Meet your Area Representatives

February 1, 2017
   In The Loop Extended Articles

Don Corbiell
Area 15 Representative
Coaching 23 Years
Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center, Belmont Iceland
Ratings: MFS-09, MM-09


Teaching changes everything… including the teacher!

Having taught ice skating now for 23+ years, I have developed a deep abiding respect for anyone that has ever been a teacher in my life…no matter the subject, the skill or the end result.  School work came easy to me; I understand now how difficult it must have been at times for my school teachers to find creative ways to keep me engaged and not be bored in class.  And somehow they did, and I never once got smacked upside the head with a chalkboard brush! That in itself is a great talent! 

Seeing each student as an individual with their own unique identity and ideas takes a while.  I began to realize they aren’t all little cookie cutter versions of each other.  How do I get them to understand that I see them, I get them, the true ‘them’, for who they are?  I started with a distinct way of calling each of their names when it was time for their lesson.  No matter where they were on the ice or in the rink, they heard my call out to them and came running!  Next it was a unique handshake for each one…no two were ever the same!  Watching their eyes light up when it was their turn to shake the teacher’s hand was fun for me!  Coming up with cute nick names for every one of them was tough, but I did it anyway.  As they got older, I would start to ask them to come up with one or two steps that they could make up and we’d put in their own program…just to give them some ownership of the process. 

As I watched them learn and grow and get better, I would often find myself with tears in my ears when they landed that first Axel!  Or maybe it was a spin they finally understood and performed well.  Or perhaps a competition that they were so nervous about, but pulled it together and had a great skate!  Or a not so great skate and still being gracious and congratulating their competitors without my having to tell them to do so.  I try to teach them to be well…well mannered, well educated, well prepared and well adjusted, not just for skating, but for life in general.  Sometimes I realized that the tears were for me as well, proud of the accomplishments for sure, but more about realizing that I was changing drastically, evolving into someone that I hadn’t expected…and I liked this person! 

In a PSA rating exam, we are sometimes asked “Name some qualities in a good teacher.”  Where to start…knowledgeable, compassionate, intuitive, kind, supportive, punctual, resourceful, organized, creative, being malleable and flexible, knowing how to diffuse a situation, and being understanding of the pressures that kids are under today from virtually every direction are just a small portion of the list. I realized that I was learning every day as I was teaching; it was definitely symbiotic! 

So when I say teaching changes everything, I mean it changes things both for the student and the teacher; it changed me forever!


Lisa Reibly
Area 9 Representative
Coaching 25 years
Kettering Ice Arena, Kettering Ohio
Ratings: MM, CG, CFS

I am supposed to talk about my single most memorable skating moment….good or bad and how it changed the future of my skating.  I don’t believe I have a single most memorable skating moment.  Just like all skaters, I have many memorable moments…good and bad.  All of the good and challenging moments made me the skater/coach/person I am today. 

When I think of good memories of skating these are my thoughts: I hear the hum of the arena lights all of those years when I was patching, changing my skates after patch as fast as I could so I wasn’t the last one out there for freestyle, meeting and skating with my skating idols, the dance my Dad did to Eye of the Tiger to get me motivated before I skated, my Mom putting the finishing touches on my dresses (sometimes in the parking lot), landing a jump clean for the first time, my brothers getting  into trouble because they were making too much noise in the stands during patch, skating in my first competition, skating a perfect program in competition, winning the Ohio State Championships, passing a figure test on the first try, qualifying for Regionals every year and being a part of the “team” representing my club,  being the only skater in my school (elementary and high school), realizing a dream and skating in Lake Placid for U.S. Collegiate Championships and last but not least the friends who were more like family that I spent so many hours a day with. 

However, I also remember the challenging moments we have all experienced….those tough practice days when nothing went my way, falling on jumps during competition, falling on a jump and blowing your short program, not doing well in figures which hurt your chances for overall placement and failing some figure tests.  The good memories definitely outweigh the not so good memories.

I believe all of these experiences, good and bad have made me who I am today.  I am a fun, realistic, caring, organized, goal-oriented, patient coach.  I thoroughly enjoy coaching whether its hockey, basic skills, competitive skaters, waltz jumps, doubles or recreational skating.  I try to get all of my skaters and group lesson class participants to love the sport. That’s what it is all about, enjoying yourself and loving your sport.  The last thing I always tell my competitors as they take the ice is to do their best and have fun.