by Adrienne Koob-Doddy
Happy summer! This is always an exciting time in the season- school is out, more time is usually spent at the rink, and thus, our skaters see great growth in their skills and programs. This is the time where the run-throughs start getting easier and the elements are becoming more consistent, just in time for the big summer competitions! During this important and busy time, it’s a good idea to review everyone’s roles as the season progresses.
Hopefully you have had your season planning and goal setting meeting by now, and everyone is on the same page. Now is the time as a parent where you need to step back and let the plan unfold. My own mother used to joke that she wouldn’t watch my partner and I until August because before that time it was “too scary to watch!” Looking back, I think she was allowing the on-ice team to do its job. We had a plan, and now we needed the time and space to carry it out. As parents in the summer season, it’s important to let the skaters stay focused on their plan and do all that you can to keep the schedule consistent so they can make the most of this focused training time.
Summertime usually brings travel too, and delegating travel plans to parents is a good way for coaches to keep parents busy and helpful, and also relieves them of *some* administrative work. Allowing parents to help create the travel schedule gives them some control and input and continues to strengthen the team bond and shared goal. Frankly, it’s also just easier to ask parents of the same coach to coordinate some tasks related to competitions. Skaters are better served when their coaches have fewer off-ice distractions and the bulk of their energy can be spent on the ice rather than crunching everyone’s flight arrangements.
Lastly, our skaters- they have the biggest task of all. Synthesizing their new programs with feedback from critiques and reflection from competitions is a big task to accomplish during the summer months. Yet this is the best time to make these big leaps, without the normal distractions of school, homework, and other obligations. The team’s efficiency is vital to allowing this process to happen for the skaters. This is the time for momentum to build, which will carry the team into the fall and the major qualifying season.