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  1. #1
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    Teach Yourself to Skate

    So I've finally decided to get my shit together and start skating again.

    The problem is that I live in a city where there's no skating club. Which means no coaches to hire and the only option is to try to practice myself.

    Hardly an optimal situation but I have no choice.

    Are there any "do-it-yourself" guides published or on the internet?

    I found a couple of guides on about.com and this:
    http://home.pacbell.net/anamga/intro.html#Adult

    Anybody knows of anything else that could be useful?

    As for my level, I can barely do my backward crossovers. So my current goals are: forward scratch spin and learning other steps than basic forward three-turns (that I can't really control well anyhow ;P), I guess.

    I really want to push myself further and try something new.
    Last edited by Ziggy; 02-08-2011 at 07:00 AM.

  2. #2

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    I didn't think coaches were aligned with clubs but rather employed by a rink or work on their own at a rink. But maybe that is how we do it here.

    However to be perfectly honest it really is difficult to learn to skate well without a coach. Too easy to develop bad habits and learn the wrong thing. You need someone to correct what you are doing and if are having a problem a coach can help solve that.

    You can always post clips on Youtube and link them here. People will be more than happy to help you with advice.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I didn't think coaches were aligned with clubs but rather employed by a rink or work on their own at a rink. But maybe that is how we do it here.
    They are in Poland.

    Well there are some coaches who only coach part-time or as an extra job but not here. There has never been any skating in this city. :/

    Ice rinks are only open for like 4-5 months a year here too...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    However to be perfectly honest it really is difficult to learn to skate well without a coach. Too easy to develop bad habits and learn the wrong thing. You need someone to correct what you are doing and if are having a problem a coach can help solve that.
    Yeah, all of that is true but it's just not an option.

    And I'm stuck in a rut, I would like to push myself more but I have no clue what to do, what to practice, how, feel really lost. :/
    Last edited by Ziggy; 02-08-2011 at 07:59 AM.

  4. #4

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    I am a bit in the same position. It is really hard to learn to skate without a coach.
    I have two books that I am using but it isn't the same as having a coach of course.
    And last year I did three weeks (one week at a time) of skating seminars in cities where they have coaches. Two out of these three weeks were group lessons and therefore better than nothing and I learned a lot and had fun but single lessons are better of course.
    One week I was in Oberstdorf and had one hour of private training each morning. That was fabulous.
    I wrote down every tip after each training and then tried to practice again when I went home again.
    Maybe something like this is an option for you as well?

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    Are there any more experienced skaters that you see on sessions? Maybe you could ask them?

    At your level, you should be practicing mohawks, waltz jumps, toe loops, spirals, 3-turns on the line, backward edges, etc. This is a critical time in basic skating skill foundations. I'm afraid that without a coach, you're going to develop some very bad habits. How far are you from a city with a rink? Perhaps you could commute once a month to get some real lessons?

  6. #6

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    That is tough if you want to learn to skate.

    I think Gregory and Petukhov have some clips on Youtube of basic stuff.
    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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    I'm not sure how much this would help, but maybe looking at rulebook diagrams for lower-level tests and then trying replicate them on the ice couldn't really hurt. At least you learn about combining some of the moves, filling out patterns, etc. For example, the waltz eight would be something to work on. Plus, it's a fairly recognizable move, so in case a higher-level skater sees you working on that, they could come over and offer you tips.

    USFSA has some good videos for their intro adult tests -and the standard track.
    Adult pre-bronze MITF
    Adult MITF overview, with common errors to avoid

    I agree that trying to do all this on your own and without a coach could potentially lead to picking up some bad habits. Would spending time with family/friends in a city where they have more rinks be an option? At least for a few weeks in winter...Hopefully something works out!

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    I like the idea of you trying to get to some of the "adult camps", as Hedwig mentioned. A lot of skaters who don't have coaches in the US come to the adult camp in NJ each year, to learn new elements and try to pick up tips on what they are doing. So if working with a coach occasionally isn't possible for you, perhaps check out the skating workshops available to adults in Europe, if you can get to them.

    If you have transport, and there is a skating rink in driving distance for you, you can, as others mentioned, arrange a once-monthly lesson there with a coach. In between lessons, you'd practice on your own, and you'd use the lesson to adjust your technique and set goals for the coming month.

    As for books, I use both of these books to look up technique when I need to. My favorite is the first one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Figure-Skating...7182179&sr=1-9

    http://www.amazon.com/Figure-Skating...7182179&sr=1-8

    And this book looks intriguing, although I haven't read it myself:
    http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Skating-...182342&sr=1-20

    ETA: I've actually just gone and purchased that last book. It was only one penny, US. I figured, why not?
    Use Yah Blinkah!

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    There are LOTS of instructional videos on Youtube for learn to skate. I am a beginning adult skater and although I'm fortunate enough to have a class to attend, I also use some of these to refresh, get other approaches to things that are hard for me. There is a particular series that take little things, piece by piece, and really helps. It probably is too basic for you but it's worth a look.

    Back in minute...I'll get a link for you.

    I'm back. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyOyttWq-tw&feature=fvsr This is one of a series on ExpertVillage and for going back to the basics they're good. Look at the whole series. These folks are PSA accredited (I checked) instructors. There are instructional videos on Youtube from this basic level all the way up to advanced moves and jumps so there's a lot to take you along.

    I'm also finding as I skate more and more that a DVD of at-home exercises aimed at strengthening what's important for skaters from SkateStrong is really good. I recommend it. I found it here http://www.sk8strong.com/home.html , ordered it on the hope that it would help and wow, it's helping.
    Last edited by Willowway; 02-08-2011 at 05:07 PM.

  10. #10
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    You need ice, a video camera and an unbiased skater friend or coach,who you can take criticism from and still have a drink together.

    Watch a video, practice, then video yourself, send the video to your skate friend/coach as often as possible.

    Subscribe to an instructional video series, www.myskatecoach.com or www.icoachskating.com.

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    Ziggy the page you posted is great, I know this too and I have the "Adult-Onset Skating Syndrome"

    It is possible to teach skating yourself if you have the knowlegde. Most people I know who skate never watch skating and have no clue, so its impossible for them to learn anything by themselfs.

    I did learn skating myself the first 2 years, I managed the basic steps up to toeloop but at a certain point I couldn't do more, so I was looking for a coach. I'm not a member of a club either but I'm lucky to practice at a rink with many coaches and I asked one. The first thing I learned from him was that I can not really skate but I can do from every element a bit but we started at the beginning like if I would skate for the first time, we started all over and I realised that I was doing many things wrong.....and that to learn to skate is very difficult and you have to pay attention to many details in upper body posture that an element would work, not only the feet skate, if you know what I mean.

    My city doesn't have a rink either so I travel 40km...I don't have to go that far since in my area are many rinks but I choosed the best

    I do have the first two books that GarrAarghHrumph recommended, they are great but for me they where not so much of use because before I had lessons with my coach, I didn't really understand what they where writing...now where I can skate I understand it but it may work for you since they show in picture how to stand correct on ice and so on...

    It depends on how much you want to learn, just a little or as much as possible (like in my case ) what you need to do next...
    Last edited by LLOS; 02-08-2011 at 06:42 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willowway View Post

    I'm also finding as I skate more and more that a DVD of at-home exercises aimed at strengthening what's important for skaters from SkateStrong is really good. I recommend it. I found it here http://www.sk8strong.com/home.html , ordered it on the hope that it would help and wow, it's helping.
    Thank you so much for the Sk8Strong plug! We have had many positive responses lately!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ioana View Post
    I'm not sure how much this would help, but maybe looking at rulebook diagrams for lower-level tests and then trying replicate them on the ice couldn't really hurt. At least you learn about combining some of the moves, filling out patterns, etc. For example, the waltz eight would be something to work on. Plus, it's a fairly recognizable move, so in case a higher-level skater sees you working on that, they could come over and offer you tips.

    USFSA has some good videos for their intro adult tests -and the standard track.
    Adult pre-bronze MITF
    Adult MITF overview, with common errors to avoid
    That's what I was thinking as well!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post

    And this book looks intriguing, although I haven't read it myself:
    http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Skating-...182342&sr=1-20

    ETA: I've actually just gone and purchased that last book. It was only one penny, US. I figured, why not?
    I just received this book, and it looks really very good. It goes into the "how tos" of all basic skating moves - edges, etc. There are pictures and instructions both on how to do things, as well as of common errors. This book looks really good. And the old-style photos are cool to look at.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

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    You guys are making me feel so guilty because I live only a few miles from my local rink that had many coaches at hand . It's easy to know, theoretically, what to do, but it's very hard to do them right. I finally started taking weekly lesson beginning of this year, and I pick up many tips as well as many things I'm doing incorrectly every week. One of the major problem I have is that I bend my knees too much, to the point that my crossovers all look like a bunch of nervous knee crosses to prevent urine leakage. For a whole year my crossovers just don't feel "right", but I never realized that the problem can be this simple

    Good luck Ziggy. I'm no expert but will help if I can if you can post some videos. And thanks ioana for the links. I will check them out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DinDonShamu View Post
    One of the major problem I have is that I bend my knees too much, to the point that my crossovers all look like a bunch of nervous knee crosses to prevent urine leakage. For a whole year my crossovers just don't feel "right", but I never realized that the problem can be this simple
    Next time I see someone skating like this I will have a good way to describe 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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    P.S. Ziggy, there are really two functions of a coach: (1) to tell you how to do things right, and (2) to tell you if you are actually doing it or not. For the second part, a video camera will be your best friend (or worst enemy, depending on your point of view). For example, you will swear up and down that you are really bending your knees and that you are skating *really* fast, but the video will tell you the truth, LOL!

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    I do film myself often but I hate to see myself because it doesn't look as good as it feels and then I'm dispointed. People tell me often how beautiful I skate but its not true maybe its just from a point of view from people that can not skate find good how I skate. I don't hear the same things of skaters at my level or above so that tells me I'm right

    But at the end I improve bad things because I hated what I saw....

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by ioana View Post
    USFSA has some good videos for their intro adult tests -and the standard track.
    Adult pre-bronze MITF
    Adult MITF overview, with common errors to avoid
    Thanks for those links Ioana! I'm in the UK currently working on NISA tests (no separate adult tests here - wish there were!) but working on the US ones should be good practice too. I really like the fact that they've put up videos and very clear patterns for you to work from.

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    I was in your same situation and I learned most on myself, first looking at general figure skating articles with drawings of the basic, and then when internet arrived (!) with youtube links like the ones posted above. I started with three turns, tried some steps and then directly to the jump (I was teenager then, and I did also a bit of street skate, so I was crazy enough to try also on ice!)
    Then, once I did ten lessons, and coaches said that my toeloop and salchow were good! (on the other hand, awful spins !). now, I'm again skating on my own, but just for fun...
    So keep skating, but try also to get some feedback in order to correct errors ASAP!!!

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