Does your rink have rules or required etiquette for skater parents?

Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by Jozet, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. Jozet

    Jozet Active Member

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    Just wondering...

    To what extent do parents sit in the stands at your rink as opposed to in the lobby or some other viewing/non-viewing area?

    Does your rink have rules regarding contact with skaters on the ice by parents? Coaching from the stands or ever the hockey boxes?

    Are rules enforced or just suggestions?

    Does the number of parents sitting in the stands change over time--more for younger kids, less for older skaters, etc.?

    If your rink doesn't have rules or suggested etiquette, do you think there could be rules that would benefit the rink atmosphere both on and off the ice?

    Do you have any opinion on parent viewers and when or whether they are a positive or negative influence on skaters, or "it depends" or "not my circus, not my monkeys"?
     
  2. gr8sk8101

    gr8sk8101 New Member

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    Wow are those some loaded questions!

    The only rules that are present at our rink are:

    5. Gossip is counterproductive.
    - Spreading hearsay and rumors among skaters, parents and professionals is inappropriate and destructive to our program and the skating community.
    6. Pride in a coach is expected, however it is best to speak only in positive terms of what the coaching
    relationship means to you individually.
    - Never discuss what your coach can do or what another coach can not do for another skater. This action is considered solicitation by the Professional Skaters Association and could result in sanctions being taken against your coach, regardless of your intent.

    Are they enforced? For the most part no. Our rink director is really clueless to dynamics of skating parents and their skaters.

    We do have parents who will coach from the entry door to the ice, which happens to be in a lutz corner. The only thing that has been done is to ask the skater's coach to speak to the parent. When the coach gets around to talking to the parent it typically works for a week or two and then is forgotten and the parent coaching starts again. Other parent coaching situations, screaming at the skater from the stands or constantly making the skater come off this ice to speak to the parent, are usually handled by the coach of the skater. It depends on the coach as to how it is dealt with. I have seen coaches tell parents they are not allowed in the rink but this is not common at all.

    I have heard of situations prior to our arrival to the rink (10 or more years ago) where parents were restricted from the building but this was also a different skating director.

    I do think the rink should have more specific rules for these situations. The rink should also have some general guidelines for the coaches on how these types of situations will be dealt with. I don't hold out much hope of this ever happening.

    This leads to the question of number of parents sitting in the stands and the ages of their skaters. In the almost 10 years we have been at our rink there are always more parents of younger skaters sitting in the stands. The last three years or so if I get there to see the last 10 minutes of the last session of the day, that is quite a lot and my skater is 15. This may be as much a fact of dealing with a teenage girl who never wants a parent around as much as not needing to be there as she is quite self sufficient.

    I think the parent watchers are fine however, I think the coaching parents have a negative influence on the skaters and for a few reasons. First, all the money we pay coaches I feel we need to let them do the coaching. If the skater is becoming disrespectful to the coach, that is a different story. Second, I believe in raising strong independent children and trying to micro manage the skating is not allowing the child to learn if this is something they love or if they are doing it to please the parent. Skating is the child's activity, let him or her learn it their terms and schedule. Lastly, the more parent involvement I see leads to the most misery for the skater. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a parent comparing their child to another skater and berating their child because he or she isn't able to do the same elements on the same schedule.

    All this said, I must admit I went through my own time where I tried to encourage my daughter with negative encouragement and comparisons. I learned very quickly that this didn't work. I now do not ask specifics of her day, encourage her to remain positive even on the days when nothing seems to be working and tell her I support her no matter how she skates. This has made my house much more harmonious.
     
  3. Jozet

    Jozet Active Member

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    Thanks gr8sk8101! We've been traveling around, visiting some rinks, and I notice at some rinks there are no parents in the stands, others there are some. One or two rinks had very specific "Parents should have no contact with skaters on the rink" notes. It just started me wondering.

    I've noticed in general--and not just with skating but with scouts, other sports--sometimes kids can be a little more whiny, don't work as hard, are on and off the field when mom or dad are around. I've had scouts clean latrines without a grumble; on the camping trips when mom is there, they'll pull more stunts to get out of doing hard stuff. My own kiddo went through a time when young when she was more whinging if I was there; when I wasn't, I got reports that she was working harder and brushing off the ouches more easily. I'm not in the rink a lot now because of other obligations, but, yes, by 15yo she can own this totally. I come by to see her now and again, but that's it. I think it keeps it clear in her mind whose sport this is, especially on the tough days.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. Jozet

    Jozet Active Member

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    Someone else mentioned this to me and it made sense.

    Watching skaters progress can be like watching paint dry some days and weeks. When I go in less often, I see the progress more easily. I'm less likely to start being a nudge about "things not happening."
     
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  5. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    At some of my rinks, parents are not allowed at the boards. At one of them, they aren't even allowed in the stands - they must go to the overhead, glassed in area. But at most of them, they're allowed to do as they wish.

    My one coach strongly prefers the rinks where parents are not allowed at the boards. He's fine with them in the stands. He says that he doesn't like them at the boards because while most parents are fine, some are not, and so it's best if none are allowed at the boards.
     
  6. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    My club uses two different rinks during the year. At one, which has no boards and no rinkside seating, the parents have to stay in the lobby during the sessions, unless Suzie Special Snowflake needs a kleenex or a sweater or whatever. There is also a viewing area at the top of the rink, which is part of the cafeteria. Unfortunately what this leads to is kids hogging the piece of the ice closest to the window in the lobby where their parent is sitting, and getting coached by them via hand signals through the glass :rolleyes:

    At the other rink, there is seating but it's up above the ice surface. The parents can sit there, but it's freakin' cold so usually they stay in the lobby. But they are not allowed by the side of the rink, again unless their kid needs something.

    At the rink we used to be at, parents could sit in the stands which were right next to the ice. Like Garr's coach says, most parents are fine but some are not. There were a few who used to lean over the boards after the kid had their lesson with the coach, and SCREAM at them for the entire rest of the session. And I mean SCREAM. I would be at the opposite end of the rink from those parents and couldn't hear what my coach, standing right next to me, was saying. Those parents got asked to stay in the lobby. (And oddly, none of their kids are skating any more...hmm....)
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
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  7. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I have always been very disturbed by the parents who just won't leave their kids alone when they are practising. In fact I would suggest that there are some instances which are akin to emotional child abuse.

    I did witness a couple with two very young kids in a public session at a rink in another city to where I live (it was on the morning of a competition). The older one was probably 5-6 and the younger one about 3. The parent would not let up on the older one to the point where the kid was crying and I think even the father was telling the mother to back off. When they got off the ice I just glared at her and then when she looked at me I commented "that kid should not be crying like that". She made some excuse that the kid was dissatisfied with herself. It was the one time where I should have reported the kid to their state association as I knew who they were because I saw them competing later on.

    There are good parents and bad parents. Unfortunately the bad parents give the sport a bad name and reputation. And they are usually the ones who I have had to clarify the right information to because more often than not they get it wrong.
     
  8. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    Worst skating mother I've ever seen would be at the boards all session long and berate the child non-stop. That wasn't all that much an issue for me, even if I had to :rolleyes: when she would say 'no water until you land 3 axels in a row.' What became an issue and eventually led to rink management talking to her was the fact she would yell out random body parts as the daughter would approach a jump or spin "SHOULDER SHOULDER" "HAND HAND" --all session long. It could be horribly distracting if you were entering a jump or spin of your own. She managed to do it as one of the adult masters skaters was setting up for an axel and that was the beginning of the end of her yelling days.

    I saw her when I was visiting a few years ago and she was still at the boards, still berating her daughter, but not yelling out. I suppose as long as it doesn't interfere with other skaters' training, rink management isn't very likely to get involved right away. Rules that deal more with gossiping/coaching reputations that other posters already brought up, I think would be more likely to be addressed by other club members or officials. Eta: Or maybe the rink itself, depending on the set-up...
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  9. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    I think for the most part when it's negative, it's the person, not the rules. You can have all the rules in the world and the parent will still be obnoxious.
     
  10. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    We had one of those a few years back. A club member spoke privately to the coach about the situation. The coach made distance and silence a condition of coaching. "If I hear ONE MORE PEEP out of you, I'm dropping your kid."
     
  11. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    Excellent thinking on the coach's part. Unfortunately, the rink where this happened wasn't their home rink and they were only there for the weekend freestyle sessions that I did. That meant the girl's coach was never there to witness the insanity up close.
     
  12. HeManSkaterDad

    HeManSkaterDad Member

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    I think it is the rare rink that does not have one of these 'helicopter' parents (always hovering over the skater), and most people in the rink usually know who it is. If you don't know, I hope you don't see them in the mirror.

    I think it is fair to say it is not unique to skating. I grew up (many years ago) playing several sports and saw the same thing, both as a player and later as an official. Every parent wants to see their child do well, and I think many are re-living their youth or trying to get what they did not get. I will also opine that it may be more excessive in skating, due to the long learning curve and subjective nature of the competitions.

    In our rink, we had a young and inexperienced skating director who was not really handling things, and it was starting to get out of hand with one particular parent (who had been through 3 rinks and 5 coaches in a few years). Several people spoke to the rink management about it, and there was some shuffling to put a stronger person in charge of on-ice situations. At one of the first opportunities, she took a firm but fair stance and gained a lot of respect from everyone involved. Since then, things have been much better.
     
  13. Jozet

    Jozet Active Member

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    I will admit to standing at the side of the rink today--at my daughter's request--to count revs on a combo spin. BUT, the rink was almost empty and it was only two spins. My daughter does video herself, but sometimes she needs someone to count while she's doing it so she can "feel" the number. Anyway, I'm so rarely at the rink these days, that I didn't feel too, too bad about doing exactly what I'm now asking about.

    I will admit, I did used to be more of a pain in the backside. However, at around 11yo, my daughter said, "Go away, or else" in that way 11yo's do. I don't hover anymore. We're all happier. ;)
     
  14. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    If the kids ask their parents I don't have a problem with that. You get a good idea about what is happening with the interaction you see. It is when parents are obviously coaching (yelling, demanding the skater repeats things 100 times over, etc) that it is a problem and a pretty serious one at that.

    The other parents that are a problem are the ones who keep playing their kids music again and again and again ....... Usually when the kids are not having a lesson but just want to run through their program. I think at the rink I used to skate at they banned parents from the tape deck (with a sign to that effect).
     
  15. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    When my daughter skates, I'm on the ice at the same time as she is, working on my own stuff. So I'm not quite a skating parent, more of an, erm... skating parent.
     
  16. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    You are the good kind of skating parent. Because you totally know how difficult it is and what it is about.
     
  17. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    I will never forget this one particular skating mother from hell who would keep shouting vile, negative comments all the time at her child, during her practice, berating them for their 'fat ass' amongst other things. :mad:
     
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  18. J-Ro

    J-Ro Active Member

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    At my club, parents are not allowed to talk to--or at--the skaters or coaches while they are on the ice. Only the skaters, coaches, or ice monitor may operate the sound system. Parents may watch, but that's it--just watch. Quietly.
     
  19. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    I tend to skate at the rink of the university I work for, so I avoid all this drama most of the year. Every summer, I end up doing some regular freestyle sessions, but most of them are either done through a rink rather than a club or on Sundays when coaches aren't really around. Something about the lack of structure seems to bring out the worst in some of these parents. Although, as other posters already mentioned, these are the same parents who would have been overbearing now matter what sport the child chose. If the kid didn't chose skating, I wouldn't need to deal with them, though :p.
     
  20. Skatingisfun1

    Skatingisfun1 New Member

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    No parent coaching allowed (unless the coach is the parent). We have high hockey glass boards where the parents could be involved, and this stops the behavior for those in freestyle. These parents sit in the warming room, usually, and watch. A few sit in the bleachers, and watch. I think those parents follow it. Oh, they will still tell their kid, "You need to practice 'off-ice' at home...", which is fine. The coaches talk alot with the parents, so that helps out too.

    For learn-to-skate, the parents are in the rink, one the hockey benches, and tell the coaches what to do.
     
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  21. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    The rink where I skate here solves that easily--there's hockey panels around both surfaces. Yes, a couple people sit in the hockey boxes, but in general it's hard to get at the ice. At one rink I used to practice at in MA the one kid skater on the early sessions did have an overbearing mom, but in that situation the coach was actually worse (ie making the adult skaters a little uncomfortable, with what she was saying and how miserable the poor kid looked most of the time.)

    I think kids who goof off if parents are around is a reflection of how the parents are more than anything. My mother was always at the barn watching our lessons (in part because she drove us and in part as a safety thing--riding goes wrong a bit more often than skating) but she and Dad when he came took the position that they were paying the trainer to teach us, so they'd stay out of it. Mom brought a book or her cross-stitch.
     
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