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04-11-2012, 12:31 PM
Not so fast,
Join Date: Dec 2011
Country: Jamaica
Posts: 1,297
vCash: 500
I'm not a coach, but an adult beginner so I'm going to share with you my view of things.

My background is that I did speedskating about 6 years ago. I was never great at it, but I did get the basics. As an adult learner, it took me a LONG time to get to the point where I could do everything I needed to do and have it work out. I was very, very motivated, skated 2-3 times per week, but it still took me quite a bit of effort to get things right.

I've been doing hockey for a month now. I skate twice a week - once for our practice/scrimmage, and then once for stick time.

We spend the first 30 minutes or so doing skating drills. Our class is a wide range of abilities - some who can pretty much skate forwards and kind of stop, others who can skate pretty well backwards and forwards, do crossovers, etc.

What I've noticed is that what it really takes to 'get it' is time. Time to practice the drill and work it out for myself. A lot of times I take twice as long to do the drill as the others who are better skaters. I always feel like I'm holding the class back if I make them wait for me, so I usually do what I can and then move on with the rest of the class. So if we do a drill and they make it all the way up the ice, I'll go halfway.

Then, when I do stick time (or public session) I will work on those things at my own pace. I admit that I am NOT athletic, I am NOT coordinated, but I am motivated enough that I want to be able to do things well enough to participate. I've noticed that I improve by leaps and bounds when working on my own, but I've never gotten better at the actual practice - I just need that time to work out the muscle memory and let it 'click.' So I look at practice time as the time where I see the drills and get my 'assignment' for the next week, and then stick time is where I really practice and learn them.

As a coach, the best thing that you can do for me is to watch to make sure I'm doing things properly, even if not perfectly. If you see me doing a drill incorrectly, tell me - otherwise I'll go to the rink and practice it incorrectly on my own! Give me encouragement on what I can do, and let me move at my own pace. The nicest thing my coach said to me that really made me feel better about being a total pylon was that I skate better than I think. It's probably true, I don't fall very often and I can see myself making progress - but to have someone else say that really made me feel like I belonged there, even though I'm quite overweight and not at all athletic.

Sometimes it's not motivation that holds me back (I have that in spades), but fear of doing it wrong. I skated at public sessions for over two years - on speedskates, without padding - so I never really learned to 'cut loose' and really push myself. Always having to watch out for other people made me a little nervous, and it's hard to just let it happen. Even though I'm wearing pads, and everyone else is wearing pads, I'm still nervous about falling and/or causing someone else to fall.

I'll admit, keeping the knees bent is hard. It was one of the hardest things to do in speedskating, and it took a long time to build up the muscle strength to be able to do it. The only way to make it happen is to constantly remind yourself to bend, and that's what I try to do.

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