I beam like a proud mom each time one of my past students excitedly contacts me with a great progress report or success story. It's especially gratifying when they say they've become a skate addict, which is exactly what fueled my skating lifestyle and career more than a dozen years ago. Here are a few of their stories.
Bryan from Berkeley whupped my finish time in his first-ever inline marathon during his first year of skating. He'd originally enrolled in a group lesson (the Free Skate Lesson program) and then followed up with a paid private lesson. In late summer, he and an equally motivated woman signed up for my GR GetFIT 8-week training series.
We met weekly to work on stride and edging techniques, lower body strengthening, skating in a pace line, cardio work and customized distance training. On race day, Bryan skated strong in his new 5-wheel fitness skates and successfully leveraged the down hills and pace lines to make a great time.
Jim from Seattle wrote often about his progress mastering lessons in Get Rolling. We finally met in 2004 for an afternoon of skating during his trip to visit relatives in San Jose. Seattle pavement is wet and the weather cold, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when Jim began dabbling in indoor track training and took up ice dancing. Last I heard, he was skating in solo and doubles competitions!
Jane, a recent Camp Rollerblade graduate, joined me a few weeks ago for a private lesson while on a business trip to the west coast. She confessed she just can’t get enough skating now that she has the confidence and skills to roll around in the real world. After a parking lot lesson where we worked on crossovers and stride technique, we went out together to explore the new San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail in the Santa Clara Valley.
Families in the East San Francisco Bay Area where I teach are getting rolling together. This year, I’ve enjoyed working with all four members of one nearby family. They've just started skating this year, though Dave and Mary have been avid Alpine skiers since before Davis, 10, and Kate, 11 were born. Dave initially contacted me for lessons to give his kids a competitive edge on skis through summertime cross training on inlines. Within two lessons, mom joined Kate and dad joined Davis. With each session I see improved confidence and skill in all four.
I am working with another local family, too. So far, it's just pre-teen Samantha and Colin I've been teaching, but parents Liz and Geoff are already talking about making it a family affair. I sincerely hope they do! I told struggling 8-year-old Colin last Tuesday, "Someday you are going to be a better, faster skater than me, just you wait and see!" I believe that is already true for many of my most dedicated past students, and it's a gift I would love to give everybody I teach.