Q:Where do we meet for the lesson and what do I bring?
Private lessons are held during open skate sessions at arenas such as Richfield and Woog arenas. We meet our students near the door to the ice surface. No hockey sticks are allowed on open skate sessions unless the lesson is held on a hockey development ice session (Richfield or Woog). We recommend wearing a bike or hockey helmet during your lesson and any other gear you like to wear. Cash or check payment should be brought to each lesson. We have a 24 hour cancellation policy so you are responsible for full payment of late cancel or no show lessons.
Q: How soon can I start my young child with private lessons?
In our experience, children younger than 7 do best learning to skate by regularly attending an open skate session with a parent until they have the sufficient strength to glide independently forward and backward. We recommend that parents take their young child to at least 5 open skate sessions to familiarize their child with the rink atmosphere before they start lessons with a coach.
Q: Where do I get skates?
Skate rental is available at Richfield arena only. We recommend all beginning skaters wear figure skates because the blade is straighter, longer and easier to balance on. Once a skater can glide well and stride across the rink without falling then we recommend people transition to hockey or supportive figure skates. Skates can be purchased at Westwood sports in Apple Valley, Strauss Skates in Maplewood, Play It Again Sports or other sporting goods store. It's very important that all skates be tied tightly all the way to the top of the boot for maximum control. If your skater's feet pronate inwards we recommend a stiffer skate, heel shims, orthotic inserts, superfeet inserts or a blade adjustment. Be careful to not purchase skates with floppy ankles or a very rounded hockey blade as these types of skates will cause much falling and hinder learning.
Q: How long of a lesson can my athlete handle?
Most skaters take a private lesson once or twice a week for 30 minutes. Skaters ages 10 and up can handle longer lessons of 45 minutes to an hour, depending on their attention span. 30 minutes is typical for most people.
Q: How difficult are the private lessons?
Private lessons are a much more intense experience physically and mentally than a group lesson or hockey practice. There is no standing in line, we are moving and focused the entire lesson.
Q: How fast can improvement be seen?
Improvement is much more rapid in this type of individualized environment. Many kids will learn more about how to skate in their first 30 minute lesson, than they have in 10 years of hockey training! Some parents see a difference in their child's skating at hockey practice in as little as 1-2 lessons. Improvement is strongly dependent on overall body strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and mental ability to focus/pay attention. People who have a background in other sports have a slight advantage in picking up skating skills.
Q: How many lessons do people usually start with?
Well, there is a lot learned in the first lesson, so you should see a little improvement immediately, however, 10 lessons will get your athlete a good start on becoming a better skater.
Q: Should the athlete work on these skills outside of the private lesson?
Skating is a very technical skill and does require consistency in lessons and practice. We recommend you practice on your own at least one day between lessons, if possible. It's also helpful to do dryland training such as regular stretching and core strengthening exercises for quicker improvement.
Q: What types of skills will my child learn?
We follow the national skill development curriculums under the Learn to Skate USA, USA hockey, Ice Skating Institute and United States Figure Skating Associations depending on the type of skating you or your child does. We have added to these curriculums by founding our own Sk8Gr8 hockey power skating combinations for our more advanced hockey players. Basically we will look at your skater and know exactly what to work on in the first lesson. If there is a certain skill you want us to do just ask! Gliding, striding, stopping, turning, crossovers and all variations will be taught to beginning skaters. There are hundreds of skills and combinations to be taught.
Q: Our athlete wants to make the AAA/AA or varsity hockey team someday. Will this help?
A long term, year round commitment to lessons is recommended if you want to make a varsity team, play junior hockey or even make the NHL someday!