It is common for new and/or young figure skating coaches to sometimes go over and above for their students, so when a figure skater and his or her family make the difficult decision to change coaches, sometimes there can be hurt feelings.
I did some things in my early days of coaching that caused me to personally get hurt. There were times when I gave some of my private skating students free lessons or I gave skating families that couldn’t pay me right away credit without interest and just asked them to pay me when they could. Later, I discovered that my generosity (or should I call it stupidity) did not work.
It turned out that I didn’t always get paid. It also turned out that giving away my knowledge of skating for free was not appreciated. It hurt tremendously when one of the students I had given so much to changed coaches.
If a former coach had gone over above for a skater by giving lessons at a discount rate or for free, there is a chance that the skater’s parent might be presented with an unexpected bill asking for payment for what you thought was free. There is even an unwritten rule among skating coaches to not to start a new student’s lessons unless all previous bills are paid to a former coach.
You may not feel that you owe your former coach anything, but the coach may have given a skater’s family a discount or credit thinking that by giving away some of his or her expertise that the skater would never consider making a coaching change. Once a coaching change is made, he or she may look at things differently and feel that it is right to ask to be paid for the time that was given away. So…the best thing to do is to just pay the coach and move forward.
A former coach’s feeling may not be hurt just because he or she gave away free instruction; he or she may just be sad to lose the skater. Don’t say negative things about the former coach to others and try to be cordial or friendly if your paths cross. In time, the hurt feelings will pass and the awkwardness will be forgotten.
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