Shall you take skating lessons?
If you have been thinking wanted to learn skating for years, you will be probably continue thinking for the next couple of years. You will not learn to skate by reading “Learn to Skate for Dummies” or watching skating videos on YouTube. You need to put on the wheels and skate.
Inline skating (or rollerblading) is not a natural sport. Balancing on wheels is not as easy as it look. Even a good athlete may not know how to stop and turn properly. My presence is to make sure my students learn it right at the beginning, and lay the right foundations.
All my classes are formed by students themselves who want privacy and small coach to student ratio. The benefits of these small private classes are I can pay more attention on you, you can learn together with your family or friends so that you won’t feel embarrass. You will also have the benefits to decide where and when (subject to my available slots) you want to skate.
Sitting on the bench and drinking water. The little boy skated towards me and requested to sit on my laps. Lifted him onto my laps. He turned around and grinned, “I love you, teacher.”
Is skating safe?
I was often asked whether is skating safe? Without hesitation, I replied, “No. A safe sport will not require you to wear safety gears.”
Honestly, I don’t have a sure-won’t-fall coaching method. In fact, I always tell my potential students they will fall in my class. Well, this does scare away some people. But I rather tell the true side of learning than only tell you the good side.
If you don’t want to wear safety gears in my class, I will not teach.
I also don’t have a skating coaching method that can magically transform a totally can’t skate student to skate like a pro just in a lesson. My approach is down-to-earth and old school, i.e. emphasize on fundamental skating skills. From my experience, those who excelled in my skating classes were those drilled hard on their fundamental skating skills which could take awhile for inexperience skaters. Students also have to set a realistic learning curve and practise diligently to skate proficiently. I believe there are effective ways but no short-cut to master skating.
Need how many lessons to skate?
Some people asked me whether they would be able to skate at the end of the course. Seriously, I don’t have a definite answer. I can’t access your skating learning ability by just hearing your voices over the phone or reading your words from email and sms. I can only say an average student will be able to do basic skating, turn and stop at the end of 4 sessions. Learning is mutual efforts. I can provide you all the necessary skating skills and know-how to skate. But you also need to put in effort to learn. And yes, some skating schools confidently promote their program with “100% Guarantee Can Skate Proficiently in One Hour”. I leave it to you to judge whether it’s a marketing gimmick or factual. Everybody’s perception of “Can Skate Proficiently” could be different.
I know most of the students like to hear “I can guarantee you to skating in one lesson.” And many skating schools are using this tactic to attract more students to sign up their skating classes. I have been coaching skating for more than 10 years. I have seem thousand of students with different caliber. Some students have very good motor skills and adventurous. Some students are very timid and have poor limbs coordination. I will only give honest and true feedback about your skating progress.
If you can only accept positive feedbacks, then my class is not right for you.
Many new skaters fell when they skated down slopes. Gravity took over the acceleration and the wheels rolled quicker and quicker. Skaters panic and crashed. Surprisingly, some actually took formal lessons with skating schools which did not have extensive slope training in their programs.
Learn to skate from proper foundation
I train my students with a primary objective – to nurture them with necessary skills to skate confidently, safely and independently in the parks. I will attempt to push my students beyond their comfort levels, which are something that students may find hard to do by themselves.
I am very particular on certain fundamental skating techniques that will affect your skating progress and safety. Some self-taught students came to me as they felt difficult to progress to intermediate/advanced skills due to subconscious bad habits and weak foundations. Bad habits are difficult to rectify especially when you do not know they exist.
In the first (Beginner) lesson, new skaters will learn how get up from the ground and to move forward by duck walking or V-walking. Learning to fall with your safety gears is a MUST. Students are to wear safety gears at all time during my class. I will forfeit the class if students turn up without safety gears.
Me: How did you find my contact?
Student: Google. I like your straight forward content. It made me laughed and wanted to learn skating from you. Hahaaa…
Me: Straight forward?
Student: Yah. Unlike others, you honestly told students they would fall in classes and you would not run away with their moneys. Hahahaaa…..
My approach could be different with other instructors/schools. I always warned my students they would fall in my classes rather than telling them they would be safe and so on. I wanted my students to learn to face the fear of falling and tackle it. When you are afraid and tense, you will not be able to absorb and learn. I will gradually motivate you to overcome the fear.
Skating lesson outline
The beginner level covers basic skating skills like striding, gliding, stopping, falling, turning and maneuvering in various ways, not forgetting how to tackle obstacles. And I really mean real world obstacles like humps, slopes, drainage covers, steps, potholes, etc. depending on what obstacles we can find at the lesson venue.
There were queries about some skating school providing 1.5 hour session whereas mine was only 1 hour. I did ask my students who were ex-students from those skating schools about the 1.5 hrs sessions. The feedback were the skating classes were usually big, about 8-10 students, and was conducted by only 1 instructor. Good for kids who want to have fun and play with one another but not suitable for those who seriously want to learn proper skating skills. Especially when the schools put adults and kids together when they can’t find enough skating instructors, or want to save cost. There is no perfect package. Choice whichever suit you most and go for it.
If you had already seen my skating videos, you would have noticed my students learnt to tackle slopes, steps, humps, etc. I will expose my student to certain degree of risk when I think they are ready. Students will be guided to tackle those hazards. Believe me. Skating on flat grounds is different from skating on slopes. If you are mentally and technically not prepared, you will probably crash.
My students come from 3 backgrounds – total newbies, self-taught and those discontinued from skating schools. Those took lessons from skating schools found the school classes were too big. The instructor could not pay adequate attention to each student. Whereas some adults found it uneasy to attend classes with small kids. However doing private skating lessons with schools were too expensive. Some signed up but eventually didn’t attend because the schools changed the original class timetables, and personal ad-hoc work schedules prevented them from attending class regularly. Students want more personal attention, reasonable rates, flexible times and locations.
Everyone is unique and comes to a skating class with a different set of experiences to use as foundation. Never compare your rate of learning, comfort level or technical achievements with any other skaters. You will eventually notice that after learning the basics of how to move forward without much fear, everyone in your class, including those who may have had prior skating experience, will have waves of improvement and then slow growth periods that will vary from person-to-person. This is normal in skating and any sport activities.
After watching her 3 children learning to cycle for an hour and I had to continually demonstrating and repeating my steps, she said, “You are so patient. If I were you, I could have already scolded them.”
My coaching approach is different to some skating schools. Skating schools require students to master a skill before they can move on to learn another skill. Thus if you are stuck at a particular skill, you may have to attend many sessions and pay more just to master that skill. However students (especially kids) who dropped out from skating schools feed back to me that they felt discouraged and frustrated when they had to re-learn the same skill many times just to pass the evaluations. In fact, if students cannot master a skill, and the coach disallow them to learn new skills, they will loose interest in the sport. Furthermore if one can’t master a particular skill, it does not mean he cannot master other skills. Some students just need more times and practices to pick up a particular skill, and it is proven in my class they can do it by themselves outside the class lessons. However, I will always ask them to show me from time to time to make sure they don’t practise wrongly.
As long you want to learn, I coach.
As much as I can help, I don’t turn away special needs students. Some parents had asked me and hope I could coach their children. They told me some skating schools/instructors turn them away, or not replying to calls after a few sessions.
I have coached students with learning difficulties, some are autistic, hyper active, short attention, etc.. Some managed to pick skating or cycling, some did not in a dedicated time. Special need students will definitely take a longer time to master even a basic skill than normal students. parents need to be patient and set reasonable learning time frame.
Regarding students with special needs, they were able to follow instructions at one moment, but the next moment they were at they own worlds and not responding to my words. We have to be patient and set realistic learning curve. So if you ask me “How many lessons do they need?” Truthfully, I have no idea. I don’t give irresponsible promise like they definitely can skate or cycle in “n” sessions as there are many unpredictable factors.
Parents are advised to inform me when signing up the class avoid any misunderstandings.
Same coach for entire course
I am the only coach and I will follow your progress closely throughout the whole course. I will observe and remember your strengths and weaknesses. I may use different skating methods for different students in a group class, but the main concepts, techniques and resulting skating are the same.
I have coached students age from 3+ to 60+ years old. But personally, I don’t encourage parents to sign up their less-than-4-year-old kids. Beside the difficulty in finding small skates and safety gears, they may not understand the instructions when I break down the skills into parts and sequences. However, some skating schools accept 3 years old kids. You can search around.
Although there is no age limit to learn skating, it is a fact that we are slower and take longer time to learn when we are older. This applies to all sports. So if you want to pick up a new sport, do it when your body is still able. You can wait but your body can’t.
In my program, I don’t take more than 6 students in a class. A small class will allow me to pay more attention and give precise instructions to each student. Students will benefit more in small class.
For those intend to go for snow ski in the future, skating actually help you to pick up skiing faster. There are some similarities in the pushing and gliding techniques. Some of the turnings and stoppings can be applied to skiing too. I knew it because I had done it. Some of my students who went for winter holidays had proven it too. In fact one of my non-local students told me that her skiing instructor suggested to her to learn skating to improve her skiing techniques many years ago.
I don’t issue certificates for attendance or completion at the end of the course. There is no “graduation ceremony” and photo taking session too. You don’t need to a cert to prove you can skate. But if you really want a cert and photo session to post on facebook to show your friends and relatives, try other skating schools.
Fees, available slots and lesson venues
My private skating lesson rates are relatively cheaper than other skating schools. So don’t try to negotiate for lower rates. I don’t entertain that. In fact I had quite a number of students who switched to my class after doing some sessions with other skating schools. Not only they pay less fees, they save on the transportation fares and travelling times. They also get to arrange lessons at their preferred times.
Booking for lessons are easy and transparent. Send the available slots published on the calendar to me and I will confirm the booking. If the weather is bad, students fall sick or need to work over-time, just make a call and the lesson will be rescheduled. You don’t have to travel from Woodlands to Bishan Park and realise the lesson is cancelled because of rain. If the lessons are conducted at the void decks, students can happily put on their skates at home and take the lift down for lessons.
Deal to limited resources, I don’t provide equipment and I only focus on small private skating class. Corporate and institutes may want to ask elsewhere for quotations for big classes.