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Sports Ethics

by Susan L. Ward

Ethics is a complex philosophical subject because it involves the study of morality and human values. Defining values in terms of sports participation is a difficult task which all coaches must address. What is good? How do we judge what is good? In order to answer these essential questions, we utilize our standards, principles and belief systems. We may not all subscribe to the same values but we can simplify our ethical concerns when we examine issues in terms of minimizing harm and maximizing benefit. When we look at the paradigm of risk management, we can easily understand what “harm” means. Teachers do not cause harm nor do they risk harm to their students. On the positive side of the scale, teachers prevent harm and promote their students’ well being. In his book The Inner Athlete, Dan Millman says, “Second only to parents, teachers of movement can have a profound influence on a student’s self-concept and outlook on life.”

Many coaches teach the way parents learn to be parents: one generation repeating the best and worst of the last generation. It is not enough to know the subject matter and the methodology. It is necessary to have a philosophy, a code. Ask yourself: Why skate? Not everyone can win and we have all seen the importance of winning lead to cheating, soliciting, taking “cheap shots” and other unethical behavior on the part of athletes and coaches. But if winning is not the only thing, what other positive goals you can instill in skaters? If your teaching methods focus on concepts such as character development, sportsmanship, the cultivation of discipline, teamwork, fair play and self-motivation, you know the positive side of the scale: maximizing benefit. Skating is a sport that children cannot pursue without the support of their parents. Parents are legally, financially and morally responsible for their children. They are consumers and they do have rights. Most parents are primarily motivated by what they perceive is best for their child. Parents arrive knowing little if anything about skating but they can certainly be ambitious and competitive for their children. It is unwise to place the parents of your skater in an adversarial role. When a teacher or coach competes with a parent for control of a child, it is a Lose/Lose proposition. Besides, control is never a healthy or realistic goal.

Instead, a coach’s honest ability to communicate with both skater and parent is paramount. Consider the parent as your ally in the development of a well-balanced skater. An educated parent is the best advocate for a young athlete. The principles ‘to keep in mind are not new ones: teach with dignity, equality, privacy, loyalty, commitment, honesty and reliability. Your reputation will grow and the parents of your skaters will respect the work you are doing with their children.

Consider one parent’s perspective on reasonable expectations which parents place on coaches. Ann Masten, an associate professor of Child Psychology at the University of Minnesota and mother of two skaters, wrote the following list, previously published in Focus for parents, the newsletter of the USFSA’s Parents Committee:

What I Expect of My Child’s Coach*

  • - To teach my child this sport to the best of your ability.
  • - To promote the development of my child as a whole person, as well as an athlete.
  • - To respect my child and act in my child’s best interests.
  • - To be aware that you are one of the most important people in my child’s life, and to act accordingly.
  • - To honor the confidences of my child, except when it would endanger my child to do so.
  • - To inform me as soon as possible of any serious problems or concerns about my child or about my parenting as regards my child’s skating.
  • - To clearly communicate your expectations of me in this enterprise.
  • - To keep me informed on a regular basis (such as monthly) of my child’s general progress and to promptly address the questions or concerns that I might raise.
  • - To bill me accurately and with timeliness.

Reprinted with permission of U5F5A’s Focus for parents.

Coaches who deal with parents fairly enhance their own reputation in the arena. On the other hand, dissatisfied customers are all too prone to discuss their problems in the rink. Bad news is often embellished and all rink gossip is damaging. Minimize harm, encourage positive public relations by your own example. Keep the parent-coach-athlete dialogue in confidence.

The primary step in establishing healthy community relations starts with solid credentials. Most people are familiar with state education requirements in their schools. They know what certification signifies. In order to teach one must have learned the subject (skating technique) and how to present knowledge (methodology). Today coaches study physiology and psychology. Be prepared, continue your education and accept your ability as a teacher. Are you a good “kindergarten” teacher? Are you qualified and confident to teach the next grade? Do you realize that at the “end” of the year your child will be promoted? Do you hold back or let go? Are you willing to send the student on the next leg of the journey with your blessing even if you can’t go along?

Most importantly, the best coaches stop to consider their own motivations for coaching and are great motivators of their students. They are consistent in their approach and expectations of their students. They give all skaters a chance to become their personal best and avoid forming snap judgments or permanent opinions of skaters. They know that skaters will mature. No one can truly predict who has the most promise. Coach-motivators know that all people are different and have different styles and rates of learning. The best coaches are never too busy to listen. They keep confidences and promises.

The greatest coaches know that the best motivator is love; love of the sport itself, love of the process and love of teaching. All students benefit from the principles which these coach-motivators impart as part of the process. Everyone who walks into the arena recognizes them, not from their personal accolades, or skating achievements but by the accomplishments and attitudes of their students and the trust which parents place in them. They are real masters who teach with a commitment to excellence.

Reprinted with premission from :

The Professional Skater Magazine
January / February 1997 – pp. 16, 29.
©1997 by Professional Skaters Association

For more articles for skating parents, visit http://www.iceskatingworld.com/parents/letters_articles/index.html

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Summer and the Closing of an Ice Rink

By Katherine Ruch

I would be the first to admit that I have a love hate relationship with ice skating. It really seems to depend on the time of year. Summer means a bunch of different things to different people. Most associate the summer with the kids being out of school, family vacations and rising temperatures. Lots of people enjoy the slower pace of summer while others are counting down the days till the kids go back to school so that things can go back to life as “usual.” I hate to admit it, but I am one of those people. It’s not that I have anything against summer, it really just says more about the fact that my life pretty much revolves around ice skating.

 

The concept of summer has changed a great deal for me since I was a kid. I used to long for the day when I could have a couple months off without having to worry about school. I could do all the things I dreamed of doing and had what seemed like endless stretches of time to fit it all in. Ever since I became involved with ice skating, I have begun to associate the climbing temperatures with the annual season closing of the rink.

 

Everyone knows that you always want what you can’t have. I find that a great majority of my time during the summer is taken up by skating and yes I know that sounds hypocritical since I just mentioned the fact that the rink is closed. While I’m not spending hours on the ice each day during the summer months, that doesn’t stop me from thinking about skating almost all of the time, even while I’m asleep.

 

While I am working at that pesky part time job, I can also be found figuring out the logistics of what it looks like to keep skating during the summer. The questions that often swirl in my head involve: “where to go skating next and when? Who can I talk into taking a few lessons during the summer? Are there any conferences, seminars and competitions that I want to go to either for my own skating or to help with my coaching endeavors?” The most looming question of all has been “what possessed me to want to enter a competition during the off season and how am I ever going to get in enough practice time?”

 

For those of you whose rinks don’t close during the summer, consider yourself very lucky. It is quite common when the pools open for ice rinks to just close up shop for awhile. Most don’t want to go skating when they can go to the pool. If your rink is open, try to get in as much practice time as you can this summer. If your rink is not open, don’t let that discourage you. If you are a skater, talk to the other skaters or your coach about carpooling somewhere to get some ice time in. If you are a coach, round up those students and take trips to other rinks. As somebody who has skated at lots of other rinks over a number of years, it is not nearly as scary as it may seem to go skate somewhere else for a couple of hours. While each rink has its own set of unwritten rules, one thing holds true and that is that there are people everywhere who love skating. That is something that will hopefully never change!

 

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How old should my child be to start ice skating?

by Michelle Wilkin

Age four is best to start. There are some children who are ready at 3 years old. Consider the following criteria:

Attention Span – most group classes will last 30 minutes.

Separation from parent – Separation anxiety is still developmentally appropriate until approximately age four. If your child can be comfortable accepting instructions from another adult, then you should be fine.

Balance – both in skates and in regular shoes.

My recommendation is to start with your child walking in skates on the floor only. If this goes well, then your child is physically ready. Check with your local ice rink for age requirements. Many rinks will not accept children for group classes who are under 4 years of age. If your child is eager and can meet the basic criteria before he is 4 years old, you may consider private lessons.

They are more flexible with the length of lesson and can adapt to the age of the child. To ensure quality instruction, make sure to ask for a Professional Skater’s Association (PSA) rated instructor.

For more articles for skating parents, visit http://www.iceskatingworld.com/parents/letters_articles/index.html

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New Page! Jobs in Figure Skating

IceSkatingWorld LLC has partnered with Simply Hired to provide an employment section to help people get started in the great sport of figure skating or find their dream job in the industry.

Looking for a full, seasonal or a part time position at an ice rink? Click here for the IceSkatingWorld.com’s Jobs Board. If you are seeking an ice skating career, this is your site.

Ice Rink Managers: Reach thousands of interested and qualified skating enthusiasts by posting your job listing on our Jobs Boards. It’s only $12 for a 90-day listing!

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Figure Skater Joannie Rochette – Olympic Courage Despite Tragic Loss

by Phyllis Goldberg, PHD

Just hours after learning that her mother had died of a sudden massive heart attack, Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette was back on the ice. One of the favorites to win an Olympic medal, she practiced her jumps over and over again while her father watched with tears in his eyes.

Joannie’s fellow athletes concurred that she was doing the right thing by staying in the competition. They spoke about her inner strength, remarkable courage and determined attitude. Fans around the world appreciated that, with a heavy heart, she was facing the most difficult skates of her life. If, like Joannie Rochette, you are in shock or have been numbed by an unexpected loss, what follows are some tips that may help you begin to turn your upside down world right again:

1. Take control of what is within your reach. Joannie had the drive to win for her mom. She kept herself emotionally insulated, and the fact that she is a superior athlete helped her succeed. You, too, can keep going, no matter how hard it is. Identify your strengths and make them work for you. And have the wisdom to know the difference between what you can manage and what you cannot.

2. Relish the support that comes from those who care about you. Joannie’s loss resonated for athletes and fans alike. And everyone in the Pacific Coliseum was cheering her on. She said that all the love and support made it easier to give her best. Recognize that family and friends want to see you succeed and will be there to help sustain you. You can also find comfort in your spiritual community, a therapist or a bereavement group. You do not have to do it all alone – make the decision to ask for help whenever you need it.

3. Face your uncertainty with the best attitude you can muster. Despite the unthinkable, Joannie still maintained a single-minded focus in the skating competition. And now she will be able to grieve her loss. You cannot change what has happened but you can have some control over the way you handle it. Of course, you may be feeling angry, sad or afraid of what is to come. Be aware that your reactions are normal and common. And try to face them directly as you work through your feelings.

4. Make a public commitment to those who want to see you do well. Joannie’s exquisite performances, and the standing ovations, said it all. You can tell others about your intentions and create a strong reality that will motivate you. The initial goal is to uncover the courage to begin. Re-establish routine in your life, both at work and with family. Set new long range goals and short term objectives. Enlist your staying power. Your positive experiences will give you the incentive to continue. Although there may be stumbling blocks along the way, never give up.

5. Listen to others but primarily rely on your own instincts. Joannie believed in what she was doing and concentrated on the competition. She felt that she was where she belonged. That’s what her mother would have wanted her to do. What is familiar can be calming – have faith in what you are doing to heal. Realize your hidden internal strength as you trust yourself and look inside for answers. Emotional discomfort can be an opportunity and serve as an invitation to grow.

6. Increase your capacity to be resilient. It must have been extremely difficult for Joannie to maintain her composure and grace under these circumstances. Just as she has, take it one day at a time. Begin to develop strategies to manage stress and release tension. And you can call on your faith or spirituality Step by step, you will be able to turn your hopes and dreams into reality.

In both programs, with not much sleep or energy, Joannie hit the ice with determination. She proceeded to skate what turned out to be her personal best during the most trying time of her life. She felt as if her mother was there helping her. Skating through her emotional pain, she won the bronze medal. Joannie was stunning on the podium – responding to the cheers of the crowd, smiling as she wiped away the tears. Hers was a symbol of a poignant victory, and she touched the emotions of people across the globe.

In the news conference, Joannie repeated that her mother was her greatest fan and her death a monumental loss. Just like for her, you may feel that you are standing alone on the biggest stage you have ever been on, carrying the weight of losing your very foundation. But you too can get back on the ice and skate like you never have before.

© 2010, Her Mentor Center

Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D is the founder of http://HerMentorCenter.com, a website for midlife women and http://NourishingRelationships.blogspot.com, a blog for the Sandwich Generation. She publishes a complimentary monthly newsletter and is the author of a forthcoming book about family relationships. As a psychotherapist, she has over 25 years of private practice experience.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Phyllis_Goldberg,_Ph.D.

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Ice Skating – Taking Up the Sport After Winter Olympics Inspiration

by Martha Dickinson

Feeling inspired by the excitement of the Winter Olympics? Many people have been entranced by the grace and physicality of Ice Skating after watching the sport unfold during the Winter Olympics, and are looking into taking up the sport themselves. This is a great idea, as Ice Skating can have very positive physical results as well as being a ton of fun, but there are things to keep in mind when you set about starting to go Ice Skating.

First up, you will need to be sure you have the right skates and safety equipment. Will you require any special pads when you start skating? Check out the various dedicated ice skating websites and blogs that are easy to find online for advice on how best to start out.

Once you have the gear to get started with, the next phase is to take some lessons by a certified and experienced skating tutor. The first things you need to be taught are safety issues, how to stay upright, how to fall if you have an accident, and other essential matters that you need to be familiar with.

Once these issues are ingrained in your mind you can move onto the basics of the skating sport and then onto greater moves as your experience and confidence builds. You may not be able to pull off the graceful moves of your Olympic heroes, but soon you will have the basics mastered and be able to see just what you are capable of, while becoming fitter and healthier due to the powerful workout that this kind of skating can give the body.

It’s a great sport to share with friends, so how about you ask around and see if anyone else you know would like to join in? To a beginner, skating on ice can seem daunting, but by finding good ice skating rinks and tutors, and with the right gear, you can start ice skating with confidence.

Martha is a health, exercise and lifestyle expert who loves to help people discover more about life and what it can offer. Are you feeling inspired by the Olympics? Check out more information online!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Martha_Dickinson

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Ice Skating Tips For Figure Skaters

by Francis Murphy

While some novice ice skaters decided to learn ice skating all by themselves which are possible, it is actually recommended to get some professional skating lessons if possible. There are many advantages of taking these lessons and it is not hard to find a skating rink which is near to your home.

Here are what we can share on Ice skating tips:

a. How to fall: Falling is unavoidable especially for new learners in ice skating but falling can be risky at the same time. Thus it is valuable to learn how to minimize the risk of injury when falling. Some good tips would be to wear ice skating protective gear set such as helmet, wrist, elbow, knee and hips pads to minimize the impact of the injury.

b. Getting professional guidance on ice skating if you are a beginner is the most important tips of all. This is the only way where the beginner can learn how to fall without injuring himself, how to stand still and how to skate properly.

c. If you are skating outside the ring, making sure that the ice is thick enough to support your weight is some basic pre-skating checking to safe-guard your safety.

d. Learning how to make an abrupt stop swiftly is one of the key tips for every ice skater – this is called the Hockey Stop. Then there are T-Stop, Snowplow Stop, and also backward T-Stop and other kinds of stopping tips which one gets to learn to be a good ice skater.

e. Wear warm, comfortable clothing and appropriate socks made of microfiber or synthetic are the best for ice skating. Keep in mind that the rink’s temperature is 50-60 degrees, therefore a light jacket, sweater, windbreaker is advisable. Get some gloves or mitten made of wool or acrylic type is best.

f. It is important to make sure you tie your ice skates the correct way. It is best to tie your skates fairly loose at the bottom part. In the middle part of the skate, where the ankle is, it is good to pull the laces tight. This will give the support that your ankles need to hold you up while you are skating. And at the very top part of the skates, it should be the loosest part so that it will be easier for you to bend your knees which is very important in ice skating.

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The Most Commonly Performed Jumps in Figure Skating

If you are a figure skating fan you have no doubt heard these terms used throughout the many competitions you’ve watched. In some cases you may even recognize them, but in most cases it is up to the narrator or announcer, or whatever they are called, to tell us what moves the skaters are making on the ice. Something I noticed during the 2010 Olympics was that the announcer wasn’t necessarily naming every move the skater made. There were, for example, a number of jumps that occurred that were not even mentioned. It was almost like I was “expected” to know what the move was.

With that in mind, I did some research on the top basic figure skating jumps that every figure skater must know. When skaters learn them, they learn them from simplest to most difficult, so that is how I will list them. Also keep in mind that higher point values are applied to the more difficult jumps and that all of these jumps can be performed as a double or triple jump, raising the level of difficulty, except for the waltz jump.

  • Waltz Jump-the waltz jump is performed by the skater leaving the ice from the forward foot outside edge of the skate. Making a half revolution in the air, the skater lands on the back outside skate edge of the opposite foot.
  • Salchow, pronounced “sal-kow” is named after Ulrich Salchow, who first originated this jump in 1909. This jump is performed from the back inside edge of one skate to the back outside edge of the other with a half revolution in the air and is usually done from a ‘forward outside three turn’ or from a ‘forward inside mohawk’ move. After the preceding move, the skater stops for a split second with a leg extended behind and then swings that leg forward and around in a wide sweeping arc, leaping into the air simultaneously and landing backwards on the foot that was used for the sweeping motion.
  • Toe Loop-the toe loop is usually entered from a ‘forward inside three turn’ and is accomplished with a toe assist in the form of a ‘pick’. After the turn while the skater is moving backwards on an outside skate edge, the skater ‘picks the ice’ with one foot, does a half revolution in the air, and then lands on the foot that did not ‘pick’ the ice. The skater should land in the same position in which they started. This jump was first performed by Bruce Mapes in the 1920s, an American professional show skater. This same jump is performed in artistic roller skating and is called a Mapes Jump.
  • Loop-the loop jump is one of the most easily recognized, most often being done as the second jump in a ‘combination’ jump. With no toe assist, the skater simply takes off from a back outside edge, does a full revolution in the air, and then lands backward on the same edge that was used to launch the jump.
  • Flip-brings to mind somersaults, but is actually much simpler. Gliding backwards on an inside edge, the skater ‘picks’ the ice with the toe of the opposite skate, performs a full revolution in the air, and then lands on the back outside edge of the same skate with which he or she ‘picked’ the ice. The toe assist somewhat resembles a pole vault and the jump is usually entered from an ‘outside three turn’ done in a straight line or from a ‘forward inside mohawk’.
  • Lutz-this jump was first performed by Austrian Alois Lutz during a competition in 1913. Performed similar to a flip, the takeoff is from a back outside edge as opposed to a back inside edge. Staying on that back outside edge while taking off is extremely difficult and points are deducted for rolling to the back inside edge, in which case it becomes a common flip jump. When this error is made, it is commonly referred to as a “flutz”.
  • Axel-First performed in 1882 by Axel Paulsen, the axel jump is launched from a forward outside edge. Making a full one and one-half revolution while airborne, the skater then lands on the opposite foot from the takeoff, on a back outside edge. This jump, when performed as a double (3 full revolutions) or a triple (4.5 turns) is truly amazing.

 I hope this helps you to identify the jumps as they occur on the ice. Personally, I think it is amazing what these skaters do and find it amazing that their whole life has been dedicated to perfecting their performance in arguably the most beautifully performed sporting event in the world.

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You CAN Learn to Ice Skate

by Jassen Bowman

Having been raised in the era of figure skating superstars like Nancy Kerrigan, Michelle Kwan, and Todd Eldridge, I have been fascinated by this beautiful display of athletic prowess for nearly two decades. But, like many things in life, there comes a point where the fascination slips into a desire to do something more than just sit on the couch and watch these happenings on the moving picture box.

Being 30 years old and 50 pounds overweight, part of my brain was telling myself I was absolutely, positively nuts to even be thinking about doing this. Even that first time I stepped onto the ice, I was still telling myself that I was about to be involved in a major medical emergency involving multiple broken bones. Three months later, I am not only injury free, but actually making substantial progress.

So, how does one go about learning how to skate? Like anything else, you have to do your homework. It all begins with identifying a facility in your area that even has a sheet of ice. Most major metropolitan areas of the United States, Canada, and Europe have ice facilities of one form or another. Some ice rinks consist only of frozen lakes, while others offer multiple ice rinks within one large building, complete with locker rooms, concession stands, skate rental, and more. Finding a facility near you begins with a simple Google search or a trip through the phone book.

After identifying an appropriate facility, you must then actually contact the ice rink and inquire as to the availability of group classes or private instruction. Most ice rinks offer public skate sessions during which you can obtain one-on-one instruction from a member of the site staff. Many facilities in America also participate in either the U.S. Figure Skating Association or the Ice Skating Institute basic skating skills programs, which provide a structured course of instruction in either a group format or on an individual basis.

Most people will start with group lessons. The advantage of joining a class is that there is an organized curriculum to the entire process of learning how to ice skate, along with being with a group of people of your own skill level. The cost for group lessons is also significantly less than private instruction. It is common for classes to meet twice per week for about four to six weeks. These types of classes vary in cost depending on where you’re geographically located, but in the United States expect to pay between $60 and $100 for such a class. In addition, you will also likely have to rent skates from the facility you are taking lessons at. However, skate rental is generally very inexpensive, at only a few dollars per session.

If you’re looking to test the waters before jumping into a class, or simply desire the undivided attention of an instructor, then private lessons are a worthwhile option to consider. Meeting once or twice with a private instructor is a great way to get started, especially to help you determine whether or not ice skating is something that you will really enjoy and want to stick with as a hobby. Following private instruction with group classes can give you a head start on learning how to ice skate, especially if you take a private lesson on occasion during the course of being in a class. Private instruction is definitely more costly, but pays for itself in terms of the progress that you can make in your skating skills compared to a group environment. Expect to pay anywhere from $45 to $100 per hour for private instruction, with most lessons lasting about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your goals and pace.

Personally, my intention was to meet twice, and only twice, with a private instructor, and then maybe take a class, with the thought that doing that much would get the desire to skate out of my system. My primary interest in learning to skate was to have a wee bit of a clue about what it’s like to be on the ice, since I had already made the decision that the only way I could ever actively participate in the sport of figure skating was to be a judge. However, after those two private lessons, I was hooked on skating itself, and now my weekly lessons are a line item in my personal budget.

Ice skating is an addictive form of recreation. Learning to ice skate will provide you with a great sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment. Whether your interest is purely recreational in nature, or you have an interest in any of the related disciplines such as hockey, ice dancing, or figure skating, ice skating will provide you with a sense of pure elation, and will always provide you with additional challenges should you wish to explore them.

In my next article, I will offer insight into selecting an instructor for private coaching. This relationship is such an important one that it deserves careful consideration. I consider myself extremely fortunate that the “next available instructor” to whom I was assigned is such a talented coach and a good personality fit. However, one should not rely on blind luck or good fortune alone when picking an instructor, so be looking for that article coming soon.

Jassen Bowman is a tax consultant by profession, helping taxpayers obtain the tax relief to which they are legally entitled. Outside of work, his lifelong interest in the sport of figure skating has recently blossomed into an intense drive to learn to ice skate He can be found practicing three or four times per week at his local ice centre.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jassen_Bowman

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