Bringing Out The Best In Every Skater
Nothing impels a skater to do his or her best like a performance. Many hours of skating practice to hone skills and learn a routine converge into one culminating achievement. Sometimes, the focusing power of performance can be surprising, too.
When three-year-old Allison started with Skating School, her dad had to coax her onto the rink for lessons.
“She was really shy,” says Letser Herrera, Allison’s father. “We had tried other things before, like gymnastics, but she would cry a lot. She just couldn’t let go. That was the problem, the whole social part.”
Over months of weekly classes, Allison watched and listened to her skating coaches. But she never ventured onto the rink without her dad nearby.
“I bought the costume anyway, just in case,” says Herrera. “But the week before the performance, I had really given up hope.”
Skating School coaches, however, kept reassuring both the little girl and her dad.
The purpose of participating in a public performance goes well beyond sequined costumes, colored spotlights, and clapping audience members, although those certainly add to the allure for a skater. But even more, each performance provides an unparalleled test, reward, and celebration. This holds true of hesitant beginners up to the most advanced skaters.
“Everything we do leads up to it,” says Coach Tony, Skating School founder Anthony Berger. “Each class provides another small step, but it’s the performance that stretches skaters to use it all together. It’s their chance to put their best foot forward. There are no do-overs. And even the youngest kids really understand that, which is very motivating.”
When dress rehearsal came around, little Allison was dressed for success.
“She knew it was a big deal that day,” recalls her father. “She loved putting on the pretty costume and having her mommy do her hair and make up. She wanted to be a big girl like her sister and cousins.”
Still, Allison wanted her daddy to come with her while she skated. Just moments before her performance, coach convinced her to take the rink with an older student beside her. Herrera and his wife held their breaths to see what would happen.
The music started. The spotlights searched. And then, for the first time, little Allison skated out onto the floor without her dad. From time to time, she looked up at the big girl next to her for reassurance, but once Allison decided to be a big girl skater, too, there was no looking back. She performed the entire routine with her group.
Following that first brave performance, Allison’s confidence quickly flourished. She now rolls around practice with happy strides. She’s also since begun pre-school, using her new-found boldness to make many new friends.
“When students learn to make the best choices in skating, it carries over into other areas of their lives,” says Coach Tony. “Performing teaches skaters how to present themselves well, which is helpful in any situation.”