Coaching in Vancouver, Wash.
Ratings/Rankings: MM, MFS, MG, MPD; Ranked
“My students are the best part of my day,” said Lisa Mizonick, Area 14 Representative and skating director/coach at Mountain View Ice Arena in Vancouver, Wash. “I love getting to know each one of them.”
Mizonick began teaching 22 years ago in Los Angeles, where she grew up. She said she continues to grow as a coach with every student she teaches.
“They’re all unique and have to be taught differently, even though you’re trying to achieve similar skills,” Mizonick said. “Their individual uniqueness, in combination with the constant evolution of the sport, requires me as a coach to evolve, too.”
She said this is a win-win situation because it requires her to stay up to date with new techniques and helps her to keep her coaching fresh. She said she is motivated by the ideas and innovations she gleans from PSA events such as the annual conference, PACE, state workshops, and the ratings process.
Like many other coaches, Mizonick believes she is not just teaching her students skating, but important life skills, as well.
“Kids nowadays are under a lot more pressures than I ever was,” she said. “A lot of what they learn on the ice they will use for the rest of their lives. What I do now can change the lives of these kids and mold them into coaches – coaches who, in turn, can change for the better the lives of future kids.”
The legacy that is passed from coaches to their students is important to Mizonick. She said her coaches’ words are always playing in her head.
“I know my words will be playing in some young coach’s head 20 or 30 years from now,” she said. “I can’t think of a job I could have more passion for, or that could be more rewarding. It’s the gift that keeps on giving: paying back and paying forward, all at the same time.”
Coaching in the metropolitan Boston area
Ratings/Rankings: MM, SFS, Level III
If life is a journey, sometimes it’s the detours along the way that define a person. Amy Hanson-Kuleszka says the company you keep can help you find your way when those detours set your feet on an unexpected path.
“I never aspired to be a skating coach,” Hanson-Kuleszka said, “but this journey has been incredibly rewarding.”
Hanson-Kuleszka began teaching as a senior in high school to help a coaching friend who didn’t have time to cover all her private lesson requests. What started as simple skating skills lessons on public session turned into a career. She currently coaches at the Colonial Figure Skating Club and North Shore Skating Club, and said she is fortunate to work alongside several coaches who worked with her as a young skater.
“I have had the good fortune to meet and work with amazing coaches and choreographers,” Hanson-Kuleszka said. “I studied and went through the ratings process, meeting so many talented and supportive professionals. But it has been the daily lessons with my students that have pushed me to grow, dig deeper, find the answers, and ultimately made me the coach I am now.”
In addition to her growth as a part of the PSA education process, she credits her relationships with her students and their families for helping to define her as a coach. She values the life lessons, love, and respect her students have given her.
“At 17, when I taught my first private lesson, I taught skating skills,” she said. “Now, over 20 years later as I reflect on this journey, I see how each skater has helped me become the coach I am today. I have been privileged to be a part of each skater’s journey, and privileged my students and their families have put their trust in me. It has taught me so much about myself and about what it really means to be a coach.”