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Author Topic: Learning to skate mostly without a coach  (Read 915 times)

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Offline Hedwig

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Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« on: February 20, 2017, 12:39:19 PM »
hi guys - I love skating and since I got back after taking a baby break of roundabout 4 years I am addicted again.

I am not really good yet - backwards crossovers, bad waltz jump, three turns, tiny salchow (to give you an idea).

My issue is that I can rarely take lessons. I have a group lessons once a week of 45min but there are about 30 of us and I hardly get any one-on-one time of course.
The problem is not financial but that figure skating here is hardly done or taught at all in my town (figure skating is just not too popular in Germany) and it is hard to find a coach to make time for an adult skater.
I will do a summer camp in July in the Czech Republic which I am looking forward to but otherwise I am mostly on my own and skate in public sessions.

I have a few books about figure skating and I watch videos on youtube to learn which helps (even if it isn't the same as a coach to correct me). What I am really missing are training ideas like how to progress to a bigger trick in small steps or how to connect some steps in order to make an interesting training which also teaches me a lot.

Do you have any ideas where I could look for that or how I can make myself training drills?

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 04:04:00 PM »
The problem is not financial but that figure skating here is hardly done or taught at all in my town (figure skating is just not too popular in Germany) and it is hard to find a coach to make time for an adult skater.

Est tut mir leid, aber ... I find it ironic, given my US-based coach was the West German national champion.

There are some coaches who do online (video chat) lessons, but for elite skaters.

You should look into the various governing bodies' Learn to Skate lesson curricula.  Generally, a skill in one level is a foundation for a skill on the next level.

This thread is a little old: http://skatingforums.com/index.php?topic=11.0 but it lists a lot of the LTS programs.
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Offline Ethereal Ice

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 11:52:01 PM »
I think many of us watch the YouTube videos, but with you I had another idea regarding videos. There is a section on this forum for people to evaluate each other on video. You might explain your situation over there and post videos of yourself doing your elements.  If you can handle some constructive criticism,  there is much knowledge to be gained from having folks on here view your videos, and also helps the rest of us learning as well.

Offline riley876

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2017, 12:11:11 AM »
iCoachSkating has been really useful to me.  Especially Nick Perna's stuff.

Offline Hedwig

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2017, 02:00:09 AM »
thank you for all the ideas!  :love:

The video idea is pretty neat. I will have to walk up to strangers and ask them to tape me but well  :nvm: I will survive the embarrasement. ;-)

And since it is only another six weeks until our rinks close for 6 months, I am very motivated to learn something in the meantime!

Offline sampaguita

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2017, 07:38:12 AM »
I've tried reading books before. Kunzle-Watson's book is really good for beginners, and the illustrations are almost lifelike. Once you get the basics done, videos help a lot.

In my case, my learning curve went steeper with a coach who taught me body awareness, and the biomechanics of skating. I no longer take lessons with him, and it's been 2 years since -- but what he taught me has stayed with me, and has enabled me to learn a few things on my own.

Of course, video analysis helps. Youtube has some good videos. iCoachSkating has great lessons too, although these are mostly on jumps. Nick Perna does drills on edges though, you  may find them useful.

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2017, 07:44:04 PM »
A couple other teaching websites:

  http://myskatecoach.com

  http://www.onlineskateschool.com

I'm not sure if Germany is one of those countries where private coaches are uncommon, but where some coaches teach group lessons to small select groups instead. Maybe it is a matter of getting into the right class, at the right rink, even if you have to travel.

However, in almost any subject, group lessons, Internet, books and and videos can't compare to the attentions of a good private coach or teacher. For one thing, you might mis-understand something basic, and keep practicing it wrong.

FWIIW, a lot of people travel many hours to take lessons with a coach. I've heard that Germany has excellent road and public transit systems (e.g., trains).

I don't know where to locate German coaches, but here are some German skating clubs:

http://www.goldenskate.com/directories/clubs/europe/figure-skating-clubs-and-ice-rinks-in-germany/

Maybe some of the people in those clubs could help you find a private coach?

Another good resource would be good skaters at your rink. Perhaps one of them would teach you, or suggest a coach.

And what about your group lesson skating coach? If he/she won't coach you privately, maybe he/she can suggest a private coach.

If you could find other interested students, maybe you can travel together, or convince a coach to come to teach a bunch of you over the course of a day.

Offline Hedwig

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2017, 03:26:37 AM »
thank you Query.

I can sometimes take lessons (like in the summer camp  I am planing) when I travel a bit further but just not on a regular basis. The issue is as well that the rink closes in summer for 6 months.
I might be able to travel to another rink during that time maybe once a month.

I am just in a very bad region figure skating wise within Germany. There are towns where the rinks are open year round and where skating is more appreciated.

But during the winter months I am mostly on my own. I get a few tips here and there in group lessons or when I ask other skaters and that helps a lot, that is true :) But like you said - nothing compares to a coach who really looks at you and gives you one-on-one attention.

I will try out an ice-dancing group tomorrow. That is also a group lesson and I am more into free skating but ice-dancing will be good for my basics anyway so I am looking forward to that. It is not led by a coach per se but an enthusiastic (elder) woman. I don't know how long she will still be able to lead the group but I always think every ice-chance is better than none. :)

Offline Loops

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2017, 04:48:39 AM »
Hi Hedwig, we're neighbours of a sort (I'm in France).  And it's true that skating over here is much less popular, and managed differently from what I experienced during my youth in the US.  Here, I am lucky enough to have a rink (that closes only 3 months in the summer) and a dance club (my background is free).  The club does everything by group lessons more or less.  The elite kids and those of us that are outside the norm in terms of levels get private lessons, but it's not a scheduled thing (for the adults).  For me, as a relatively high level adult, I get help when one of the coaches more or less feels like it.  The lower level adults are in group and always get attention.  Sometimes they do skills with all of us, but it's totally random.  We've had some coaching changes over the past year that have made it worse for the adults, alas, given the reputation of our new head coach, it doesn't look like that will change. One of the coaches is invested in the adults and is awesome, the other couldn't care less (and it shows).  The awesome coach's time is therefore spread very thin as far as we're concerned, but we make the best of it.

I tell you all this to show that you are not alone (and maybe vent a bit  ::>).  Do what you can with the groups you have access too, and you will find friends.  I recently had one of the other advanced adults video me for the first time.  It was very very helpful, and I plan to make a habit of getting her to do that (and repaying her in kind, if she wishes).  Hopefully, as you get to know more skaters in your community you'll be able to do similar things.  The icoach skating videos are helpful, but to a degree.  They're designed for other coaches, thus tell how to coach, if you don't have someone watching you and evaluating your technique, those videos risk being less effective than you might hope.  But people here have gotten great feedback by posting their videos in the video vault on this site.  You're doing the best you can given your resources, and I''m sure you'll continue to do so.  The bottom line is to have fun and fulfill the love/need to skate.  As long as you're doing that, its all good! Good luck!!!!!!

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2017, 02:33:40 PM »
I wonder why more coaches don't get into remote coaching over the Internet, by video. Seems like it would be a way for a new coach to attract students.

Of course there is a danger for experienced coaches. Young teen skaters might bid down the price, just as Internet agencies have for the most part caused them bid down private tutoring rates by an order of magnitude. At least at a rink, the figure skating director can make sure your coach is certified and insured, which keeps out the less dedicated.

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2017, 06:04:46 PM »
Watching instructional videos on YouTube is great, but the problem with being coachless is that you don't have anyone watching you and telling you that you AREN'T actually doing it like the video, and which of your body parts is doing the wrong thing.

If you have a mobile phone with a camera/video capability, just prop it up on the boards at your rink (I use my blade guards to keep it in place against the plexiglass), make sure it is facing the spot where you are going to perform your element, then press record and go do it.

Offline Hedwig

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2017, 01:20:00 AM »
thanks for all the answers. It is good to know that I am not the only one struggling with this. Hopefully, it will get better and better. It already is lots better than 6 years ago when I stopped skating and did I start again after the baby because I was so frustrated with the possibilities.

yesterday I had a group lesson and already the approximately 5 tips I got already helped a lot! :)

On Thursday I will get fitted for new skates since my right one more or less broke down so this will be an adjustment anyway but after that I will try to do some videos.
Good idea about how to do them yourself - I don't really like asking people to tape me. :o

Offline Gina10179202

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2017, 06:43:40 AM »
I was more or less a self-taught skater from beginner through doubles, with some sporadic group and even more sporadic private lessons (very similar to your situation). I found that filming my own skating and asking for critique on YouTube/skating forums was incredibly helpful. There is an abundance of knowledge out there and I've found skaters to be very keen to help out. I also made some friends for life.  :) I'm sure there are plenty of people here who would be happy to watch your videos and pass over some knowledge.

BUT, nothing beats personalised, one-on-one attention from a professional coach. Other skaters have a lot of knowledge, but they are not qualified to train someone. Nothing compares to having someone watch your skating, give professional critique, physically put your body into the correct position, suggest exercises that will improve technique, provide demonstrations etc. I spent a long time believing that I'd be just fine without a coach, but although I managed to land those doubles, I had no body awareness and only a surface level understanding of the elements I was performing.

For illustration, this is me when I was mostly self-taught: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDT3pOc5rPM&t=89s (look at my arms in the jumps!  :o)
And this is me after just a few months of having 2x 30-minute lessons per week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4yRLpGFeIs

I'm not saying that self-teaching is impossible, and I totally relate to it being your only option given your circumstances. However, if and when you can get some personalised attention from a qualified coach, I would always recommend it.  :)


Offline Hedwig

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2017, 02:25:31 PM »
@Gina - thank you for your answer. You didn't start as an adult, did you? Otherwise, I would find it amazing that you progressed to doubles without a coach!
Well, I find it impressive regardless of when you started!

I might be able to shoot some videos on Wednesday morning if I am lucky. If the ice is very full, I will not be able to do it (sometimes in the mornings a school class will be on the ice and sometimes it is only 20 people and you never know before).
I have a sort of group lesson tomorrow night (it is basically a learn to skate program and I am by far the "best" so I don't get much in terms of lessons but I get a patch of ice where I can work relatively in peace and once in a while I can ask the coach a question) and afterwards there is a public skate. But that is nearly always quite crowded so I only do some elements there.

I joined the icoach website today and cannot wait to try out some exercises from there. And could nearly cry everytime I realize that there are only 4 weeks of ice left and then the rink closes until September.  :'(

Offline Gina10179202

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2017, 05:56:38 AM »
@Gina - thank you for your answer. You didn't start as an adult, did you? Otherwise, I would find it amazing that you progressed to doubles without a coach!
Well, I find it impressive regardless of when you started!

I might be able to shoot some videos on Wednesday morning if I am lucky. If the ice is very full, I will not be able to do it (sometimes in the mornings a school class will be on the ice and sometimes it is only 20 people and you never know before).
I have a sort of group lesson tomorrow night (it is basically a learn to skate program and I am by far the "best" so I don't get much in terms of lessons but I get a patch of ice where I can work relatively in peace and once in a while I can ask the coach a question) and afterwards there is a public skate. But that is nearly always quite crowded so I only do some elements there.

I joined the icoach website today and cannot wait to try out some exercises from there. And could nearly cry everytime I realize that there are only 4 weeks of ice left and then the rink closes until September.  :'(

Nope - I was a skinny little 12-year-old with no fear which certainly made things easier   ;D

Sounds great! Let me know if you manage to catch anything on tape. I know what you mean about the school groups - the other day, just before my first lesson in 4 years, a school group of about 60 kids burst onto the ice!  :'(

You could try catching the coach at the very end of the group lesson? If you're lucky they might even stay an extra few minutes and give you some one on one attention! Coaches tend to be more than happy to help the skaters who seem really keen to learn.

Offline Hedwig

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2017, 02:29:28 AM »
So, yesterday I was in my learn-to-skate class where I am by far the best skater (the others started going backwards on two feet yesterday for the first time and I was doing a loop preparation step (don't know the name in English) instead).

the very young girl (17) who teaches the lesson came to me and asked me if I would be interested to join a hobbygroup because I was so much more advanced than the rest. They skate once a week on Monday night. I was of course very eager.

She added that people of all ages where in that group to train.

Once - she said - they even had a woman there who was already



[thinks]



[thinks]


28 years of age!!!!    :pop: :ghug: :spin:

I never felt so old in my life.  ;D ;D

But, yes of course I will join at the ripe old age of 38.  ::>) ::>) :WS:

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2017, 06:05:54 AM »
nm
Yes I'm in with the 90's. I have a skating blog. http://icedoesntcare.blogspot.com/

Offline tstop4me

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2017, 04:38:51 PM »

28 years of age!!!!    :pop: :ghug: :spin:

I never felt so old in my life.  ;D ;D

But, yes of course I will join at the ripe old age of 38.  ::>) ::>) :WS:

At my rink, we had one newbie make all us old geezers (in our 60's) feel young again.  We had an adult coffee club session once a week (I was not a member, but it was held during a weekday morn public session that I skated).  The newbie was an 84 yr old woman.

Offline riley876

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2017, 04:58:22 PM »
28 years of age!!!!

My god,  did they supply walking frames to these geriatric folks?   88)

I know the drill though.  The roller LTS class I attended,  I was literally 3x the age of the oldest skater there for a while.   Hell, I was 3x the age of one of the coaches.   I hope I made at least some of the parents sitting on the benches wonder "what if".   Given they're probably all younger than me.   But probably not.   They all seemed too busy giving me the evil eye for having the gall to be on the same floor as their precious snowflakes.

Offline Hedwig

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2017, 10:51:48 AM »
So, I am progressing in my search for learning to skate. I recently let someone tape me and have a way to upload in on youtube (is probably not difficult, just have to get around doing it) - I expected that I was not good but was really shocked how wobbly and bad I looked. Well. More to learn. :)

I have a group lesson now once a week for 45min which was already good and then I asked the coach there if I could take a private lesson from her. When I stopped skating 6 years ago, there was no one who would teach adults and generally the attitude towards us was very frosty. But this has changed a bit and the coach agreed to a private lesson with another pupil. That was today and really great. I think I learned more in that one hour than in 20 hours trying by myself and I am really grateful that I now seem to have that option.

Offline sampaguita

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2017, 05:24:43 AM »
Good for you, Hedwig!

Offline emitche

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2017, 08:31:19 PM »
Quote
I think I learned more in that one hour than in 20 hours trying by myself...

This. This is how I feel about my own one-on-one lessons. It's just been more fruitful to have an attentive coach.

I am glad you are finding more quality opportunities to skate, Hedwig. Best wishes with your skating.
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Offline Leif

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2017, 07:31:09 AM »
I'm a hockey skater, self taught, 53 years old. YouTube video are very useful, you can see how the good skaters do it, and slow the video down to watch in detail the moves. I've found that comments from other skaters on the rink have been helpful. One friend helped me greatly improve my clockwise backwards crossovers when he watched and then commented that I was doing something wrong. A figure skater also made some criticisms which helped. If you can make friends on the rink, you can surely learn useful tips and get some help. One chap is an ex-hockey pro, and has made some really useful comments, such as 'listen to figure skaters'.  ;D

I think the danger of being self taught is bad habits. I can see one self taught skater has some bad habits, and I worry that I might have some. I suspect a (good) coach is well worth the money, especially for figure skating as I reckon it is technically harder than hockey skating.

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Re: Learning to skate mostly without a coach
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2017, 07:26:27 AM »
I'm a hockey skater, self taught, 53 years old. YouTube video are very useful, you can see how the good skaters do it, and slow the video down to watch in detail the moves. I've found that comments from other skaters on the rink have been helpful. One friend helped me greatly improve my clockwise backwards crossovers when he watched and then commented that I was doing something wrong. A figure skater also made some criticisms which helped. If you can make friends on the rink, you can surely learn useful tips and get some help. One chap is an ex-hockey pro, and has made some really useful comments, such as 'listen to figure skaters'.  ;D

I think the danger of being self taught is bad habits. I can see one self taught skater has some bad habits, and I worry that I might have some. I suspect a (good) coach is well worth the money, especially for figure skating as I reckon it is technically harder than hockey skating.

This in regards to learning bad habits. I have a guy who skates the public session with me who is relatively self taught. He watches and gets pointers from some of the other guys, but knows that when it comes to technical things, I know my stuff. I don't normally help him other than tweaking things when I see him struggling (he said the only reason he understands backwards crossovers is because I helped him with them). So I think there's some merit to being able to go out there and not be afraid to try things, but also there's merit in getting help where you need help.

There's some girls in a learn to skate class who practice on public who don't realize skating is not a straight line in terms of progression, one thinks she's going to be freestyle 4 this time next year, when she's currently still gamma/delta. She's not seen how her skating looks on camera and will be shocked if she gets into privates how long it's going to take to refine things. I guess the good thing is she's not teaching herself anything yet?