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  1. #1

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    Pre-alpha adult beginner classes: what to expect?

    I've loved watching skating every since I was a kid (I'm now in my late 20s), but I've never taken lessons. My skating pretty much extends to shuffling around the rink once every eight years with a look of terror stuck in my eyes. So to kick-start the new year, I signed up for a 10-week pre-alpha beginner class. This past Monday was my first class, and while I didn't break anything (yippee!), I left sort of confused. The rink's brochure states that pre-alpha, as the most beginner level, will focus on skating forward and stopping. Good things to know, right? Especially the stopping part. And no previous experience is required, as this is for total newbies.

    Well, over the course of the 45-minute session, we tried (and I stress tried) two-foot glides, one and two-foot snowplows, forward swizzles, backward swizzles, one-foot glides, and the prep for crossovers. Fun stuff, but I'm still stuck on the skating forward part of the two-foot glide! Oh, and snowplows. Stopping should be the most important thing, in my book.

    Is the first session always a "melting pot" of what you might learn over the course of the class? Or did I get in over my head?

  2. #2
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    Sounds normal to me. They pretty much covered the entire prealpha curriculum and more in one session. While you should not expect to have mastered all those skills the first time, since your class undoubtedly has a range of ability levels the instructor included some more advanced things for the more advanced students. You will probably revisit all the skills again.

    I think 45 minutes of just sizzles would be unbearably boring, and for a beginner exhausting. So variety is good. Practice and you'll be out of prealpha before you know it.

    The ISI curriculum is here.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubies View Post
    Is the first session always a "melting pot" of what you might learn over the course of the class? Or did I get in over my head?
    Generally, the instructor will try to introduce all of the skills as soon as possible, so you'll have the whole course to practice and review. The snowplow stop is usually the hardest thing to master at the first level (and yeah, it's important ), so it makes sense that the instructor would start teaching that in the first class.

    I started skating when I was 29 and have been at it for 9 years now. Have fun!

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    Thanks so much All good to know! As long as I'm not supposed to master all of those in one class, I feel better

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    I was an ISI skater back when Alpha was the first level for everyone. They introduced "Pre-Alpha" later, along with the Tot levels. The ISI programs I've taught for usually start adults at Alpha, but they stay there until they master the Pre-Alpha stuff. It's just to save face.

    What's probably happening here is that the class is a mixture of newbie Pre-Alphas and last session's Pre-Alpha/Alpha skaters, and/or the instructor wanted to review all of the requirements for Pre-Alpha and Alpha up front to judge everyone's skill set.

    Not to worry, just work at your own pace and hang in there. 10 weeks is a good length for a session of lessons. I taught in an 8-week program and they had to break Alpha up into Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 so that the skaters were able to "move up" after each session. There's no shame in repeating a level, so don't sweat it if that happens. Make sure to practice everything you learn between lessons or each lesson will turn into a review of last lesson.

  6. #6

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    Welcome to the adult skating world. I started when I was 27 and have been doing it for 17 years.

    Sounds like you covered a lot but that is good - gives you lots to practise.

    Good luck with it!!
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Sounds pretty normal. In a group class, it's normal for the coach to tell the group to try things not everyone is up to yet. Sometimes a coach introduces some "fun" stuff that's either slightly above the level or not from the curriculum, to keep people interested.

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    I think you've got a pretty good foundation for the class, and will be out of it faster than you think ( = don't worry! )

    Occasionally adults sign up for pre-alpha without any prior skating experience. It's totally doable, but much more stressful compared to a child in the same situation.

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    (duplicate post)

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    when I took some basic skating classes, the first beginner class they actually did a lot of things in the first session, since it was made up of people who could : glide forward and maybe stop since they had been maybe been rollerblading, or going to a public setting as kids, and adults who had never stepped on ice, and was trying to learn not to clutch the rail (I live in an area with a lot of immigrants from places like India, who may decide to give a new thing a try! very brave I think).
    After the first class they split everyone up.

    also, in later classes, we all works on different things, like my 3 turns are 'ok', my mohawks are non-existing... My husband gets to work on waltz jumps, otherwise he is bored .

    missing skating a bit now I am pregnant . I did adult classes for about a 1.5 years, started at 30! it is fun .

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    Am I the only adult skater who after 3 years is working on a lutz but still can't snowplow stop? I do the t-stop and am working on show stop - anytime I've ever tried to snowplow I faceplant.

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    No, you are not the only one, I can't do stops either, just a simple one on left inside, no clue how that is called

  13. #13

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    I'm in a learn-to-skate adult class (third week) and my teacher (who is a specialist in teaching adults) said that for some folks snowplow stops are really hard. We haven't gotten to it yet and I have no confidence in my ability to do one!

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    Had my second class this past Monday, and we spent 1/3 of the class working on crossovers. Everyone in the class, minus two people, looked freaked out--including me--, and I was fairly frank with the instructor in that I still couldn't get a one-foot glide (or even a one-foot pick-it-up-and-pray-I-don't-fall), so I wasn't sure how I was supposed to perform forward crossovers. I asked if she could explain how the two are related, so I could try and work on my issue (I'm not getting "over" my supporting leg enough, which then poses major issues for crossover prep). But she didn't seem to think that was funny... Or relevant.
    Last edited by Rubies; 01-12-2011 at 06:29 PM. Reason: Clarification

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    I teach a large adult learn to skate with very mixed levels and the first thing I say to the whole group is that I'm going to teach stuff they can't do and I don't expect them to do it - yet. But I'll show them in case they are curious as to how things work. For one class that was mid-beginner, while holding onto the boards, we stepped through the choctaw in the kilian for example, but I would not in a million years ever teach that dance to the group. But, they'd seen kid skaters doing it and wanted to know the mechanics. I like to show them what's ahead, and then it makes more sense why we work on one foot glides on the circle for a very long time. Which is what you need for crossovers. There's a requirement for balance and strength on each leg. Oh yeah bend your knees. more. more lol! Good luck.

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    I'm all for knowing what comes next, but I feel it's a real waste of my time and money to start teaching us things for 1/4 of the class that we can't do, especially at the beginning of the session. But two classes down and eight more to go!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by minx View Post
    I teach a large adult learn to skate with very mixed levels and the first thing I say to the whole group is that I'm going to teach stuff they can't do and I don't expect them to do it - yet. But I'll show them in case they are curious as to how things work. For one class that was mid-beginner, while holding onto the boards, we stepped through the choctaw in the kilian for example, but I would not in a million years ever teach that dance to the group. But, they'd seen kid skaters doing it and wanted to know the mechanics. I like to show them what's ahead, and then it makes more sense why we work on one foot glides on the circle for a very long time. Which is what you need for crossovers. There's a requirement for balance and strength on each leg. Oh yeah bend your knees. more. more lol! Good luck.
    I bet that one difficulty for an adult group's coach is to make skaters trust in what you do and that they need to do things one step at a time and not going immediatly for complex moves they've seen on TV or done by a top skaters in front of them.
    Kids are easier for that because they have almost no experience of watching top level skaters and just listen to what coaches ask.
    Many adults want to go too fast while they are at first far from the required level for that move. They seem to not understand that from a crossover to a complex dance move there are tons of skills to learn and master.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by succubus View Post
    Am I the only adult skater who after 3 years is working on a lutz but still can't snowplow stop? I do the t-stop and am working on show stop - anytime I've ever tried to snowplow I faceplant.
    That's okay. I'm working on pre-silver dances, and I can't really T-stop.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

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    Quote Originally Posted by succubus View Post
    Am I the only adult skater who after 3 years is working on a lutz but still can't snowplow stop? I do the t-stop and am working on show stop - anytime I've ever tried to snowplow I faceplant.

    my biggest bruising comes from trying to snowplow. LOL. Ouch, my knees! I dont even attempt a t-stop.
    one of my hockey playing friends helped me out. she said to hold on to the boards, and then gently slide your feet out, like you are doing a stop. She said the hard part was the scraping across the ice without pressing too hard, and you can practice that standing still without risk of falling (like if you try to stop). I found this good advice for practicing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by maatTheViking View Post
    She said the hard part was the scraping across the ice without pressing too hard, and you can practice that standing still without risk of falling (like if you try to stop). I found this good advice for practicing!
    That's how I teach it! I'm shocked that someone expected you to do a stop actually moving before they even had you do the motion first standing still!!

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