Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stuff I Don't Put Up With Anymore

Part of learning from a coach is the business side of learning. I'm paying by the minute, I  expect attention by the minute. I practice, I show up on time, I'm ready to go. The coach should be too. Dance Coach is particularly good about this. If for some reason he has to step out of my lesson, when he returns he adds the missed time onto the lesson since I'm the last of the day. But I've had other coaches that either took advantage of me, or were unaware of their distractedness. I'm prepared to be businesslike about this.  Here's stuff I don't put up with anymore.

1. Making or taking phone calls in lessons.

Early on, I had a coach early on who had 'family emergencies' every lesson. She was always on the phone. I don't mean one phone call a lesson, I mean 2 or 3 every lesson. Which she would then describe to me--during lessons.

Coaches must love clueless beginners.  She was always apologetic for the calls, and I tolerated it. I wouldn't tolerate it now.

I have some 'only in my head' snappy replies that  I'd never use ("Every minute on the phone is a minute I'm not paying for.") But really, if this were to happen with a coach now, I'd do the math. If I think  I'm learning from them, then I'd have a businesslike talk with them. "I'm learning a lot from you. But you spend a lot of the lesson on the phone. You need to fix that."

The other option, is that if I didn't feel I was learning from the coach (and phone chatter on the coach's part can be indicative of that in my opinion), I'd now quit the coach.

2. The coach who talks to other coaches and doesn't pay attention to me

Yeah, this can happen occasionally. Even if my coach is talking to another coach (rink business) I think he or she should keep an eye on me. It's not deliberate inattentiveness. The coach is trying to be polite to the other coach and their attention is divided. Time flies. Suddenly, 5 minutes is gone and they now have their back to me.

I have one solution and I've only had to use it once. At the start of a lesson, after a couple of rinkside meeting incidents.  I told my coach, "Are you aware that when other coaches come up to talk to you, you don't watch my skating. Sometimes for minutes at a time?" The coach was shocked. It never happened again.

3. The group coach who focuses on one student

I was in a large adult group of 10. There was a coach and 3 assistants (older teens) for the class. It was a pleasant experience. Then one day the coach and all the assistants spent 10 minutes watching and encouraging one of the adult students in her sit spin. I quietly took the coach aside after the lesson and used the "Are you aware...." approach. It worked.

 I've never had a coach who denied what was happening. "Oh, I can keep my eye on you and talk on the phone." "No, Just because my back is to you I can still see you." "It's none of your business how I conduct my group classes."  But if I did get a coach like that: Vote with your feet, baby, Vote with your feet.

1 comment:

  1. It's much tougher to vote with your wallet / feet when it comes to group lessons due to limited choices. And people tend to shy away from direct confrontations even though they know something is wrong. Exit surveys, if handled properly, would make the skating program stronger... The question is, does the program really care?