Building Skater Understanding and Confidence (Doug Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Doug Leigh discusses how coaches can help build skater confidence and create the desired changes in their skating. He begins by showing a technique that can be used on nearly any edge. By placing the skater’s hands on their own hips (especially left hand on left hip) they can feel alignment issues, rotational control issues, and those pesky wiggles that affect performance. He demonstrates this in the context of a forward inside edge and the forward outside edge of an axel take-off. He also demonstrates (but does not spend time explaining) a great axel drill where he takes off and lands on the same foot moving forward, with a twist and twist back in the air. Doug likes methods that allow skaters to analyze their own performance.

Doug also likes his skaters to seem themselves regularly on video. He wants them to see what he sees, and this brings a more complete understanding of the “series of adjustments that can take me to the goal I desire.” By taking video regularly, skaters can see their progress, even in short 5 minute time spans, and this can be very motivational. It’s an important way to build skater confidence.

To end the video Doug says, “We need not be afraid of change.” He continues, “You’ve got to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.”


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