I think you are taking my comments out of context - it would be better and or best to have a coach - there is a reason coaches were invented - technique, outside view, different expertise, help guide the ship, saner mind .... but if worse came to worse one could compete with a coach (sort of like P Chan) but it is not the best. Mind you the right coach is important to (P Chan again - modern dance teacher not the best probably without a tech coach)I disagree. Yes, some skaters have managed to coach themselves to Nats and Worlds medals, but there is a reason why 99.99% of competitive skaters still retain their coaches. It's simply wiser to have a second set of eyes evaluating your training sessions, since you can't watch yourself skate and--as was mentioned by several others--professionals are useful for pointing out the tiny details that could become major slips or falls. If it were a matter of pure ability or self-motivation, as you suggest, then a good majority of the international names would be on their own, but it's much more than that.