We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Debating with your friends who’s the best Figure Skating coach?

Tatiana Tarasova, Alexei Mishin, or Marina Zueva?

Here is our list of the best Figure Skating coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Figure Skating Coaches:

  1. Tatiana Tarasova
  2. Alexei Mishin
  3. Marina Zueva
  4. Igor Shpilband
  5. Frank Carroll
  6. Brian Orser
  7. Eteri Tutberidze
  8. Nikolai Morozov
  9. Rafael Arutyunyan
  10. Richard Callaghan
  11. John Nicks

#1 Tatiana Tarasova

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached 11 Olympic champions, over 40 Olympic and World Championships medals
  • 📅 Years Active: 1960s–Present
  • 🌐 Nationality: Russian

As one of the most honored figure skating coaches in history, Tatiana Tarasova has left an indelible mark on the world of figure skating. Her students have achieved incredible success at the highest levels of the sport, including Olympic and World Championships.

Her expertise spans across single skating, ice dancing, and pair skating, illustrating her deep understanding of the sport and ability to tailor her coaching techniques to different disciplines.

Tarasova is not only known for her technical coaching abilities but also her emotional support and psychological guidance, helping skaters perform under pressure.

#2 Alexei Mishin

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached Olympic champions such as Alexei Urmanov, and Evgeni Plushenko
  • 📅 Years Active: 1960s–Present
  • 🌐 Nationality: Russian

Alexei Mishin’s reputation as a distinguished figure skating coach is well-known globally, particularly for his work with some of the sport’s most accomplished male skaters. His teaching methods have proven to be highly effective in developing champions.

Mishin’s technical acumen, especially his focus on jumps, is a cornerstone of his coaching success, and he is renowned for pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of complexity and consistency in jumps.

His ability to build long-standing relationships with his students, like the long career he had with Evgeni Plushenko, demonstrates a deep level of trust and mutual respect.

#3 Marina Zueva

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached Olympic champions including, Virtue/Moir and Davis/White in ice dance
  • 📅 Years Active: 1980s–Present
  • 🌐 Nationality: Russian

Marina Zueva is best known in the ice dancing realm, where her guidance has led teams to Olympic and World Championship victories. Her skill in blending technical skating with artistic performance is unparalleled.

Her coaching style is innovative, often bringing new trends and themes to ice dance, captivating audiences and judges alike. She has contributed to the evolution of the discipline.

Zueva’s impact extends off the ice as she nurtures the partnership between her athletes, fostering communication and understanding that is essential for ice dancing success.

#4 Igor Shpilband

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached numerous World and Olympic ice dancing medalists
  • 📅 Years Active: 1980s–Present
  • 🌐 Nationality: Russian-American

Igor Shpilband has been an influential coach in ice dancing, responsible for training some of the sport’s most successful athletes and bringing them to the podium at major international competitions.

Known for his strategic approach to choreography and technical elements, Shpilband’s athletes are well-equipped with the skills needed to excel in competition.

His influence is visible in the consistent performance and success of his students on the international stage, which speaks to his effectiveness as a coach.

#5 Frank Carroll

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached Olympic champions like Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysacek
  • 📅 Years Active: 1950s–2018
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Frank Carroll’s career is marked by his work with some of the United States’ most celebrated figure skaters, who have achieved numerous national titles, World Championship medals, and Olympic glory under his guidance.

His coaching philosophy emphasized strong fundamentals, mental preparation, and artistic expression, a combination that has led his students to excel at all levels.

Upon his retirement in 2018, Carroll left behind a legacy as one of the most respected and effective figure skating coaches in the history of the sport.

#6 Brian Orser

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached Olympic medalists such as Yuna Kim, Javier Fernandez, and Yuzuru Hanyu
  • 📅 Years Active: 1990s–Present
  • 🌐 Nationality: Canadian

Brian Orser, himself a decorated figure skater with two Olympic silver medals, has successfully transitioned into a coaching role, where he has been instrumental in the development of several Olympic and World Champions.

His coaching style is known for its balance of technical skill development and artistic performance, helping his skaters to not only execute difficult elements but to also connect with the audience and the music.

Orser’s reputation for fostering a supportive and encouraging training environment allows his skaters to thrive under pressure and overcome the mental challenges associated with competitive figure skating.

#7 Eteri Tutberidze

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached Olympic champions such as Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva
  • 📅 Years Active: 2000s–Present
  • 🌐 Nationality: Russian

Eteri Tutberidze has made a significant mark in the figure skating world, especially in the ladies’ singles discipline, where her athletes have consistently delivered podium-winning performances at top-level international competitions.

Her coaching approach is noted for its focus on athleticism, particularly in mastering complex jump combinations, which has redefined the technical landscape of women’s figure skating.

While Tutberidze’s methods have sometimes been subject to scrutiny, the success and accomplishments of her skaters are a testament to her effectiveness as a coach.

#8 Nikolai Morozov

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached World and Olympic medalists across singles and ice dance disciplines
  • 📅 Years Active: 1990s–Present
  • 🌐 Nationality: Russian

Nikolai Morozov is known for his creativity and innovation in choreography, which has translated into memorable performances by his skaters in competitions around the globe.

His diverse coaching portfolio includes success in both singles and ice dance, showcasing his adaptability and broad understanding of the sport.

Morozov’s international experience and fluency in multiple languages have allowed him to connect with athletes from various backgrounds, making him a sought-after coach in the figure skating community.

#9 Rafael Arutyunyan

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached World champions and Olympic medalists including Michelle Kwan and Nathan Chen
  • 📅 Years Active: 1970s–Present
  • 🌐 Nationality: Armenian-American

Rafael Arutyunyan is widely regarded for his excellent work with singles skaters, especially in the United States, where he has coached top athletes to achieve great success at the highest levels in figure skating.

His focus on jumping technique has been pivotal in the development of skaters like Nathan Chen, who is known for his technical prowess and consistency in competition.

Arutyunyan’s ability to evolve his coaching style to meet the ever-increasing demands of the sport has ensured that his skaters remain competitive on the world stage.

#10 Richard Callaghan

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached Olympic champion Tara Lipinski and six-time U.S. champion Todd Eldredge
  • 📅 Years Active: 1960s–1999 (first retirement)
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Richard Callaghan’s coaching career boasts substantial achievements, most notably leading Tara Lipinski to become the youngest Olympic figure skating champion at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

His expertise in crafting comprehensive training programs that emphasize technical skill and competitive readiness contributed to the success of his athletes on the international circuit.

Despite his retirement, allegations of misconduct later surfaced, which led to controversies and disciplinary actions affecting his legacy in the sport.

#11 John Nicks

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached World champions and Olympic medalists including Peggy Fleming and Sasha Cohen
  • 📅 Years Active: 1950s–2010s
  • 🌐 Nationality: British-American

John Nicks, a famed figure skating coach, is recognized for his extensive career where he trained numerous elite skaters to achieve remarkable success both nationally and internationally.

His coaching philosophy centered on strong work ethic, discipline, and attention to detail, which were imparted to his skaters, shaping their path to world-class performance levels.

Nicks’s influence on figure skating extends beyond coaching through his contributions to the development of competitive skating programs and his dedicated support for the growth of the sport in the United States.


Who is the greatest figure skating coach of all time?

Tatiana Tarasova is often considered the greatest figure skating coach, with her students winning numerous Olympic and World titles.

Who was the most successful figure skating coach?

Marina Zoueva has been highly successful, coaching Olympic champions like Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

Love figure skating? How well do you know about it? Take our figure skating quiz!

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning ‘real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments