Part 10 – by Naomi Grigg

A couple of months after that first impromptu visit, I qualified as a Level 1 Skating Instructor. It was during that weekend that Berti, the head of the European instructors, who had flown in from Munich to examine us, first made me learn to skate properly in a straight line. All that effort that I had spent years putting into tying my feet into knots in the name of freestyle skating, and it had never occurred to me that there was so much more to learn about skating in a straight line. I say ‘so much more’ but I really just mean that it would be a good idea to use the outside edges occasionally. What a difference it made! Suddenly I was so so so SO much faster. I can’t really stress that point enough – my speed increased massively after that weekend.

Soon after qualifying, I got a call from a mildly excited Steve. I might add that Steve doesn’t really get excited, he was my calming influence, so that was quite animated for him. He had just been called by Jonathan of the Skatefresh skate school – they knew that we had come 1st & 2nd in our certification scores, and wanted to take us on! We would be the first employees that they had ever taken on, and it felt like my future was once again opening up, I felt like I had arrived as a proper and accepted skater of the London skate scene.

I started using the lessons as a way to fund my train tickets to London. Once I had two lessons booked, I could justify coming down that weekend. The first lesson was so traumatic that I had to debrief completely with Steve afterwards about what had gone wrong. Some how, and I was at a complete loss as to how this had happened, she was doing everything that I had been taught that you needed to do to do a parallel turn, but nothing was happening. Nothing, nadda, nowt. Just a very stupid looking client, and an even more stupid looking instructor.

This became a bit of a theme for a few months – following all the instructions that I had been given, and most of the time it not working. The nerves before each lesson were overwhelming, and after each lesson that either Steve or I took, we would sit down with each other and pick apart our lessons and what each other would have done in that situation, and what might work next time. I attribute much of my teaching success to the time that we spent on those sessions back then – I still have those conversations with myself after each time I teach, and it means I keep on improving my freestyle courses and my teaching techniques almost every time I teach.


Back to part 9

To part 11…


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