply appreciate inquisitive parents for several reasons. First, it shows parents have an interest in finding the right “match” for their children. There should be a connection; a mutual respect between coach and student. Second, inquisitiveness shows that parents want to learn how to be supportive. How will they ever know what to do if they are not informed? Third, inquisitive parents challenge us to be better at what we do. Since we promote open dialogue, we know we are accountable for our work. This process facilitates the growth and development of our programming. Alternatively, if parents are kept in the dark, the coach doesn’t have to assume responsibility for any of the actions taken because nothing was communicated. This allows the coach to maintain a “faultless” image and, worse, place all accountability on the skater or skater’s family.
Inquisitiveness can certainly go too far. Parents have a right to learn about their coach’s methods, goals and plans for their children but this does not mean they should outright challenge the coach or circumvent the coach’s plans. Ultimately, a healthy balance can be achieved where coaches and parents both mold and adapt their roles for the betterment of the athlete. We should all be here to learn! We encourage positive and open dialogue between all members of our learning community and between our learning community and our extended community within The SCOB. Let us support one another to ensure a positive, healthy, hard working, and fun environment for everyone to thrive!