Saturday, November 13, 2010


Stitch has private lessons. Most skaters do. The reason being that skating is exceptionally hard and it's not always possible to pick up the skills completely in a group setting, so the kid needs a little help. The flip side is that the skills get picked up too quick and the kid spends a lot of time bored at the boards. (Get it? Hardeharhar.)

In the early days, Stitch spent a lot of time being bored in Pre-Alpha 1. He got it pretty fast, and since he was spending his time chasing rink guards at public skate, he had a fair amount of speed. I debated for about two weeks and consulted an online expert before proceeding.

Is it expensive? Well, how do you define expensive?

Stitch gets supplementary privates for a half hour twice a month. It costs me the same as fifteen trips to Starbuck's within that same thirty day period. I had a choice; I could stop on my way to work and ingest a calorie laden coffee beverage, or I could watch my kid rock a two foot spin.

I really didn't need those calories.

Our rink has forms that you fill out to request private coaching. I turned one in, and got a call a few days later. She gave him a trial lesson (which must be paid for) and he did some amazing things at. So she's our Private Coach, and Stitch still takes the Group Lessons.

It's a perfect balance, actually. I wouldn't dream of doing strictly Privates, because Stitch learns the mechanics of the moves in Group, and learns polish in Privates. When he's got the moves down pat, she introduces him to more challenging things, like Shoot the Duck and the Waltz Jump. Coach will also choreograph his competition routines through the Learn to Skate levels, so it's a great bargain.

I will admit now that I was seriously debating a coaching change. I even went so far as to ask my Coach in question. He said sure, and his rates were the same. The reason I was thinking about it was because Stitch was interpreting Coach as "Mean." He would often be angry after lessons, saying he was tired of being bossed around. Skating is supposed to be for fun, right? So, I asked this coach because Stitch saw this particular coach as Fun.

That was a month ago, and a lot can happen in a month. I have since changed my mind. Coach is making some great progress with Stitch, and I love her coaching style. I don't want to interrupt a good thing, especially when he's walking into Backwards Crossovers and just on the hinge of learning a Waltz Jump.

There is a Russian welder in our shop, and I asked him if he could teach me to say, "Isn't she a bitch," in Russian so I could say it about one of our skating moms. He laughed and we got to talking. I said that my kid thinks Coach is Mean. "She isn't mean, she's Stern. Stitch needs to get the difference."

Wolfgang (his nickname) smiled and said, "That's the way they are, especially with sports. If she's just being stern, she's trying really hard."

Coach clearly likes Stitch, and she does try hard. Today I'm going to give her Carte Blanche to push Stitch. I have video evidence of a one-foot spin and a catch-blade spiral, moves Stitch refused to do for Coach because he knew full well that she would make him work harder.

I gave the same permission to Stitch's teacher to get him to read material that was more appropriate for his reading level, and not the baby board books he will pick out on his own. He freely admits that they are easy and he'll get done faster. Stitch thinks he's cheating me, Dad, and Teacher. He's not, he's only cheating himself.

I showed Stitch "She's a Good Skate," the Snoopy cartoon where Snoopy plays irascible skate coach to Peppermint Patty. "Is that like Coach sometimes?" I asked.


"Do you think Snoopy is being mean, or is he trying to get Patty to skate better?"

"Skate better."

"That's what your Coach is doing, too."

So, as Peppermint Patty says so succinctly, "There's no one harder to please than a Skate Coach."

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