Figure Skating related jobs

Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by Eladola, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

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    Sooo ...

    This is my first post here, Though i've been regular at the ISU.com boards for a few years now, It seems that the larger population in these boards might help me answer this question better,
    I hope this is the right place for this thread, Didn't feel right to put it in main .

    So what are the jobs that are involved with figure skating that don't involve being a skater or a coach ?
    If someone like that wants a job and a life in Figure skating how would he go about that ?
    Are there any jobs that might involve traveling from competition to competition?

    Very interested in hearing the responses, And looking forward to writing here, A lot .:hat1:
  2. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Are you in the US, or elsewhere? Some of the jobs working for the skating federations, such as the USFS, involve traveling from competition to competition. But you normally have to live/work in the location where the skating federation is located - Colorado for the USFS.

    I understand that there are, depending on the team, team doctors that travel to competitions.

    The technical specialists travel, and that's a paid position; but you can't make your living on it. It's not a full-time job.

    If you were a sports journalist/photographer, you might occasionally be assigned to a figure skating competition; but the brunt of your work would involve coverage of more popular sports.
  3. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    I would guess that most of the competition-to-competition jobs involve working for the ISU or the federation that hosts the competition(s). But from what I have seen at ISU and national/regional competitions, most of those jobs are done by people who have a full-time position with the host organization, and pretty much everything else is done by volunteers.

    There are probably also non-skating jobs (e.g. administrator, technical crew, publicity, costume/makeup) with the touring ice shows, but how easy or difficult it is to get one of those I really don't know. IIRC in Elizabeth Manley's book about being a professional skater, she mentioned that a lot of the crew people on the shows she was part of also worked on other kinds of touring shows, e.g. concerts. That can be full-time work but it also depends a lot on knowing the right people - who know your abilities and who can offer you work.
  4. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    USFS lists jobs on their website. They usually don't have too many listed at a time but it's worth a shot! You would have to move to Colorado.
  5. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Whilst coaches get paid for what they do, and rinks make money from skater entries, generally the sport is run by volunteers. That is not to say the volunteer roles don't have their rewards, but money isn't one of them.

    If I got paid for all the hours I put into the sport I would be a very rich woman indeed.
  6. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

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    There are also consulting roles to work with skaters. When I was working on my first degree, I taught ballet to some skaters. A friend of mine taught yoga at the rink that was near the college. A local photographer became the photographer of choice, as he worked very hard to study and understand action photography in ice rink settings. There are also music people, costume designers, makeup and hair specialists, etc.

    Now I have a friend who is a public relations freelancer. Among her clients are children who are good in various sports, including skating. She does media training for them and working on speaking skills. That is only a small part of what she does, but she does enjoy it.

    However, none of these people solely worked with skaters or in skating. They had other jobs, clients and roles that paid the bills.
  7. Doubletoe

    Doubletoe Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure it's a paid position? I know judges are not paid; they just have their travel expenses covered. The announcers and music people are volunteers as well. The only people I see making money at figure skating competitions are the videographers, photographers and other vendors (such as skating dress and skate manufacturers).
  8. Erica Lee

    Erica Lee New Member

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    Technical specialists are volunteer officials, too. It is not paid.

    For what it's worth, many skating photographers (talking the ones that travel competition to competition) do little more than break even. I know of very few that don't have "real jobs" and do skating events "on the side". For some, that "real job" is other photography, for many it isn't.

    The photographers that are at local level competitions and provide photography to sell to the hundreds of entrants at those events may make some money - I doubt they would do it if they didn't; however, many of the ones I know also shoot dance, gymnastics, etc, etc to fill up their schedules year round. Some events likely make money while some events likely lose money.

    I've had jobs in skating and jobs outside of skating and ultimately I've found that if you're passionate about the sport and want to be involved, then you can. You don't have to make your living in skating to greatly contribute to it and be deeply connected with it. I've taken vacation from my (non skating) job to volunteer at skating events, etc.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  9. Doubletoe

    Doubletoe Well-Known Member

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    I believe it. I've talked to some of the videographers and they say there's no profit in that these days, either, especially since IceNetwork now regulates what they can charge and also gets all of their videos.
  10. kayskate

    kayskate New Member

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    Any other sports related position that works on the conditioning and preparation of the skater would also have clients in other sports. These might include: personal trainer, yoga/aerobics/pilates instructor, dance/ballet instructor, nutritionist, sports psychologist, physical therapist. If you really are ambitious, you could go into sports medicine.

    You could also work at the rink in management, LTS program director, etc. My boss is a rink manager who also coordinates LTS and supervises the coaches. She is a business person and not a skater herself. Her job is FT.

    Kay
    www.skatejournal.com
  11. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    That is correct. They are another volunteer.

    I recently had to explain to someone that the judges don't get paid. They thought they did. We might get a small reimbursement to cover our travel expenses, but that is it.
  12. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I have information to the contrary. One of my friends is a judge in the US and she, of course, knows many technical specialists. According to her, they do get paid.
  13. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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    Take Speedy's job. You'll make absolutely squillions of dollars.
  14. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

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    Much of it is about making a niche for yourself. Like one of the physical therapists I know. She started with various clients in all sorts of sports, but eventually got the reputation as being very good with gymnasts so that is who really sought her out for her services.

    The club near where I used to live used primarily the same people over and over again. In turn the parents, grandparents, and some of the skaters and coaches began to use and request the services of the people who contracted there. For example, when I was doing ballet lessons I had one mom come to me and say she wanted private lessons for herself.

    With digital cameras and all most photographers are struggling. There are now too many inexperienced or just hobby people who think they can do it for a living. I would think videographers would be the same way.
  15. Clarice

    Clarice Active Member

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    I'm not sure what she would be referring to - we certainly didn't pay any of the tech specialists at our last competition. They got travel reimbursements, and the LOC provided lodging and food, just like all the other judges.
  16. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that's what we do at our club's competitions also.

    At the international level they may get paid, though.
  17. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    There was a proposal at USFS Governing Council to pay the Tech Panel (many of who are coaches) a stipend for National Caompetitions. Then judges got added on, then the accountants, ice techs and announcers - and the estimated costs went so high, it was defeated.

    Currently officials are reimbused for mileage to, from and during (hotel to rink and back, for multi-day competitions) events, if they drive or make their own travel arrangements. The club also pays for officials housing and meals during the competition. Accountants receive reimbursement for computer and printer usage (unless the club supplies those), paper and copying. But other than those reimbursements, officials are NOT paid for their services.

    I'm pretty sure that applies to the IOC events as well.
  18. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    I keep my ears (and web browser) open to check regularly for figure skating related jobs. I mostly check out coaching and director positions, but I have seen others. I post them when I find them.

    There are jobs with the USFSA, PSA and ISI that aren't coaching-related, such as coordinating the Basic Skills/WeSkate program, doing graphic design, web development, managing the online portals like IceNetwork, coordinating athlete competition travel and training sessions.

    There are also occasional positions with media, like ESPN or NBC, but those are usually temporary back office jobs like editing videos and marketing.
  19. smarts1

    smarts1 Well-Known Member

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    ^ Question... If an event is in your area, how do you volunteer for it?
  20. Clarice

    Clarice Active Member

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    Contact the local club that is sponsoring the event. They're always looking for help, and will be happy to point you in the right direction!
  21. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Skating never has enough volunteers and the clubs always appreciate those who do offer their services. Just ask.
  22. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    Sometimes the club organizers are so organized that they don't "need" new volunteers for anything more than a runner, or they might be so disorganized that the "it's easier to do it myself" mentality sets in and they don't coordinate/use volunteers well.

    Don't take "no thanks" as a rejection, especially if you're offering to help at the last minute. Starting out with helping to break down and put away after an event is the single most welcome volunteer job. The organizers have been there since the start of the event and they're tired, perhaps even cranky. Many people will volunteer to setup, but they want to leave after their kid skates.

    A good way to get your foot in the door is to take care of hospitality clean up, put away the awards stands, break down any temporary structures to be stored, clear out the locker rooms, and take down the results/signs before the competition starts. I used to bring my own dishpan and dishwashing supplies to our old club's competitions and clean out the crockpots and serving dishes in the rink's slop sink. Dirty work, but someone's gotta do it, right?

    Organizing the volunteer list is a chore in itself, one that is often left until the last minute because no one wants to hear "No, sorry." If you are organized, have a tough skin and a winning personality, that's a perfect volunteer position.


    For major events, I don't think the LOC takes a chance on unknown volunteers by giving them the tasks that involve dealing with skaters, parents, coaches, judges or the media. Unless they know the person is level-headed and even-tempered, they wouldn't throw a new volunteer into a visible role. Without an audition/prior experience, they wouldn't assign them as announcers. There are other, less-visible, roles they would assign.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  23. crzesk8dad

    crzesk8dad Active Member

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    I do several "skating jobs", one is paid, the others are not:

    *Videography: I work for one of the videographers at local USFSA and ISI competitions, doing sound and editing chores. This the one that is paid, by the hour, including setup, teardown, etc. Long days and weekends..but the money helps pay for my skater (Senior skaters are expensive!!!)

    *Music Coordinator: I have a Music appointment with USFSA, so I perform this duty at several competitions each year, including regionals, sectionals, and have "interned" at one Nationals

    *Announcer: I also have an Announcer appointment with USFSA..same as above.

    *Club Board of Directors: I have been on our skating club's board for 10 years, helping guide our programs, etc. I also served a term as President.

    *Competition Chair: I have organized many competitions, from JGP to local club one-day. This one is lot's of work and of course is volunteer...lots of late nights and lunch hours doing work months before the competition

    *Test Chair: I did this for nearly 10 years, it's probably the most rewarding because I have watched some skaters (National, World and Olympic competitors today) who tested as early as 6 years old...it's really something to know that you have watched this kid since they started...pretty cool stuff.

    *All around competition volunteer: What ever needs to get done, run copies, take money, guard the door, run judges sheets, help clean up hospitality, what ever needs to be done.

    An earlier post is correct, you don't do these jobs for the money, because there isn't any...you do it to help a good sport, watch the kids, meet some great folks (the other volunteers are just as crazy as you are) and make some good friends.
  24. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    I created my own job with the podcasts I do. I saw a void that needed to be filled and filled it. I don't get paid for it (yet, anyway) but I love it and get to talk with my heros every month.
  25. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    Just to be clear, when you work for the videographer, you're being paid BY the Videographer, not by the competition organizers.

    Way back in the Dark Ages, when Campbell's Soup sponsored USFSA, I got drafted for a gig handing out little cups of tomato soup during Skate America. That was fun, although I got pretty sick of the smell of tomato soup by the end of the deal. I got "paid" with a bunch of coupons and the left-over cans that didn't get opened. I was pretty happy with that, since I didn't expect anything. Then I found out later that Campbell's had actually hired a person to do the job, who hadn't shown up. So they got off cheap by replacing a paid person with a volunteer.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  26. acraven

    acraven Active Member

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    I have a strong suspicion that this is correct. Some years ago I stumbled upon something in an ISU document about modest end-of-season payments to judges. Perhaps $1000 or $2000 for those who had judged at two ISU championships, or something along those lines. I don't remember whether this was before or after IJS was introduced, though.

    I can't find any documentation on the ISU web site concerning payments from the ISU to officials such as members of the technical panel. There is a reference to "Circular Letter No. 542"--or maybe it was "Technical Circular No. 542"--with respect to payments for judges and other officials in one of the Communications I skimmed through, but I couldn't find that document online.
  27. crzesk8dad

    crzesk8dad Active Member

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    You are correct, Sir or Madam! However, with no skating, there would be no job! I believe the thread was "Figure skating related jobs", was it not? :huh:
  28. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    No need to get snippy. Of course it's a job related to figure skating. I just wanted to be sure that everyone knew where the money was coming from, since there seems to be some misconception about competition job payments. No insult was intended.

    (Although actually, the videographers I know are not skating-only; they do multiple sports, weddings, theatrical productions, etc. So technically for them, without skating, they would still have jobs.)
  29. Carolla5501

    Carolla5501 Well-Known Member

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    Well.....

    SOME CLUBS

    A club near where I used to live pretty much told me that "if you aren't a parent and part of our inner circle you aren't welcome" (They had screwed up thier finances and I volunteered to redo the books. They said NO so I wound up doing it anyway with the poor mother who took the job and had not a clue what she was doing. There was no "theft" just "bookeeping in a box" From what the parents I knew told me that was the way the "inner circle" wanted it. Only thier "friends" could help! Plus that allowed them to play the "poor little me" syndrome to everyone when they talked about "how hard we work and no one will help us" LOL!)

    However, I am in Davenport Iowa today on business and while looking for a park to go run in I found a posting for a figure skating coach if anyone is looking :)
  30. Clarice

    Clarice Active Member

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    I know about that! If anybody really IS interested, you should probably PM me.
  31. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    That attitude is unfortunate. However, as Isk8NYC noted, if a club doesn't know you, they're not going to give you a sensitive role right off the bat. I could see even the most open-to-volunteers club being hesitant to let someone they don't know handle their financial records.

    Most clubs are very open to volunteers but you need to start out slowly - and that's true regardless of whether you skate (or have kids who skate) or not. And if you think about it, that's the case with any org - you're not going to be the chair of something your first day, lol. My club's VP (and test chair) has never skated and does not have kids who skate. Her involvement with the club predates mine, but I suspect she got involved via music coordinating/announcing, which is a certification done through the USFSA (just like becoming a judge). She does the music (and some announcing) for our annual comp, and at some point got on the board - she is extremely dedicated has the respect of everyone and no one cares if she's ever skated.

    If you are interested in being involved with comps, you may want to consider becoming a music coordinator or accountant. The training and certification process is similar to that of judges, although I believe it takes less time to reach the nat'l level, depending on how much time you are willing to put into it. Even if you don't think you can reach that point, there is plenty of need and activity at the local and regional levels.
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  32. Carolla5501

    Carolla5501 Well-Known Member

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    Let me point out that this club would not let "strangers" do ANYTHING LOL! Seriously, they told a woman who was taking lessons with me that "we can't allow people we don't know to take up tickets for our 'show" (No money was involved, I guess they figured she would let in hordes of "freeloaders" LOL!) And I didn't ASK to do thier finanicals, some of the parents came to me because I am an accountant and I said "I would be glad to try to construct a finanical statement for you". I will be honest the "response" made me very curious and so when I helped my friend I looked for signs of "theft" etc.. didn't see any or any real concerns besides sloppy records.

    There has been signficant turnover there from what I understand and I will never ever place the locations (and some of you who know where I used to live, it's not there. It was well before Nationals in Nashville :) )

    Honestly, with my other committments while I enjoy skating it's not a top priority for volunteering.
  33. crzesk8dad

    crzesk8dad Active Member

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    I appreciate your clarification and while I was a bit put off, I truly appreciate it. I stand corrected! :slinkaway

    BTW-the videographer that I work with only does Figure Skating..between ISI, USFSA comps, Spring shows, Christmas shows, we work 43 of 52 weekends per year! I don't personally work all of them, but can have as many as I would like..he has several people on the crew and we work on-call, as able. I probably do around 20-25 of them.
  34. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    Back to paying the tech panel....my friend easily could have easily been wrong. I inquired about becoming a judge and she said to me: "Don't become a judge! Become a technical specialist, they get paid!" This looks to be disputed, and I really don't think anyone will know for sure unless they ask a technical panel member directly.
  35. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    No, USFS rules spell out clearly who gets what. Tech panel members are officials and don't get paid any differently from the judges, accountants, announcers, ice techs and music officials. Any club treasurer who's written the checks can tell you that.

    They all get reimbursed for travel expenses. Period. In spite as some of the tech people would like think, they're not any different from the rest of the officials. :)

    And unless you have extensive skating/coaching background, becoming a tech specialist isn't any faster than becoming a judge or an accountant. And, from what I've seen, it's way more stressful.
  36. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    Actually, unless the rules have recently changed, you can't become a tech specialist unless you competed at the nat'l level in Novice or above, or coached a skater at Nats at those levels. I don't think you need to have been a skater to do data/video on a tech panel, though.
  37. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    That's necessary for a national tech specialist appointment . . . unless you got promoted from lower level tech specialist appointments or were already a national judge.

    http://www.usfigureskating.org/Shell.asp?cat=10&id=284&sid=30912
    http://www.usfigureskating.org/Content/Bylaws and Committee Rules.pdf
    (See TCPR 3.00 and following)

    For the lower levels, you have to have competed or coached or judged at novice/regional level or higher.

    In other words, you can't just walk in off the street, or even from successful intermediate-level competition, and become a non-qual technical specialist and work your way up from there.

    It's not specified, but you do have to have "the highest" or "a high degree of" technical expertise in the relevant discipline. Computer knowledge is also necessary for an appointment.

    See TPCR 3.04 I: You can just walk in off the street (more or less) and get assigned to run the video replay for a nonqualifying competition with brief training. It definitely helps to be able to recognize standard and not-so-standard approaches to elements so you don't miss the beginning of the element, or in the case of a jump possibly the whole thing, so that's where the high degree of technical knowledge comes in.
  38. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    Oh, OK, thanks for clarifying. I knew there was some sort of skating/coaching requirement.
  39. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    :lol: I'd like to see someone "off the street" walk in and try it! Video operator is one of the most popular jobs on the panel. Officials beg, plead and whine for the opportunity to get their butts in that chair now. If some disaster managed to befall the panel to make hunting up a new data operator on the fly, I imagine that the off-duty judges and accountants would be tripping each other to fill the position, not to mention the trial judges, prospective accountants and tech-specialists-in-training.
  40. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Oh, of course.

    A stranger literally wandering in off the street would not be given that assignment; I was using the term figuratively. What I mean is that if someone who does not have the skating or coaching credentials to get a tech specialist appointment and is not close to getting a competition judging appointment can be asked to run video replay if not enough people with credentials are available and if they have enough knowledge.

    Lots of officials who already have other appointments also get video appointments. And if it's necessary to find someone else for that position who doesn't already have some kind of appointment, the first people asked will be those who are present and who are working toward appointments. But in theory it could go to an experienced but not novice-competitive skater or coach as long as they have no conflicts of interest, or a parent or other non-skating club member who is known to be sufficiently knowledgeable.


    Anyway, in more general terms I'm wondering what the original poster's interest was in starting this thread.

    Looking for ways that low-level skaters or nonskaters can make a living attending high-level skating competitions? Better have some other relevant skill, at a high level if you want to get paid for it in relation to elite events.

    Looking for ways to get involved with local and/or elite skating and willing to volunteer?
    Lots of ways, but some require years of training and others won't get you any reimbursement for travel etc.

    Just curious about what kind of skating-related jobs might be available beyond the obvious like coaching?