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Thread: Best way to deal with drama in a rink?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Country: United States of America

    0 Not allowed!
    When my daughter we little, our rink had high level competitive skaters and I would hear those parents say how nice and friendly our rink was.

    Then a new group of coaches arrived and brought some of their skaters. From what I was told, the existing coaches did not want this new group since they were afraid it was going to change the rink dynamics but the skater director felt otherwise. Fast forward a couple of years and the coaches were right - the rink dynamics has changed for the worst. According to one of the skaters that takes from that new group, the new coaches tell their skaters that they are not talk to no one except their other students. Hence the coaches are the ones orchestrating the cliques. The skating director that hired the new coaches has since left.

    Summers are the worse for two reasons. First, the kids are off from school so they can spend more time at the rink. Second, summer is when the competitions and the picking order changes year to year. This is my skater's third summer putting up with drama and each year, more and more skaters get sucked into the mess. Both the current skating director and rink manager are extremely aware of the current situation.

    This group used to teach at two other relatively local rinks and now they only teach at ours. I'd love to know why they left the other rinks.

  2. #17
    On the Ice
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Country: Canada

    0 Not allowed!
    Whatever the source of the drama, try not to get sucked into it or let your skater get sucked into it. There was a lot of drama at our former club and when I saw that the adult (coaches/parents/board members) drama was having an impact on my skater, I left instead of just switching coaches. We are now drama free and its so much less stress on everyone. I think the adults need to set a positive example - there was a lot of arguing/name calling/inappropriate arguments amongst the adults at our last club (sometimes on the ice or right in front of skaters), so it fostered a culture where the skaters thought that it was OK e.g. to tell a lower level skater that they "shouldn't be on the session" because higher-level skaters "deserved" to skate without lower level ones and to have parents loudly complain about it even though per the rules of the club they qualified. There was certainly a lot of this kind of bullying at that rink and I found it toxic and discouraging to developing skaters or those who were with a coach that wasn't regarded as a "somebody" by the skating director.

    Like Karne, I don't think its necessary to "bring people together" and I agree with VegMom that you shouldn't force people to be friends. I think the best you can hope for is to have a cordial environment where everyone is given the space and opportunity to skate or work without harassment/bullying/intimidation or making it otherwise unwelcoming.

    If the tone is being set at the top (head coaches and skating director) then I think it will be hard for things to change. However, if this is mostly just a problem amongst the skaters, then raise the issue with the Skating Director, especially if your skater is impacted.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    May 2018

    0 Not allowed!
    If the drama is a bunch of divas who all think they're the best skater and all the little newbs can get out of their way, maybe have the rink split everything into advanced, intermediate, and beginner levels if the rink can afford it.

    If it's bullying, well, bullies are basically acting like animals and do not have access to their human reason and compassion. When my cat is being big bad alpha male, there's no point in telling him to be nice or giving him his treats separately from the other cats. I lock him in the bedroom until he calms down, and he gets no treats. It's the same with bullies. IME, the only way to stop them is to give them consequences that are severe/restrictive enough that they'll choose to stop to avoid them. Don't let them skate until they can treat everyone with civility.

    Team building exercises will likely backfire horribly regardless of what kind of drama. And if it's a bullying thing, please don't put them in some kind of resilience training. That's basically telling them that they're not resilient enough. If they're still showing up, they've already shown that they are.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    0 Not allowed!
    Interesting to read the counter arguments to encouraging community building and bonding, etc. Basically, for our family, if our rink didn't have a relatively close knit and friendly community then my kids wouldn't be figure skating. Period. Not that our rink doesn't have some drama of course. And there are some families that choose to maintain strict boundaries between skating and their other lives and that's totally fine. But there is no way I'd spend this kind of money and time on *anything* that wasn't personally rewarding to me and my family and a place where we could make friends and build community.

    But then we only have one rink within reasonable distance of our house so that's a factor . . .

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