Athlete Centered Skating

The Athlete Centered Skating (ACS) pledges are for athletes, parents, coaches on the ACS team, as well as coaches and trainers who work with the ACS team.  They convey the core behaviors nurtured by the ACS program. This blog series presents more information about the values conveyed in the pledges. In this final installment, we will present what we believe set us apart as a team, placing our focus around the athlete as an individual. The pledges also share specific behaviors that are unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the ACS program.  

ACS Coach Pledge

The ACS Coach pledge conveys core behaviors coaches and our extended coaching family adopt to hold ourselves accountable in the ACS program.  The pledges define these behaviors, and the ACS curriculum was designed to nurture these behaviors in our athletes as they develop their sport-specific skills. We give this pledge to all choreographers, guest coaches, and off-ice instructors who work with our athletes as a way of unifying our program and seeking out the collaborators who share the same values we do. The following behavioral expectations are set forth for all coaches in the Athlete Centered Skating program and those of our extended coaching family:

  • My top priority is the physical and psychological health and wellbeing of the athlete as they navigate this journey.
  • I will always value and respect the opinions of other members of the coaching team. I will respect and uphold all decision outcomes with the team.
  • I will do my best to arrive at training in a timely fashion and stay committed to my schedule.
  • I will remain actively engaged with my athlete(s) during their lessons.
  • I will notify via email to all athletes at least one week prior to known schedule changes and cancellations. I will do my best to accommodate for last minute requests and cancellations within reason. 
  • I pledge to have a lesson plan and goal prepared for each lesson.
  • I can show support for my athlete by taking a positive, active role in ensuring that their environment is safe and equitable for all participants.
  • If I have a disagreement with another coach, I will seek time out to discuss it with them away from the athletes.
  • The best way for me to ask questions is to email the entire coaching team. This ensures that the coaching team sees the question, discusses, and is able to present a best-informed answer.
  • I understand that figure skating is a judged sport, and I will respect the outcomes and results of competitions and tests. 
  • I have every right to promote ACS when engaging with those around me. I have every right to share my experience with ACS and how it might contrast with other programs, and I pledge to do so in a professional manner.
  • I can be a positive, supportive coach at competitions by:
    • Modeling good sportsmanship by cheering on my skater and others, including direct competitors;
    • Making known to the athlete that their competitive performance will never impact the unconditional positive regard we hold for them as humans; and
    • Focusing not on the results, but rather on the experience and learning opportunities of the athlete.
  • I recognize that there is no one in the world quite like the athlete in front of me, and I understand that they will progress in their own unique, nonlinear, and developmentally appropriate manner.

Behaviors Not Tolerated

The ACS coach pledge also list behaviors that are not tolerated and could result in a coach being removed from the ACS coaching team.  We want the ACS program to be recognized for the positive behaviors it promotes.  However, we also understand that the quality of a program is represented not only by the behaviors that are promoted, but by also those that are tolerated.  It is important for the athletes to understand and recognize when their own behaviors have strayed away from being effective and acceptable for their training, and we as coaches must be models of this behavior.  In some cases, these behaviors could result in a verbal warning from the ACS coaching team.  In other cases, such as repeat or severe offenses, the coach could be suspended or expelled from the ACS program.  These decisions are made solely at the discretion of the ACS coaching team.  Below is a list of behaviors not tolerated by ACS:

The following behaviors are not acceptable and will not be tolerated. These behaviors could result in suspension or expulsion from the ACS coaching team or extended network:

  • Engaging in behavior that violates the SafeSkate Code of Conduct. This involves physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse, bullying, and hazing. Yelling, personal attacks, willful neglect, and ostracization fall under this category.
  • Gossiping about other skaters, parents, or coaches
  • Prioritizing competitive results above the athlete’s physical and psychological health and wellbeing
  • Chronic failure to adhere to training plan schedules. This includes on- and off-ice training schedules.