3 minute read

Granting Ourselves Permission in 2021

As you read this, we will be approaching the one-year mark of the pandemic that has gripped and changed our world. We have all learned many lessons and yet we all see many challenges to overcome before our beloved sport can fully recover. I think I can say with confidence that many of us, myself included, have and are experiencing COVID-fatigue. It just feels harder to keep shining that inner light and project fresh optimism to our students and staff.

That being said, if we look over the past year, we have much to be proud of. Many of us have learned to pivot our programs, re-imagine our coaching methods, and find new ways to motivate our skaters when we could have thrown in the towel. We balanced the task of keeping it safe, professional, challenging and rewarding, and to that I say to each of you, “Bravo!”

As we look across the country, we see many different scenarios, some more challenging than others. Though the 2020 road has been dark, beyond difficult, and seriously frustrating, I implore all of you — Do not give up on yourselves, your dreams, or your love of skating. In fact, I request that each of you indulge in the joy, the magic, and the creativity of our sport.

“That may mean you surf YouTube for brilliant performances both past and present. That may mean you take a moment to just skate for yourself, whether it’s between lessons for a few minutes or to skate beside your skaters (if your buildings allow it). It may mean to really connect with an exercise you are demonstrating, or it may mean to explore a piece of music and let a story unfold choreographically around the melody.

Forget you are a coach for a moment, and just be the skater and skate.

In other words, play, imagine and be curious. The love of the sport will continue to spark one’s curiosity, and curiosity will lead us to new growth and a new appreciation of our role in the sport. Not to sound morbid, but we must remember that all things must eventually end, and so our time on earth to experience, explore, and share our sport with others is a unique gift.

There will be days when the stress and pain will cause us to lose our patience, to turn on each other, to favor judgment over curiosity, to value success over growth, and to focus on ourselves instead of our team and our skaters. When we feel this happen, I implore you, stop, reflect, and play at the skating. Forget you are a coach for a moment, and just be the skater and skate. The journey is much more fulfilling and meaningful when you are able to share it with others and feel the respect and appreciation of those around you for sharing and connecting.

So, in the spirit of the shared journey, I want to draw your attention to the topic of ‘collaborative coaching’ and teamwork. This year’s Virtual Summit is now open for registration, and the focus will be on TEAMS — Together Everyone Achieves More Success. This could not be more true today — both on and off the ice. Your team at PSA will continue to find new ways of delivering educational opportunities to all levels of coaches, whether it’s the Virtual Foundations of Coaching Course, Virtual Ratings Prep, Virtual Summit, our many webinars, or the Accelerated Coaching Partnership… the list goes on and on. We invite you to explore our many different educational offerings as well as PSA TV, all designed to ignite your personal curiosity and inspire you as you continue to build your skaters. We are here for you.

Yours in Skating,