Making Practice Count

As a coach for over a decade, I have had students of all varieties.  This post is to help those of you who are at the beginning of your skating journey.  These are some of the questions I get most often in regards to skating practice and class.

“What should I wear to practice/ classes?”

I get this question often and the answer depends on your coach and his or her preferences.  There are a couple dress code rules to know in general.  First of all, no skater should ever take class or practice in street clothes.  Street clothes are considered to be jeans, baggy or loose clothing, and jewelry.  These items will not allow the coach to see your body lines and can be unsafe for the skater and those around them.  You should always wear your hair up or clipped out of your face for skating.  Some coaches, especially if you have chosen to be an artistic skater, may set more specific dress code roles such as wearing team colors. Team Work Of Art students are required to wear either a leotard or athletic style top, leggings or shorts and over the boot tights.  They may also opt for a skating dress but most of the team prefers the first option.

“Should I eat before I skate?”

The simple answer is yes, you should eat before skating.  The more complex answer is that our body needs the calories to burn, however, you don’t want to eat something that is heavy or greasy before pushing your body to perform difficult skills.  I usually recommend a smoothie or a salad with some protein.  It’s always a good idea to have a small snack and a water bottle with you at practice.  A great product we offer is the portable smoothie blender.  You can pop this right into your skate bag and have a fresh smoothie on the go.

“How should I prepare for class?”

When you arrive, you should be ready for your scheduled practice or lesson.  Most coaches will suggest you arrive 20-30 minutes ahead of time to properly stretch and warm up and have your skates on.  When a student arrives late or just before the class begins, it affects both the skater and the coach.  As a coach, I want to give you 100% of the time you are paying for.  So make sure to arrive early enough to give yourself time to review your class notes, put your skates on and be fully warmed up.

“What should I have in my skate bag?”

I always recommend to students to carry the following items in their skate bags at all times:

  • skates
  • Indoor and outdoor wheels
  • Extra toe stops and or dance plugs
  • Extra pair of tights or boot covers
  • Extra pair of socks or tights
  • Hair scrunchies or ties / hair clips
  • Water bottle
  • Notebook and pen
  • Skate tools (to change wheels or toe stops)
  • Ballet shoes for barre class / stretch class

“What is the role of a skate parent?”

The role of a skate parent is to be supportive and helpful.  When your child is taking class or lessons, pay attention to the corrections they are receiving.  Coaches should be engaging and include you in the training of the student.  They may ask that you help with off skate training, for example, I usually ask the parents of younger students to remind them to do their off skates exercises at home.  The skills your child is learning are difficult and can be frustrating.  Keeping this in mind, let the coaches do their jobs.  Do not interrupt a lesson.  If you have questions or concerns always address them after the class has ended.  As a skate parent myself, I have struggled over the years to set boundaries and to not “backseat coach”.  We want what’s best for our kids and though our intentions are to help, we often confuse the student or apply unnecessary pressure on them.  Coaches and students have a special relationship and it is an earned trust.  A coach should always treat your student with respect.  

“What is USARS?”

USARS, or USA Roller Sports, is an organization that holds sanctioned events for artistic roller skating , in-line speed, roller hockey and roller derby.  This organization holds local, regional and national competitions yearly.  In order to participate in these events and championships you must hold a USARS membership card each year, and represent a club or rink.  To learn more check out the website



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