Meet Your Area Representative

October 1, 2015
   In The Loop Extended Articles

Don Corbiell
Area 15 Representative
Years coaching: 22
Current Location: San Francisco, CA
Ratings: MFS, MM
Coaching since 1979 Ratings: MFF

When Don Corbiell first toured with Ice Capades, he didn’t receive quite the welcome he was expecting. Despite being a strong skater, his performance director and others in the show frequently made disparaging remarks about his being from the country and not having competed nationally. That repeated negativity began to take a toll on Corbiell, and planted the seeds of self-doubt.

“Even though I was very good in the show, I had to work very hard to mentally get past that negativity,” he said.

It took the wise words of a legendary coach to bring him out of the doldrums. While on summer break in Colorado Springs, he took some jump lessons from Kathy Casey – and it was just what he needed.

“She was great and supportive, and I’ll never forget her words,” Corbiell said. “She told me, ‘You have very strong fundamental technique.’ That completely changed my skating at that moment.”

After he returned to the show, he was chosen by Dorothy Hamill and Tim Murphy to perform as Hamill’s lead skater – or No. 1 boy – in a special performance with three other boys. Being chosen for such an honor removed any doubt about his skating ability, or his worthiness to be a part of Ice Capades.

“I knew I could skate!” he said.

Casey’s wise words helped Corbiell to finally have a positive experience in the ice show. The ups and downs, and his victory over them, not only affected him as a performer, but helped to shape his philosophy as a coach today.

“I realize that negative words and body language can all but stall a skater’s progress when they doubt themselves,” Corbiell said. “Consequently, I coach with a fun, upbeat attitude with all of my students.”