Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Coach Disapproval Techniques

When learning any new skill, you're bound to mess it up. When learning anything new on the ice, I usually go through a two month period of total cluelessness before things begin to gel for me. The Body/Brain Disconnect must be worked through, but while that's happening you're bound to see some disapproval from your coach. This comes in many forms, and its degree of severity is usually in direct proportion to the experience of your coach, and its expression is in inverse proportion to same.

The Repeater

I work with a Repeater for Dance. It's nice. No matter what you do wrong, how badly you screw it up, or how many times you try again, the Repeater just repeats the instruction, over and over. He repeats it verbally, he repeats it physically. He demonstrates, over and over. And he never seems to get ruffled or upset, he just Repeats. I have been tempted to try to do something overtly wrong to see what he'd do, but at the same time it's soothing so I don't want to mess with that.

The Sigh

A Sigher usually won't get very upset, they'll just sigh as they watch you. And you see their resigned expression as they explain it again, and you vow to try a bit harder to avoid that Sigh. But you get it again, and again, and again....

The Eyebrow Pinch

In the Theatre,  I am an Eyebrow Pincher. Missed cues, late entrances, or watching an actor go up on his lines in spectacular fashion will cause me to eyebrow pinch. For Coaches, it's a jerky crossover, a wobbly edge, a bad landing... or whatever is on their plate that day. You look up and you see them doing it, and immediately try and correct whatever it is you're doing wrong. But the damage has been done.

The Proximity Push

When my coach watches from a distance, I know I'm okay. It's when he's skating towards me as I'm doing something that I know I'm in trouble. Skating something new is hard, but skating something new with a coach twelve inches away and giving orders is absolutely nerve wracking.

Old Yeller

There are coaches that Yell. And sometimes they are raising their voices over the music of the Freestyle girls, but more often than not they are yelling in frustration. "Hooooooolllllld!!! Hold the edge!! What was that??" and watching a girl doing a spiral with shouts of, "Higher! Higher! Higher!" are common on freestyle ice. Coaches who coach from the boards *twitch* are the usual criminals, as they just have to yell to be heard.

Name Calling *Bad*

On rare occasion, I have been called Stupid. Looking back, I see that I should have stopped this behavior right away and not allowed it to continue. While the Coach insisted that it wasn't personal and only applied to the skating, it's very much a reddish-gray area. No other coach I have ever worked with in any capacity, (private, group or clinic) has ever called me Stupid, no matter what I did. This was also a big clue that it was not normal. It's far too easy, when in the throes of awkwardness learning a new thing, to apply it personally. Best to avoid it, and immediately stop those that try it.

I just try to remember that if my coach cares enough to disapprove on a regular basis, and if all disapproval gets broken up with a hearty compliment every so often, I'm doing all right. If I'm continually improving, making progress toward my stated goals, and I'm happy with my skating overall (and there are good days and bad days,) then all the sighs and brow pinches and shouts are working.

1 comment:

  1. I had a coach who had a 'sad, deep, sigh' that I could hear from across the rink while someone's program music was playing and hockey boys were screaming over it.