This article is from the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ, by Karen Bryden with numerous contributions by others.
1. If you have never had any skating lessons before, consider starting
off with some group lessons (inquire in nearby rinks). The group
lessons will introduce you to potential instructors and the structured
setting may help you define your goals more clearly. This will be
useful when setting off for private instruction.
2. To select a coach for private lessons, start by making a
comprehensive list of choices. You can ask about available coaches at
your club/ice-rinks or skating acquaintances.
3. If possible, observe the prospective coach teaching students. Watch
how they interact during the lesson. Would you want them to interact
with you in that style?
3. Talk to students or their parents and find out what they like/don't
like about the coach. Do not ask vague, subjective questions like "is
Coach X nice?". Instead, try to find out:
* Is the coach punctual
* Is she/he organized and professional?
* Is the coach experienced and enjoys teaching students of a
comparable age/ability level to you or your child? (some coaches
may be excellent with beginners but not have the experience to
teach top level students, other prefer teaching fast progressing
kids and may pay less attention to less advanced students, etc.)
4. Arrange an interview with the coach. Here are some of the questions
to ask when you interview a coach:
* What are the highest tests she/he has passed?
* Are they affiliated with a recognized skating association? If
relevant, what is their PSA rating in the various disciplines?
* Ask them to provide you with names of other skaters they are/have
* Discuss fees. Ask about their billing mode and lesson cancellation
5. Don't be afraid to take a trial lesson (at your expense) with a few
different coaches. You will quickly know who you click with.
6. Don't make a hasty decision and plan to give a coach a month or two
before making a more permanent commitment. Sometimes it takes a while
to get the communication flowing well.