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Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by RonC, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. RonC

    RonC New Member

    I can't believe how much difference a good coach can make.

    We live in a small town with very limited coaching choces. We just had a coach from Salt Lake city come up for a week to give lessons and she was great. Our son had 4 lessons with her and is a totally different skater now.

    He was able to pick things this week that 2 other coaches he gets lessons from hadn't been able to do in 2 months. He can now do all his level 4 jumps and footwork.

    He had been stuck on his sit spin and she worked with him today for about 15 min and now he has it. It is just unbeleavable how fast he has picked things up with her.

    She really has great advice and tricks she uses to help him learn new moves that the other coaches in town have never tried. She had him put a ball between his legs and hold it there while he did his sit spin.

    She also had him pass a ball from one hand to the other as he was doing some of his jumps. I am not sure what all that help with but I know it forced him to keep his head up when he was doing his jumps. He had to keep his arms up at shoulder level so he was always looking forward instead of at his feet.

    My wife and I are just so amazed at the progress he made in one week.

    Anyone else ever have an experience like this when they have tried a different coach?
  2. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Maybe not as dramatic as what your son did, but yes, sometimes a different coach can help make big improvements.

    It doesn't always mean that the regular coach is not good at what they do. But often another coach, who isn't as used to looking at the skater in the same way as someone who sees them all the time, can pick up on things that might help the skater, or knows a way of teaching something that works for the skater.

    For myself, for example, I really didn't "get" the correct takeoff in a Salchow until a coach who was filling in for my regular coach explained it to me in a different way that just clicked. When I showed it to my regular coach, their reaction was "That's how I've been telling you to do it for the past three years" :lol: But seriously, they weren't offended that another coach figured out what I needed to hear....they were glad that someone was able to communicate it in a way that worked for me.

    Also, at my club, we have regular sessions focusing on a particular skill (e.g. field moves, spins) that all the skaters participate in at once, and which the club coaches take turns supervising. So we are regularly learning things from coaches who aren't our regular coaches. During these sessions I have gotten some really helpful suggestions from the other coaches, and I've really appreciated that. A different set of eyes is sometimes very useful in identifying what would help.
  3. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    Ron, how far are you from a major training center? It's not unusual, as a skater advances, for the skater to want to or have to travel a bit of a distance for training, if they don't live quite near the type of coaching they need. For example, skaters drive an hour, two hours, or more to get to some of the rinks where I train. I'm not saying you need to do this, or that it's even possible, but if coaching becomes an issue where you are, perhaps at some point, it'll be something to think about.

    Another idea might be skating camps at major training centers during the summer. Perhaps, if you have the time and money, this could be something you and your family do at some point in the future.

    Or perhaps, as overedge said, it's simply a different perspective that's helped, and no travel is needed. You'll have to kind of observe things and figure out what's best for your kid.
  4. RonC

    RonC New Member

    We live about 400 miles from the closest major training facility. We have been taking advantage of coaches that come up for camps or to visit when we can. The coach that we use regularly doesn't seem to like it to much when we use another coach but some coaches can help were others seem to have troubles.

    We are hoping to be able to send him to a training facility this summer for a couple weeks.

    He will be starting on his double jumps this summer and he needs to train somewhere were they have a harness he can learn on. His goal is to be able to do a double jump by the end of the year.
  5. Artifice

    Artifice Guest

    Yes, a good coach can make a huge difference. We are not talking about the usual coach who sees the skater everyday and who, at some point, needs an external eye to communicate with his student. We are talking about the difference a good coach can make on a skater that is used to train with a so so coach.

    Bad and average coaches exist, that's the statement to begin with. And skaters don't know how bad their coach is until they get to have some lessons from a real good coach.
    And the dramatic thing is that it does make a real, huge, incredible difference. A difference that can make a skater improve from level 1 spins to level 3-4. A difference that can make the skater land a jump that he could never land before. And that can make a skater reach a superior competitive level when he has been sticking to a lower level for ages.
    It's when one finds out what kind of difference it can make that one starts to realize how much time has been lost (or earned !) and how important it is to have a good coach.
    Also it shows that everything is not automatically linked to the student potential only, and that lack of improvments or so so results are not due to the skater alone. The coach is highly responsible for skaters improvments.
    The coach who says at first that skaters lack of improvement are due to their potential is probably not a good coach.

    A good coach will have almost all his skaters improve in a satisfying way (not just the improvment that would come anyway with practice time), with at the margin, a minority of skaters do much better and others do so so.
    A bad coach will have almost all his skaters improve in a not satisfying way (that is the improvment that automatically comes with practice time whohewer the coach is), with a minority of skaters do more improvment (because they are "natural").

    I know some bad coaches who argue on the "but they have improved" to demonstrate that they actually did their job well, when in reality they did nothing more than leaving their students improve by themselves. It is actually difficult to recognize a good coach from a bad coach except if one has experienced what your son has experienced, or if you are the skater. But when a skater has had the same coach for a long time and hasn't got the chance to experiment other coaches, it is indeed hard to find out what you really pay for.

    The difficulty is to assess coaches quality and to choose the right coach. We often don't even have the choice of coaches, but sometimes we have.
    IMO results are not what should be seen at first, because there is strategy behind competitive results (like putting the skater in a lower category than the one he is able to compete in, just in order to ensure a good placement).

    Results are part of the reflexion, but far from being the only one. I actually find pretty difficult to create a scale or a matrix to assess a coach, because it is so easy for him to hide himself behind the "student potential" excuse.
    Therefore I look at the overall results of the groups the coach teaches. If they are so so, I start to have suspicions. Then I look at the training methods to understand why results are so so, if they are due to lack of training time, lack of serious students, lack of potentials...
    From what I have experienced in a club, it appeared that results are so so. Looking at training conditions, it appears they are good, as well as skaters are motivated, and reasonnably serious about training. So, I did look at training methods and it appeared that the problem came from it. The coach does have bad methods, like he doesn't correct technic, he only points what is done bad and rarely propose a way to do things well. He never gives advice on spins, nor does he make his skaters work on body placement... All that are actually the origin of what I suspected. But these things could be visible only if one is a skater himself, or another coach. Parents can rarely see that because they are not at the board and most of the time they are not specialists. Clubs directors can see that only if they know something themselves in the sport (that is not all the time, most of the time they actually trust coaches on technical or training issues...). So, that makes diagnostic hard to do, and harder to make other understand where they problem comes from.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2012
  6. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

    The ball trick keeps their arms in control. A lot of skaters seem to wave at everyone around the rink when they are rotating in the air. I do it with a pair of socks with my skaters. It's a great tool. So glad your son is going well, and that you are enjoying his progress as much as he seems to be enjoying the skating.
  7. RonC

    RonC New Member

    Thanks Artifice, this explans a lot!
  8. RonC

    RonC New Member

    Thanks, we do injoy watching him skate and love to see him so excited when he gets a new move right!
  9. Artifice

    Artifice Guest

    You're welcome ! :)

    I actually know well what you were talking about. And I'm glad your son has found a way to improve, and more important, you got to understand that there is a tremendous difference between coaches. So that you will be able to find a way to hire the right coach. This is so important, but so difficult.

    I know some coaches who are actually good and get no recognition because another coach, who does the work badly, always finds a way to hide his incompetency and promote himself over others. This is something we experiment as well in the professional world, but in sport the consequence happens to penalize athletes directly. And they are those who give the salary to the bad coach, that is so unfair ! Serious skaters give their best, they are required to do so, they believe in what they do and hope to reach their potential. If they are taught by someone who actually doesn't care of them, it is particularly unacceptable.