|Many factors influence a skater's performance not the least of which is his curriculum. A curriculum is the instruction a skater receives but it goes beyond just instruction from the coach. In fact, there are several different types of curricula and the contribution of each must be considered when evaluating a skater's training.
This includes the intentional instructional programmes of a coach or club. It may be expressed in the club’s mission statement or the technical direction of a coach or the coaching body.
Learning derived from the nature and organization of the club, coaching body and the coach and can include both positive and negative messages. These messages are contained in the structure that surrounds the skater such as the training facility itself, the schedules and rules and the attitudes and behaviours of the coaches and board members. Coaches and clubs provide a hidden curriculum in the example they set of:
Self-Discipline Punctuality Focus Personal Appearance Readiness Enthusiasm Knowledge Willingness to learn Fairness Openness to Challenge Dedication Maturity Vitality Balance Committment Dedication to Reality Kindness Attitude
What clubs choose not to provide or neglect to provide for their members and what coaches choose not to teach or neglect to teach gives the message that these things are not important. This, of course, affects the training a skater receives but also the perspectives from which parents and skaters can view a situation or problem. It can also reinforce or confuse a club or coach’s mission statement. Since it is not possible for coaches to include instruction in every aspect of skating in the lesson time available they must select material appropriate for each skater based on his ice time, goals and current skill. Skaters’ attendance, punctuality, ice time and lesson time will have a great effect on the content of his null curriculum.
Some skills are crucial to success and lesson time must be devoted to their acquisition. Other skills may not be critically important in the early phases but may become so over time. These skills must be continually monitored in anticipation of the impact they will eventually have on performance. Skills that enhance, enrich or expand the skating experience should only be considered after the critical and important skills have been addressed within the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly plan. When there is insufficient ice or lesson time coaches must excessively cull and prioritize their lesson plans possibly missing even some critically important skills.
Cortez defines the societal curricula as:
"...(the) massive, ongoing, informal curriculum of family, peer groups, neighbourhoods, churches, organizations, occupations, mass media and other socializing forces that ‘educate’ all of us throughout our lives."1
Particularly with teens, peers can at times exert an even greater influence than the coach in forming attitudes towards training. Attitudes imported from coaches of other sports or organizations such as schools may conflict with or reinforce other curricula.
What is taught or emphasized at home and through other family experiences form a skater’s familial curriculum. Messages received outside skating that conflict with messages received at the rink can cause distress and possibly frustration and misunderstanding for both the skater and the coach.
The messages to which a skater is exposed through the media become part of his phantom curriculum. The behaviour and style of role models and tastes in popular entertainment such as music, dance and film often dictate the direction and extent to which a coach or choreographer can influence technical and artistic choices.
1 Cortez, C.E. (1981) The societal curriculum: Implications for Multiethnic Educations. In Banks, J.A. (ed.) Educations in the
80’s: Multiethnic education. National Education Association.