When Kristen told me she was going to launch Skate It Forward—I said, “Yes!” She laughed, “I haven’t asked you anything yet!” I told her, “Whatever you want me to do to help…I’m all yours!”
Thank you for offering your time so generously, Doug, and thank you for chatting with us so we can get to know you better.
Doug’s thoughts on coaching: For me, coaching is about the transference. It’s about the Daily Victory. It’s about providing a skater incremental “Aha!” moments that collectively lead to an impressive skill set—backed up with their knowledge of process and technique…so they can go forth, themselves, and teach one day. I tell my parents—I don’t teach ice skating. I teach life skills. Focus, concentration, time management, goal setting, project management, presentation, grace, politeness, integrity…all skills and character traits that can be the benefit (regardless if a skater makes the Olympic Team or is only modestly laureled) if dedicating one’s self to skating, if you’ve got a coach that sees it that way.
What unique qualities do you bring to coaching: I’m intuitive—a quality that I’ve enhanced through study of human behavior and psychology. When a skater trusts me, I can strengthen their mental, emotional, and psychological “control panel;” dismantling and removing harmful “buttons” and triggers…installing ones that will serve them long after ice skating. Therefore, getting a skater to perform well…if we have a connection—I can do that. I’ve been lucky enough to have skaters that no one thought could make Nationals do just that…other skaters who’ve stood upon the podium at Nationals…and most of my skaters have been able to work with me to “frame” their experiences so that ice skating is the most positive and advantageous platform for them to “blast off” into adulthood.
What are your favorite duties when you host an event: I like to be as much the ambassador and go-between for the skaters and the organizers as possible. I love to promote the event, those giving selflessly of their time all year long to make it happen, the give-back component, and the skaters appearing—hopefully in a way where fans learn something interesting and different they didn’t already know about their favorite star skating at the event. Backstage is lots of laughs! I try to capture some of that for the fans—we all feel so lucky, in skating, to be doing what we do…it’s tons of fun and I think sometimes the REAL show is backstage. I’m given to dumb jokes, and I love to foster and create touching moments. I usually have hilarious stories about everyone in the cast. Most of the time, I know them because I’m good pals with their moms. Haha!
How did you meet Skate It Forward’s Director, Kristen Izzie: A bunch of years ago, I got involved with Skate For Hope and noticed this capable, smart young woman helping put together the finale and ensemble numbers with the guest skaters—deftly corralling frogs into a wheelbarrow, as it were. (They ain’t stars because they fall in line, silently, and behave like quiet robots! Haha) I told her how impressed I was. That woman was Kristen Izzie, and a friendship was born. I’ve had the good fortune to work with her and her skaters. I always feel like the lucky one; few people inspire me with their love, dedication, and aptitude for coaching. Plus she’s funny, beautiful, and laughs at my jokes – and has a heart big enough to impress all of Columbus. So, when Kristen told me she was going to launch Skate It Forward—I said, “Yes!” She laughed, “I haven’t asked you anything yet!” I told her, “What ever you want me to do to help…I’m all yours!” Because that’s how you respond to an amazing person/goddess/good friend.
As a competitor, Doug Mattis won the National Junior Men’s Championship and was a five-time member of the U.S. International Team, and an Olympic Festival Bronze Medalist. As a professional skater, he was the U.S. Open Challenge Cup Champion, the U.S. Open Championship Silver Medalist, the American Open Champion, and appeared in skating shows and TV specials for over a decade.
Doug is PSA Master Rated in Choreography and serves on the faculty of Grassroots to Champions. Doug also works as a professional writer for entertainment productions and has written material for Universal Studios and Disney. He holds Masters and Bachelors degrees in Business Administration.
Doug lives with his four-legged daughter Ina Bauer in Birmingham, Alabama, and spreads the love of skating through coaching and choreography around the world. Connect with Doug on Instagram @sk8rmattis and Twitter @dougmattis