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Thread: lesson watchers

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    lesson watchers

    What do people think about the practice of watching other people's lessons taking place in public sessions, as a way to get free skating lessons?

    This mostly came up in my thinking due to skaters claiming to have learned to skate simply by watching You Tube videos. I am absolutely certain those people are not skating in isolation, rather they are learning by watching other skaters, sometimes even watching and listening to the lessons of other skaters, while actually on the ice where they can immediately work on the elements as if taking the lessons themselves.

    I don't know how I myself feel about the practice, but I know for a fact that people have watched and purposefully stayed close enough to listen to lessons I've taken, sometimes a bit too "coincidentally" working on the same elements at the same moments and being in the same area when the lesson moves from one part of the ice to another.

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    Does this really happen?

    I take all of my lessons on public skating sessions and I have never noticed this. Sometimes kids will try to mimic what I am doing, but that's either out of curiosity or to get a laugh from their group of friends and it normally ends up with them falling.

    I just don't see how this would happen - it would require the person listening in to be exactly at the same level you are with your skating and require the same coaching that your coach is giving you. It would also need them to be huddled right in with you and your coach

    The public sessions I skate on are noisy, there's loud pop music often playing, and sometimes I have trouble hearing my coach despite being stood right next to her, I can't see how anyone who wasn't right next to us leaning in towards my coach would hear what she is saying, which in any event, is tailored for the errors that I need correcting.

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    As long as they aren't lurking close to me and getting in the way, I really don't care if someone watches me. Lurking, so they can hear the coach would be an annoyance.

    However, it probably isn't good practice. At least, during group lessons, I notice the things my coach tells me and the things he tells others often contradict- why? Because we have separate issues to correct. For me, in a sit spin, he'd rather me get low and fall, because my issue is not getting low enough. For C. he'd rather her not hit the lower leg position and have her stand up at the end of the spin, because she falls every time. If I eavesdropped on her lesson, I would think it was better to keep a high crouching sit spin, and it isn't. He is merely using that as a temporary way for C. to gain control.

    If the only advice they want is the generic stuff, well, they can generally get that for free. Just get an index card and right "bend your knees, shoulders down, attack!, bend your knees" and read it to yourself every few minutes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by treesprite View Post
    I don't know how I myself feel about the practice, but I know for a fact that people have watched and purposefully stayed close enough to listen to lessons I've taken, sometimes a bit too "coincidentally" working on the same elements at the same moments and being in the same area when the lesson moves from one part of the ice to another.
    As long as you don't follow the same skater around on a regular basis, I guess you could get away with it. I would probably say something if someone I don't really know follows me around trying to get a 'second-hand' lesson. If it's someone I'm friendly with and I know they are working on a particular skill, that would be fine. Random skaters tailing me for a whole half hour lesson wouldn't end well for them. Then again, I'm a rude Eastern European and don't have any issues voicing my dislike .

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    My general advice for dealing with anything on a session (not a public skate, a club session) is to tell your coach about the problem and let them deal with it. The coaches are the "staff" on the session. If it's an immediate threat to your safety - e.g. random little kid skating too close to you - I'd tell the kid to cut it out, and then ask my coach to discuss the issue with random little kid's coach.

    But if someone is following you around and listening to your lesson, and then copying what you're told to do, they are ripping off the coach, because the coach should get paid for coaching them as well. So I would definitely bring it up with your coach if it's happening regularly.

    And as for being able to learn that way - IMHO it's a waste of time. A good coach is basing their lesson on *you*, and unless the follower has exactly the same body type as you and moves exactly the same way, the coach's instructions might be useful for the beginning basics, but not for much else.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by treesprite View Post
    What do people think about the practice of watching other people's lessons taking place in public sessions, as a way to get free skating lessons?

    This mostly came up in my thinking due to skaters claiming to have learned to skate simply by watching You Tube videos. I am absolutely certain those people are not skating in isolation, rather they are learning by watching other skaters, sometimes even watching and listening to the lessons of other skaters, while actually on the ice where they can immediately work on the elements as if taking the lessons themselves.

    I don't know how I myself feel about the practice, but I know for a fact that people have watched and purposefully stayed close enough to listen to lessons I've taken, sometimes a bit too "coincidentally" working on the same elements at the same moments and being in the same area when the lesson moves from one part of the ice to another.
    This is an interesting subject here. A year ago, a family was asked to leave the rink that I skate at for secretly recording a coach's lesson with their skater. It turns out that the mother could no longer afford private lessons for her child. There is no question that she was wrong for stealing the coach's intellectual property, but I understand her motivation. That said, private lessons in the US are extremely expensive. Sometimes I have to catch myself and scale back on privates myself. Personally, I like the European curriculum where clubs are responsible for a skating program. It is much cheaper to have daily group lessons.

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    Right now I am in a "custom class" with just 3 students which is by invitation only. We are scheduled to have the studio rink, but it is very tiny so we use the adult-only session ice which has very few skaters, and we attract obvious attention. We go back and forth over the ice a lot rather than stay in one area, so it is fairly obvious when we are being shadowed rather than just briefly observed from a distance, and the coach necessarily talks loudly to us so people can hear it somewhat easily. Last week some lady watched us the entire time like a shadow. A co-student suggested we ask her to join the class given her obviously strong interest in it, but she left before we could ask her. Unfortunately inviting a person to join your lessons doesn't work with strictly privates.

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    If you asked her, and told her how much it would cost to join - like "oh, you seem so interested in our classes, maybe you should join us, we would love to have someone share the very expensive cost" - maybe she would figure out that you are aware of what she's doing. And maybe she would knock it off.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    If you asked her, and told her how much it would cost to join - like "oh, you seem so interested in our classes, maybe you should join us, we would love to have someone share the very expensive cost" - maybe she would figure out that you are aware of what she's doing. And maybe she would knock it off.
    If the intention is to get her to knock it off.

    If they do want her to join -- for company and/or to spread the costs further -- they should word the invitation differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by treesprite View Post
    Right now I am in a "custom class" with just 3 students which is by invitation only.
    Seems to me if you aren't on the rink you are scheduled for, it is the others who should complain, not your group. Having a group class like that can be really disruptive to others, since 3 or more people moving as a cluster (or one after another) is a much different pattern than single and pair skaters.

    No idea how your class actually functions, but I know I stopped going to sessions when a coach upped his shared lessons from 2 skaters to 3-4 skaters. It was like trying to dodge a LTS class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    Seems to me if you aren't on the rink you are scheduled for, it is the others who should complain, not your group. Having a group class like that can be really disruptive to others, since 3 or more people moving as a cluster (or one after another) is a much different pattern than single and pair skaters.

    No idea how your class actually functions, but I know I stopped going to sessions when a coach upped his shared lessons from 2 skaters to 3-4 skaters. It was like trying to dodge a LTS class.
    I agree. I stopped going to one rink simply because you never knew WHAT was going to be on the sessions. Having small group (3-4) lessons was bad enough to dodge, but for a while there was even a little-kids hockey clinic (3-4 3-4 year olds with sticks!) on the ice with freeskaters and dancers. When the director started a Beginning Synchro group, I called it quits. That's just WRONG!
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    If the intention is to get her to knock it off.

    If they do want her to join -- for company and/or to spread the costs further -- they should word the invitation differently.
    Agreed, but I read the original message as the watcher being a problem.
    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 was only using those classes for an example because it was first-hand experience of the problem.

    I guess it would help to point out that I'm a rink guard, so I know exactly what is going on - it is my job to know what all the skaters are doing. I see people watching others in privates frequently, and some will stay in the middle of the ice where the lesson is, acting like they are doing something on their own when I can clearly see them mostly looking at the instructor/student interactions. Perhaps some other rink guards could chime in if there are any reading the thread.

    As far as the 3-student lessons I have, I will say that this public session is a mid morning weekday adult-only with usually only between 5 to 10 skaters (I guess everyone else is at work or school), inclusive of the 3 of us because we are all regulars at that time regardless of the lessons (the lack of skaters is why it is so obvious when one of them is focusing on us). We take up a whole lot more space skating on our own than when in a group which is at least 50% standing in place talking along the perimeter of the ice, so in terms of ice space and getting in people's way, skaters benefit more from us being in the lessons, not less. What is bad is the practice other rinks have of putting cones across one third of the ice for full-fledged group lessons during infrequent public sessions which are already crowded.
    Last edited by treesprite; 10-24-2013 at 04:35 AM.

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    I dont know how helpful it would be to watch someone else's lesson, as the corrections they would be getting relate to what they are doing. Friends of my parents once did say they were stupid for paying for lessons, and that I should just copy what other skaters did. LOLOL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by treesprite View Post
    we use the adult-only session ice which has very few skaters, and we attract obvious attention. We go back and forth over the ice a lot rather than stay in one area, so it is fairly obvious when we are being shadowed rather than just briefly observed from a distance, and the coach necessarily talks loudly to us so people can hear it somewhat easily. Last week some lady watched us the entire time like a shadow.
    I used to have a similar group lesson/class (for a while there were actually 4-5 of us, but generally just 2 or 3, and eventually due to lack of interest the rink stopped offering the class) that operated the same way. We'd use the whole surface and usually we were the only ones on the ice, but occasionally there would be a few others and sometimes one who seemed a little TOO curious about what was going on and would try to follow or join in, usually when we were not taking up the whole ice, but trying something in isolation and collectively not moving around much (at different skating levels we rarely skated in a "pack" so we weren't difficult to avoid like some group lessons can be). Our coach was always excellent about letting any of these "shadows" know that she was teaching a class that we were paying for, and if they were interested in joining us they could pay for the class at the desk. Almost everyone got the hint and didn't interrupt our lesson time again - but there was one skater who actually joined our group and was a lot of fun to have skate with us.

    I have noticed though, that on busier sessions, many "kids" tend to not realize that the adult (me) working with a coach is actually having a lesson, and will often follow us around or interrupt in a very annoying way. I do really doubt that most of these are trying to learn anything from shadowing us, it's more that they just don't realize that they're interrupting anything, sometimes even after being told they require repeated "reminders" that we are busy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pereira View Post
    This is an interesting subject here. A year ago, a family was asked to leave the rink that I skate at for secretly recording a coach's lesson with their skater. It turns out that the mother could no longer afford private lessons for her child. There is no question that she was wrong for stealing the coach's intellectual property, but I understand her motivation. That said, private lessons in the US are extremely expensive. Sometimes I have to catch myself and scale back on privates myself. Personally, I like the European curriculum where clubs are responsible for a skating program. It is much cheaper to have daily group lessons.
    How is this even possible? Wouldn't the parent have to be all up on the coach to hear what she's saying?

    I've never heard of skaters "eavesdropping" on lessons! But I guess it's happening if all of you have seen it. If I was the coach, I would ask, "May I help you?" And then take it from there - if the response will be negative or positive.

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    LOL,I must admit that even I try to follow along with a Skater taking a lesson, and sometimes I even ask the coach to check me out too. As I feel it's an EXCELENT way of learning to Skate. ALONG with taking your own Lessons. I should think some Skaters would be honored to know that somebody is trying to follow them. Just as long as they remember to be careful and not get hurt. I even feel honored when a..Skater is willing to come on the Ice OR come over to me on the Ice and even gives me a few tips. A lot of them even feel complemented when I tell them that I think they Skate very well,and that I wish I could Skate like them,and BE like them!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FSWer View Post
    LOL,I must admit that even I try to follow along with a Skater taking a lesson, and sometimes I even ask the coach to check me out too.
    I hope you don't do this (ask the coach to watch you) during the skaters lesson. Many coaches will be nice enough to help you, but skaters pay a very high rate for their lessons, so it is very impolite to use up their time.

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    I'm afraid I have to agree with Skittl on this one, FSWer. You really can't ask a coach to watch you when they are giving somebody else a lesson. I'm afraid most skaters would feel much more annoyed than honored to have somebody else try to share their lesson when they weren't invited. If you want a lesson with a coach, you're really supposed to set up and pay for your own lesson.

    If a skater is not in a lesson and wants to give you tips, that's different. And they probably will be nice to you if you compliment their skating. But even then you need to be careful. If a skater is practicing, they might just want to work and not talk to anybody, even if that person is saying nice things about them. They had to pay to get on the ice just like you, and might not want to waste their ice time talking when they could be skating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FSWer View Post
    LOL,I must admit that even I try to follow along with a Skater taking a lesson, and sometimes I even ask the coach to check me out too. As I feel it's an EXCELENT way of learning to Skate.
    I would get really, really pissed off with you if you did this to me. I am paying my hard-earned cash for my one lesson a week, I will NOT have someone who has NOT paid stealing my time.

    I wouldn't be really very happy if you came up to me for tips either, beyond basic movement. I'm happy to give any rookie tips on how to skate forward; I wouldn't go helping with elements, because 1) I'm not getting paid and 2) MY practice time!

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