The Treat Box – Motivation and Acknowledgement (Sheila Thelen)

Figure skating specialist coach Sheila Thelen explains “The Treat Box” and how she uses it. Because the box is filled with interesting and constantly changing goodies, skaters will often work extra hard for a chance to pick something from the box. Sheila notes that it’s best to use this sort of tool as a way to modify behavior and not necessarily as just an acknowledgement of successful skills completed. Getting skaters to make actual changes to jumps or spins can sometimes be difficult, as it often requires skaters to break out of long-ingrained physical or mental habits. Earning a treat can be based on anything the coach wants to change, or any behavior a coach wants to encourage. Unexpectedly earning a treat can remind other skaters at the rink as well about what behavior a coach thinks is important. And Sheila notes that the treat box can even be used for non-skaters at the rink. Throughout the video Sheila gives examples to explain and clarify how this great tool can be used. Having this kind of “ritual” can be very motivating for skaters, and Sheila mentions the “Golden Dinosaurs” as a surprisingly meaningful way to acknowledge new jumps (and spins).


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