Letter from Instructor Liz Miller to
Nervous Skate Camp Participants

Dear Skate Camp Participants,
 
It might be that you are terribly excited about learning to skate safely, but terribly afraid of getting hurt! Boy, do I know that story.

How to reassure you...

First, you should know I'm 52 and learned to skate at 39. I have always had a fear of out-of-control speed, and still do. Today I have the skills that keep me in control when I skate, I know exactly what to do to prevent loss of control or unwanted speed, and I even know how to land on my skate pads if I do need to hit the ground so I don't get hurt. All that knowledge and control makes me a confident, competent skater--exactly the gift I hope to give you at camp!

 
The first clinic on the first day is the most important one when it comes to injury prevention. To keep you from getting hurt, I'll first make sure you're wearing the gear right and your skates are OK. We start out on the lawn and practice falling down (the right way) and getting up. Then I teach you how to trust the support you get from the sturdy boot cuffs by having you move around in them and tip them. Then we learn the Safe-T which is a way to stand still without rolling. THEN we get on the pavement and repeat some of those things before we learn the basic stride and how to stop using the heelbrake.
 
At previous Skate Camps I have had students who were so tense with fear that we had to repeat the grass exercises every morning to regain confidence to learn new skills. Sometimes I think these "overly cautious" people are the smartest ones--what a great survival instinct! They KNOW they don't yet have the skills to keep them safe. But I'm here to give them to you--I love doing that and I have been very successful at melting others who are literally "frozen in fear."
 
Here's a sneak-peek at a new drill I will do just for such skaters. On the lawn I will ask everybody to clench up every muscle in their body and then try to look over their shoulder or move their feet. Tenseness will make any movement very difficult and feel like hard work. Then I'll tell them to take a deep breath and then let go of all those muscles, and again try to turn or move. Try it yourself! The difference in mobility is dramatic! Though I cannot remove all your fears in one day, with this demonstration, I can show you what it feels like in your body and how it impacts your ability to skate, and how it contrasts with what confidence feels like.
 
Well, I must head off to my day job, but I really hope you join us at a Skate Camp. You'll be in good hands! (And don't forget, you'll make lots of friends who are ALL going to be worried on Day One!)
 
Very sincerely,
Liz Miller

PS Note from Zephyr owner Allan Wright: Liz is one of our lead instructors at our Skate Camps. She has years of practice teaching beginner skaters, is a certified Level II skating instructor, is the author of three inline skating books, and runs a skating website called www.getrolling.com . I suggest you check out her website for even more useful information.

 

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