Lisa Kops was a shy little five-year-old with asthma and terrible milk allergies when her doctor suggested she might find relief in an ice rink for her breathing. That brought the youngster to Sport-O-Rama, the ice rink in Monsey, NY.
At the time, Sport-O-Rama was a magnet for international competitors with an environment that encouraged both new and world-class skaters. All it took was one group instruction class to hook Lisa who began private lessons soon after. Under the tutelage of Debbie Milne Davis and Peter Burrows, Lisa began a program of testing and competitions, earning her Senior Ladies Gold in Freestyle by high school.
“I loved being on the ice,” says Lisa. “It was a very competitive environment in Monsey, with coaches for every specialty: jumping, spinning, figures… It all served to inspire me as a competitor and later as a teacher.”
After high school, Lisa attended Queens College, majoring in Fine Arts, and she spent a year abroad studying in Israel. She wound up marrying her college sweetheart, Steven Kops, a hockey player who shared her passion for the ice.
Lisa taught skating in Long Island and New Hyde Park, NY, before moving to West Orange with her family. Today she is the mother of 5 children, four sons and one daughter.
“Lisa teaches with patience and respect for the individual,” says Anthony Molinaro, Manager of Codey Arena. “It doesn’t surprise me to hear that all five of her own children skate. She has a great way with kids and is a huge asset to the rink.”
Lisa teaches freestyle, moves in the field, and hockey skills to kids and adults. Several of her students are advanced and on the synchronized skating teams, while others are beginners. “I believe that skating should be fun and that students learn best through positive reinforcement,” says Lisa. “I focus on technique and try to get them to set goals for themselves. At the same time, I always aim to make it fun.”
Lisa believes there are many positive things to be be gained from skating. “Self discipline, grace, and confidence are things that every skater eventually achieves if they stick with it. I love to see the kids excited when they accomplish something that has been challenging for them. There’s no question about it, I find the whole experience very rewarding.