This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

- breaking free

When I watch an instructor teach, she looks at the present capabilities of her student, both physically and stylistically, and then she mentally chooses a reasonable target for a near-term objective that is reachable along the pathway of what she can ultimately expect from her skater. She then proposes: do "this," or "try it this way."

The skater tends to imbue from these instructions that "this" is the "correct" way to perform a particular move, whereas the coach's intentions may actually be to introduce a physical counter-action to inhibit something the skater is misperforming.

The coach is looking for a path to final perfection. The path itself, however, is not the goal. At some point the skater has to break free of the teaching.

At some point the skater needs to mentally internalize the actual goal, the objected and desired physical, stylistic, and performance effect, and then use all of her accumulated knowledge to create her own way of accomplishing it. She needs to blaze her own path.

The skater never stops learning but after a while she does stop being a student. And after a while her coach becomes less of a teacher and more of a mentor.

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