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How to Select a Private Coach

Like most other Canadian figure skating clubs, Markham Skating Club (MSC) offers group lessons at the Pre-CanSkate, CanSkate and Novice/Junior levels. The addition of private coaching is strongly recommended at the Novice level, but is not mandatory. However, once a skater moves into the Junior level, the addition of private lessons is mandatory.

Does my skater need a private coach?

Private coaching will help speed progress by increasing focus on each skater’s individual goals and challenges; these may include the exciting experience of going to competitions or working through Skate Canada test levels. If your skater wants to try competing or testing, Skate Canada dictates that you must have a coach.

Can the office staff or board members recommend a coach for me?

No. Anyone involved with the day-to-day operation or governance of a Skate Canada Club must remain impartial. Recommendations of one coach over another are considered unethical. Besides, nobody knows your skater’s personality and communication style better than you. Private coaches must be hired directly by you, and lesson fees, scheduling and so on are to be arranged directly with your coach. Private coaching fees are not included in skating session fees, and cannot be paid through the office.

So how do I choose a coach?

Your private coach should be someone the skater is comfortable with. Ask your skater for an opinion – if they have been with MSC throughout their skating development, they will have some familiarity with the teaching style of several coaches through group lessons, warm-ups and so on. But be careful that they are not just asking for a certain coach because their friends are with that coach! Personal fit is important.

You might want to observe the coaches on sessions other than your usual sessions. While you will not be able listen in to lessons directly, watching the coaches from the stands might help to give you a feel for how each coach works.

How many lessons a week do we need?

The number of private lessons per week will depend on the skater’s goals. Naturally, the more lessons a skater has the faster they will progress. However, remember that skaters also need to learn to work independently – do not schedule so many lessons on each session that they do not have a chance to develop this skill.  Semi-private lessons (lessons where skaters of similar ability share a private lesson) are a good option as long as they are supplemented by private lessons, so each skater gets a chance to work on his/her individual needs with the coach. 


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