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  1. #1
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    Do you sometimes give private lessons at a Public Skate?

    Ok. This question came to me yesterday while watching a Freestyler coach some other young Skaters during Public Skate at my Rink. So I thought it might be interesting to find out who here actually does just that. So is there anyone here who on the side actually takes time out at a Public Skate to give little lessons to Skaters at a Public Skate at their Rink? BTW. I was wondering yesterday too,if when you see Freestylers giving little lessons like that...what more then likely has happened (besides of course a Family Member. Or knowing each other) for that person to get that lesson? For example...am I right at saying it's just a matter of finding a nice enough Skater who just might be kind enough to take a little time out to help you? Or do they get paid to do that? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I don't teach but I used to get lessons on a day time adult public skate that was mostly figure skaters.

    Most people who are teaching do get paid. I have sometimes given tips to people on public skates, but I am no coach and wouldn't try to be one.

  3. #3

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    Like sk8er1964, I have also had lessons during public skate sessions.

    However, there is a big difference between a formal lesson that you pay for and other skaters offering to "help" you. Sadly, my experience is that skaters on public sessions who want to "help" you do something often don't have any idea of how to do it right. Or, even worse, want to show you how to do something just so they can show off how much better they can do it than you can.

    I am sure there are skaters on public sessions who genuinely want to help other people and know what they are doing, but I have found it is better to ask someone for help if you want help, and not to listen to unsolicited advice.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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    I have my lessons with my coaches in public sessions.

    As Overedge says there is a difference between coaching and people just helping. As part of our club we have a skate ambassador program which skaters assist the coaches in the group lessons on weekends. From that I might help skaters who I meet in those lessons during a public session because they have got to know me in that environment because they understand you are an experienced skater. But that is only if they know me and if they ask me for assistance.

    I have a few people tell me I should coach but as a judge you can't.
    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 used to take lessons on public session, and sometimes I would get hired to help girl scout groups or birthday parties with group lessons on public sessions, but I no longer do that.

    I don't "help" when I am on public skate, but I will sometimes give a tip to a little kid crawling like a crab trying to get up, and tell them to try it from their hands and knees. If they are under 5 and just stranded, I will give them a hand, but they need to make their own way back to the wall. My insurance doesn't extend outside of group lessons, so I am careful to not make it look like I am giving any sort of lesson. But I don't think a human will let a small child just lay on the ice helpless... (though many skaters avoid the kids and just let them lay there- I don't know how. If it's taken them more than 5 tries to get up, I go and offer a bit of advice.)

    A guy in hockey skates came over to me on Sunday and asked me how to go backwards. My reply "I have no idea. I've skated in hockey skates once and it nearly killed me"

  6. #6

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    At my rink many of the coaches will give lessons during a public skate session in the middle area that is set off by cones. Since all coaches/teachers should be properly credentialed and insured, the rink only allows coaches approved by the rink (with appropriate credentials) to teach. That really is appropriate. One skater just helping another is nice but that's something different.

  7. #7

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    My rink doesn't allow private lessons on puplic sessions unless there are fewer than 20 (paying) people on the ice and the coach is already on staff. Period. No exceptions. Doing so, even in an informal, helping-out manner gets you kicked off the session.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    My rink doesn't allow private lessons on puplic sessions unless there are fewer than 20 (paying) people on the ice and the coach is already on staff. Period. No exceptions. Doing so, even in an informal, helping-out manner gets you kicked off the session.
    Wow - that's the strictest policy I've ever heard.

    I do give lessons on public sessions, but our public sessions end too early during the week, so most of my private lessons are given on Freestyle sessions.

    There are no restrictions other than not being allowed to use the harness or the music system. (And, following the traffic rules, of course.) If the session's really empty and it's just lesson students, those restrictions are relaxed at times.

    As for the "helping tips," that's dicey. It's one thing to say "bend your knees" and another to give an entire lesson for free. I think there's some professional ethics issues with giving away free lessons, some of which goes along with the "why the cow if you can get the milk for free?" question, lol. Additionally, giving another coach's student tips and free lessons can make the instructor seem like they're trying to coax that student away, which is against PSA ethics.

    Plus, once you give someone a tip or a bit of instruction, they come to assume you're their coach. I taught at a huge group skating event for National Skating Month. They offered free group lessons to anyone who paid for skating that day. For months afterward, the kids in that single lesson assumed that any instructor on the ice was there to give them tips and lessons, which was never the case and it caused hard feelings. When the coach was teaching private lessons, these misdirected skaters would interrupt or worse, line up, for the next lesson. It was awkward and the students were paying for their lessons felt cheated.

    If a skating instructor is on the ice for a public or freestyle session, they're either coaching or they're skating for themselves. I wouldn't expect them to stop and give you tips other than out of the goodness of their heart. In the OP's case, that may very well be why so many people reach out to him, both professionals and fellow skaters.

  9. #9
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    FSWer - the Special Olympics program tries to match skaters up with volunteer coaches. That might be something you could look into doing.

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    I've met a few Special Olympics skaters, and they all seem to be having a fabulous time! There's one woman at one of my rinks who is so enthusiastic - if anyone is eligible to skate Special Olympics, I'd encourage them to give it a try. It seems like a great way to meet people.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

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    Special Olympics really needs volunteers to help with coaching the athletes. They train the volunteers and you can be just a helpful skater. You don't have to the PSA-rated Master coach or anything. I volunteered one season and it was rewarding. The athletes really love the sport and the socializing, lol.

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    I used to have my lesson during a public session, but there were only ever like, three or four of us on the ice...including my coach! Then the school holidays started...immediate switch to freestyle ice

    Sometimes I will give a quick demonstration and friendly advice to a skater who really looks like they're struggling. But IMO it's too risky on my part to give much more to a skater I don't know. In this litigous society, it would be too easy for someone's little darling who I'd just given advice to to fall over, and little darling's parents trying to sue me for giving advice or trying to teach when not qualified to do so. It's really unfortunate, because I'd love to help out more, but it's too risky IMO.

  13. #13

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    I teach homeschoolers and so we are on public sessions during the day. They usually let me play music once or twice too.
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    My rink doesn't allow private lessons on puplic sessions unless there are fewer than 20 (paying) people on the ice and the coach is already on staff.
    Same at the rink I used to skate in France.

    When I was in Sydney, there were quite a few coaches teaching on public sessions at the Macquarie ice rink. Was not the case at the Sydney ice arena and the Canterbury rink though.

    In Hong-Kong, the center and/or another part of the rink was used for lessons at both City plaza ice palace and Festival walk glacier..worst public sessions I've ever skated to.

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    Most rinks I've been to don't encourage "private" lessons on public sessions where the coach is being paid for the instruction. Usually the beginner skater is asked to enroll in the Learn to Skate program, or if beyond that, purchase contract ice or freestyle sessions. Learning freestyle elements on a crowded public session, even on a small section of the ice, can be dangerous (though in the case of a fairly empty session, they are more lenient).

    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    Special Olympics really needs volunteers to help with coaching the athletes. They train the volunteers and you can be just a helpful skater. You don't have to the PSA-rated Master coach or anything. I volunteered one season and it was rewarding. The athletes really love the sport and the socializing, lol.
    FigureSpins, how did you get involved -- is there an application through USFSA or did your rink host a Special Olympics event? Sounds great!

  16. #16
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    I found out via the grapevine - adult skating friends of mine were asked to help out by their skating club. My friends in turn asked me because they needed more volunteers; adults were definitely preferred because of strength and maturity in dealing with special skaters. I wasn't a coach at that point - just an ISI skater.

    This was in the 1980's, so there were no background checks or certifications. A lot of the special skaters couldn't practice on their own, so it was more like supervising practices than teaching new techniques. A lot has changed because of Sandy Lamb - she's an incredible advocate and coach. Now, the SO websites I've researched offer specific coaches' training and guidelines, which is great. We really just winged it for the most part back in the day, lol.

    Many of the skaters were older and they didn't have the money to buy punch cards and private lessons, so this was a way to make skating accessible.

    I've seen a few Special Olympics organizations post "help wanted" ads for volunteer skating coaches. There was one on Craigslist last week, in fact:
    http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/vol/2573362907.html

  17. #17
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    I have been given lessons on public sessions in the past and the rules depends on how crowded the rink is.

    The rules for public sessions for freestyle skaters are that I'm supposed to do all jumps and spins in the middle of the rink and go with the flow of the traffic (usually counter clockwise.) The only exception is if the student is in a lesson and has to run a program. As for spins, no camel or flying spins are allowed on the public session. (Of course, if you're a little kid, that rule gets violated ALL the time!!!)

    If the rink is CRAZY crowded (like sometimes we get a HUGE 80-100 people crowd of kids from schools for field trips (which irks me b/c *I* never went to the ice rink on a field trip when I was young. ) then the rules are tighten and we aim to do basics and spin sessions. (At times my coach and I decide whether to even *have* the lesson on those days.)

    If OTOH it's a very quiet midday session where there are that much people on there and the majority are figure skaters, then the rules of doing jumps and spins in the middle of the ice is relaxed.

    I've had ONE minor problem with an ice guard who told me that I was NOT allow to jump except the middle of the rink DURING my program run-thru with my coach. This was a VERY quiet midday session with mostly figure skaters on the ice. I told him to go talk to my coach (who in the distance looked rather STEAMED that I had to stop my program! ) to deal with this. All was well after a brief talk with the ice monitor and I did complete a runthru of my program.

    These days I don't (normally) skate on public sessions (and now have a different primary coach to boot) because of my current work schedule, but I don't have to deal with this issue anymore!

  18. #18

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    At my rink the guards don't enforce where the freestyle skaters skate on empty public sessions (say <20 skaters). But the public -- which includes freestyle skaters in lesson --are not allowed to play their own music during a public session. So if the session is empty enough I might be able to run through a program with jumps near the corners or wherever, clockwise circular steps around the end, etc., but without music.

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