Posted by: trish alexander | November 30, 2010

Pain or Pleasure, facing the challenges of growing our sport

With a double nod to Tony Robbins I’d like to have you consider what our challenges are in bringing new skaters to the fold.

I wrote the ad campaign, “We know you can fall, but can you skate?” to address the biggest issue. With a bit of whiplash going on in my neck due to a fairly spectacular fall it is of note that falling is inevitable and it’s often, although not always, painful.

Pain is THE demotivating factor in getting new skaters to skate and often caused skaters who already knew how to skate, to quit.

But what about the pleasures of skating?  Grace on skates: crossing the finish line, weaving three slalom moves together effortlessly so you can’t tell where one move began and another ended, a hockey score after three players passed beautifully between themselves and the puck slid in like the puck in an air hockey game. What about the simple stroking done around a rink, a spiral that almost seems to have airtime.  The joy of a pace line of social skaters, laughing, smiling and simply skating well?

What will help us move potential new students from thinking about the pain and moving into the pleasure? I think the posters are a good start. Suggesting that pain occurs without a lesson, that with a lesson you will actually learn how to skate instead of just learning how to fall.

Another suggestion is that each of us get out there and skate in places where more people can see us, on trails, in parks, in very visible venues, even if all you do is drive through. In NYC you have Central Park, but you will need to go to locations you have not before. You will need to show off, strut your stuff. I skate at the public sessions and it’s embarrassing, but I just do all my dance stuff. I get asked if I am a professional, and I laugh and say no, but that I’m a teacher. I often wear my instructor shirt. Although I feel like others will think I am egotistical, I really believe that sharing skating with others, the grace of it no matter what discipline, is more important than my perception.

The pain is falling, the pleasure is the grace. Show the grace, teach them how not to fall and get them over the belief that skating is bad. It’s not, it’s like Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

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