A fairly new figure skater sent the following question to Jo Ann Schneider Farris, About.com's Guide to Figure Skating:
Hi Jo Ann:
I haven't taken any private lessons for several months, but soon, I will be taking lessons from one of the most successful coaches at this new rink I have been skating at for a couple of weeks. The coach is very professional and teaches a lot of students at that rink.
My main question is how do I make the most out of the lessons? In the past, I haven't been able to make the most out of the lessons I have taken with coaches in the past. I have worked with this new coach during group lessons, and he has helped me out very well with my single Lutz.
Hope you can help me out.
Here's Jo Ann's answer:There are several things that a skater should do to get the most from private lessons. My suggestions are below.
Make sure you arrive at the rink early and warm-up off the ice before your lesson begins.
If possible arrive at the rink thirty to forty-five minutes before you are scheduled to take to the ice. Do some stretching, running or jogging around the rink, and then do all the jumps you know off the ice while wearing sneakers.
Get on the ice on time and make sure you use the restroom before your lesson.
Coaches expect their students to arrive on time for lessons. Also, don't plan on running to the restroom during a private lesson. Most figure skating coaches are on a tight schedule and will not be able to make up for lost time if you need to leave the ice to use the facilities.
Bring a pad of paper and pen or pencil with you to the lesson.
If your coach wants to write down some tips for you during the lesson, it's great to have paper and a pen or pencil ready. If your coach does not want to use your lesson time to write notes out for you, having that pad of paper and pen or pencil available right after the lesson, will give you, the skater, a chance to write down what you learned in the lesson before you forget some of the things you learned.
Make sure you also bring your music, water bottle, and tissues onto the ice. Put the music either in line or leave it and other items at the rink's railing so you don't have to waste time during your lesson getting your music CD or iPod, or other items out of your skate bag.
Private lessons are very expensive. It is important that skaters make use of every single minute of a lesson. Wasting even a minute or two gathering things you should have brought with you on to the ice is like throwing money away.
During the actual lesson, soak up as much as possible.
Try to make corrections, and at the same time, make a mental note of what you did to correct a certain skating element or technique.
Listen and absorb. Limit asking questions.
If you can, listen, and don't talk. Asking questions takes time. Take in as much as possible during the time your coach or skating instructor works with you.
JO ANN Schneider Farris
Guide to Figure Skating
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