Posted by: trish alexander | June 16, 2011

How we learn

I had the chance to skate with a good friend Mario the other day and he was telling me how he learned to skate.  It was in an era when more skaters were skating.  He had a few friends who were skating our local lake (Greenlake) which is nearly three miles. I has a few slight hills and so the trail is a bit of a challenge to those who don’t know how to brake. It is also the busiest park in our state with a fairly narrow widthwith walkers on one side and wheels on the other, so defensive skating is a must.

Determined to skate with his friends, Mario purchased skates that fit him well and protective gear, all of it, and found himself a space mostly out of the public eye and practiced his skating. He fell a lot but each fall taught him a better balance position (what not to do) and eventually the falls came less often and subsequently, his form improved and he could join his mates and skate comfortably with them.He had taught himself to skate.

A decade later, or more, he still enjoys skating and stretches his legs skating fast on local trails. He’ll finish a skate and, as he explains to me, he felt exhilarated, efficient, and the legs were pushed to the point that they hurt in a muscle-yummy kind of ways (my description, not his).

While I live in the world where people take lessons to learn, there is easily an equal amount that learn on their own.  I am sure it is done in a variety of ways but the drive it requires to learn to skate is no small feat, especially for the self-taught who are more likely to fall, more often.  I certainly remember my own learning to skate on ice–my mom finally bought my sister and I ski pants with cushion which allowed us to slide more (we also learned by having butt sliding contests). There was definitely a learning curve.

Skating is not intuitive and therefore is hard won. Biking is usually done learning from a parent and running is a good example of intuitive and easy to learn.

Skating isn’t that easy, so for all of you who learned, one way or another, you are in an elite club for which you cannot buy your way in, unless you can put a cash value on falls.

Laterskaters, Trish

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