After corrupt authorities and fanatic parents, the most dangerous species damaging the sport must be makeshift, ignorant coaches. They are less poisonous than the above mentioned bastards because most of the time they act in honest goodwill. In fact, I believe the majority of the clubs around the world are coached by some parent with a little more free time than the rest, or an ex-skater (or any other sportsperson) willing to help. Unfortunately, none of them are usually trained in the coaching science, even less in physiology and/or didactic methods. As a result, a long term developmental plan is out of the question, since most kids will not be properly shaped into real athletes and they’ll be abandoning skating sooner or later.
I’ve been advocating for years to solve this matter, suggesting solutions and organizing coaching seminars for small clubs and federations in South America. I’m happy to see that my preaching was not in vain: in Argentina now there is a national comitee in charge of educating coaches at the initial level and developing skating schools, presided by my good friend and ex-pro skater Esteban Gonzalez. Hopefully his work will place back the Argies up their proper stand at Worlds level, in years to come.
Alas, there is a vicious sub-species: ignorant coaches that do it for the money. Roller speed skating has been entirely erased from whole regions due to just one of these sumbitches, I guess whoever is reading this knows or has heard of such cases. Those despicable critters land anywhere there’s a club, holding a highly inflated curriculum and a truck-load of self-marketing, collect all the dosh they can for a season or two or until unmasked, then run away as soon as they came. No idea about periodization or lactic threshold, no proper technique knowledge, they could even be non-skaters! But they certainly master the art of conning people and are able to sell themselves well. After they’re gone, what's left behind is a wasteland of disappointed parents and young skaters, which are truly sick and tired of the sheer amounts of bullshit this sport can throw at them. So they understandably quit, then nobody remains to issue a warning to nearby clubs and federations about the bloody scammer, paving his way towards the next set of victims, and the cycle starts again.
This has been a rather large problem for our sport, but now we have a tool to exterminate those pests: internet. Should you ever encounter one, please let the community know through Facebook, forums, websites, whatever. Of course, proof need to be provided and the criminals should have the chance to defend themselves, but I bet they would prefer to spend the cash and remain silent…
In conclusion: if you are a newcomer coach, please educate yourself for the good of your kids and our sport’s. If you feel you know enough to be a good coach, you’re wrong: there is no end to learning in our field. If you are instead one of the con artists I described, I’ll be looking for you, you f****ng t**t.