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What is a Guest Coach, Resident Coach, Visiting Coach, or Staff Skating Coach?

Ice Rinks Have Different Policies on Who Can Teach Skating Inside Their Arenas


Janet Champion is a Resident Skating Coach at the Colorado Springs World Arena

Janet Champion is a Resident Skating Coach at the Colorado Springs World Arena

Janet Champion Personal Photos
Most ice skating rinks will provide patrons with a list of figure skating coaches or ice skating instructors who are on their coaching staff. Resident or staff coaches may be employees of the rink, but much of the time, they are independent contractors that have made an agreement or signed a contract with a rink to be on their teaching staff.

Resident Skating Coaches or Staff Skating Coaches:

Being on a rink's coaching staff may mean that a coach has certain privileges such as getting referrals for private lesson students from the front office, paying a low commission, percentage, or pro fee to the rink, teaching classes, and being featured on the rink's website or in the rink's publicity brochure.

Some arenas will not allow the resident or staff coaches who are based at their facilities to teach at other arenas. They may also require the coaches to support the rink's activities, such as ISI, Ice Skating Institute, competitions, and also support other coaches and programs (such as ice shows and other promotions) at the rink. They also may be required to wear a uniform, jacket, or coat that identifies them as a member of the rink's coaching staff.

There are a few rinks that may require its skating coaches to work in the front office or promote its skating school, but most arenas understand that coaches are professionals, and should not be in an office, and should be on the ice doing what they are skilled to do, which is teaching skating.

If skating classes are the main focus at a rink, staff coaches may be required to teach many skating classes per week. Staff or resident coaches may also be expected to put in long hours at a arena and may be expected not to turn any private students away who ask for lessons. They may be required to attend weekly, monthly, or quarterly meetings, and will almost always be expected to attend PSA, Professional Skaters Association, or ISI Ice Skating Institute seminars. They may be required to hold a PSA rating. These requirements will be laid out in the coach's contract or employee agreement.

If a staff coach is a rink employee, and receives a salary for services, he or she may be eligible for benefits such as sick and/or vacation leave or health benefits. It is rare that skating coaches are full-time rink employees, so those kind of benefits are usually not available to those who teach skating. Most skating coaches work independently even if they are on the staff at a rink.

Visiting Skating Coaches or Guest Skating Coaches:

Some arenas allow guest and/or visiting coaches to bring their skating students to a facility. Usually, guest coaches and visiting coaches pay higher fees or percentages to a rink in order to teach there. Guest and visiting coaches are expected to bring students to a rink and may not be permitted to teach the rink's resident skaters without permission. Once in awhile, staff or resident coaches at a facility will request a guest coach to come to a facility in order to provide special instruction or choreography for the rink's resident skaters.

An arena may have strict policies on whether or not guest and visiting coaches can teach its resident skaters at all. Visiting and guest coaches usually are not allowed to solicit or teach a rink's resident skaters and can only come to an arena for a designated period of time and/or for a specific reason.

Highly qualified skating coaches who attract skating students because of what they have produced in the past sometimes like visiting or guest coach status since they are not tied down to a certain rink. Business comes their way and they don't need a home rink to generate skating students.

The disadvantages of being a visiting coach or guest coach is that a coach does not have a "rink home" or a means of gaining new private lesson students, so most skating coaches do not operate solely on guest or visiting coach status.

An advantage a guest coach has is he or she can take vacations or teach at other ice arenas whenever he or she wants and is not tied down to a particular ice skating rink or figure skating club.


During the summer, it is common for figure skating coaches to take a group to figure skating training centers or beautiful places to skate such as the Colorado Springs World Arena, Sun Valley, Idaho, Lake Arrowhead, California, or Lake Placid, New York. These type of facilities like to have visiting coaches and guest coaches come to their facilities, and do appreciate the extra business, but may not allow a visiting coach or guest coach to ever join their resident coaching staff.

Some ice arenas or skating clubs will bring in a visiting or guest coach just before a skating competition or test session. Also, sometimes coaches and their skaters will arrive in a city before a competition begins. The rink or club hosting the competition will usually allow visiting and guest skating coaches to teach skaters at their facility as long as the coach brings proof of liability insurance to the rink's office before giving instruction.

Liability Insurance Required and Background Check:

Before any figure skating coach can step on the ice or teach skating from the railing at almost any ice arena, he or she will be required to bring proof of liability insurance. Figure skating coaches liability insurance can be purchased through the Professional Skaters Association, Ice Skating Institute, or US Figure Skating. Some facilities will also require a background check.

Open Teaching Policies and Closed Teaching Policies:

Many ice arenas or skating clubs may have closed teaching policies in place. This means that no visiting or guest coaches can ever use a certain ice rink even if they have many skating students that would like to use that arena. Other rinks may have an open teaching policy, which means that as long as a visiting or guest coach brings proof of insurance and calls in advance, that he or she can teach at the rink. Many rinks require anyone who wishes to teach at their facility to call the rink in advance to obtain permission to use the arena.
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