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Author Topic: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?  (Read 1958 times)

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Offline davincisop

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2016, 10:56:11 AM »
When I was still at my old rink, I was a low level instructor. I'd been skating since I was 10, so my basics were very competent, but I had only just begun testing. Skating skills wise, the average rink goer thinks I'm advanced, though I don't feel I am (working on pre-juv and juv moves and spent a lot of time perfecting everything underneath so I look like I know what I am doing haha).

I was approached to teach LTS at that rink, and jumped at the opportunity. I taught Snowplow Sam groups and occasionally would fill in for my coach with the adults. Before I moved for a job, I was getting credentials and such so that I could teach 15 minute private lessons to the littles (the skating director asked me to because he wanted to have essentially a babysitter available for the parents who wanted their tots to practice more rather than just skate in circles aimlessly after class or have them get some extra help if they're having trouble with an element). Unfortunately, got all my credentials and I moved. So I never got to do that and my current rink wasn't hiring any coaches at the time.

Eventually my plan is to get back into coaching when I eventually move up north (looking like it's going to happen at the end of next year, Chicago-area), and I want to get my MITF to at least Novice before I start teaching again. I don't want to teach jumps if I can avoid it, and am happy to teach basic beginners and ice dance patterns and be specialized in MITF. I love the technical aspect of it, and adults friends love that I'm aware of all the technical things. :)


Basically, yes, there is totally a place for low level coaches. Even more so if you began as an adult because other adult beginners can relate to you. And there are a lot of the higher level coaches that really don't want to be teaching the snowplow classes because they'd rather focus on the higher level LTS kids.

Offline Query

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2016, 02:03:57 AM »
Interesting.

I wish you luck around Chicago. Sure are a lot of world class skaters there.

Offline nieves

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2016, 11:26:14 PM »
I personally think to teach absolute beginners and LTS you should be able to demonstrate all turns with strong execution and check. I would not take lessons from someone the same level as me (adult silver)

Offline davincisop

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2016, 03:06:10 PM »
@Nieves, I wouldn't take from someone the same level as myself either, but I think someone your level could, or at least should, be able to confidently execute everything from basic 1 to Adult Bronze.

I had through Preliminary MITF as a kid, before high school got too crazy. So when I came back to skating, it was just fixing little things here and there that I lost being off for several years. I've now been back at it 8 years. I could confidently say I could teach through Adult Bronze with no issues, though if I went to teach LTS, I would prefer to just teach basic 1-8 or adult 1-6.

What you're saying about being able to teach with strong turns and check, that's going to vary from skater to skater. But I do agree that if you're going to teach that, all elements you plan to teach should be strong.

Offline Nate

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Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2017, 12:54:27 AM »
I will not teach by theory!

I believe very strongly that you can't teach something if you can't demonstrate it. Which is part of why I stayed away from trying to teach anything I can't do pretty well.

I get that at the top competitive levels, where none of the coaches can do the most difficult things, that theory doesn't work. And I've known people who chose coaches who couldn't demonstrate much anymore. But I personally don't want to try to teach things I can't do well.
You can teach by theory. I've helped people with doubles and gotten them to land them before I landed mine, because teaching jumps is not the same as doing jumps. Sometimes you have to alter technique because the skater's biological configuration works optimally with adjustments, etc.

Quads these days are taught predominantly by coaches who have never done them.

Alexei Michin was a skater who never did triples, that I know of. He's still regarded as a preeminent jump technician on the planet.

You just have to have a knowledge of technique and how the body works. Many judges learned a lot of what they know through years of experience and consultation with other coaches.

That being said, from the perspective of a skater I totally agree with you. I got my doubles way more easily working with a coach that could say "It's really easy. Look at this..." For some reason, seeing that person do the element turns it into a sort of competition, and that tends to work well for my mindset.

But it's not a requirement. Skaters differ and different skaters will respond favorably to different coaching philosophies and different coaches with varying physical abilities.

And the harsh truth is that most skaters who lack the awareness to learn by description are u likely to get far, anyways. The number that would have is likely a margin for error, statistically.

By the time a skater is working on jumps and spins, they shouldn't need verbatim demonstrations of elements. They should have enough fluency in skating vocabulary and enough body awareness to do just fine. All of that can be acquired in a decent learn to skate program.

In short: Being a high level skater doesn't automatically make you a great coaching candidate, especially when you had all of your triples by 12-14.

Also, adults tend to learn more about the technical details from being coached than small kids, because they often demand technical details and far more elaborate explanations. They don't want to fall, so they want the entire schematic. "Just do it like this" often is not enough for them.

This is why some adults tend to teach above their level, even when they are lower level skaters. The fact that they are often less physically gifted than their younger peers does not impede their ability to learn, understand, and pass on information.

Plus, what if your skater spins and jumps in the opposite direction? Can't just turn away a pay check

Offline Query

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2017, 10:24:41 AM »
This is a bit of an old thread, but a coach has more options on teaching style, and will therefore probably be a better coach, if he/she can do the moves well that he/she is teaching. If they are just going to teach "by the book", I can read the book too, and probably learn more from it than from a second-hand-knowledge coach.

Not all great athletes are great coaches. Not all great coaches are great athletes. But, great coaches for my learning style, and for many other people, need to be fairly good athletes, among other skills.

The best students in any subject learn to learn well by many different ways. A good coach SHOULD teach most students by many different methods, so the student will learn to learn using all those methods of learning. If a coach can only teach in a small subset of those ways, a student who learns from that coach alone will not get practice learning by the other methods, and will in that respect be crippled in their future ability to learn.

At least that is my take on things.

Offline Christy

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2017, 01:34:50 PM »
I was thinking about this thread the other day. I've remember watching a couple of adult beginners start LTS with fairly young coaches who'd skated since they were tiny. I got the impression that the coaches didn't really understand the challenges that the adults were facing, so if I were an adult looking to learn to skate (especially a more mature adult) I'd prefer to start LTS with a lower qualified adult who understood my fears than a younger coach.

Offline beginner skater

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2017, 05:10:38 PM »
I did LTS with a main coach and a trainee coach. The first was an ex national champion, and sometimes when I asked how to do something, he shut his eyes, and had to think it through. The 2nd learned to skate in his 40s, and was working his way through preliminary coaching levels. He is technically good, but a bit wooden in his skating. He was more sympathetic, and much more helpful to the adult learners, but some of the stuff he told me eg about which part of my foot to weight was wrong, or at least v different from my 3rd coach, who started at 9 and teaches a lot of LTS.

Offline ChristyRN

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2017, 05:34:20 PM »
I find that coaches that have skated since they were little have a harder time telling adult beginners how to do things. Kids just go do what they are told. Adults ask questions that maybe the coach hasn't thought about for years. Some of us take forever to learn new skills because we can only skate three hours a week. And, a fair number of them still have athletic bodies (ie--no hips/boobs/belly to get in the way). Since they've quite possible never had to deal with them, they don't know how to work around them.

I have a great coach, but she does sometimes forget that I am not aiming for the Olympics--right now I'd be happy to test and pass Bronze free. She is very encouraging, even when I'm frustrated (da***** spins) and will let me work on something different. She's even running with my choice for entertainment program.

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #34 on: April 29, 2017, 05:56:31 PM »
As an adult skater, I've had good luck with a coach who started as an adult learner. She understands why it can take me a a couple of years to learn a skill, or deal with my old injuries, or my timidity. I've had coaches who had skated since they were four, and didn't understand why I wasn't getting things.

If I was a coach for an older adult, I'd encourage them to strengthen their legs and stamina by lap skating forwards and backwards, and strengthen their legs with exercises off ice. It wasn't until I started my 1 mile lap for warmups with a different exercise every lap or half lap, that I actually got better.
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Offline Nate

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #35 on: April 29, 2017, 06:42:58 PM »
@ Query:

I'm not necessarily referring to "methods" of teaching.  For example, I have no issue with coaches teaching jumps on and off the harness.  Two different methods.  No problem.

I'm referring mostly to the conventional technique being used as a rigid template for all skaters, from which many coaches will not budge :-P

The need for a coach to teach by different means has little to do with crippling students' ability to learn and more to do with being able to accommodate different students who learn optimally in different ways.  It has more to do with coaches limiting themselves in regards to the types of skaters they can teach effectively.  If a coach doesn't work for a skater, then that skater (or their parents) will find one that does.

Offline Query

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Re: Is there a place for very low level professional instructors?
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2017, 10:31:34 AM »
If a coach doesn't work for a skater, then that skater (or their parents) will find one that does.

Unfortunately, that isn't always true. Some people think teachers are generic, and that it must be the skater's fault.

I used to think that one should always teach people in the manner in which they learn most efficiently, and I still  feel that good tutors and other private instructors should mostly teach that way. But I've come to feel that students should also learn to learn by other techniques.

This is more obvious for academic studies. E.g., if you are good at reading, textbooks are perhaps the best way to learn most things, because you can read several times faster than you can listen, and you can easily and quickly go back and re-read what you didn't understand the first time. In that they are far better than lectures and videos, or web pages that require a lot of time to be wasted on point-and-click interactions - for such people. But, you will eventually have to learn many things from oral presentations of various types, as well as from videos and web  pages. You want to become good at learning those ways too.

As an example, I was never good at rote memorization. I always tried to analyze things instead. (I even drifted to subjects like physics where analysis is somewhat more important than memorization.) But to some extent, that hampered my academic learning skills. Some things are best learned by memorization (even in physics, BTW). And you have to practice memorization to be good at it.

But it applies to sports activities as well. Whether or not you learn well from a given learning style best, you will eventually need to pick up some things in many different ways, because you will receive instruction in many different ways. You will get verbal directions from your coach, written comments from judges (for skating, at least), you will see videos on Youtube, etc., and so on. If you have a dance partner, you will get a good deal of feedback from them, subtle or otherwise. If you can't take advantage of many sources of instruction, you will be limited in what and how well you can learn.