Proper Procedures for Changing Coaches

Following these steps will help you make the switch to a new coach and still maintain a comfortable relationship within the rink. All parents, coaches and skaters should have a clear understanding of the procedures so when this situation arises; the accepted policy is already in place.

Some rinks have coaches sign an agreement to conduct business in a professional and ethical manner as defined by the Professional Skaters Association. If unethical behavior is observed and documented, the coach may lose their teaching privileges. Parents should also have a written guideline provided to them when they begin private lessons.

This policy should be available at all times in the rink office and in a procedure handbook.

Parents:
1) Contact your current coach and express your reasons for wanting to switch to another coach. There may be a way to correct the situation and the need to switch could be resolved before a change is necessary.
2) Make sure that you have paid your account balance in full with your current coach.
3) Discuss this change with your child. Make sure that he/she is comfortable with the changes you are about to make.
In many instances, parents will seek out a new coach prior to terminating the current coaching arrangement. While the parent is protecting the interests of their child, the PSA’s code of ethics and professional conduct require a member, prior to acting as a new coach, to determine the nature and extent of any earlier teaching relationship with that skater and other members. In most cases, ethical coaches will contact your child’s current coach to determine if they are aware of the change and to determine if there is a balance due. Asking them to not contact your previous coach puts the new coach in an ethical quandary; follow the established professional protocol or stay silent.
Remember, if a sticky situation occurs, don't just react; think first. If you are unsure how to handle it, seek advice from a more experienced coach.

Future Coach
1) Direct the client to first make contact with the former coach.
2) When this has been done, contact the current coach. Make sure there is no possible resolution to the situation.
3) Confirm that all outstanding balances are paid in full with the current coach prior to scheduling any lessons. NO lessons should be given prior to receiving confirmation of account status (Please note: this is a professional courtesy, not a legal position.). There are often exceptions and discrepancies. These need to be handled on a case by case basis.
4) Respect what the former coach has done for the skater. If technique changes need to be made, do so without degrading the former coach's method.
5) Support your fellow coaches. Staff meetings are helpful to discuss these procedures and numerous other topics related to a happy and successful environment within the rink.

Skaters:
1) Switching coaches, if the above procedures are followed, should not affect the skater's relationship with other skaters (except regarding working in groups).
2) Do not isolate or make an outcast of a skater who has switched from your coach to another coach.
3) Do not encourage others to switch from their current coach.
4) Treat all skaters with equal respect.
5) While on the ice, everyone must follow the same set of rules.