• Kids start out on the ice as early as age three with many continuing to train through secondary school and beyond.
 Skating Schools

Training programs can make or break a rink.

Learning to Skate

Parents of children whose future include demanding elite school and university entry requirements find that engaging in sport at a provincial and national level is viewed by top schools in a positive way toward their application.

Learning to skate is considered by many parents to be akin to learning a musical instrument. It requires focus and a mastery of technique. It develops physical coordination and the ability to express oneself artistically. In return, it provides recognizable rewards of accomplishment.

Numerous World and Olympic competitors have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, surgeons and even one American skater was an astronaut with NASA.

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With Asian skaters having dominated the sport of ice skating for the last 20 years, and with China coming to the forefront, interest in learning to skate continues to grow.

Skating schools provide a significant - and stable - revenue stream and establish what can be life-long, and even multi-generational relationships with rink customers. If strategically planned and efficiently operated, learn-to-skate and training programs will significantly increase profit margins.

While skating itself isn't necessarily expensive, involvement in lessons, competitions and in national skating programs is an investment. Not unlike learning a musical instrument, skating lessons are typically attractive to well educated parents having generally high levels of disposable income to support their children in extracurricular activities.

Creating Continued Challenge

A good training program should provide for a skaters' long term development. Beginners need to be welcomed, while more advanced students need continuous challenges. Properly run skating schools offer students access to coaches with increasing levels of expertise, and opportunities to compete and perform.

Schools developed and operated by IRC's CEO Ted Wilson have introduced skaters who have gone on to work with world leading coaches alongside stars of the sport, including Olympic Champion Yu Na Kim, and with her coach, former world Champion and two time Olympic Silver Medalist Brian Orser. Wilson's rinks have also been home to internationally ranked coaches and offered seminars with skating champions and luminaries as they connect students to the highest levels of the sport.

Program Planning

A profitable program requires considerable planning and a well conceived pedagogical approach. This also includes continued training and development of the coaches themselves. Coaching teams can be as few as a handful, or reach into triple digits at a busier rinks in Asia. There are several options in arranging coaching remuneration, from full time employees, to independent coaches providing commissions to rinks. The most high ranking coaches often receive favourable incentives and access. Rinks usually need to manage a variety of arrangements with coaches to create the best opportunities for students, coaches and rinks.

Programs also require a solid coordination of logistics, from booking of group lessons to private lessons, and configuring all sessions to efficiently maximize use of the ice. An experienced management team coupled with the right back-office technology is necessary to keep track and optimize returns.

Finally, success with skating schools requires market insight and the experience to know acceptable pricing strategies on the wide variety of packages provided by a well structured program.

Gold Medals for Students and Rinks

With a strong skating school and a well qualified coaching team, a rink opens the door to achievement for students, to national and international events, and to greater rink profitability.

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