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Figure Skating related jobs

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

  1. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

    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

    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 Janny uber

    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

    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 Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  11. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    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

    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

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

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

    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 Well-Known Member

    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

    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

    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 Well-Known Member

    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

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

    Clarice Well-Known Member

    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 Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

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

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    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 Well-Known Member

    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

    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

    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 Well-Known Member

    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 Well-Known Member

    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

    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



    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 Well-Known Member

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