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Rach
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   28.12.06 12:56

humming bird wrote:
hmm.. I was wondering... what would happen if a 'fan' threw a toy on the ice during skater's performence durng competition??
1/ the referee would blow a whistle

2/ said 'fan' would be promptly escorted out of the arena if possible

3/ item would be removed and skater would have the option of re-starting the programme from the point at which he was stopped or re-starting from the beginning.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   10.01.07 20:10

I found this short clip. The BBC made a short video explaining each sport for the olympics. Its very basic but I thought I would post it anyway
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av/bb_wm_fs.stm?news=1&nbram=1&nbwm=1&bbram=1&bbwm=1&nol_storyid=4644000
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   11.01.07 21:44

thanks Gemma,
the guy who was introducing skating was funny Very Happy I liked him Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   04.04.07 15:38

I have a question about choreography. I've noticed that many skaters recycle particularly creative movements or combinations of movements into their programs. One of the better examples of this is Alexei Yagudin's particular combination of dramatic straight line footwork down center ice or the opening hand/arm movements of Man In The Iron Mask. My question is why does any skater recycle movements of that nature between different programs? Is it because it's easier than inventing new movements or, perhaps, becuase their creative muse for that sort of thing has left them?

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   04.04.07 17:53

I had a question too. what if the music starts to play and a skater hmm.. panics and stopps skating after 5s. It happened twice on Euros 07 and they started a program again. I'm curious if it has any consequences in the note?
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   04.04.07 22:00

mary c, i have totaly no real knowledge about skating, but i always thought that the moments that a skater keeps are because they try to create sort of a trade mark, a way to be remebered.
just my thoughts.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   18.04.07 3:31

I think in Alexei's case, it's probobly a signature thing. With some skaters, I think they keep a sequence of choreography and use it in more than one program because it's neat and effective.
It's true that it is easier than coming up with something new...

I try not to recycle choreo. I often do my favorite moves in most programs, laybacks and bowers for example, because they are my favorite moves to do and often go with the music. But as far as a sequence of footwork or something, I think it's best to have something new and origional. That's what I love to do, anyway, is choreography, so for me, using something old would deprive me of that opportunity to do something new. Did that make sense?? :geek:

On an unrelated note... Last week I got my spread eagle to be much better than before! I was excited about that. Very Happy It was weird- I leaned more on my back leg, and that seemed to put me in a much more stable position... I've never been really taught that move, just worked on it on my own now and then, so I've just been trying to "figure it out". Smile

This past weekend I judged for a local beginner-level competition! Very Happy It was neat! The skaters seemed to enjoy themselves, and us judges were treated to some really cute and fun programs. sunny
It was neat that, as a panel, we were really consistent in our marks. We gave the same placements almost across the board in each event.
All in all, it seemed to be a fun day for everyone involved! It did feel weird for me to walk past the coaches area and instead go to the the judges seats, though, LOL!
So now I feel like I've "crossed over" to the other side, LOL! Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   19.04.07 21:29

wow, great Heidi Very Happy so now you can start teaching us the mysteries of judging system Wink good luck
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   20.04.07 1:05

LOL Marta, I know what you mean, but since this was a basic skills and low level freestyle competition, we didn't use the new judging system. Just the 6.0 scoring. Smile

I was reading your other question, Marta, and I was surprised- I didn't realize that some skaters did that at Euros. :japonais-chut: I'm surpised that would happen there... Maybe Rach can answer your question?
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   20.04.07 16:13

Heidi....Thanks so much for answering my meager questions, lol. I just now saw that you had responded to my question....oops, Embarassed LOL

When you are creating choreography does it start with inspiration from the music or for the particular skater whom you're creating it? What is that special "something" which sets you off on the rigth track to a completed new program? Can you give me an idea of the process you work out in your mind as you develop the program--the objectives to be accomplished with the program or how you determine what will work for a given skater? Is there some musical "hook" which gives you the idea that such-and-such element will work to a particular music selection? What kinds of music set off ideas in your mind? Are there any kinds of music that wouldn't inspire you to create?

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   21.04.07 16:26

Blue Bead wrote:
I have a question about choreography. I've noticed that many skaters recycle particularly creative movements or combinations of movements into their programs. One of the better examples of this is Alexei Yagudin's particular combination of dramatic straight line footwork down center ice or the opening hand/arm movements of Man In The Iron Mask. My question is why does any skater recycle movements of that nature between different programs? Is it because it's easier than inventing new movements or, perhaps, becuase their creative muse for that sort of thing has left them?

Mary C.

Partly because it can take MONTHS to get something like a good footwork sequence to look as smooth as what you see. At the beginning, it is terribly, slow, clumsy, we forget the steps etc etc. Frankly, the hours that must be spent in rote repetition to master a complex step sequence are usually better spent elsewhere (i.e. jumping) so, once a skater has a successful sequence, it is tempting and often beneficial to leave it as is, perhaps adding small changes and/or improvements, bit by bit.

A perfect example of this would be Brian. At Worlds 2006, he FINALLY managed to get a good, powerful, consitent level three straight line footwork sequence. He used the exact sequence, less several hand gestures, in both the short and free programmes. The following year (that is, last year) he essentially kept the same sequence for the short, with two truly minor additions. However, he was able to make that sequence more "lobe-y" (the edges were deeper and stronger) and was able to incorporate upper body gestures more seamlessly. This all but completely changed the look of the SAME footwork sequence, which was incidentally much better than last year's iteration. The flow and assuredness that he demonstrated would not have been possible had he gone to the trouble of making a new sequence. Subconciously, he would have been thinking too much about his feet.

The trade-mark theory also can be true, I suppose, but since I've never experienced that myself, I'm keeping my mouth shut. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   21.04.07 16:33

Love2Smile wrote:
LOL Marta, I know what you mean, but since this was a basic skills and low level freestyle competition, we didn't use the new judging system. Just the 6.0 scoring. Smile

I was reading your other question, Marta, and I was surprised- I didn't realize that some skaters did that at Euros. :japonais-chut: I'm surpised that would happen there... Maybe Rach can answer your question?

In this case I think it is just nerves, pure and simple, that can push someone to completely blank out on a programme... or start and realise that they are doing the wrong programme... or hear the music and realise that it is the wrong CD... or a myriad of other things that can cause this kind of a disturbance.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   21.04.07 16:42

Mary, I do not know if the questions that you just asked were directly addressed to Heidi or just general. I am assuming the latter, please forgive my presumtion and feel free to disregard entirely my comments if I am mistaken.

When you are creating choreography does it start with inspiration from the music or for the particular skater whom you're creating it?

Ideally, the skater. Good choreography highlights a skater's good points while hiding their weaknesses. Some skaters are better-suited to certain styles than others, and I feel very strongly that it is a mistake to force anything on a skater, even in the name of "artistic evolution." (Just imagine if, to "evolve," Brian did a ballet piece. :running-away: In fact I believe that Johnny Weir (or his coaches) made this very error in attempting to "masculinise" his skating. The result? He lost his national title.

What is that special "something" which sets you off on the rigth track to a completed new program?

I'm not sure that I really understand your question. When a programme is well choreographed, the skater will feel confortable doing it, if that is what you mean.

Can you give me an idea of the process you work out in your mind as you develop the program--the objectives to be accomplished with the program or how you determine what will work for a given skater?

"Free programme" is a very deceptive name. The regulations for a "balanced" [competitive] free programme are almost as stringent as those for a short programme. The primary goal of initial choreography is to lay out all of the necessary elements in such a manner that the skater can complete them all as comfortably as possible. The intracacies and musical interpretation only come into play AFTER that "skeleton" is established and the skater is comfortable with it.

Is there some musical "hook" which gives you the idea that such-and-such element will work to a particular music selection?

See above; yes it is possible to place elements on keynotes in the music but ultimate it is up to the skater to decide if (s)he is capable of that. Some skaters, like Trifun Zivanovic (does anyone know of him? It is sort of embarrassing but my coach used to teach him... at that time he was better), can't even land a jump if they think about the music. For others, the music empowers them to do better than they normally would.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   21.04.07 19:31

Rach...I think I addressed it to Heidi only because she answered the previous question, LOL. Of course, I want your input whenever possible! So thank you for adding your expertise.

Rach wrote:
Quote :
What is that special "something" which sets you off on the rigth track to a completed new program?

I'm not sure that I really understand your question. When a programme is well choreographed, the skater will feel confortable doing it, if that is what you mean.

Some days, even I, don't word things well; my brain locks up. Rolling Eyes Laughing

That "something" I'm referring to probably should have been called a "spark" or an initial idea which causes the choreographer to begin the earlies work on the design for the new program. I guess what I should have said was from where to the ideas come? Does a certain peice of music set it off or does it come from watching a movie or seeing a certain sequence of elements done by another skater?

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   22.04.07 0:29

Mary, I love your new set of questions!! Very Happy

Some of my perspectives are the same as Rach's, some are different. (I love reading your answers and perspectives, Rach! :super: )

First, it depends on what I am choreogaphing. A student's competetive program, my own program, a show program, a group, a solo, etc., could each develop a little differently.

For me, inspiration can hit me in many different ways.
When I work with a student on a competition or testing program, I try to choose music that fits the skater's style and ability, but also hopefully something that inspires me as well. My personal requirements for something inspiring is anything that has "life" to it. I don't like old classical, for example, because I feel it is too dry with no depth.
I like anything that is beautiful, or fun and funky, depending on the style.
Sometimes my students find the music, and ask me if they can skate to it.

I usually make a list of the elements that skater will need in this program to keep on-hand. From there, anything goes- I get inspired by the music, when I just move around and my feet take off with me, LOL, or when the skater moves to the music... Anything, really. Alot of times I have a general vision for the program in my head, then the details come out on the ice. I also keep in mind if a skater needs certain elements to be at certain times in the program. (for example, I wouldn't want to put a skater's most difficult element at the end of the program, when the skater would be most tired.)

Sometimes, if I know that I won't have much ice time with the student to put the program together, I have the entire thing from beginning to end already choreographed in my head. But usually that evolves as the skater becomes a part of the program, and makes it her own. I try to encourage as much artistic freedom as possible, so that when the inspiration comes to the skater, they feel free to ask me if it can be included in the program.

Okay, now, that was all more of the technical stuff... But there's another side to choreography than just the placement of elements...

When it comes to the actual musical interpretation, the movement and flow of the skating, I try to think as little as possible during the process of creating a program. I get on the ice, and if the inspiration is there, it often just flows like water, and I'm just a vessel reflecting what the music makes me feel. I love to go flying accross the ice and not have the faintest clue of what my feet are doing or will do in the next second. The best time is when the music can just be that guide, and you go with it, wherever it takes you. This to me, is the best part of skating. Freedom.
That is my base of creating, the core of it. For competitive programs, you have to kind of mold that creative freedom/energy into something that fits the requirements. It can sometimes handicap the creativity a little, but usually not too much, because you already have requirements in the back of your mind as you're creating.
Another aspect of creativity is finding creative ways to make your skater look as good as possible.

When I'm working on a show program for myself, I try not to "work" at all. I just skate the music... To me, it's just about what comes from my heart and what I feel in the music. I never know what will come out of it, what I'll end up doing on the ice. That's the exciting and fun part- seeing what happens. I could step on the ice any given day, feel inspired by the music I'm listening to, and then move in a completely different way than I ever have before.

My last program, "You Are Loved", was such a joy to do, and probobly the closest I've come to showing an audience what I do on practice ice every day. While creating this program, I went for weeks just doing something different to the music every time I skated to it. Some things stayed, some things came and went with the inspiration of a particular day. I just tried to stay in "freedom mode". I love you

Any whoo, I should probobly end my long-winded post now...
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   23.04.07 0:44

Heidi wrote:

Quote :
I get on the ice, and if the inspiration is there, it often just flows like water, and I'm just a vessel reflecting what the music makes me feel.

....and what if the inspiration isn't there? Then what? You're out there on the ice and you still have to create a program for the skater. How do you put yourself into the frame of mind that will cue the ideas?

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   24.04.07 5:53

LOL, Mary! In my attempt to describe what I do, I forgot to address that little detail...

It would make sense for you to ask me that question.
It's very rare for me to feel uninspired, (and I count that as a huge blessing!) so I usually have plenty of ideas to work with. Usually all I need to do is just listen to the music. And, with my students, I usually do an outline of their program in my head and write that down on paper before our time on the ice. So, I always have something to work on with them, to begin the process of teaching them the program, regardless of my level of inspiration. I listen to their music countless times before we get on the ice, so I have many opportunities to be inspired/come up with something.
Some days I may work with my student more on the technical aspects of a program, some days more on the artistry, with the goal of creating a harmonious whole.

When it comes to the life of the program, the less I think, and the more I go into "feel" mode, the better. Just listening to the music is usually my cue for that.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   24.04.07 12:03

Heidi, you have inspired my interest with your lovely, thourough descriptions.

I have to ask, do you generally allow your students to give their own input on the choreography? I know of coaches who believe that this is vital, and other coaches who absolutely insist on not giving the skater a hand in such matters...
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   28.04.07 17:43

Rach, in answer to your question, absolutely!
I try to inspire them as much as possible to be inspired themselves. I try to give as much freedom as I can, and it's a treasure when they begin to open up and show their personalities on the ice.
Since I work mostly with beginners, they most often look to me for all or most ideas for the program. But I count it as a real blessing when they begin to have ideas of their own, or when they just move around while listening to the music and have fun being creative. I'll sometimes surprise them and say "Yeah, do that!" They get a look on their face like, "Really? Hey, that's cool, my teacher noticed what I did! Now, what did I do...?" LOL!
I always hope to end up with a program that the student enjoys doing...
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   29.04.07 0:53

Heidi you sound like a very good coach :)it's very interesting to read your thoughts.
now I've got a simple question. do coaches go with their pupils on the Galas? I suppose not necessarily, but I thought it would be better to ask a checked source Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   29.04.07 3:46

Thank you very much, Marta! hugs You girls are so kind...

Quote :
do coaches go with their pupils on the Galas?
They can, just to watch, but really don't have to be there. For example, I love to watch my students in shows, but if I can't make it to the show for some reason, it's not a problem for the skater. We don't coach on the sidelines for a show or gala like we do for competitions- just watch and enjoy the skater's performance, like the rest of the audience. sunny

Rach, I wanted to add that I absolutely 100% agree with you about not forcing a skater into certain styles!!!
I do think it's important for skaters and coaches to have an open mind about it, because sometimes you can't tell right away what a skater is capable of or will potentially like. But forcing a skater into a certain style is a crime, IMO. Razz I think it's completely essential that a skater loves the music and style that he/she will be performing!
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   30.04.07 13:58

Love2Smile wrote:

Since I work mostly with beginners, they most often look to me for all or most ideas for the program. But I count it as a real blessing when they begin to have ideas of their own, or when they just move around while listening to the music and have fun being creative.

Ah, I see! Yes, I remember that when I was young and just starting, for a programme, I would just stand there like *blanklook* and wait to be told what to do. lol! I was so shy!
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   30.04.07 14:04

Marta,

From my experience, coaches are absent much more often from galas than from proper competition, but there are still many who insist on attending. For some skaters, especially those with less experience, it is comforting to have the coach there to "put them on" the ice, so to speak.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   25.08.07 14:48

My questions pertain, primarily, to the training schedule of an elite skater.

How many hours per day are involved? How is the day broken down? How much of it is on-ice and, specifically, what gets done then?
What kinds of off-ice training are done and for how long each day, and does the skater do the same kinds of off-ice activites each day or are the activites variable?
Is it still so common for skaters to take ballet classes or is the trend more toward yoga?
At what point does day-in, day-out training begin to run the risk of producing injuries, and how are those injuries handled?
How much ice time is set aside for the training of figure skaters at the typical rink, as opposed to the time set aside for hockey?
What does ice time cost at the average rink? (I do realize that rinks in different regions will charge more or less than whatever the average cost is)
Does a coach devote that entire time to just one skater or is he/she working with more than one at a time? If the latter is the case, how is it determined which skater gets the most attention from the coach?
Typically, what does an elite coach charge?
How many days per week is devoted to training?

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   25.08.07 15:44

Blue Bead wrote:
My questions pertain, primarily, to the training schedule of an elite skater.

Well, then, I hope I can help ! lol!

How many hours per day are involved? For me, around 5-6.

How is the day broken down? This varies wildly depending on the rhythm of the skater and the availability of the ice. My situation is extremely fortunate and NOT normal, but I usually have between two and three hours of skating on-ice followed by, sometimes, around a half-hour of general physical preparation. There will be a three hour hiatus during which I do work (at this stage in my life, "work" pertains specifically to art commissions) or sleep if I am really tired. I will then take the ice again for a session of around 2 hours, after which I am exhausted and refuse to do anything "important" for the rest of the day.

How much of it is on-ice and, specifically, what gets done then? The morning session is my time to work on the technique of the jumps, perhaps the programmes if it is a competition season. I usually finish, to my regret, by spending around a half-hour on the spins, at the insitence of my coach. The afternoon session generally comprises conditioning work as I am usually already fairly tired for this session. It is common that I will run through my programme without elements. However, if I feel very good, we will often appropriate this time for more practice on quadruple jumps and triple axels. God knows I need it.

What kinds of off-ice training are done and for how long each day, and does the skater do the same kinds of off-ice activites each day or are the activites variable? I don't do a lot of off ice training, I will admit. I am just NOT a natural athlete, and I have a penchant for injuring myself due to a dangerous mix of competitive spirit and utter clumsiness. However, I will usually do excercises for jumps : squats, lunge-jumps, every imaginable method to jump up onto a bench about a half-metre high. Essentially, it is just a more intensive version of the exercises that women's magazines suggest to get one's bum toned. In addition, we will do litertal triple jumps off-ice, in which I can work on my techinque in the air. This, however, is rare, as I am told that not everyone can do a triple off-ice. (I know that Brian is amongst the latter group, so, obviously, this ability is not necessarily linked to jumping ability on-ice.) These excercises form the core of what we do every time we set out to do off-ice. It is possible that agility excercise and stretching are occasionally added to the routine.

Is it still so common for skaters to take ballet classes or is the trend more toward yoga? I have never taken a yoga class in my life. I took jazz classes during a span of roughly two years, which I neither enjoyed nor excelled in. (I refused to take ballet with an ardour that was, in hindsight, disproportionate to the gravity of the situation. Embarassed) Again, I am very maladroite. I honestly believe that neither the jazz, pilates, or gym membership stints that I occasionally submitted to did much to improve my skating. They did help hone my sense of discipline though, I suppose. However, I found myself more often having to visit the physical therapist than not.

At what point does day-in, day-out training begin to run the risk of producing injuries, and how are those injuries handled? It is very common that a skater will, subconciously, begin to overtrain in the months or weeks preceeding a competition. This can lead to a heightened susceptability to any illnesses that are currently circulating, and, in the worst cases, injuries that completely undermine the training. I am an example of this, as, through a combination of bad skates and overtraining, I suffered a stress fracture in my right foot months before the Olympic games. I could not jump, seriously, for several months thereafter. Woushh... [the sound of Olympic trials fwishing past me]

How much ice time is set aside for the training of figure skaters at the typical rink, as opposed to the time set aside for hockey? This is NOT at all standard. There are rinks entirely devoted to figure skate, on which a hockey player is forbidden to ever set foot. (Incidentally, such rinks tend NOT to be ideal milieux for training.) Then, there are rinks, like mine, that are owned by a non-for-profit hockey organisation. This allows us to obtain ice-time very cheaply, at the price of hockey being the dominant sport at the rink. Honestly, there are no visible repercussions from this apart from the fact that it is an hour's drive to the nearest figure skating supply store. Also, our sessions are always subjet to cancellation due to a hockey match or training camp. However, this happens sufficiently rarely that such cancellations are usually seen as a needed respite rather than inconvenience. The boutique in the rink sells exclusively hockey equipment. In most rinks, sadly, the owners will give priority to whatever brings in more money. That's to say, hockey. If not, the figure skating sessions tend to be so crowded that it is useless to even attend them, as an élite skater. Or, it is useless for me!

What does ice time cost at the average rink? (I do realize that rinks in different regions will charge more or less than whatever the average cost is) Ouuuuhh... this is difficult, because there is such wild variation between rinks, and this variation does not necessarily reflect a corresponding difference in quality... My rink, as I stated, is not for profit, and we can obtain ice for around 6 € or 8 $ USD for 45 minutes. This is rare. Most rinks I have noticed go for around 11 € / 15 $ for an hour. Some are as much as 12 $ for 45 minutes. Usually, ice is bought monthly, and there is an applicably late fee if one does not reserve one's sessions in time. At my rink, one simply fills a form to reserve the ice, and if I do not attend every session that I sign up for, I can use the credit towards the next month's bill. At many rinks, one exchanges the money for a booklet of "coupons" or stickers that must be turned in for sessions. In the worst case, it is a monthly contract with NO reimbursement for missed sessions.


Does a coach devote that entire time to just one skater or is he/she working with more than one at a time? Actually, I have never, ever seen a coach who only has one student. That does not mean it doesn't happen though. I wish it did, for me.

If the latter is the case, how is it determined which skater gets the most attention from the coach? Heu... there are several approaches to this.
1/ He who Hath the most Monneye. Yes, sadly that does account for something.
2/ Generally skaters preparing for an imminent competition dominate the coach's time.
3/ (I have only learned this recently) If there is a Big Skater, who is doing Big Stuff, (s)he will generally dominate the coach's time and thoughts. For instance, my coach has other students, but she is, for example, capable of calling in and cancelling their lessons and taking the day off if I am not coming in for some reason. That never happens to me. Of course, when she works with someone, they, and only they, have her attention. She has oftentimes confided that she stays up all night thinking about something pertaining to me, though. I am, I have been told, difficult to teach. Embarassed

Typically, what does an elite coach charge? Again, complete variation. It depends on the coach. Mine charges 80 $ / the hour. People can "get away" with a lot more, especially if they have "famous" pupils. My coach says that, before she re-located to where we are now, she charged 120 $ for the same hour.

How many days per week is devoted to training? For me, five. I need my weekends to, euh, respond to you! But in some places where ice-time is easier to obtain, skaters will train six, or even seven, days a week. According to my coach, six is normal, but seven is excessive and provokes injury.


Hooouuu... that was a nice review for my English spelling... Razz
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