“Every skater is different. Appreciate their strengths and help them find the strength and ability to overcome their weaknesses and fears. Know when to be supportive and know when to give them a push and focus on the positive.”
Job: Director, Coach
Teacher of: Learn to Skate-Gold
Skating club and town: Skate Oakville, Oakville
Joni McPhail works at Skate Oakville, where she is both the director and a coach. Her club has given her the opportunity to share her passion, try new things and enact change while watching her skaters and programs grow and develop.
“I started coaching because when I finished my competitive career, I knew I was not finished with figure skating,” says Joni. “I wanted to share my experiences, knowledge and passion. I love watching faces when they learn something new, achieve a goal, and just find the joy of skating.
“I started directing because I wanted to create opportunities and programs that would appeal to all different types of skaters and create pathways for skaters of all abilities with different interests.”
We asked Joni about the skating programs in Ontario, and she says, “Ontario provides many great opportunities and resources for skaters and coaches. The best thing you can do to appreciate all that is offering to get involved and stay connected. Don’t rely on someone else, make it your responsibility to find out what’s happening and participate.”
Directing requires Jodi to make touch decisions, but she always does what’s best for her skaters. Coaching has brought her some of her favourite moments. “I have had so many moments and for many different reasons. From teaching Learn to Skaters to stand and move on their own for the first time, my first Gold test accomplishment by a skater. Standing with a skater who has performed their best at a competition. Mostly – knowing that you have made a favourite moment or memory for someone else.”