By Scott Davis
Director of Skating
The role of the parent is probably one of the most important on the team, which is made up of the skater, coach and you the parent. You provide the means (money to pay for the sport, transportation, nutrition etc) amongst many other things! But the most important role a parent can play is to be the cheerleader or support system of the team.
Your role becomes that much more important during a competition.
Remember you have hired your coaches to do the best job for your skater and you need to trust them as they are the experts.
When arriving at a competition, please have your skater register, hand in their music, find out where the dressing room is and review the starting orders (usually posted or ask a ice captain). Have them head to the dressing room, get their warm up gear on and then find their coach. One hour before the competition or practice, as coaches we are at work to get your skater focused on the task at hand. This means they should be fed (please don’t give them food an hour before they skate – we want the blood going to their legs and not trying to digest food in the stomach), hair and make up should be done and they should be ready to warm up. You should have already provided verbal support and told them how great they are. Please don’t talk too much about skating, or ask about specific things regarding jumps or spins, or comparing them to other skaters or even what they have been doing in practice or previous competitions. Keep it light, supportive and encouraging.
If we think they need something that you can offer, we will come find you or text you.
I can only think of how my parents treated me and what they did to support me. It was my sport, they knew how much I loved it, and gave me the opportunity to do so. We hardly ever talked about skating, ever. My mom still doesn’t know what the difference in jumps is.
After the competition, be there for support. Don’t forget you pay us as coaches to critique your skater’s performance and ask why things did or didn’t happen and to plan for the next competition. Please don’t ask them ‘Where the double axel went?’ or ‘Why can’t you make it through your long program?’ or ‘Why did you get a level 3 instead of 4?’. Skaters are their own worst critics on what they did or did not do out on the ice, and then they have us the coaches who will provide plenty of feedback. They need you now to support them whether that is a big hug, words of encouragement or a shoulder to cry on.
Don’t forget we are all on the same team!!