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Figure skating coach happy on ice

Jackie Timm helps student Maddy Putz of Trenton. PHOTO/ALLISON WHITEHEAD

BY ALLISON WHITEHEAD
OU News Bureau

Following in her big sister’s footsteps, Jackie Timm took up figure skating as a child.

Volunteering time with kids when she was younger, Timm fell into coaching the sport. She is now in her 27th year.

On top of being a figure skating coach out of Wyandotte and Southgate, Timm works as a school librarian for kindergarten through fifth grade in Grosse Ile. Although her job as a teacher can make her stressed, being at the ice rink puts her in a good frame of mind.

Jackie Timm

“Ninety percent of the time I leave the rink in a better mood than when I came in,” Timm said.

She grew up in Alpena, Michigan, where there wasn’t a year-round ice rink. Thus, Timm only skated at certain times. Continuing through college at Michigan State University, she started coaching.

As she grew into adulthood, Timm joined an adult synchronized skating team, winning national medals. Now, she coaches kids of all ages. Some compete and some skate just for fun.

“I wasn’t a great skater myself,” Timm said. “Naturally talented skaters aren’t great coaches because they don’t understand how they do some of the skills they can naturally do.”

Although she struggled with personal accomplishments, some of the biggest achievements in coaching for Timm were when kids worked hard to pass tests.

“It’s frustrating for the coach when kids get stuck on a skill,” Timm said. “It’s like it’s your fault.”

Timm says the ice rink puts her in a good mood. PHOTO/ALLISON WHITEHEAD

It’s also an accomplishment for the coach when students get first at a competition or land a hard jump they have been working on for a while.

Working with coaches in Lansing who were older than she was gave Timm great experience. Since the United States Figure Skating Association has changed so much in the last years, adjusting to changes comes with the job.

To keep coaching, Timm has to take an online course every year and pass background checks. On top of this, she has to have insurance and pay money to get certain things.

She takes Professional Skating Association rating exams in front of a panel of master coaches. These exams are divided into sections based on figure skating skills. Currently, Timm is master rated in the moves section, making her the perfect coach to teach these skills.

“The last exam was quite terrifying, but I passed and I’m at the highest level now,” Timm said.

Good coaches, Timm said, need to be motivated and able to work with kids.

Timm learned by educating herself on higher-level coaching and asking for help. Forming relationships with kids was important to her, as well as being able to pass them along to other coaches.

“You have to be able to put aside your ego and be self-motivated,” Timm said. “You have to find your niche in coaching.”

 

 

 

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Posted by on Dec 2 2017. Filed under Featured article, Michigan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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