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Author Topic: "Celebrity" Clinics at Local Rinks - fsf, mamaskate, 8-16-2010  (Read 1463 times)

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Offline JimStanmore

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mamaskate
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Post Title: "Celebrity" skating clinics at local rinks
Posted: 08-16-2010, 02:22 PM

 During the summer, the local rinks frequently have skating clinics with "famous" coaches or "celebrity" skaters. I assume these coaches travel to a lot of rinks around the country during the summer months.

Assuming you have a good coach, are these clinics of any value? They're rather expensive.

One of the local rinks recently had a Spin Clinic. I didn't hear good reports from those who went, because the spin coach taught a completely different technique from the one that everyone had learned. 

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Posted: 08-16-2010, 04:38 PM

 They have some value- but I don't think they are a good place to redirect your coaching $$$.

Taking from a celebrity coach is probably more worthwhile from a celebrity skater- the skaters are often not yet great coaches.

If you have a young boy, and there aren't many boys/men at the rink, taking from a male athlete or coach is a great time for the exposure to men in the sport.

Sometimes I think they are good just for a change of pace, and good inspiration- because to be like these "celebrity" skaters is what many young skaters aspire to. 

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Posted: 08-16-2010, 08:11 PM

 Meh, I'm getting the same lesson things from my coaches as I do with the celeb skating clinics. Plus, the idea of spending ALL DAY on the ice may be fun, but my body would NOT be happy with it!!! 

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Posted: 08-17-2010, 02:05 PM

 Life is short.

If it sounds fun, and you can afford the time and money, then do it! 

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Posted: 08-17-2010, 03:10 PM

 I wouldn't mind taking one with Evan Lysacek if the opportunity presented itself... mmm gimme summa dat! 

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Posted: 08-18-2010, 07:53 AM

 I would go, just to hear different ways of explaining moves, whether I could actually do them or not. (I'm a very slow learner so I rarely pick things up on first hearing.) I figure it never hurts to learn something new and you never know when something's going to click.

And then there's always the thrill of being close to a "celebrity" even just for a day.

One of the best celebrity experiences I had was the 2001 Fantasy Camp Rocky Marvel put together in New Jersey. Three days with 10 or 12 Really Big Names in skating. I can't really remember learning much that revolutionized my skating but it was a blast getting to skate with some of my favorite stars. I still have all the photos on my walls. But then, I went into it more for the fan experience to begin with. 

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Posted: 08-19-2010, 02:09 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by davincisoprano1 
I wouldn't mind taking one with Evan Lysacek if the opportunity presented itself... mmm gimme summa dat!
 
 
I attended Evan's clinic in Rockford, IL last year.
Very worthy from a fan perspective, not so much for actual skating 

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Posted: 08-19-2010, 08:25 AM

 I have skated and worked at rinks where celeb skaters and coaches have worked and trained. I have never taken a lesson from one of them. IMO, no big deal. I have had coaches that are highly rated and very good. They do not charge the fees of celebs. And those coaches have been great for me. My husband has often asked me if I want to go to such and such a clinic. I have always choose to spend extra $ w my own coach. So I have not been to the celeb clinics to compare them, but that is b/c I have always been so satisified w my own coaches and my rapport w them, that I would rather invest in extra time w someone that I know is doing a great job w me and already knows my needs. If you have extra $ for a fun exp, it would probably be okay. I think a lot of ppl go to these clinics expecting an epiphany. I doubt that happens. If you are at a plateau and need a different POV, you might ask your coach to recommend someone for a few extra lessons.

Kay 

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Posted: 08-19-2010, 08:56 AM

 In my day job, I work in the Information Technology field.

There are often one- or five-day training classes on software, languages, etc. that are useful to get someone started on a new product. These are intense, forcing you to learn in a compressed, continuous time frame.

Unless you use what you've learned, the knowledge doesn't last very long. You have to pull out the materials and refresh your memory.

However, taking a continuing education course for six to eight weeks provides repetition and a weekly refresher. You can practice in between classes and ask questions about the homework or things you noticed.

I think that's why people don't get as much out of celebrity skating clinics and camps as they do from regular lessons. It's fun and you can learn one or two new tricks, so to speak, but it's not going to suddenly correct a problem that you've had for years. It takes great dedication and focus to return to your rink and remember exactly what to do with both your mind and your body.

They are fun and you get to meet celebrity skaters, but I think of them more as a meet-and-greet than a training session with real impact. The longer adventures, like the various camps, do provide more skating achievement. That's mainly because of the length, but again, use it or lose it. 

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Posted: 08-19-2010, 12:17 PM

 Thanks for all your responses! 

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Posted: 08-19-2010, 03:57 PM

 My daughter's dance studio has many 'celebrity' instructors coming in each year, plus they attend 1-2 conventions each year, where they are taught by 3-4 different instructors. A lot of them are from "So You Think You Can Dance". They learn new choreography, and new dance skills. I would think that even a few hours on the ice with Frank Carroll or some other high level coach would gain you some new experience? 

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Posted: 08-20-2010, 11:10 AM

 It's polite to ask your coach first, before taking lessons from someone else. I've known skaters whose coaches get very upset, even dropped students. 

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Posted: 08-20-2010, 11:28 AM

 There are certain ones that we attend annually. In one instance, it is a special focus on interpretation and musicality, which is excellent - and it is conducted by a different "celebrity" choreographer each year. We also attend the ones recommended by our coaches based on who is conducting it. It can also be a technical clinic, for example, where runthroughs are done for evaluation and feedback, which is good before the start of the competitive season.

Outside of the ability to hear a different perspective and feedback from another individual or two, it is also an opportunity to see other skaters and benefit from the collegial atmosphere at the seminars. For people in isolated clubs, or where there are few skaters at one's own level, you get to work with other skaters with similar goals, abilities and interests.

And, of course, our personal memory: my kid has a coach who works strongly on edges, unlike others in the club - and, of course, it's not as interesting as, say, jumps and spins to a then 9 year old. Kurt Browning pulled my kid out to demonstrate edges in front of everyone, and paid a compliment to my kid about them, and pointed out how important edges are. Then, the first axel my kid ever landed was at that same seminar ... because the awe of being with an idol of that level pulled something out that had been waiting for the right moment for quite some time. We figured that seminar paid for itself ! (kid still has great edges ... still works on them ... went back and thanked the coach for teaching them as well as they had been taught ...) 

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Posted: 08-20-2010, 12:45 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Query 
It's polite to ask your coach first, before taking lessons from someone else. I've known skaters whose coaches get very upset, even dropped students.
 
 
I would say good riddance to such a coach. One should always let one's coach know if taking a lesson with another coach, and it is polite to "ask", but any coach who is so threatened by the prospect of a student's lesson with a different coach that they would drop a student or even get upset, has big ego problems, IMO. Of course, there is always the chance that one could lose a student who tries out another coach, but students come and go for many different reasons, and we all have to deal with that. One other reason to let your coach know you want a lesson with someone else, or are going to attend a clinic, is that the coach may have some helpful input, such as knowing that different techniques will be taught, and that may be confusing. It can't hurt to be forewarned. 

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Posted: 08-20-2010, 01:17 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by d b n y 
I would say good riddance to such a coach. One should always let one's coach know if taking a lesson with another coach, and it is polite to "ask", but any coach who is so threatened by the prospect of a student's lesson with a different coach that they would drop a student or even get upset, has big ego problems, IMO. Of course, there is always the chance that one could lose a student who tries out another coach, but students come and go for many different reasons, and we all have to deal with that. One other reason to let your coach know you want a lesson with someone else, or are going to attend a clinic, is that the coach may have some helpful input, such as knowing that different techniques will be taught, and that may be confusing. It can't hurt to be forewarned.
 
 
I was going to attend the spin clinic at The Gardens, and had asked my coach for her opinion (since she also skates there and knows many of the coaches AND knows how hard spinning is for me), she gave me some good input and asked a lot of questions about the clinic in case she wanted to recommend it to her other students. I've never had a problem with taking a class or seminar since I've had this coach.

My previous coach-that's another story. She poo-poo'd all the clinics I wanted to attend, and said I'd learn "bad technique"...when I went to one and mentioned what a blast it was, I suddenly found her less available, and during my group class, I became ignored. That prompted me to get myself a private coach (among other things).

I'm an adult, I should be able to hire anyone I want to get the job done. If someone feels threatened or can't work with another professional, they need to go.

I will say, at Adult Skating Camp (Hackensack), nothing was taught that was very different than what my coach had taught (with one small exception). I did have one small "ah-ha" moment there but no major breakthroughs or magic "Ice Princess" skating (don't I wish tho!) 


Offline JimStanmore

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Re: "Celebrity" Clinics at Local Rinks - fsf, mamaskate, 8-16-2010
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2010, 07:53:11 PM »
rlichtefeld
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Posted: 08-20-2010, 03:30 PM

 I'm all for them and have had several aha moments.

We've had Bobbe Shire (the Spin Doctor) come to our rinks a few different years. Each time she was able to give me some key points to keep in mind, and my spins did improve.

I've also attended the Oleg Vassiliev Adult Pairs weekend in Chicago 4 different times with 3 different partners, and I will definitely go back. He has his elite teams work with you on and off ice, and we've had many aha moments at these weekends.

Rob 

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Posted: 08-20-2010, 04:17 PM

 As a change of pace/something fun, could be good, but as others have said, it's probably not good to redirect your coaching money for a workshop/clinic. If you have the opportunity to go to a camp for a week and get regular lessons during that time from a big name coach, it's probably more worthwhile. I went to synchro camp for a week every summer in high school (and the senior level skaters were always coached by the big name coach at this camp). It was always a really good experience, we learned a lot and had a blast.

If I really wanted to, there are several big names in my area I could go get a lesson from. But in my opinion, my coach meets my needs and I really don't feel like I need to go take from Carol Heiss at twice the cost, as cool as that would be to say I got a lesson from her.

I would, however, kill to go to Dorothy Hamill's adult skater camp. Or get a lesson from her. <3 But I can't justify spending that much $$ for the camp. It's like $3,000.00....that's more than I pay my coach for an entire year's worth of lessons. 

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Posted: 08-20-2010, 04:23 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by rlichtefeld 
I'm all for them and have had several aha moments.

We've had Bobbe Shire (the Spin Doctor) come to our rinks a few different years. Each time she was able to give me some key points to keep in mind, and my spins did improve.

I've also attended the Oleg Vassiliev Adult Pairs weekend in Chicago 4 different times with 3 different partners, and I will definitely go back. He has his elite teams work with you on and off ice, and we've had many aha moments at these weekends.

Rob
 
 
Bobbe was heading up the spin clinic-I was looking forward to it & hoping that it would help my spins as well. I can still go over and take a lesson, but it's a 2-hour drive each way.

I'd like to attend the Pairs Clinic as well but it's difficult to do anything while in school, and it will be a while before I have vacation built up when I finally have a job. My pair partner went 2 years ago and had a blast.

Basically, I go in order to skate with other adults and to network. If I get anything useful out of it, that's a bonus. 

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Posted: 08-21-2010, 08:47 AM

 MOST COACHES ARE CELEBRITIES. Most competed at at least a regional level, maybe toured with a show too. They all work at a glamorous job, teaching people an elegant form of motion on ice. Ask your coach what they did, and do!

Many rinks and clubs run specialized group lesson classes, that fall outside the usual USFSA Basic 8 and ISI LTS/Freestyle curricula. Some are week-long, some are hourly multi-week classes, or have other schedules.

These classes often assume students are more seriously interested in learning than in most group lesson classes. The coaches can respond to what the students want to learn, because there is no external curricula. They focus on one skill, instead of barely touching on 5 or 10 different moves in an hour.

Many kids doing amazingly athletic things that I could never do, like double jumps, and amazing spins, who have never learned to skate on good edges (especially outside edges). They never get good crossovers (partly because of the edges), and many skate slowly. Obviously, their coaches must be very good at teaching jumps and spins, but I've talked to judges who pay attention to these edges and speed too. So a class on edges, and another on power skating, perhaps from an ice dance coach who focuses on those things, might be fun and helpful.

A big advantage of these classes is that they cost about what other group lessons cost/hour. Many rinks let you drop in on the first lesson for a nominal cost, so you can decide if it is what you want.

I've also taken a few ice dance clinics from a group of East European coaches. I could never quite understand the idea some earlier private coaches had tried to teach of swinging the leg forward while twisting the hip back. And I also misunderstood some of what is meant by an "open" torso. The clinic coaches explained it a different way: the hip and torso stay still. Leg swings and and rotations occur in the hip socket. The open torso position occurs because it stays still through most motions, while the leg rotates out to point the toe in the right direction. (These things may be unique to ice dance styling, and may not apply to freestyle - I don't know. It's not the most efficient way to move.) This was a complete revelation, that makes sense and provides a measure by which to determine if I am doing it right. They also explain a lot of things about off-ice training that I had missed elsewhere. These coaches might be considered celebrities, and spend most of their time teaching much better students than me - but they teach group lessons at a local rink.

I used to take lessons from another celebrity coach. Sometimes teaching a group lesson class (on edges, though the class was called ice dance) made him teach a skill more clearly than he had explained it to me in private lessons. He still teaches group lessons, but only to competitive kids - sigh.

If you love a local coach, you can switch, or take a few privates from him or her, which isn't practical with a traveling celebrity. 

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Posted: 08-21-2010, 12:14 PM

 I don't know about figure skating, but when I was in high school studying music seriously we used to have things called master classes which involved a professional from the community coming in and doing a mini-voice lesson with a student infront of some other students. We would also have speakers come in and give presentations sometimes about different things that were important to singing. It was always really valuable. We were told that any time you can get out and learn from someone, do it because everyone does things a little bit differently and no matter how good a coach (in this case they were talking voice coach) they don't know everything, and what they don't know someone else might. I always loved these because I learned more about singing every time I went. I mean, they all had varying degrees of usefulness but they were all useful in one way or another.

Another thing they told us to do a lot was to go to concerts, operas, musicals, what-ever we could get to to see professionals in action because even through observation you learn something. We used to have to go to a certain number of performances a year. 

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Posted: 08-21-2010, 01:09 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Query 
MOST COACHES ARE CELEBRITIES. Most competed at at least a regional level, maybe toured with a show too. They all work at a glamorous job, teaching people an elegant form of motion on ice. Ask your coach what they did, and do!
 
 
Not in my 9 years experience coaching at 3 different rinks! I've seen lots of coaches from all over come and go. I would say that most coaches have passed the highest levels of testing in their disciplines and many have competed (most unsuccessfully) at Regionals and maybe even Sectionals. A few have competed at Nationals with some success and a few more have toured in shows. I hardly consider it a glamorous job, and it can be very hard work. Most skating schools require either teaching group lessons or paying a hefty commission on private lessons for coaching privileges, and some require both. Celebrity coaches, and even coaches with multiple gold's in testing are not always the best teachers. As I've said often, skating and coaching are two very different skills. I believe there are quite a few here who agree with that statement. 

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Posted: 08-21-2010, 03:03 PM

 I agree d b n y. There is a Worlds gold medalist teaching at my rink, and many skaters avoid taking his group lessons at all costs. Skating and coaching are completely different animals. 

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Posted: 08-21-2010, 07:02 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by d b n y 
As I've said often, skating and coaching are two very different skills. I believe there are quite a few here who agree with that statement.
 
 
ITA The most expensive skating coaches probably competed at elite levels, but that doesn't make them any better at teaching. It just means they have to charge more to break even or turn a profit.

While we're discussing it, there's a difference between teaching and coaching. Short encounters of the skating kind are basically instructional, although they sometimes include "coaching tips" in the form of mental preparation, dietary and training/planning classes.

Most of the coaches I respect have said to me over the years that becoming a good instructor or coach helps make them a better skater because they have to plan, understand and communicate. 

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Posted: 08-21-2010, 10:22 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Query 
MOST COACHES ARE CELEBRITIES. Most competed at at least a regional level, maybe toured with a show too. They all work at a glamorous job, teaching people an elegant form of motion on ice. Ask your coach what they did, and do!
 
 
Competing at regionals or sectionals hardly makes one a celebrity, nor does touring in a show- though both show you were/are a good skater.

I think to be called a celebrity you need name recognition at least within your group (there are a heck of a lot of girls skating in shows whose names are unknown- they are great skaters, but not celebrities)- which means you probably need to be top 10 at nationals and have some international experience, and argueably name recognition to the general public (that's going to be a lot harder to come across.) 

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Posted: 08-22-2010, 04:22 PM

 Gee, you folks have pretty high standards for celebrity! Also for glamor.

If you are known as one of the best local skaters or coaches, that is quite enough celebrity for me.

I agree that athletic skill and teaching ability are not exactly the same thing, and have met a few people with the former but not the latter, but for me, good skill is a requisite for good teaching.

What is the distinction between a teacher and coach? 

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Posted: 08-22-2010, 04:45 PM

 Yeah, it's so glamorous to get up at 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday to stand on the ice for 3 hours!! I'm one of the few people on the planet who hates Saturdays....

--And I'm certainly no celebrity, but I'm a good low level coach. 

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Posted: 08-22-2010, 05:22 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by d b n y 
As I've said often, skating and coaching are two very different skills. I believe there are quite a few here who agree with that statement.
 
 
Yup! My secondary coach is no celebrity and is the cheapest out of the 3 coaches I have, but she's probably the best bargain I've ever had. Not to say my other coaches aren't worth the money. I wouldn't take them if they weren't. AAMOF, my "celeb coach" admits that he's no better a coach than all the other coaches out there. 

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Posted: 08-22-2010, 06:37 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix 
Yeah, it's so glamorous to get up at 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday to stand on the ice for 3 hours!! I'm one of the few people on the planet who hates Saturdays.... 
 
 
Count me in, and add Sundays too! 

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Posted: 08-22-2010, 07:00 PM

 Most of my coaching is late afternoon/evening, so I'm no glamour queen at that time of the day, having started work at 7am.

I do think that most workshops and seminars intended for instructors or coaches are good, so good that regular skaters should consider them as part of their own education plans.

Those events are usually well-planned since the attendees are knowledgeable and experienced in skating. The information is delivered in a very forward manner and networking is encouraged. 

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Posted: 08-22-2010, 11:15 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Query 
What is the distinction between a teacher and coach?
 
 
A coach should be a good teacher, but needs to be a lot more- a much more personal relationship needs to form- they need to be a good motivator, a good planner (see into the future with where you might be going, and plan to take you there), a guide to the skating world, an advocate when necessary, etc.

An instructor should also be a good teacher, but they are much less personal. To me an instructor is usually the leader of a learn to skate group class, the coach (who 90% of the time is also an instructor) is primarily private lessons, or a group they put together of their own students. 


Offline JimStanmore

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Re: "Celebrity" Clinics at Local Rinks - fsf, mamaskate, 8-16-2010
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2010, 07:53:33 PM »
Query
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Posted: 08-23-2010, 09:05 PM

 As an unemployed ("self employed"?) computer programmer, coaching for cash would look pretty good to me. Even movie actors and models experience some unpleasantness. It's part of any real world job, even glamorous ones.

You are on the ice, you are making people happy (more or less) and be all (more or less) they can be. How wonderful!

It's all a matter of attitude.

Please put your coaching hat on. How would you as a real "coach" convince you that coaching was glamorous and fun again?

Coach, coach thyself. 

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Posted: 08-23-2010, 10:25 PM

 I have never thought that coaching was glamerous, but it is my passion and I dearly love it. It's fun, but not always, and it's also a ton of hard work. I think the things I like best about it are the interactions with other people and the creativity required in the teaching aspects. I do feel incredibly lucky to be able to do work I love. I know at least one celebrity coach who simply doesn't have any other skills or he/she would be doing something else. 

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Posted: 08-25-2010, 06:18 PM

 I did ask the coach about the clinics, but she had no more information about them than I did and didn't know how useful they would be.

Of course, if it was a real celebrity along the lines of Frank Carroll or Kurt Browning, there would be no question!