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Thread: Question about coaching fees...

  1. #1
    Fan of The Incomparable Sonja Henie Glacierskater's Avatar
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    Question Question about coaching fees...

    I have a question about coaching fees and how it is handled by your coach or your kid's coach.

    What do you pay? Do you pay for the hotel, food, mileage, and coaching time? Is it per diem, or a flat rate? What if you have more than one coach? What if you skate only one day at a three day event? Do you pay up front, or after the coach gets back with expenses? Does the coach submit a bill for the average of expenses to each skater?

    This is an issue that has come up recently at our rink. I am curious how it is handled in other areas of the country or world. Since our freestyle time is free, and our club ice is minimal, I think that some of the skate parents are taking it for granted that skating should should be inexpensive. Can I get a reality check from some of you? Skating is definitely NOT inexpensive, and I see parents and coaches struggling to come to an understanding. I will be waiting patiently for your responses!
    Last edited by Glacierskater; 07-19-2004 at 06:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Rinkside
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    Well the way my coaches and I handle it. ( I have two coaches, they are married) they add up what they think it's going to cost them, then divide it evenly between all the skaters that are going to the competition or test session. Then about a week or two before the competition they post it on the board. ( we keep a bullitin board up and post updates frequently and it's a parents and skater's job to check it everyday.) Then you can pay before , at the competition or after. Depending on the parent's financial needs. I do the same for my students. The amount depends on where the competition is, how many skaters are going, like that. Hope this helps!

  3. #3
    Rinkside
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    My coaches bill their skaters for expenses (coaching fees, mileage/air fare, hotel bills, food, etc) after the event. If they have multiple skaters at the same event, the coach's expenses are divided amongst the skaters. (each skater gets a seperate bill)

  4. #4
    Fan of The Incomparable Sonja Henie Glacierskater's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. Anyone else that has info, it would be appreciated as well. This is an ongoing issue, and we have never even had skaters (parents) pay for airfare....I can only imagine the wailing and knashing of teeth that would ensue then...

  5. #5
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    Glacierskater,

    I know EXACTLY where you are coming from trying to have parents understand that this is NOT an inexpensive sport.

    I am currently President of our local club, and until last year, our parents were absolutely spoiled. Every test was paid for, all partnering, all coaches expenses for competitions and test days, you name it, we paid for it. They complained last year when we had to raise our ice fees by $25.00 per skater! They didn't care that our ice rental had gone up $4.00 per hour, and that both coaches had recieved $6.00 per hour raises. Imagine their shock when they started being billed for test fees and competition fees!

    This is how our coaches calculate expenses:

    Mileage + hotels are totalled AFTER the event and the cost is divided equally among all skaters that REGISTERED for the competition. In the case of a skater backing out, if they have already committed to the competition, they are still responsible for their portion (except of course in the case of illness) We had an incident where 2 skaters "chickened out" at the last minute and we had one very unhappy parent when they realized they were going to be stuck for the entire bill. They had budgeted for only paying 1/3 of the coaches costs, and instead had to pay the entire bill themself. This was unfair to that parent as they would not have gone had they known they were responsible for the whole shot. This is why it was introduced that once you have committed, you are responsible for your share regardless.

    The coaches also charge for their time AT the event as follows:
    Practice ice - normal lesson fees (usually 1 lesson)
    Competition event - 2 lesson fees ( if a coach normally charges $10.00 per lesson, they are entitled to charge $20.00 for coaching an event)
    If the skater does more than one event at the competition, they are billed for EACH event.
    The coaches are also entitled to charge for babysitting if required and for meals. Neither of our coaches have ever charged for those things, fortunatately, but they are entitled.

    We also expect our coaches to try to cut costs as much as possible, for example sharing hotel rooms, and travelling together. For example, my daughter's coach lives an hour to the North of us, and we were attending a competition 45 minutes to the South. Rather than the expense of a hotel and mileage, I had her stay at our house for the weekend, and she travelled with us to the competition, therefore costing us nothing other than what we would normally have spent. Another time, we paid an extra $15.00 for a suite at the hotel we stayed at, and we gave her one of the rooms and we paid the whole cost of the hotel. She had 2 other skaters competing that weekend, so what she did is calculated what her portion was, had she paid it, and she gave us a credit for 1/3. Additionally, often times she brings her son with her on events while her husband is working out of town, and myself and my husband take care of him while she is with our daughter. She has never once billed any of us for meals, even though she is entitled, but often times, we treat her to lunch or dinner when we are at events.

    People have to understand that this is these coaches JOBS. Simply put, if their boss asked them to go away for the weekend for a conference, I am sure they would expect the company to pay the cost of their hotels/travel and also for their time.

    At one competition we went to this year, our coach had only 4 events over 2 days. She had a 3 hour drive, and one of the girls drew an early skate on the Friday, so she had to leave Thursday night. 2 nights hotel, 700 kilometres on her vehicle, meals for 2 days, and she only coached 4 events. My daughters coach does not charge 2 lesson fees for a competition event, she only charges a single, so in reality, she gave up an entire weekend and only made $40.00. Darn rights her expenses should be paid for!

    She is an exceptional coach, and would rather keep the costs lower so that the skaters can do more events, fortunately.

    I can't stress enough though, the importance of a contract with the coach and the parents outlining the expectations at the START of the season. Our coaches have a contract that the parents MUST sign, and if they complain when they get the bills after the event (which has happened) it is pointed out that they agreed to those terms when they signed the contract.

    We did have one issue arise this year, however, whereby one of our coaches had skaters from another club at the same event. Our skaters were finished on the Saturday about 4pm, and she had another skater that skated at 9am on Sunday. The parents didn't feel that they should have been billed for the Saturday stay because they felt she wasn't there for their children. While I sympathized with their plight, I also pointed out that it was a terrible snow storm and she had her young baby with her, and would have stayed regardless. She had already booked the 2 nights because of course we often don't know the draw times until the week before.

    Figure skating is an exceptionally expensive sport. Competition event fees are generally in the neighbourhood of $75-$125 dollars for 2-3 events. Add in the cost of paying the coaches way AND your own way, and the price increases dramatically.

    This year our club has chosen to introduce additional fundraisers that will directly benefit the skaters who choose to participate. What we will do is divide up the funds amongst those skaters that assist in the fundraiser, and while the money will be deposited to the clubs general account, a log will be kept with a record of "credits" that each skater has earned. These credits can be used to offset the cost of competitions, test days, coaching, ice time, or club clothing. This is a way of putting it back in the parent's ball park adn giving them an alternative way to offset the costs. I can guarantee my daughter will have no choice but to participate in every single one of these fundraisers!

    I hope I have helped you, and trust me, I understand the position you are in!

    Canuck

  6. #6
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    Oh my goodness Canuck, you hit me with exactly the info and details that I was looking for. As a newly elected secretary to our club, adult skater (which means that I AM the skate mom footing the bill), and friend to the coaches, I see the issue from all points of view. Our club president and I see eye to eye on many philosphies about running a club and what it requires to be a competitive skater. I think that you nailed it when you said that the parents are spoiled. We DO NOT have to pay for freestyle time for goodness sake! Our facility is non-prof, and the only thing that we payfor is club ice - 10 hours a week. Add another 10 at least to that in freestyle time, and we have it VERY nice. That is year round, inside. It is hard to get parents or skater to participate in fundraisers, yet there is discontent when the bills roll around. It is like the folks who volunteer...it is always the same ones giving of their time...same way with fundraisers. I think that what some people fail to realize is that these coaches have lives and families of their own. They are not just doing this for the betterment of humanity. This is a job, and if you expect a mom or dad to give up a weekend at home with their family to go skate, expect to pay.

    I do agree that the costs should be minimized as much as possible. (By the way, what IS the normal per diem for meals?) And I think that the contract at the beginning of the season or year is a great idea. that way there is no suprise, and if something comes up that is in question, it is in the contract. This very subject (coaching fees) causes so much strife sometimes. It makes the skate parents freak and the coaches feel that they are being taken advantage of if a parent does not want to pay. In fact, it is an ongoing debate, and I told my president and coach that I was posting here to see what the "experts" say :D

    I love my rink, but since we have a free facility I think that sometimes we are in la-la land when it comes to the true cost of this sport. I deeply appreciate your time and thoughts on this. It will help me give everyone a reality check.

    What level does your daughter skate, by the way?

  7. #7
    Salchows and Shimmies!!!
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    Thanks for all the info everyone. I've only competed ISI and locally, at competitions my coach assists in running, so she's never charged me regarding competitions. I may do my first USFS competition this fall, and I fully expect her to charge accordingly (and welcome it--hey, I'll be a big girl skater!!!!!) :D This was very helpful.

  8. #8
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    Glacierskater,

    I am so glad that I could help you! I came on board as our club treasurer last year, and was shocked at how fiscally irresponsible the club had been. We were losing money hand over fist, and the club was on a huge downhill spiral. At the rate they had been spending money, our club would have been broke in 2 years, that is why I suggested that the parents start being responsible for their own children.


    We were charging just a little under 200 dollars for 26 weeks of skating. That included 4 hours per week of ice, stroking class and off ice training. Had we had the numbers to support it, it would not have been so bad, but our numbers were steadily dropping, expenses were going up, and we had to do something to salvage the club itself.

    As for your question about meals - we don't have a set cost that we pay. The coaches just tally their receipts from the weekend, and split it evenly. Fortunately, they are reasonable people, and don't bill us for surf and tuf and champagne! In fact, they have never once billed for any meals, although they are entitled.

    As to what level my daughter skates, she is only 8 years old. She passed the elements portion of her FS test last spring, and probably should have taken the program portion, but she wants to try for Provincial championships this year, and will have a better chance at a pre prelim level.

    Unfortunately, coaches tend to hold their skaters back terribly, and in order for her to be competitive at Provincials she will need 2 doubles. I think this is totally ridiculous at a pre prelim level, and her coach has really struggled with the decision for her not to take her test. She gets very irate when she sees kids in pre prelim popping out double sal/dbl toe and cheating dlb loops. Pre Prelim should NOT have skaters at that level, but with coaches holding kids back in order to "medal suck" she is basically left with no choice but to hold back her skaters. My daughter could easily pass her Junior Bronze FS test at this point, but there is no way she could ever compete with those kids.

    The goal for this year is to take her FS test at the end of November, and if she has a consistent dbl toe and dbl sal by March, she will take her Jr Bronze FS test, and will compete Pre Juvenile next season.

    The other thing that happens around my area is kids from the "elite" clubs are favoured heavily at competitions. I am just disgusted that it starts at the grassroots level, but it does. We are close to 3 very well known clubs, and their skaters ALWAYS come out on top, regardless. As an example, my daughter skated in the largest spring competition in Western Canada this past May. She skated Pre Prelim, landed Flip/Loop, Axel, Dbl Sal, Axel/Toe, and a Lutz/loop. She also had a beautiful camel/sit - 4 rev. on the camel and 5 on the sit, as well as a sit spin with 6 rev. She skated the best program we have ever seen her skate. Her spins were fast and perfectly centered, her jumps were textbook, except for not holding the landing position on the Dbl sal, and she came second. The girl that won is from one of the elite clubs, landed Flip/loop, Lutz/Loop, Sal, Loop/Loop, and a cheated axel. She had beautiful positions on her Camel/Sit and her forward scratch, but not centered at all. I would say her overall presentation was better than my daughter's - she has the hands, the grace, the whole package, and don't get me wrong, she is exceptional, BUT how does a cheated axel beat out 2 axels, one in combination, and a Dbl Sal???? The fact that she skates out of an elite club is what put her over the top, and we have seen it time and again.

    Anyways, I suppose the point of the rambling, in answer to your question, is she skates pre prelim even though she really doesn't belong there. It is such a tough call, when you know all the other coaches are holding kids back, do you hold yours back so they can compete, or do you let them skate where they technically belong and watch them be stomped on time and again.

    Anyways, now that I have totally gotten off topic, I will bid you a good day, and please feel free to ask anything else! I was very green when I began on our clubs executive, but I have learned alot in the past 2 years, and would be very happy to make your learning experience a little easier.

    Canuck

  9. #9
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    I do have more questions, but will spare our fellow posters, and pm you....club stuff mainly. You have been wonderful with your knowledge and time. Our club dues are $175.00 a year. The nex time someone complains about that, I will be armed with some insight about other areas as well.

  10. #10
    Rinkside
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    My daughter works with multiple coaches. They have different fees but the common thing is that they each clearly define at the beginning of each skating season (school year and summer), their rates for lessons, tests and competitions. Competition costs include travel (food, hotel, air fare etc.), coached practice sessions and coaching for the events. Travel costs are split among the skaters who sign up to go to the event. If there is air fare, then skaters pay a deposit before the event which the coaches then use towards the airfare, which is bought early to keep costs down. The coaches are reasonable on their travel costs for example they'll get rides to and from a hotel with skaters instead of renting a car.

    Another thing to point out is that when coaches travel to competitions they are not able to give the lessons they would normally give. Unless almost all their students go to a competition coaches may make less money at a competition then at home.

    The local coaches also work well together. If a coach has a single skater going to a competition and another has several. The coach with the single skater might ask the other coach if they are willing to work with their skater at the competition. If they are then that option is offered to the skater, who can choose to pay more for their own coach to go or less and work with a different coach.

  11. #11
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    So far we have not had to pay airfare...that would hurt! I do like the idea of the deposit being put down ahead of time though. That could help the coaches with epxenses that they incur up front. More good information!

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