Questions about training plans and private lessons

DesertSky

Spectator
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
My almost 8 year old child has been in private lessons for over a year (maybe FS 4). I never know that she is going to be working on and there does not seem to be any consistency from week to week. She started private lessons after she passed FS 1. When I asked her coach what level she was - she did not know and said she was working on elements from 4, 5 and 6.

Should I expect the coach to discuss a training plan or tell me what she should be practicing? I am unclear about what level of communication I should expect from her private coach. Should I pay for time to discuss what she is working on? I am confused on what is appropriate or the norm.

Thank you in advance.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
My almost 8 year old child has been in private lessons for over a year (maybe FS 4). I never know that she is going to be working on and there does not seem to be any consistency from week to week. She started private lessons after she passed FS 1. When I asked her coach what level she was - she did not know and said she was working on elements from 4, 5 and 6.

Should I expect the coach to discuss a training plan or tell me what she should be practicing? I am unclear about what level of communication I should expect from her private coach. Should I pay for time to discuss what she is working on? I am confused on what is appropriate or the norm.

Thank you in advance.

For an 8 yo yes, if you are paying a private coach, they should know what the child is learning, what level they are and be able to pass that info along to you.

If this coach refuses, I would be finding a different, more thorough coach.

If you have a skating director, you might speak to them.
 

sandraskates

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Country
United-States
Are you in the USA?


This is the list of skills for the US Figure Skating Learn to Skate Freestyle levels:
https://www.learntoskateusa.com/media/1088/curriculum_freeskate.pdf



It sounds to me like the coach feels your child is capable of learning elements from FS 4, 5 and 6.

That said, the coach should be able to tell you which level your child is nearest. You should not have to pay for extra time to talk to the coach but you'll have to talk with her when she has a break between lessons.
You might also familiarize yourself with identifying skating jumps, spins, turns, etc. if you don't already know them.
 

concorde

Medalist
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
When my daughter was little, I asked her coach what level she was. The coach replied something similar to how your daughter's coach replied. But then our coach continued to state that on certain skills, my skater was level x but on different skills she was level z. If you averaged things out, she was probably a level y.

My guess is that your skater's skills are not all on one level but rather they are a mix of levels. So to me the coach's answer makes sense.

With ice skating there is no straight line progression. What is easy to one skater can be difficult to another and vice versa. I also think you cannot measure progression lesson to lesson but rather month to month.
 

hanyuufan5

❅*:・。.✨
Medalist
Joined
May 19, 2018
But then our coach continued to state that on certain skills, my skater was level x but on different skills she was level z. If you averaged things out, she was probably a level y.

Yeah, that's the great thing about private lessons. You don't have to go strictly by the levels. I say I'm in Freeskate 1-2, but I'm working on things from all of the levels. There's one thing I still have trouble with from Pre-Freeskate and a few things I can do or am working on from 3, 4, 5, and 6.
 

VegMom

On the Ice
Joined
Aug 25, 2017
Every skater is different and every coach is different and every parent is different. We all have different goals and methods and priorities etc. There's no 'one way to do things' so you really just have to sort of decide what's going to work for your skater and your family.

My skater has been with a coach for nearly 2 years and we're at a point now where the coach's negative traits are getting to be too much to handle. My skater's coach is very good about teaching good technique and coach is very dedicated and has lots of experience but coach is disorganized and gets stressed out easily and doesn't really know how to truly loosen up and have fun, which is impacting skater. On top of that, there's some sort of discord with coach in that I feel like coach always responds negatively to any of my ideas to the point where I nearly stopped communicating with coach. Now, some issues are going on with skater and we're just up in the air about whether to go back to coach or switch coaches or even keep skating. It's all very depressing.

Personally, I think communication is key. Try to define your goals as well as you can and be realistic and talk with skater about his/her goals, again realistically. Then share those with the coach and try to develop a plan that works for everyone. Remember that it all needs to be realistic. Progress is never linear and I think with skating it might even be less linear than with other sports.
 

likevelvet

#Bless this mess
On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Country
United-States
That age is so key to development that if your kiddo has aspirations to go far in the sport, I'd say the lack of communication with you with regards to their training progress is unacceptable. I think that for the price you pay for private lessons, you need to be in the loop, especially because at this age parents should be empowered to support a kid's training outside the rink and you need the knowledge to be able to do that appropriately.

Of course, if it's more recreational for your child, and he or she really likes working with the coach, this may instead be a compromise you'd be willing to make.
 

skatemom0810

Rinkside
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
I’ve found that I have to advocate for my skater to have a solid plan that we’re all aware of and working towards.

I coach and judge at the elite level of another sport. I sit down with all my students and their parents at the beginning of show season prep to make an outline of our plans. At that time we discuss their goals for the upcoming season, my goals for them, set goal dates, and then plan how we’re going to achieve them (how many lessons, practices, etc.). We also lay out the competition schedule and finalize a budget so there are no surprises. It takes about 30mins to an hour to have this meeting and I don’t charge for my time. Having a clear picture of the upcoming months and what we’re trying to accomplish makes everyone’s lives much easier.

I’m pushing to do a similar meeting with my daughter’s coaches. I’ve done without the last couple of years but I’m kind of over not knowing when we’re competing, programs, etc. I know what she’s working on because her coaches are good about communicating that. I just need a more solid plan of where we’re going with all of it.
 

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
@DesertSky, am I correct that you're in the US?

Is your daughter taking private instead of group lessons because she's working toward testing in competing in standard track, bypassing the learn-to-skate/basic skills, whatever it's called now group classes?

If so, you and the coach certainly should be communicating about her goals and progress and what she's working on, but it may not be meaningful to ask the questions in terms of a group lesson structure that she's not participating in.
 

DesertSky

Spectator
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
@DesertSky, am I correct that you're in the US?

Is your daughter taking private instead of group lessons because she's working toward testing in competing in standard track, bypassing the learn-to-skate/basic skills, whatever it's called now group classes?

If so, you and the coach certainly should be communicating about her goals and progress and what she's working on, but it may not be meaningful to ask the questions in terms of a group lesson structure that she's not participating in.

First - Thank you everyone for all the replies.

Yes, I am in the US. My daughter has passed all of the learn to skate classes and passed Free skate 1 in group class. After she passed Free skate 1, the class structure at our rink changed and there is no longer a group class in which you can specifically pass to advance in the Free skate levels. Now classes are offered in Jumps & Spins, Moves in the Field and an Axel class.

Since she passed Free skate 1 (about a year ago), each session she has taken weekly classes in Jumps & Spins, Moves in the Field, off-ice and a private class.

From what I have learned, other coaches at the rink apparently will "test" and give the skater an indicator that they have passed a level.

I have just found it found it frustrating that I don't have a way of somewhat-tracking what she is working on. Because when we go to practice sessions (with-out a coach), she will often work on skills are in much lower levels.
 

Nimyue

On the Ice
Joined
May 15, 2018
I have just found it found it frustrating that I don't have a way of somewhat-tracking what she is working on. Because when we go to practice sessions (with-out a coach), she will often work on skills are in much lower levels.

So the coaches at our rink give the kids a practice plan. They all have notebooks and an order of things they are supposed to work on during practice sessions. You can ask her coach to do this for you.

But I don't know if it's the same for your daughter, but for me, I don't work on my most difficult skills without my coach giving me a lesson. I don't work on my Axel or Dbl Sal right now without a coach. The reason being is that I don't want to create improper muscle memory. You start to ingrain movement that is incorrect and it becomes much more difficult to fix. So when I'm on my own I practice things I *know* how to do and that just need more repetition to ingrain the muscle memory.

Having a list of the things your daughter should be practicing in the order she should be doing them in would help make her practice time more efficient and valuable though, and there is no reason why her coach couldn't do something like that for her.
 

DesertSky

Spectator
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
I just need a more solid plan of where we’re going with all of it.
– this sums up my thoughts exactly!

It sounds like I need to be proactive requesting a plan from the coach if I want to her to lock down some specific goals.

Her coach has mentioned my daughter could start preparing for a test and a competition, but no costs or dates were mentioned. However, I feel if her coach doesn't not have a training plan for regular classes, preparing for a competition is going to be disorganized thus potentially more costly than necessary and possibly a frustrating experience for my daughter if she is not adequately prepared.
 

DesertSky

Spectator
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
So the coaches at our rink give the kids a practice plan. They all have notebooks and an order of things they are supposed to work on during practice sessions. You can ask her coach to do this for you.

I love this idea. I am not aware of any coaches at our rink doing this, but I do think practice sessions more beneficial. I may start sending notebook with my daughter.

Thank you for your reply.
 

loopy

Final Flight
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
I would not worry about "levels" - when your rink has a competition, your coach will tell you what level to enter her in. Once she has an axel, it will change and you will know her level if she is going to the USFS prepre level. But what they work on will always be both higher and lower level skills.

I would just send your coach a quick email just asking if she can look over a list of practice items in a notebook that your student works on on her own and see if the coach wants to add something- before or after a lesson is not a good time for most coaches since they usually have back to back students. Or you can offer to pay for a lesson and have it simply be a meeting to discuss skating and your quesitons.
 
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