June 24, 2010

How to: Motivate Your Child To Practice "Moves in the Field"

Moves in the field, or field moves, are a hugely important part of skating and can make all the difference to a skater. Learning to enjoy and take something away from your moves practice, and being able to apply the principles of good strong clean edges is something all skaters should be at ease with, and is important no matter what discipline you participate in.

As you are probably aware, there is a test structure dedicated entirely to moves, and these tests require skaters to demonstrate the art of edges; a certain set of edge work patterns which must be executed to a satisfactory standard for the level the skater is trying to pass. These sets of patterns (usually between 4 and 6 patterns per test, depending on the country and level) take up alot of practice time, and most skaters see them as a chore. They are not skated to music, are repetitive, and can be very difficult. Motivation and dedication is needed to practice moves to a high level.

So how do you motivate your child to practice moves, when everyone else on the ice is jumping, spinning and generally bee-bopping? It's not easy, but someone has to do it...

Explain to your skater the importance of this area of the sport. Kids ain't stupid, they can take the straight talk. He or she needs to know that skating isn't just about music and outfits, and that if they really want to get anything serious out of their skating this part of the parcel just has to be dealt with.

Sort out your timetable to allow your child to practice moves on fairly empty patches, or calmer sessions. Trying to stick to your set pattern while 5 other skaters run programmes and practice jumps in nigh impossible. Trust me. Your kid will end up getting in peoples way (making him/her feel awkward and thus detract from the attention being paid to the work at hand) and re-starting the pattern ten times over due to the fact that other people have cut him/her off in the middle of a pattern. Frustration!!! If your kid does a before-school early-morning session, and an after-school afternoon session, use the quieter of the two for moves. This way your child can view that session as the time consecrated to moves.

Make it fun and rewarding. If they have practiced their moves hard, maybe a little slack wouldn't go a miss. Or an ice cream. I know this sounds corny but often the idea of a nice treat is enough to motivate. Hell, the idea of treating myself to a hot chocolate and a magazine curled up in a Starbucks has kept me on many a boring session!! And I'm not a kid!!

Make sure your coach is putting in for the tests as and when your child is ready. There is nothing more boring and demotivating that practicing the same old thing, that you can do perfectly well and easily, just because you don't have anything to practice. If test sessions are few and far between in your area then talk to your coach about your child learning the next level up too. Why not go in for 2 tests at the one session, if your child has the skills and motivation.

Want to know more, don't agree? Please leave me a comment!

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