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The Trifecta: What Does it Mean to be a Coach?

Being a coach in any sport is a serious responsibility ensuring the safe development of our athletes. We are responsible for so much, including:

1) Teaching technical and artistic skills

2) Preparing the athlete in a safe productive environment

3) Managing the athlete’s testing and competition schedule


To manage the success of a figure skater, the coach, and choreographer all together can create the perfect trifecta for that skater to insure success.


I have had the distinct honor of working with Coach Tom Hickey for many years with many different figure skaters. We work together like a fine Swiss watch to be certain that every aspect of the skater’s needs is met. To enable this success we as coaches and choreographers need a compliant hard-working skater to complete the team. When all of this works well a trifecta transpires for the entire coaching team.

Tom Hickey and I are extremely proud of our skater, Michael Chapa, who recently become the United States Collegiate National Champion. Michael has always been a hardworking respectful and motivated student; a necessary component for the success of any team is complete trust between all parties. As Tom and I proceed with Michael’s training, we carefully make sure that every stone is unturned and that he is prepared to successfully compete.


Managing the skater is the responsibility of the coaches. However, with NQS (National Qualifying Series), athletes are sometimes required to attend team camps and monitoring sessions. This can lead to two national-level events, two weekends in a row. This happened to us. It was difficult for Michael, coming off winning a National Championship, to turn around in 5 days, travel to a new city, and attend and compete in a training camp.


If this scenario were to happen again we would most likely choose to not do another competition and attend only the required team camp and monitoring session. The carefully chosen events in a skater’s career provide an opportunity to learn something about themselves and how they can be successful in the future.


Within one week, the Chapa family had the pleasure of seeing their two boys, Michael and his younger brother Christopher, each win a National Championship Gold Medal. Michael at the Collegiate Nationals in Bloomington, Minnesota, and Christopher at the National Excel Championships, in his level, in Norwood, Massachusetts. Once again we had the pleasure of a family trifecta transpire as Mr. and Mrs. Chapa along with their two boys. They each experienced the amazing feat of winning a national title within one week. Congratulations!





The trifecta of coaching a skater is an honor for all coaches and choreographers!


The session is over and the Zamboni is coming out.