Exclusive Q&A With Renowned Skating Coach Barb Aidelbaum

Barb Aidelbaum is a devoted member of the HEROS family, as a co-founder and part of the HEROS Board of Directors.  Her dedication to not only coaching but to every student she’s ever worked with, has been invaluable to the HEROS program, and we thought it would be nice to get to know Barb a little better.

Coach Barb has taken some time to talk about how she got involved in her profession, the lessons she has learned along the way and what coaching means to her.  We proudly introduce to you, Barb Aidelbaum!

Q: How and when did you get involved in coaching?

Barb: As a figure skater, you are encouraged to be an amateur coach to give back and learn through teaching others.  I was 14 years old when a coaching commitment became a part of my weekly schedule! 

Q: What makes coaching rewarding for you?

Barb: Besides helping an athlete develop the skills to excel at a sport that he or she is passionate about, I am rewarded when I am a positive influence.  Coaching to me is about helping students become better athletes and better people!

Q: Share a memorable moment in your career.

Barb: I was hired to coach figure skating in Australia to develop the skaters and help mentor young Australian coaches.  It was a thrill to have a student at the World Junior Championships in Europe ad then see her compete at the 1988 Olympics in Canada.

Also, it was a highlight to see Dan Hamhuis win Gold with Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Russia.  I have known Dan for half his life.  I have been coaching him since before he was drafted into the NHL.

Q: You recently presented at the Team Snap Coaches Conference in Vancouver… What was your favourite part of that experience?

Barb: To hear every coach say that honesty is one of the most important aspects of coaching.  That was powerful.  Athletes young and old, in amateur or pro sports need to know that their coach will be honest with them and I enjoyed sharing and learning from other coaches.

Q: Is there one thing that hockey coaches look for most in terms of skating skills?

Barb: Footspeed!

Q: Do you have a favourite/go-to on-ice drill?

Barb: If you asked 20 players, they would give you 20 different answers! I have a favourite drill for every individual athlete; a drill that gives them both stability and pop. That drill would be different for a 6’5″ defenseman compared to my go-to drill for a 5’10” winger.

Q: At what age do you suggest kids start professional skating sessions?

Barb: The hockey 3 level (7 years old).  At the Atom level, some children may want to try out for rep hockey so why not give them the opportunity to succeed if that is their goal! I do believe that minor hockey associations should build the cost of a professional skating coach into their program and the skating sessions should be part of the regular ice-times twice per month, October to January.  We have to make sure kids participate in school sports as well!

Q: Do you have a mantra/favourite quote?

Barb: Skating is like life- You fall down, get up, brush yourself off and keep going.

Q: Do you have any tips on balancing family life with your career?

Barb: Learn to say NO!

Q: What’s one question you wish someone would ask you, but never has?

Barb: Can I get you a water?  (I love water!) 

About Barb Aidelbaum

 Barbara has been a full-time professional skating coach for over 30 years. She currently coaches high performance players that are 17 years and older. She has coached both figure skaters and hockey players nationally and internationally and is a Skate Canada triple gold medalist. Her professional coaching career started in Kamloops, BC and then took her around the world with 6 years in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia and then stops in Bosnia, Poland and Czech Republic.


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