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  1. #1
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    tips for teaching teapot

    hi teaching on the skate uk programme and one of the elements is a teapot which is proving to be a real problem for some of the kids. i have tried going down without taking leg out, tried down on two feet and then leg extension, tried going down on one leg with leg already extended ( which i think is way hard!), held the kids hands so they feel how low to go, without success. had them reaching forward with arms and also tried hugging the knees on two feet. HELP - any more ideas? they either wont commit to going far enough down, or just flip back and land on their backsides! any advice would be most welcome.

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    I've seen some kids holding their toe pick as they go down, might be worth a try? Can't really help much as I have never been able to do one!

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    It took me a few minutes to figure out what a teapot is - we call them a shoot-the-duck in the U.S.

    In the test structure I taught in, students had the option to do a shoot the duck or a lunge on their test - and the vast majority of them chose to do the lunge, for understandable reasons. When teaching them, I always had students start off by doing a few dips. Dips are very basic and learned early on, but it's important for them to be able to balance and get down before trying to lift up the free leg. I always told my students not to hold on to the free leg - too many skaters hold onto the free leg or grab that skate, lean back too far, and fall.

    It's a tough move to teach (especially given the level it's taught at, at least in the US test structure - not sure where it falls in the UK) and I don't think there's any magic trick that works for everyone. In my experience, it's best to let kids play around with it and figure out what works for them. I've seen students be able to get down into the position with the free leg already extended and others who need to get down into a dip first and then extend the leg.

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    Kids always seem to do teapots really well between the end of the competition and presentations (if the presentations are on the ice).

    As for how to do one, can't help. I can't get down that far.
    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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    Holding onto orange cones while attempting the teapot gives some confidence! Then they can graduate to hockey pucks sliding on the ice. Leaning the upper body against the skating leg also seems to help.
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

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    If the kids are old enough to understand specific directions, you can try telling them what my coach told me for the sitspin position: "As you sit down, lower your free leg and push it forward until you can feel the inside of the free leg thigh pressing against the calf (or top of the boot) of the skating leg." This will get them low enough while also keeping their weight forward so they don't sit down. I also agree that pressing the chest against the top of the skating leg will help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenya View Post
    In the test structure I taught in, students had the option to do a shoot the duck or a lunge on their test - and the vast majority of them chose to do the lunge, for understandable reasons.
    That was the same way back when I did Learn to Skate as a teenager, as it was based on what was then the US ISIA system (this was pre-Aussie Skate). I could never understand why anyone would test shoot the duck, when the lunge was so much easier.

    The need to do the teapot/shoot the duck really holds up adults trying to pass the UK Passport (or whatever it's called now). I know the argument is that it's needed later in order to do a sit spin, but I know some of the coaches were sceptical about that idea, and felt they were two different actions.

    Sorry, that had nothing to do with the original question, with which I can't help, because I was never able to do it either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny Hop View Post
    The need to do the teapot/shoot the duck really holds up adults trying to pass the UK Passport (or whatever it's called now). I know the argument is that it's needed later in order to do a sit spin, but I know some of the coaches were sceptical about that idea, and felt they were two different actions.
    I agree with the coaches. The free leg position (ideally) in the sit spin is slightly turned over and held slightly crossed in front of the bent spinning leg. In a teapot/shoot the duck, your free leg is straight out and parallel to the ice, and you're moving straight forward across the ice rather than spinning on the spot. I really don't see how doing a good teapot/shoot the duck is going to help you do a good sit spin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    I agree with the coaches. The free leg position (ideally) in the sit spin is slightly turned over and held slightly crossed in front of the bent spinning leg. In a teapot/shoot the duck, your free leg is straight out and parallel to the ice, and you're moving straight forward across the ice rather than spinning on the spot. I really don't see how doing a good teapot/shoot the duck is going to help you do a good sit spin.
    The forward teapot/shoot the duck is good for teaching balance and control, but for sit spins, I have the skaters do it backwards on a slight inside rocker. Free leg is supposed to be turned out and extended on both elements, and the arms don't matter as much as the shoulders - they have to be in front of the hips. Most importantly, both require a forward lean of the upper body from the hips, not the waist.

    A lot of kids can drop down into the "sit on your foot" teapot position but they can't do a sit spin because they never developed the knee strength to raise and lower their body weight. They only have one setting - down with the skating knee pointing up. Not good for sit spins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    The forward teapot/shoot the duck is good for teaching balance and control, but for sit spins, I have the skaters do it backwards on a slight inside rocker.
    That's a great idea - I'm going to try that myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny Hop View Post
    The need to do the teapot/shoot the duck really holds up adults trying to pass the UK Passport (or whatever it's called now). I know the argument is that it's needed later in order to do a sit spin, but I know some of the coaches were sceptical about that idea, and felt they were two different actions.
    It is two very different action! I have quite decent sit spin, and I have never been able to do teapot/shoot the duck. The centrifula force when spinning is helping you to get down and up. When doing the teapot/shoot the duck, there is no centrifugal force, so it is so much harder. I don't think the problem is with the balance as much as with the muscle strenght.

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    I can't say whether this would work for anyone else, but shoot the duck is 100x easier to do on quad roller skates (and probably inlines, too) than on ice. One reason is that the back wheels of the extended leg can be left on the floor to help with balance, something you can't do with the back of the blade. However, what you can do on roller is get confidence with the position and how to get in and out of it, and develop the strength in the particular muscles used in the trick.

    I learned on quads before I learned on the ice, and I had a much easier time than I saw other kids having on ice (this was many years ago).

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    I'll agree with DORISPULASKI.

    I could never do shoot-the-duck on ice, and I could never go all the way down in a sitspin either.

    But the one time I went roller skating during the time I was a figure skater in my teens, I was able to go all the way down in a shoot-the-duck, because the balance on the wheels was different than on blades.

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    It worked like this for me

    The trick in doing the switch to ice, once you're comfortable going down and up again on rollers, is to do the shoot the duck leaning to your strong side, which gives the same effect as being on an edge on ice-you turn an arc, since the trucks flex and the wheels on the weighted side then turn in towards each other, allowing you to turn an arc. This feels a lot like being on ice skates on an edge. If you can get down and up on rollers while "edging" this way, you can move it to the ice fairly easily. First, on rollers, work on gradually taking the weight off the wheels on your extended leg and you're ready to try it on ice.

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    I had the girls in my higher level class try these yesterday with little success. I can't do them either, but we had a lot of fun trying them! The girls that had the best success grabbed their blade above the toe pick. Maybe that helped keep their weight centered properly? They all agreed that it was easier on the quad skates at the roller rink.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    The forward teapot/shoot the duck is good for teaching balance and control, but for sit spins, I have the skaters do it backwards on a slight inside rocker.
    Exactly! A backward shoot-the-duck allows the skater to keep the weight on the ball of the blade without worrying about hitting the toepick (which would be a problem on a forward shoot-the-duck). This closely simulates the sitspin, which is a spin on a back inside edge. Feel for the calf of the skating leg pressing against the inside of the thigh of the free leg and you'll know you're in the right position.

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    hi guys, thanks for all your advice. i tried a new idea and got them to press their chests onto their knee - so kept shouting chest to knee squeeze and some kids finally got it! hoorah, one child had been trying for over 10 weeks so i felt so good for her. i only do casual cover on our skate uk programme, but everyones advice has been so helpful , many thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    The forward teapot/shoot the duck is good for teaching balance and control, but for sit spins, I have the skaters do it backwards on a slight inside rocker. Free leg is supposed to be turned out and extended on both elements, and the arms don't matter as much as the shoulders - they have to be in front of the hips. Most importantly, both require a forward lean of the upper body from the hips, not the waist.

    A lot of kids can drop down into the "sit on your foot" teapot position but they can't do a sit spin because they never developed the knee strength to raise and lower their body weight. They only have one setting - down with the skating knee pointing up. Not good for sit spins.
    Translation question - what is a inside rocker? I only know the word rocker as an element. Do you mean the inside edge?

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    I learned forward and back "teapot" on quad roller skates, even though I'm really an ice skater. Way easier and then I transferred to ice. There is also a thing on roller called "shoot the turkey" or "the coffin" where you do a forward shoot the duck on one leg and tuck the opposite leg under the skating leg. Pretty fun but I can't get out of it gracefully on roller or ice. For me it's not a fitness/strength problem, more of a brain problem, LOL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedwig View Post
    Translation question - what is a inside rocker? I only know the word rocker as an element. Do you mean the inside edge?
    Sorry to confuse you, I'm not referring to the rocker turn.

    I mean the curved part of the blade that we call a "rocker" in the US. In the UK, they call it the "spin rocker," according to the website illustration below. All forward spins take place on that spot, using the inside edge of the blade.

    Doing teapots on the back inside edge and pressing down on that small spot of the blade strengthens the foot and simulates the sit spin more accurately. You have to lift the heel while carrying the weight forward on the blade. Doing it backwards is a little safer since you can sit down if you lose the glide, instead of tripping going forward.

    Illustration from everglides.co.uk:

    http://www.everglides.co.uk/assets/i...ade_rocker.JPG

    Most skaters who get really low on teapots but can't do sit spins are sitting back too far on the blade.
    In the illustration, the length of the blade is labeled "rocker," but in the US, we usually call it the "middle / back of the blade."
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 10-20-2011 at 04:03 PM.

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