Coach, Coach, Goose
March 25, 2013 § Leave a comment
It would be irresponsible of me to recommend a specific figure skating coach to you. Sure, I take instruction from a figure skating coach but I’m stuck in figure skating first grade, still learning how to skate under pressure and perform against my peers. My opinion is rubbish. Besides, chances are I don’t fully know your personality and how you interact with people.
Do you need an enthusiastic, rah-rah coach who won’t let you get away with mistakes but will encourage you? Or do you need someone who puts you down? Do you need a coach who is roughly around your age so your coach can relate to you, or are you not going to listen to someone your age?
Maybe you need a female coach to make your figure skating dreams come true, because there’s no way that boys would ever figure skate, let alone coach figure skaters, am I right? Maybe you take a chance with a male coach and realize that he coaches well and has a mean triple axel.
I don’t know, maybe you end up pulling up a list of coaches in your local area, blindly point at a random portion of your screen, and take instruction from the coach you end up point at. You may end up asking reliable friends in the skating community and finding out about a coach through word of mouth.
All joking aside, it takes some trial and error to figure out whether you or the child you’re living vicariously through have working chemistry with a figure skating coach. Maybe it works out and you spend your entire career with one coach. Some people switch coaches if the chemistry isn’t right or the skater is increasing in skill level. Most coaches don’t take it personally.
Cal Figure Skating does not skate in Berkeley because there is no rink on campus or in the city of Berkeley. They do have a coach that accompanies the team during competitions. Unlike Dartmouth, Delaware, or Boston University Figure Skating Teams however, Cal Figure Skating members don’t really learn from that one coach, or have coaches to teach them things on campus. Rather, each team member learns choreography and skating in general from their local coaches around the San Francisco Bay Area and parts of Southern California.
Some people finish watching figure skating during US Championships or Winter Olympics. They start taking group lessons and think they’re pretty serious about figure skating, but they’ve merely adopted the ice. Others were born on the ice, moulded by the ice. They didn’t understand the notion of free time until they were adults, and by then, it was nothing to them but BLINDING! So… what if you get extremely serious about the sport of figure skating? How many coaches do you need to have in order to get on Michelle Kwan’s level?
- Head coach: They are responsible for teaching technique and providing direction for you as a skater, from where and how to train to the music you’ll skate to
- Choreographer: Those free skate and short programs aren’t going to design themselves. They determine jump and spin placements on certain portions of the ice, transitions between jumps and spins, how fast or slow you’re going throughout the two to four minute long skate, where your arms and legs will go, what facial expressions you will use
- Nutritionist: Where all notions of junk food go to die. They tailor a diet around your body’s needs
- Flexibility/Pilates coach: Can’t touch your toes? Can’t get low for your sit spin? Your body doesn’t naturally want to get into the Bielmann position? Well, time to trick your body and your mind and make it do all those things. Oh, but you hate stretching? Sucks to be you
- Strength/Plyometrics coach: You look like someone who wants to jump higher, skate faster, and spin in five different positions in one spin. You’ll need this person to help cultivate fast-twitch muscles, strengthen muscle groups you didn’t know you have, and maintain those muscle groups so you don’t injure them
- Dance coach: Some do ballet, Kim Yu-Na does hip-hop. You have to look a little less clumsy somehow
- Academic tutor: At a young enough age where you still have to add single-digit integers and figure out run-on sentences, someone has to teach you some off-ice book smarts. That order of operations isn’t going operate themselves
- Sports psychologist: Sometimes your confidence is completely shot. Other times, there are mental blocks preventing you from getting certain jumps, spins, or footwork done in practice, let alone competition. This person teaches you tricks to mentally get in your zone and not let anything or anyone faze you
For a lot of skaters, you probably just need one coach to start with. When you figure out you like skating enough to invest more time and money into the sport, then maybe you should look into one of these avenues to improve yourself as a skater and athlete.