Proper behavior as volunteer at local rink

Seren

Wakabond Forever
Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 21, 2014
At my rink volunteers are usually teenage helpers who are skaters themselves. It's clear who the coaches are and the volunteers act as assistance who give demonstrations and help as needed under the guidance of the coach. They do not help skaters outside LTS classes. It seems like in your case the distinctions were not made as clear to you as they should have been up front.

As an adult skater, when I am with my adult skating friends (who are peers) we will often ask each other simple questions or ask someone to watch us to check for something (for example, last week I asked my friend to watch my sit change sit to see if I was standing up too much when I changed my foot which is something that throws me off a lot). The difference is that none of us are acting like coaches in these scenario, we are peers and even though we are at different levels we are equals. I would not act the same with minor skaters, even ones where I know them and their parents- it's an innapropriate dynamic (which gets awkward because I am a 28 year old who looks like a high schooler). Additionally, when a skater who is not my coach gives me unsolicited advice my general response is to give them the side-eye.

I think the advice given by previous posters is generally correct. If asked, watching for something like a wrong edge is generally not innaproriate but giving corrections is. When you are with your peers on equal ground it can be different but the skating world is pretty rigid about these issues (and for good reasons).
 

sandraskates

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Country
United-States
I have assumed at every LTS that my child took - we are talking 3 rinks and six years - that it was a coach teaching the classes and I never specifically asked because they advertise "all of our group classes are taught by highly qualified staff instructors", and they wear an official jacket and nametag but now, if I had a child in LTS, I would ask "what are your certifications to coach my child" and be very upset if I was paying for a HQ staff member and was getting a volunteer who was not a coach. That is my child and her health, welfare and safety on the line. I am really surprised no one has complained sooner. And funny, with the very first post I thought, Hey, he is with a coach, kind of acting like an enforcer of what the coach wants, but the more you post, you are acting as a coach no matter how many times you say "I'm not a coach" and maybe "the owner is my friend" makes it harder for any complaints to be heard by staff or from the director. I just checked the coaches on our list who teach LTS and they all claim to coaches with different certificates and PSA ratings.

I went from being okay to being very concerned and uncomfortable.

Hi loopy. The verbiage I bolded above seems a little weird so if I'm making an assumption that you don't already know what I'm about to post - I'm sorry in advance (because I know you are quite knowledgeable!).

We have to start somewhere and for me that is PSA CER C rating; my cert is kept on-file at the arena. At some point I'll take the necessary online classes and whatever else is necessary to get my CER B rating.
I will probably never get an A or Master Rating as I was never a high-level or international competitor. But I looked over the coaches at my rink on the PSA website and the vast majority are CER B and CER A rated. All of us teach the group lessons but the higher rated coaches get the more advanced classes to teach.

This season ALL the Learn to Skate coaches (full-time and C/A) had to register as such and take an online class via US Figure Skating.
We are also all background checked either via this registration or <I think for some> the PSA. No one works at my rink without a background check. I am only speaking for my lovely rink. YMMV.

The only volunteer coaching that is done at my rink is a seasonal 1/2 hour once a week where any club skater can volunteer to assist special needs skaters.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2014
At my rink volunteers are usually teenage helpers who are skaters themselves. It's clear who the coaches are and the volunteers act as assistance who give demonstrations and help as needed under the guidance of the coach. They do not help skaters outside LTS classes. It seems like in your case the distinctions were not made as clear to you as they should have been up front.

Yes AFAIK I'm the only adult volunteer at this rink, all the other volunteers are kids (teenagers). I don't wear the coach's maroon jacket during LTS, though I do use the club (black) jacket because that's what I wear for skating, perhaps some people might think it still represents being a coach because it's your standard spiffy black skating jacket so it looks more presentable. The coaches all wear their coach's maroon jacket during LTS, I *think* (but not sure) it's required. I obviously don't have one. I have no idea how the other coaches use their volunteers, so I don't know if the way the Adult coaches use me (to help split up the class) is typical or not.

When you are with your peers on equal ground it can be different but the skating world is pretty rigid about these issues (and for good reasons).

Yeah I think that's maybe the underlying contextual difference between when I was a student in the LTS program and now that I'm a volunteer instructor in it. I started as an adult, so in some sense the coaches were more "peers" in some ways, by age if nothing else (many of them were also students at the university). So they were probably more comfortable giving me advice during public sessions when they saw me (plus they're formal coaches so they're covered by insurance), basically as friends, not as coaches. It wasn't random coaches doing so, it was the ones whom I've talked to and have chatted with. Even now, even though I'm no longer taking group lessons under LTS but have a private coach, several of them will come by to see how I'm doing every so often if they're around, and will suggest a tip or two with what I'm working on. So it's not like they're trying to steal me as a student or anything (they know I have a private coach, and typically their advice aligns very well with what my coach has been saying), but more as emotional support because they see the poor (adult) friend struggling, plus we'll also talk about non-skating stuff too. And with the other adult students when I was in LTS, we would work on skills together as well when we saw each other, and obviously helped each other.

So the friends I've met through the rink have mostly been the other adult students when I was in LTS as a student, and the coaches. Both groups gave advice to me on how to do the skills during the public sessions, sometimes solicited, sometimes unsolicited, but always welcomed. Once I got to the FS levels, this continued, but I also picked up some fellow skating students who were kids, and we worked on the same skills as students. Sometimes they'd help me, sometimes I'd help them. (To be honest, it was more me helping them because they'd ask me for help more than I'd ask them for help.)

Additionally, as an adult student, I did "compare notes" with other adult students about the coaches once I stopped the LTS group lessons, and we occasionally spent some time about which coaches we liked and which ones we thought were good. This included when we started looking into private coaches. In fact, in some cases we pooled our money and "shared" a private lesson with a coach (obviously we told the coach beforehand and she was okay with it), so the coach was basically holding a private lesson with 2-3 adult students at once.

Fast forward to now though. The kid skaters have moved on to the higher levels, with more difficult jumps and such, and they have private coaches now. I'm a volunteer instructor with the LTS program, though not as a formal coach, so there's the "aura" that I represent the program in some official capacity, even though (outside of the LTS classes, i.e. during the public sessions) I don't. They'll still ask me for help sometimes, though, and they're working on much harder skills (i.e. jumps). Thus the context of the help has changed -- from when we were all struggling with waltz jumps or all struggling with consecutive edges in group lessons, to now that they're working on harder specialized jumps with a private coach and I'm a volunteer instructor (not "just" a private student).

Many of the adult students that were with me in those LTS classes are no longer skating, and I don't see the ones that still do very frequently (they tend to use the freestyle sessions now, whereas I continue to use public sessions). I have a new group of adult students that I help instruct with the LTS program. Previously, when the adult coaches would help me during public sessions, the context was more as friends rather as instructor-student, plus they were officially credentialed coaches. Whereas I'm a volunteer instructor (not a formal coach), and the adult students are just that -- adult students. I don't have them on Facebook the way I do with the coaches who helped me and who continue to help me. So helping them out during public sessions has more of the feeling of as an instructor than as a friend, thus depriving actual coaches of potential private students. So again, a change in context.

Similarly with parents asking me about private coaches, I may think of them as peers since they're students at the rink and I'm taking private lessons as well, and I also asked around when I was "just" a student. However, I'm now a volunteer instructor with LTS which means that I represent the program in some official capacity, which means that since I'm not a coach, I don't want to "bias" the parents toward some coaches and away from others, since I'm a part of the same program.

So even though those same actions were okay when I was a student under LTS (people helping me during public sessions, etc.), in each of them the context has now changed, with me being a volunteer under LTS. So that's the key difference between what I experienced as a LTS student and now that I represent the program as a volunteer.
 
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sandraskates

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Country
United-States
guest - I suggest that you go back and talk to the skating director. If your rink is really affiliated with the US Figure Skating Learn to Skate Program then I don't think you can instruct in a LTS class as a volunteer. And certainly not on your own (like if an instructor needs to leave early).

From this link:https://www.learntoskateusa.com/media/1265/registerning-skaters-and-instructors.pdf

Registering your instructional staff:
All instructors teaching within your program must be current instructor members of Learn to Skate USA.
The instructor requirements include a current membership, passed background check and completed online certification.
The instructor membership fee is $12 for instructors that are under the age of 18 or have already completed their annual required
background check through U.S. Figure Skating.
If your instructors are 18 years and older and need to complete the annual background check, their fee is $32.

 
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Joined
Mar 25, 2014
- I suggest that you go back and talk to the skating director. If your rink is really affiliated with the US Figure Skating Learn to Skate Program then I don't think you can instruct in a LTS class as a volunteer. And certainly not on your own (like if an instructor needs to leave early).

Thanks for the head's up. However, as I mentioned in my first post, yes I am already signed up as a Learn to Skate basic instructor, and have completed the background check and the online certification. When I mentioned the instructor's manual later in this thread, I was talking about the Learn to Skate USA Instructor Manual that came with the instructor membership. I am not, however, a member of PSA nor have I done the CER courses.

The rink uses the USFS LTS program.
 
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NanaPat

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Country
Canada
;1487056 said:
Yes AFAIK I'm the only adult volunteer at this rink, all the other volunteers are kids (teenagers).

I think this is probably key to how you got into the position you're in today. Because they're teenagers, the other volunteers haven't (put themselves into)/ (been put into) the position of a quasi-authority figure. Or have they? Do they spend a lot of time at public skating videotaping/mentoring/helping/etc with other skaters? Would you be surprised if they did?

;1487056 said:
Many of the adult students that were with me in those LTS classes are no longer skating, and I don't see the ones that still do very frequently (they tend to use the freestyle sessions now, whereas I continue to use public sessions). I have a new group of adult students that I help instruct with the LTS program.

You need to think about why the other students have moved on and you haven't. I was actually thinking about suggesting that you switch what sessions you attend. This would help you break the pattern of being asked for help / videoing / etc and feeling obliged to do it, even though you know it's a bad idea. At least I hope by now you realize it's a bad idea.

;1487056 said:
So even though those same actions were okay when I was a student under LTS (people helping me during public sessions, etc.), in each of them the context has now changed, with me being a volunteer under LTS. So that's the key difference between what I experienced as a LTS student and now that I represent the program as a volunteer.

Yes, absolutely. I think you're finally understanding what many people here have been trying to tell you. People have been saying different things, in different ways, but this is a recurring theme in all of them.

I'd like to add something about the videoing. I could see a lot of videoing as being very disruptive to the skating session. Does the rink have any policy on who can video, when or how much? To me, there are a lot of issues involved in it, and only a few of them will be resolved by using their camera/phone instead of yours. Basically, I think you should dial the videoing WAY back or stop it entirely. If you do video someone, you should not only use their camera/phone, but you SHOULDN'T WATCH the video with them or comment on it in any way. In other words, you can act as a human selfie stick, but anything other than that crosses the line into coaching, and you shouldn't go there.
 
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Joined
Mar 25, 2014
Do they spend a lot of time at public skating videotaping/mentoring/helping/etc with other skaters?

Yes, I see the kid skaters video-recording each other quite often. Not all the time, but definitely frequent. They'll definitely help each other with skills like jumps, video recording and then replaying in slow-motion, etc., or showing what each other look like in spins (laybacks etc.). It's not restricted only to kids at the same skill level either, they'll help out other kids as well, even those at a lower skill level. However, that's more likely a "friends from school" type of thing.

Having said that, I think there is a difference between a kid volunteer as a quasi-authority figure versus an adult one, as well as liability-wise.

You need to think about why the other students have moved on and you haven't.

There's a number of reasons. One big one is that the public sessions are much cheaper than the freestyle sessions. Each freestyle session is only half an hour while each public session is typically 2-3 hours, and they cost roughly the same. Another is that I in particular will tailor what I'm doing to make sure I make full use of the entire public session. If I want to do some conditioning I'll do power pulls and stuff. If I want to "take it easy" I'll work on edges and figures. Basically I will change up what I'm doing so that I end up pretty tired by the end of the session, but not too early in the session. Some adult skaters tend to just come to a freestyle, warm up real quick then work on jumps or whatever, then leave, since they're tired after jumping for a while. Another is that some want peace and quiet (i.e. not too many people on the ice), whereas for me, even if there are 100 people on the ice, I can just find my own little open spot and do 3-turns or something. I'm flexible with what I work on (since I need to work on pretty much everything) rather than having a mentality of "oh I have to practice and get this particular skill down this week!" So if there are fewer people there, I'll work on skills that take up more space like the eight-step mohawk and the forward spirals, while if there are more people there I'll work on 3-turns and stuff.

And the other is that I realistically don't mind spending some time helping out other skaters. I don't actively seek them out, but helping out skaters, whether in the LTS program or "public" skaters, is basically "rest time" for me to recharge between jumps or power pulls or whatever. It's not *that* significant of an amount of time out of the session. If I spent some time helping out, then it means I'll have more energy to do jumps and such for the remainder of the session.

And of course, a number of those adult students have simply stopped skating now.

Yes, absolutely. I think you're finally understanding what many people here have been trying to tell you. People have been saying different things, in different ways, but this is a recurring theme in all of them.

Well that's why I think the discussion is overall helpful, despite some people trying to detract from it. The key here is to recognize that these things (people helping me during public sessions, etc.) were things that all happened to me while I was a LTS student at this rink, so I thought they were the typical rink culture, but now find that being in a position of volunteer instructor means that it's not the culture (i.e. typical/acceptable behavior) for someone in my position. That's why I look at it as a culture issue (and for some of them, a liability issue), which depends heavily on the context. For example, some people think it's important to take off your shoes when you enter the house, while others don't. You are totally going to offend me if you enter my house with shoes on. Not only that, my wife is going to scream holy hell at you if you do, because it means she'll have to vacuum the whole place (she's OCD like that). Other people, they don't care, they walk around in their own house with shoes on. Some people are just going to yell "THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS, HOW CAN YOU BE SO DISRESPECTFUL" whereas I prefer to understand the reasons behind these differences. Note that nobody really stated it in this way until I did when I talked about it in the context of when I myself was an LTS student, compared to now as a volunteer instructor. Some people may have grown up at the rink so all this is blindingly obvious to them. It's not obvious to me as an adult who only started skating a couple of years ago. As I mentioned above, except in a couple of specific cases I've never said anyone was wrong, I was just looking for the reasons.

Additionally, some of the reasons have to do with my specific position at the rink, being not quite a student and not quite a coach, but a student taking private lessons but also volunteering as part of the LTS program. For example, no one has disagreed (thus far anyway) that students, parents, and coaches are free to talk to students about other coaches. It's this particular position of being a volunteer instructor, and its implications, that means I shouldn't talk about other coaches. I don't see why that's an intuitive thing (i.e. for someone to walk into a rink and automatically know "hey, the volunteer instructors in the LTS program aren't supposed to give recommendations about coaches"). Certainly the parents who've asked me don't find it intuitive either. But understanding the reasons is going to take some discussion. My charisma score isn't that high to simply intuit these things. Maybe it's blindingly obvious to people who grew up at the rink or have skated long enough already to be coaches.

I'd like to add something about the videoing. I could see a lot of videoing as being very disruptive to the skating session. Does the rink have any policy on who can video, when or how much?

I'm not sure if there's an official policy on video recording. I know it's done frequently. The students will video record each other. Coaches will video students, even during group lessons (i.e. not their private students). Having said that, "frequently" doesn't mean "all the time". For me personally it means once every roughly 3-4 weeks or so. I see the kids video recording each other maybe once every about 2-3 or so public sessions when I see them. They spend most of the session without video recording, it's for particular things like jumps or seeing how they are with spins or seeing how they look with the routines/exhibitions they make up on the spot that day. So it's not like we have it on all the time while we're skating or working on skills. For me it's basically a way to take stock of my progress, and I'm not really going to make *that* significant of a progress in a week.
 
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concorde

Medalist
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
I am confused. In your original posting, you said you are a "volunteer assistant." Now you say you are a "volunteer coach."

If I am paying for a LTS class, I expect to have a certified instructor. I don't care if the person is paid or a volunteer; what I care about is if the person is qualified the teach the skills. And you have said you are not qualified.

I feel that you enjoy the elevated status of being an "instructor" and don't want to correct fellow skaters if they they have the wrong impression. This is where I think the problem lies. Going back to your PE example - is it wrong for someone posing as a PE to give out technical engineering advice? I think so.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2014
I am confused. In your original posting, you said you are a "volunteer assistant." Now you say you are a "volunteer coach."

Hmm. I am an instructor member of Learn to Skate. That is to say, have Learn to Skate USA membership as an instructor, did the background check, and did the online certification. I do the group classes, almost exclusively the Adult 1-6 classes (I also help with the Therapeutic class). In each case there is a PSA-certified coach who officially heads the class and is on the ice with me. I do not take private students and will refuse them when asked, typically by saying "I'm not a coach, I don't do private lessons".

Whether I say "volunteer instructor" or "volunteer assistant", it means I'm not one of the PSA-certified coaches. To me, in the skating world, "coach" is the equivalent official term reserved only for those with that official status as "Professional Engineer" has in the engineering world. I'm not a coach. I'm not a volunteer coach. I will tell both parents who ask me as well as the adult students (there's some overlap) that I'm not a coach. At the rink, non-coaches who help out with the LTS program are simply called "volunteers", not "volunteer assistants" or "volunteer instructors". To me, whether I'm called a "volunteer assistant" or "volunteer instructor" doesn't matter, that's just semantics. There is no elevated status to being called an "instructor" because it carries no official weight, "coach" is the term that carries official weight. The important thing is that I am not called a coach, and I say that I'm not a coach. That's the official term. Just like anybody can say they're an engineer. But the term "Professional Engineer" is reserved for those who have the necessary credentials to certify that engineering plans will be safe as designed.

In the classes I am an assistant to the coach. The coach officially leads the class. I am used however the coach for that class sees fit. Initially, when I first started I helped demonstrate the skills, i.e. when the coach tells the class "okay, let's do forward stroking" I'll do it in front of the students while the coach watches their form to correct them. Now more typically the coach will split the class in half and I'll take half and the coach takes the other half for instruction. Whether someone used in that role is more properly called "volunteer assistant" or "volunteer instructor" is up to you.

If you really want to get into it, though, yes I can call myself "instructor", as I am an instructor member under Learn to Skate USA. My understanding is it means I could lead a LTS class by myself if they wanted me to (and hence the discussion about one of the coaches leaving early). However, there is an official PSA-certified coach assigned to each Adult class, and I defer to the coach regarding how to run the class. But I do not call myself a coach, and I correct students and parents whenever they call me "Coach Guest".

I don't have the qualifications to be a coach (i.e. PSA member, taken the CER sources, etc.). However I have the qualifications needed to teach the LTS group lessons.
 
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concorde

Medalist
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
At least at my rink, coach and instructor are used interchangeably. In the swimming world, that is also the case. I was an American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor for 20+ years, and during that time, I was called "coach" by alot of the parents.

Assistant is a lower ranking than coach or instructor.

I think you are annoyed the rink has questioned what you are doing. The posters here have been kind to give you advice as to why the rink has concerns. It is now your choice as to whether you want to change people's perceptions of you. My guess is if you do not change, the rink will ask you to forfeit your volunteer status. The choice is now up to you as to whether or not you are willing to change to address the rink's concerns.

My guess is you will not be changing your behavior. Please let us know in another 6 months if the rink has allowed your current behavior to continue.

Good luck!
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2014
At least at my rink, coach and instructor are used interchangeably. In the swimming world, that is also the case. I was an American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor for 20+ years, and during that time, I was called "coach" by alot of the parents.

Assistant is a lower ranking than coach or instructor.

Perhaps it's a regional difference in terminology then. The previously-mentioned Basic Skills Instructor when I was taking the Adult classes myself would correct me when I called her a coach, saying no, she's a basic skills instructor. I picked it up from her. (She's now a coach.)

I don't know why you're skeptical and judgmental about me changing my behavior, given that I've mentioned repeatedly in this thread that I'm looking for clarification and the reasons behind this to know how to act in the future, not whether it's right or wrong nor whether I'm right or wrong. Is it really worth it for you for me to necro this thread six months from now? (Aren't threads archived after a few months?)
 
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TGee

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 17, 2016
My guess is you will not be changing your behavior. Please let us know in another 6 months if the rink has allowed your current behavior to continue.


Uhm, Concorde I'm finding this somewhat unkind/unhelpful.

guest has been very forthright in saying that he was looking for a safe place to have this discussion in a respectful and neutral way outside his club. It's unfortunate IMO that this kind of what if discussion and clarity on roles and expectations was not initiated by his club earlier in his development as a certified volunteer instructor. But not all clubs are as clear on these things as ours is it seems. So he's brought it here.

Folks have different learning styles and he's asked for help from the forum to talk through all the different perspectives. I can understand that may sound like he's not hearing or accepting the points made, but he's asked us to bear with him in good faith. I think we should respect that. I'm uncomfortable with jumping to conclusions on where he will land.

A couple of other points out to guest, I think that others are correct that liability and the need to protect vulnerable minors is a big part of the difference with the TA situation. In Canada, clubs liability insurance is on the line so hey need to be careful to follow Skate Canada's policies on these and other issues such as helmets without flexibility.

To the thread, IMO it's important to keep adult learners and males involved. Our club has a large proportion of both. And the more we have at all levels, the more we see carrying on from basic skating. But having boys and adult men and women may mean IMO that we have to be open to discussing different behavioural issues and expectations that wouldn't come up if all of our skaters integrated as 7 year old girls.
 
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gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Is there a skating club involved at all?

It sounds as though guest has been assisting in rink-sponsored group lessons and skating on rink-sponsored public sessions, not club ice.

He must be a member of USFS if he has tested in the USFS system, but it's not clear whether he is an individual member or a member of a club, or whether any of this official volunteering or unofficial interaction with skaters takes place in any club-sponsored context. As far as I can tell, the issue is strictly between him and the rink. (Correct me if I'm wrong, guest.)

The culture on club ice or even on rink-sponsored freestyle sessions would be different from public sessions, but it sounds as though guest sticks to publics for financial reasons.

Just curious: Is there an active club based at that rink? Are most of the freestyle sessions run by the club or directly by the rink?
 
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Pink Ice

Rinkside
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Uhm, Concorde I'm finding this somewhat unkind/unhelpful.

guest has been very forthright in saying that he was looking for a safe place to have this discussion in a respectful and neutral way outside his club. It's unfortunate IMO that this kind of what if discussion and clarity on roles and expectations was not initiated by his club earlier in his development as a certified volunteer instructor. But not all clubs are as clear on these things as ours is it seems. So he's brought it here.

.

I don't want to speak for Concorde, but I think it is the ongoing, really long, often oppositional, replies that are being given in response to other poster's feedback that gives the impression that this gentleman may be more interested in being right than keeping his position. If you are correct TG, and he just wants detailed discussion, it seems like, at this point, the subject has been beaten to death like it owes us money. The bottom line is pretty simple, if you are working/volunteering at a place and they ask you not to do certian things, you should probably stop doing them if you want to continue in your current position.
 
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Joined
Mar 25, 2014
A couple of other points out to guest, I think that others are correct that liability and the need to protect vulnerable minors is a big part of the difference with the TA situation. In Canada, clubs liability insurance is on the line so hey need to be careful to follow Skate Canada's policies on these and other issues such as helmets without flexibility.

Yeah regarding liability, another bit of advice from the director, in terms of distinguishing between regular conversation and advice versus coaching, is whether or not the skater can get injured based on what I say (i.e. liability). For example, if I tell a skater that the jump is under-rotated, that's not really implying a specific course of action, so if the skater jumps after that and gets injured, I'm not liable for it. But if I tell the skater that the jump is under-rotated because she's opening up in the air too early, then that's implying a specific course of action (staying in the backspin position longer). Now if the skater then tried the jump and stays in the backspin position too long, lands funny, falls over, and injures herself, then I could be liable for it. So that's the reason for sticking with talking about the more "obvious" characteristics of a skill such as under-rotations or correct edges for a jump, rather than getting into the intricacies of the skill. Once I start saying "it seems like your rotation axis is really tilted in mid-air" or "it seems like you're rotating instead of jumping on the take-off" then it veers into coaching because those types of observations imply a specific corrective action which I could be liable for. So along with the bit about discussing only the obvious characteristics of a skill (i.e. under-rotations, correct edge), this is another heuristic that can be used to gauge what is appropriate to discuss with skaters that won't veer into coaching.

To the thread, IMO it's important to keep adult learners and males involved. Our club has a large proportion of both. And the more we have at all levels, the more we see carrying on from basic skating. But having boys and adult men and women may mean IMO that we have to be open to discussing different behavioural issues and expectations that wouldn't come up if all of our skaters integrated as 7 year old girls.

Yeah at this rink, there are about 30 coaches, and 3 of them are male. I would say the adult skaters make up roughly 10-15% of the students, if that. And most of the instructors with the LTS program are formally credentialed coaches, and the volunteers are mostly kid skaters, with me being the only adult volunteer. So it's really a situation that probably doesn't come up in most rinks.

Is there a skating club involved at all?

Yes, there is an active club here. I'm a member of the figure skating club at the rink. I'm not sure how the financials work at this rink, but the LTS program (as well as handling all the coaches, etc.) is run by the figure skating director, who receives pay from the rink, so I assume that means rink-sponsored. She is not the skating club president, who handles a variety of other more administrative stuff (arranging for judges to come for tests and stuff).

I *believe* the freestyle sessions are run by the rink, mostly because I know it's the director who ends up tabulating who came to which freestyle sessions (she still has to do it by hand, poor thing). I don't think it's a system where the club pays the rink for freestyle sessions and then tries to get skaters to come, mostly because some of the freestyle sessions are relatively poorly attended (i.e. only 1-4 people show up).

So I'm not really sure whether it's the club or the rink that manages this stuff, but I'm guessing it's the rink directly.

I don't want to speak for Concorde, but I think it is the ongoing, really long, often oppositional, replies that are being given in response to other poster's feedback that gives the impression that this gentleman may be more interested in being right than keeping his position.

My explanatory posts tend to be on the "complete and long" side, because I'm trying to fill in the details and I'm not sure which ones are the most important. (I'm the type that writes instruction manuals. You can google "xxxxxxx" for some examples of my "feature length" posts looking at the game Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO).) I do appreciate people giving feedback, that's what the thread is for, so I try to respond to all of the relevant points. Other than people derailing the thread with personal attacks, I don't see how asking "why" or the reasons behind it is considered oppositional. A number of my questions are in fact just yes-or-no questions, i.e. "is this an accurate description or interpretation of the reasons?".

The bottom line is pretty simple, if you are working/volunteering at a place and they ask you not to do certian things, you should probably stop doing them if you want to continue in your current position.

I think we've moved past that for a while now though -- it's more about discussing what certain things to not do, i.e. what constitutes just regular advice or skating conversation, versus coaching. The director said she likes that I'm open to interacting with skaters, both in LTS and "public", at public sessions, since typically I'll try to be encouraging to them no matter where they're at with skating. So she's not telling me to stop talking to people. Instead, she wants me to be aware to not let the discussion veer into coaching territory, out of respect for the actual coaches and for liability reasons (since I myself am not a coach). So it's a matter of figuring out what constitutes coaching versus not coaching.

There's also a side theme, which is why I thought these things were okay. It basically boils down to, they were okay when *I* was the LTS student (getting advice during public sessions, even coaching advice, etc.), and they all happened to me, but now that I'm volunteering in the LTS program, it's not okay when I do it to others, because the context (the details of the situation) is different. For example when I was a LTS student and the then-Basic Skills Instructor came by and gave me tips (including coaching ones) during public sessions, it was fine because I was "just" a group student and not taking private lessons nor considering them. Now that I'm volunteering though, I have to be aware that some of the students in the LTS classes may also be taking private lessons with coaches on the side. So out of respect for their coaches, I don't want to give the students the impression that I'm a substitute for an actual coach just because I'm friendly during public sessions, so when I see them during publics to keep the chitchat more about general skating and other things (like dancing), and save specific advice about how to do their skills for the LTS group classes.

But yes, the topic seems to be fairly thoroughly discussed at this point.
 
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