Before introducing many “drills” I think a coach should make certain that skaters:
WANT to improve
Can identify exactly why they are skating
Can weave, shift their weight, maintain eye contact with other skaters
Have confidence in their ability to focus on the MENTAL aspect of learning
Skate powerfully, fast, and relaxed
Mirror each other in walls of 4
Overcome self doubt
Weave horizontally in unison with another skater
Make sure that beginners learn to weave, transition, look behind them and skate low while learning to have awareness of where their team mates are at.
Make them strongly push and pull each other on and off lines, in waterfall drills and in walls.
Make sure skaters are always prepared to assist with holding arms out and behind them as a rule when they are not actually reaching out and looking behind them for an assist.
Remind them to always reset immediately to a strong stance after doing ANYTHING.
FOCUS ON TEACHING AND REFLEXES INSTEAD OF WINNING
FEEDBACK TO SKATERS: Point out what is right as much as or MORE OFTEN THAN what is WRONG
INSTRUCT, DON’T RULE
Assume the Athlete Doesn’t know: Repetition is a primary tool for teaching.
Don’t talk about more than you need to
Be objective, with purpose—Talk about the situation, not the person.
Be certain that Assistant coaches teach the same principles!!
Connect with all team members, not just the best of them.
Create an Atmosphere that teaches and adheres to a high standard of behavior and execution. Help hold the athlete accountable.
Be an objective observer and problem solver: Instead of “You are back blocking again!!” Maybe try something more like- “Are you looking at the holes that you can weave into while you’re in that plow?”
TALK TO YOUR SKATERS, DON’T IGNORE ANYONE
Is there someone you don’t like and don’t know why? Or know why but you won’t talk to them about it? If so, QUIT coaching immediately until you figure it out, you should not be in a leadership position.
Use mistakes as a vehicle for teaching, rather than lamenting or blaming.
Reinforce effective learning, desirable approaches and
Be aware of your communication . i.e. tone, timing, language, non-verbal communication. You can be direct without being rude.
Maintain a consistent teaching point of view. A coach who loses hope loses motivation.
Introduce the factors that are involved in the mental aspect of performance, the obstacles and the way to get around them.
A student’s learning is HUGELY influenced by your expectations and your influence can go beyond the arena of skating and competition. Don’t forget that your opinion matters more than you may know.