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Author Topic: Flailing around between coaching sessions  (Read 291 times)

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Offline The Sacred Voice

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Flailing around between coaching sessions
« on: October 24, 2017, 05:31:52 AM »
Hey all, long time lurker, first time poster and all that.

I've been a free skater for about a year now and lately I've been skating three times a week to really improve my skills, but I'm struggling with motivation between coaching sessions sometimes, particularly if my coach or I have to miss a week. When I'm having a lesson then I'm really focused and I execute jumps and things much better, but as soon as I'm at the rink by myself just to practise then I do run through all the stuff I'm meant to be working on, but by the end of the session I'm kinda like "well, I gave that a go, but I don't see the point in giving it another go as I really need some feedback now that I've practised it, in order to know what to do better."

At that point I get kinda demotivated and am left sort of standing around not knowing what to do, which is a total waste of ice time. I find I lose a lot of energy around this point as well (maybe just need to eat something?) This feeling gets kinda worse the more sessions I go without a coach, so if my coach has to miss a week then I still go to practise but just barely do anything in the time I'm there - often end up just skating round casually a lot and chatting to my friends - I'm probably being a bit unfair to myself, I'm sure I do do some practice in those times but it just never feels as focused and productive as time with my coach.

I'm not saying my skills are flawless after a session or so of practise but I'm just not sure how to improve what I'm working on from a technical standpoint without having my coach tell me (even small things like proper arm positioning for entries to make things easier or etc.)

Any suggestions for motivation or a way I can structure myself to be a bit more productive?

Offline lutefisk

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Re: Flailing around between coaching sessions
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2017, 08:40:06 AM »
I've found myself at the 30 minute mark of a two hour public feeling like there's a lot of time left and it will be a chore to skate the entire session.  At that point I switch away from working on hard for me to do stuff and start doing "feel good" skating elements like alternating forward swing rolls.  The sweep and graceful movement of feel good elements tend to remind me of why I like skating in the first place.  After a few laps of this type of perimeter skating I feel energized enough to get back to meaningful practice.  A little "recess" mixed in to a work session helps, at least it does for me.

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Flailing around between coaching sessions
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 04:26:08 PM »
Sounds like you need to get more specific feedback from your coach on what you're doing wrong and how to fix the errors.  For example, let's say your coach has pointed out that your toepicks are scraping too much on your back crossovers.  So you now have the ability to identify the problem ("I hear scraping, so I'm doing something wrong.")  But have you also been given ways to correct the problem?  For example, your coach could then tell you that you need to focus on deep knee and ankle bend, keeping your weight farther back on the blades, and making sure your arms are over your circle (i.e., pull your leading arm and shoulder way back--that's your left if you're doing right-over-left clockwise back crossovers and your right if you're doing them the other way). 
In order to have effective practices on your own, you need to know how to identify issues and also what fixes to apply for each one.  If you need another set of eyes to identify an issue, try propping your phone up on the boards and take a video of your efforts to see what you're actually doing.  Sometimes I feel like my shoulders are level and boy, does that video evidence immediately prove me wrong!

Offline Jf12

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Re: Flailing around between coaching sessions
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 04:53:44 PM »
Some good suggestions here already, but have you tried taking shorter lessons more frequently than once a week?  Or, taking more lessons as semi privates with similar level students of your coach, which would make possible a short lesson as part of every time you practice?

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Flailing around between coaching sessions
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 04:22:30 AM »
It sounds like you do know what to practice, but you get bored with it after a while.  Suggestions:

Sign up for tests/competitions to put some pressure on yourself.

Take the skills you are practising and link them up in sequence.

Practice each skill focusing on each body part in sequence.  Include fingers.  It will take a while.

Learn new skills so you have more skills to practice. 

I think that it is necessary to be self-critical and a perfectionist to become a good skater.

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Flailing around between coaching sessions
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 08:56:06 AM »
Sk8Dreams once posted a "Rule of 10" practice approach.  She suggested practicing whatever non-essential move or skill you wanted to acquire ten times at the end of every skating session.  It worked for me - I can do a decent Tango (aka: Show) stop as a result of diligent practicing.  Ditto for spreadeagles.

I tell my students that, when they don't know what to practice, they should do everything they know how to do 5 times.  So, 5 of each three-turn, 5 mohawks, 5 Waltz jumps, 5 Toe Loops, 5 Waltz-Toe combinations, etc.  I suggest they "mix it up" by doing a spin 5 times then switching to a jump for 5 attempts.  That way, they don't get too dizzy.  It's important to emphasize careful practicing or they'll just fling themselves into everything without checking to speed-practice.

For turns and edges, they combine different skills together.  Ex: In Pre-Freeskate, they have to do a Forward Inside Mohawk and a Back Outside Mohawk, so I suggest stringing them together with the BXO-Landing edge in between.  It just makes it more interesting to practice.

At the end of each lesson, I give my skaters 3-4 things to practice before the next lesson, which they write down in their books.  When we work on programs, I usually give them a stock practice sheet that lists all the things I want them to work on.  Once show/test/competition programs come into play, we tend to focus on the choreography and program skills during lessons.  Any free time is devoted to Moves patterns, so the freestyle skills are often forgotten.  The practice sheet gives the skater direction.
"If you still look good after skating practice, you didn't work hard enough."

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Offline Meli

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Re: Flailing around between coaching sessions
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2017, 07:12:10 AM »
I have to skate on public often, so I have to alternate activities based on the craziness.  If I’m “filling the gaps” where I can’t jump or do bigger things, I’ll work on things that make me stronger, or prep for skills yet to come.  Right now it’s power pulls, dips, attempts at shoot the ducks, etc.  If I have more space, I experiment with sequences of elements (current faves are some footwork into a spread eagle into a spin, and spiral to spread eagle to back spiral—but that’s only for Freeskate sessions).

Offline mamabear

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Re: Flailing around between coaching sessions
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 02:11:03 PM »
My coach has been willing to have me record her doing what we've been learning.  Then I can watch that as I practice later.  Usually just watching it makes me think, "Oh that's right-I was supposed to make sure I was checking my shoulder, etc."  I haven't done this but I supposed I could also record myself and then see where I'm off based on watching her perform the skill.  But, really for me-just seeing it done correctly usually gives me something to work on.

We have another adult skater at the rink who video tapes herself every session.  She then watches that so she can see where her impressions are different from what's actually happening. 

Sometimes I can see that in the hockey glass as well.  I feel like my rear is about to touch the ice.  I look like I have managed to bend my knee an inch.