Advice for a Possible Beginning Adult Skater?

Littlerain

Rinkside
Joined
Apr 7, 2014
And to your comment about other sports and coaches not being "nice" enough to take students who are not competitive, skating IS different. It isn't one of those sports where you can teach yourself. Instruction is necessary!

If you read the different skating forums there are people of all ages with different goals taking lessons. I've even read about 5 year olds in basic skills taking multiple private lessons a week!
 
Last edited:

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
I grew up in sports and never once have I had a coach that is "nice" enough to go out of their way for someone who isn't 100% committed to a competitive goal.

What sports?

Did the coaches coach competitive teams?

That's a completely different context from beginning lessons. I think most sports offer lessons to anyone who wants to pay for them. Especially technical sports where you need expert input to know what you're doing before you can practice the sport at all much less at a competitive level.

E.g., lots of kids -- and adults who never learned as kids -- take basic swimming lessons just to learn how to stay on top of the water safely while playing in water, or if they ever find themselves in deep water in an emergency. Some join recreational swim teams in the summer to compete at a casual level. A smaller proportion would train and compete seriously.

By signing up for skating lessons you would not be signing up to compete in a context that puts anyone else's (teammates or coaches') results at your mercy.
You would just be signing up to learn how to skate.
Skating isn't a team sport anyway.

Maybe it would help if you think of the professionals who teach beginners as "instructors" rather than as "coaches."

Those who coach serious competitors may or may not also teach beginners. But somebody needs to teach the beginner so they can decide whether they want to become more serious competitors.

Some coaches of competitors also coach beginners, for two reasons: to find talented kids to encourage to become competitors, and to earn a living. If there's only one rink in the area and only limited ice for competitors, most coaches won't be able to earn enough money teaching only during those limited hours and would welcome additional students in non-club-ice hours.

All adult skating is recreational in the sense that it's not leading toward high-level championships.
Some adult skaters take it more seriously than others.
You can decide for yourself how serious you want to take it.

But at least if you take lessons, you'll be able to make your own decisions about how much time (and money) you want to devote to practice and more lessons, and maybe competing for yourself, when you actually understand the techniques involved and what it takes to develop them.
 

backspin

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
I have been coaching a lady who is in her late 60's for many years. She is a beginner level still, and always will be--just doesn't have much feel for it/natural talent. But she loves skating. And I love her. I will teach her until she doesn't want to skate any more.

Does that refute your earlier comment about coaches not wanting to teach anyone who isn't advanced past a certain level?

I can also tell you, nothing makes me cringe more than when a student gleefully announces, "I taught myself a salchow / sit spin / _______!" That's when I sigh, say, "all right, let's see it," and then spend the rest of the lesson correcting the technique & praying they haven't practiced it wrong enough times so it's in their muscle memory yet.
 

Vanshilar

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 24, 2014
If I did get a coach and then decided I would rather just skate for fun, I feel like I would be wasting their time, especially as it's summer, and summer ice time is something I understand is a privilege for actual competitive students. The more time a coach has with those students, the better.

I don't think you need to consider whether or not the coach will feel like they're wasting their time. Whatever rate they want you to pay them, is the rate at which they feel their time won't be wasted. It doesn't matter if you're going competitive or recreational. The amount they quote you is the amount where they feel like coaching you is worthwhile.

I think where this thread might start blurring the lines is...are people saying that you should get a private (one-on-one) coach from the get-go, or are people considering the learn-to-skate classes instructors as coaches as well? For me, when you're learning the basics (i.e. before the free style levels), I don't really see the need for an individual coach, as long as the class instructor is going around and taking care of students individually to make sure they're doing things correctly. I can see where an individual coach is useful once you start doing jumps and stuff though (to get to know your particular long-term issues).

At my local rink they have a public list (on flyers) of coaches that you can get lessons from during the public sessions, as opposed to the freestyle sessions (which are for more advanced students only). I've also seem them around during the public sessions, giving individual instruction to skaters. It seems odd to have to pay club fees and such for it, so I think maybe you just talked to the wrong coach, or a coach that was looking specifically for advanced, competitive skaters and not interested in beginning/recreational ones. From the rink's standpoint, any opportunity they have of getting more people on the ice would mean more money to them, and since you still pay the rink's entrance fee when getting coached, it would seem strange for them to put roadblocks (like club fees or commitment) for people who want coaches.
 

karne

in Emergency Backup Mode
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Country
Australia
I think where this thread might start blurring the lines is...are people saying that you should get a private (one-on-one) coach from the get-go, or are people considering the learn-to-skate classes instructors as coaches as well? For me, when you're learning the basics (i.e. before the free style levels), I don't really see the need for an individual coach, as long as the class instructor is going around and taking care of students individually to make sure they're doing things correctly. I can see where an individual coach is useful once you start doing jumps and stuff though (to get to know your particular long-term issues).

I'm not advocating one or the other, only that the OP gets coaching. The OP is saying they're teaching themselves at the moment because "they don't want to waste a coach's time". I don't care whether OP prefers group or private, the OP needs coaching.
 

backspin

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
If available, I agree that group classes are perfect for learning the basics at a much lower cost. Private coaching is helpful once you get a little further into it, or if you want to progress faster. I also agree that the main thing is to have some sort of instruction.
 

concorde

Medalist
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
If you have enough time and money, I would suggest 1 private lesson and 1 group lesson a week. I would view the private lesson as the "real" lesson and the group lesson as more supervised practice. In my area, the group lesson fee includes the same number of "public ice" sessions (i.e., 8 groups lessons and 8 public ice sessions). If you follow-up that route, you will be at the rink 3x a week.

A side benefit is that there are probably other adult skaters that are following a similar program and they will probably have a schedule that "meshes" with yours - I found this at my rinks. So you gain some new friends who will also encourage your skating.

The approach that I described earlier is what is followed by most of the adults skaters at my rink.
 

mskater93

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 22, 2005
^^^^
backspin, I've heard the same thing from many coaches regarding the "I taught myself...". Even some coaches teach squirrly technique and when a skater moves to another coach for various reasons (becoming more competitive, change in goals, etc) I see coaches having to un-teach those students techniques as well (and this from students who were taking lessons). For example, I see some coaches who teach a "rotate first" philosophy on jumps (ie, spinny versus jumping and getting into position) that newer/more competitive coaches try to fix...
 
Top