I’m back! I am so excited to share with you my experience as a skating instructor. I began teaching at the beginning of last year. I never thought I would become a coach, but now that I am, I love it! It is so rewarding knowing that you are impacting others’ lives in such a tangible way. I get to put my skills to good use and it’s an amazing feeling. I coach basic skills such as stroking, lunges, stops, glides, crossovers (forward and backwards), and simple 3-turns. Some skaters require advanced level coaching and thus I go through spins, jumps, and more difficult edgework with them. I enjoy watching my skaters grow from not even being able to stand on two feet to being able to glide and skate backwards.
Now that I have the perspective of being a student and an instructor, I can say that both share in having pros and cons. When you are the student, you must follow exactly what the coach wants and expects of you. Skating coaches are among the toughest in all sports, in my opinion, and lessons can be physically and mentally straining on a skater, especially when you reach the more advanced levels. In my past, at one point I had a total of 5 coaches. Each of them specialized in certain techniques that I was to master in order to become a great skater. I had a coach for my jumps, one for my spins, one for choreography for all my programs, one for my edgework and moves in the field, and a general head coach that accompanied me in my competitions (the headmaster so to speak). Having all these coaches was great, but also extremely demanding of me. They were tough individuals who worked me to the core and I am so thankful for their diligence and sternness in making me a better skater that I am today. So, being the student can be stressful, but nothing beats being able to master a jump or a spin and matriculating into the next level of technique. I worked so hard so that I could fly through all my jumps and spins so I could get to me double and triple jumps. Hence, being the skater is rewarding as well. You get to wear gorgeous, sparkly dresses and skate to music you really love.
I mentioned the reward to being a coach, but the cons are quite clear as well. As a coach, you want to see your students improve and when they don’t, you feel like a terrible instructor or you feel like you have let yourself down as well as your student. There are times when I coach and my student just can’t do what I ask. It can be frustrating so it takes a lot of patience. But I have learned to keep patience and keep focus on how to make my students better skaters. Overall, I enjoy both ends of the spectrum, skater vs. coach. I am glad to say that I am both.