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Need Recommendation for Skating Coach who understands modern skating mechanics


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Title says most of it... but a few extra notes:

Player is a 15 yr old (2006) lower AAA player who is good in nearly all areas but needs to improve skating to make a jump up.  

Mostly interested in private lessons, but open to small groups if there is individualized feedback.

Would be interested in someone who does treadmill + video.

Not particularly interested in old-school power skating coaches who haven't spent any time looking at today's top skaters.

 

Also not interested in debating what constitutes AAA.  lol.

 

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10 hours ago, Saucey said:

Why not ask your lower AAA coach for a recommend? They seem to be well versed in taking players to the next level, according to all their sales pitches.

100% this - if you are paying for a AAA program and trust the coach (which I sure as hell hope you would) why isn't he at a minimum pointing you in the right direction?

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6 hours ago, champeen said:

also, i'm heartened to learn that all of you like your coaches so much and trust them so implicitly as to not seek out any other opinions, ever.  bravo!

Every AAA program any of my kids were a part of I was paying enough money that you better be straight I trusted my coach. If not, I can find a million AA or A or B coaches that I can pay much less and find a million other opinions. 

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20 hours ago, champeen said:

what if i told you we don't live in PGH, but will be there for part of the summer.  would you be willing to help me?

Ok, to be serious, but really, if you wanted to avoid any snide remarks there was no need to mention AAA at all.

There is only one treadmill in Pittsburgh, at RMU, unless they have one at Lemiuex. Call there and see who does lessons. Truly, it is hard to give a recommend because I think it really depends on your child. For a private, I think you need to understand how your kid is motivated and whether the instructors style will blend with that.

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2 hours ago, Saucey said:

Ok, to be serious, but really, if you wanted to avoid any snide remarks there was no need to mention AAA at all.

There is only one treadmill in Pittsburgh, at RMU, unless they have one at Lemiuex. Call there and see who does lessons. Truly, it is hard to give a recommend because I think it really depends on your child. For a private, I think you need to understand how your kid is motivated and whether the instructors style will blend with that.

I believe Delmont ( Center Ice ) has a treadmill as well 

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On 4/13/2021 at 11:33 AM, champeen said:

what if i told you we don't live in PGH, but will be there for part of the summer.  would you be willing to help me?

The best skating coach our daughter ever had was when she played with the PPE around 2015.  This guy (who was a blond haired younger russian guy) was tremendous and took the girls through all sorts of skating - and balance recovery techniques.  Easily the best training she's ever had but I can't recall his name. The drills he did were fantastic and I've never seen another coach teach those sort of techniques.  He must have taught the girls techniques used in russia.

It is hard to find a really good skating coach (that is not out to just make $$) and you are doing the best thing, asking around.

 

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1 hour ago, Wes said:

The best skating coach our daughter ever had was when she played with the PPE around 2015.  This guy (who was a blond haired younger russian guy) was tremendous and took the girls through all sorts of skating - and balance recovery techniques.  Easily the best training she's ever had but I can't recall his name. The drills he did were fantastic and I've never seen another coach teach those sort of techniques.  He must have taught the girls techniques used in russia.

It was probably Max Ivanov.  He was the Pens skating coach around that time...

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And the drills he used were about as useless as @#$% on a bull. He was paid to stick around and keep 71 happy.

NONE of the drills he used were age appropriate. Most of them couldn't have been performed by high level 16U players and he was using them with 10, 12 and 14U players. If you were training for the Ice Capades he was a good option. He was preceded in this type of training by Besa Tsintsadze until he decided to do his flying Walenda act on the ice at Baierl and landed on a young players leg slicing through his shinguard and deep into his leg.

The best skating instructors are figure skating coaches who will work with hockey players. They take the stick out of their hands and break down their whole stride and then build them back up. It's not a quick fix though. Takes 4-6 months of consistent reps.

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2 hours ago, dazedandconfused said:

And the drills he used were about as useless as @#$% on a bull. He was paid to stick around and keep 71 happy.

NONE of the drills he used were age appropriate. Most of them couldn't have been performed by high level 16U players and he was using them with 10, 12 and 14U players. If you were training for the Ice Capades he was a good option. He was preceded in this type of training by Besa Tsintsadze until he decided to do his flying Walenda act on the ice at Baierl and landed on a young players leg slicing through his shinguard and deep into his leg.

The best skating instructors are figure skating coaches who will work with hockey players. They take the stick out of their hands and break down their whole stride and then build them back up. It's not a quick fix though. Takes 4-6 months of consistent reps.

It might have been Max.

@dazedandconfused To each their own.  The training our daughter received was excellent.  We probably had at least 12 sessions throughout the season.  There were techniques used in there that were never covered by any other coach.  Lots of techniques to recover from bumps, falls and get up and get going fast were especially good. Sorry you had a bad experience with him.

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4 hours ago, sarampage said:

It was probably Max Ivanov.  He was the Pens skating coach around that time...

I believe that was him.  Looks a lot like him, so it probably was him.  Good catch.

Edited by Wes
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I would agree with the assement on Max, He was more worried about looking good and running drills that look good and the language barrier did not help with instructions. As far as new technique vs old, it really has not changed much, some instructors can use video and new technology to help show a player what they can do to improve, but the drills and technique is pretty much the same. My 2 cents, most kids lack the strength and or control of their body to perform most drills or refine their stride. Your son being a 2006 14/15 you may find it better to spend some of your budget on a good strength and conditioning coach as well as lessons as he progresses. If you really want a good skating coach, I would say go the figure skating route, then have spent their entire lives working on balance and edge work, it is all broken down and taught at the different levels of learn to skate and then on as they get older. With any players, they need to learn to munipulate their balance and learn to trust their edges. Proper recovery and learning to use their full stride is key, then being able to apply that while changing direction and rotation. Once they have that then you can add stick and puck work to complete the skill set. I give a few recomendations and plus and minus. Do you own homework and see what fits. 

Mary ann Watkins - RMU/Island sports - She is a figure skater that has a world renowned resume of teaching kids to pros, she knows skating from head to toe - I don't know if she offers private lessons, but it will most likley be expensive, In my opionon she I think she has lost her hunger and is often going through the motions with lessons and instruction. 

Brad Michalski - Alpha Ice/ Baierl Ice rink - Brad was a skill instructor for PPE, but had a falling out, he did skills and power skating when Max was there and is probaly more the reason those kids became good skaters than Max, he does do some drills that is more for show, you will often see his students touching a knee or glove to get low and use their edges, while it does get them low, I think it is more of one of his drills he likes. He does a decent job at skills, most of his practice are thought out and he loves putting toys out on the ice, his students are the best at skating, passing and stick handaling around non moving object. But overall he is one of the better and seems to care about his students.

Mark Voit - Baierl - I don't know how you get on Mark list, but he is a very good skating and skills coach, I have been told he does not do it for money an will turn away anyone that is not serious or works hard. He works the kids hard and pushes them beyond what they think they can do.

Grant Springer - Frozen Pond - Grant is more of a skills coach, but is also very good with power skating, he works kids hard, and holds them accountable. very engaging with the kids and would work well with a 2006 player.

Cliff Loya - Baierl / MT.Lebo - Cliff has a good following and his lessons are always packed. I find him very robotic and just running the kids though same drills with very little correction when they do it wrong. 

Tyler Kennedy - Baierl - I see Tyler and he seems to be focused on kids younger than 2006, he does lots of station based drills, simular to Brad M and loves his toys and props as well.

CJ Stelabot - Alpha and PIA - CJ comes off as being younger and more energy than most and is very engaging in his lessons. He is a good skater and does engage the kids, not sure it gets though to most, but he does a good job and also does skills, he will be boostful about his resume and playing history, but he is trying to build his brand.

Yuri ??? - PIA - Yuri is a good defensive coach and runs some camps in the summer, but I would not waste my time, as he will tell you what you want to here and drain your pocket book, once you are out of money, your out of luck.

Tyler Murovich - Ice Castle - Tyler is one of the top skill coaches in the area, he played a number of year in minor hockey and was very skilled forward, he relates well to kids and often runs very engaging drills and practice, he has his hands full as his family own the rink and he is doing a lot with the teams. I'm not sure how much he does with just power skating, but is a good young coach.

Sean Berkstresser - Alpha - Sean is a very n o non sense kind of guy, he tells you the truth and will stop kids in drills and correct them, sometimes being honest, but blunt. He also runs the Gym at the rink, he is one of the top coaches and skill guys in the area and might be a good pick as he is listed to coach a local 2006 team this season. His practice are fast and the drills are meant to get the players to think on their own. While he may not break down the stride mechanics, most of his drills combine transtions, passing and shooting, he also offers work out and additional programing. Sean also had a long monor league career. 

John Zieler - Alpha- John played in the NHL and AHL for a number of years, he coaches and works with mostly younger kids, while skating may not be his best skill set he teaches, his kids and teams all seem to play at a very high level and show excellent skill sets over all. High compete, puck support and passing are top notch. He is an excellent overall skills coach

Cody Black - Baierl - Cody is a young skills coach that has a great attitude and the kids love him, I think he has been mostly working with younger kids and concentrating on the mutiple programs that baierl offers, but does a good job with instructions.

 

Take this for what it is worth, I'm sure everyone has their own oppinions, I have been around to watch all of these instructor practice and refine their trade craft, I still say if you are just looking at improved edgework the figure skater insturctor would be best bang for your buck, if not my top 3 in no order for a 2006 would be Brad M, Berkie or Tyler M.

 

I'm sure the PPE, UPMC guys are good also, but with the restrictions that rink has and seems like they have better things than private lessons on their plate. I'm sure I missed many skill guys around the area, but I know the ones above.

 

 

 

Edited by mrfreeze
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Good breakdown MrFreeze... 

A good OLD SCHOOL figures coach will be well versed in edges but if they are much under 40 or so they learned after they stopped the "patch" edge work as the requirement for compulsory school figures (edges) in competitions was removed in 1988. The newer figure coaches seem to concentrate more on how to do the jumps and spins, and less on the edges and footwork..... That said, Old School power skating is the foundation that good technique is built on. It's how to efficiently use your edges and balance. The hard pard isn't teaching them the edges and the power skating techniques that build strength and balance. The hard part is teaching them how to use that foundation to create a smooth powerful stride.  Watch McDavid skate. Strong, fast, powerful, and looks effortless.

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4 hours ago, mrfreeze said:

My 2 cents, most kids lack the strength and or control of their body to perform most drills or refine their stride. Your son being a 2006 14/15 you may find it better to spend some of your budget on a good strength and conditioning coach as well

This is an excellent point and one I have heard Marianne Watkins address at coaching clinics. She said she can teach a child all there is to know about skating, but if a child cannot execute the move due to inflexibly/weakness, there is nothing she can do about that in an hour's lesson She mentioned that kids are simply not as fit as they were. Hip flexors/hammies too tight to get a full stride, no core strength, things like that, that she can only do so much about.

I would also add, if your kid isn't into it, not working, no instructor can help much and all you are doing is wasting time and money. That's why I mentioned understanding how your child is motivated and whether that will mesh with an instructor's style. Until my kids wanted those privates and were asking for them, I knew my kids would be a pia and it would be a waste.

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My son has worked with Marianne Watkins in small group sessions and clinics over the years.  If you chose to work with her, she is pretty old school and will call out the students if they are not paying attention or screwing around.  The player need to understand that, because I've heard of parents and players that have complained about this.  My son likes that style of coaching and reacts well to it.

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Thanks for all the suggestions.  My son has been on the ice with Marianne twice before-- I think she's really good, and her gruff style is no problem for me or my son.  Since I live in Texas, I don't really know the scene up there, so I was just wanting to see if there were other coaches that people recommended highly.   This gives me a lot to work with.

 

 

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21 hours ago, dazedandconfused said:

Freeze that is a hell of a review and seems spot on so my only question is how much money have you spent on private instruction?

I have spent $0 or very very little on any private instructions. His instructions has been included in the programs he has been involved in. I have however invested in private stregth coach and have saw the benifits of it and can not say enough about spending your time and money in this aspect over pouring in money on private lessons. Mutiple sports is so important. When it comes down to any sport including hockey, I think the best players are the best athletes and have control and cordinations of their bodies. It is so hard so many people are trying to keep up and think playing sports 365 is the way to get ahead. I know cause I struggled with it, helping my son and guiding him. Coaches want you for spring and summer hockey, everyone is doing lessons and this goes for all sports. My son was a very good baseball player, but it was frowned upon, that he would not play fall ball or all year and only played spring and summers, he was also pressured to make all spring and summer hockey events, group training, spring games, pick up, you name it the phone was always ringing. Throw in LAX, roller hockey and just being a kid and going swimming and playing pickup basketball and football, it is tough to do it all. I took a different approach then most, the strength and cordination training was key to all of it. As also previosly stated, your child has to want to do particapate or you are wasting time and money, and I see it all the time. Burnout is huge and as they get older it increases. I was lucky enough to play growing up as well as coached at many levels from learn to play/mite through Junior hockey and College and have been involved in hockey at so many levels, that I have seen and experienced. Rather than trying to motivate my son, I created an enviroment for him that fostered development. It all started with a net and bucket of pucks in the back yard, i probably spent more on pucks and balls then private lessons, add the shooting board, add a shooter tooter. Add a basket ball and hoop and a football, get him a baseball mit, though with him, teach him to through off the wall, while it will drive you crazy, it helps them. Buy them rollerblades, kep them working, which means wheels. Be willing to take them to the park and find friends and teammates with simular intrest. Introduce them to the different levels of sports, for hockey, take them to a college game, and some of the junior games. I was luckey to have coached many kids that went on to play high level junior, ncaa and pro hockey that I could introduce him and his friends to. It is amazing how easy it is for a young kid to have someone to look upto and learn from. This keeps them involved and out of trouble and builds on a solid fondation. I would recomend reading thebook "The Talent Code" it is one of many that has helped me understand development in a different way. I don't have all the answers and the hockey world has changed so much over the years. Like anything, do your research, make good decisions, turn off the negative people that say your kid will never make the NHL so why bother, most of them all Jealous and according to the odds they are right, but it is about so much more. All of these kids are heading to the beer leauge, wether it is hockey, sofball or golf, it is envidable, but they will learn to compete, make life long friends and memories. It is all about the journey and the people you meet along the way. My son is still in the middle of his journey, I don't know where it will take him and I oftem struggle with helping him make the decisions that will affect his life, but I can say he has far exceeded my expetations as an athlete and has become a better person because of it. I look forward to watching and supporting him. Good luck and hope I helped, take my advise and apply as you feel suits you best.

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1 minute ago, mrfreeze said:

I have spent $0 or very very little on any private instructions. His instructions has been included in the programs he has been involved in. I have however invested in private stregth coach and have saw the benifits of it and can not say enough about spending your time and money in this aspect over pouring in money on private lessons. Mutiple sports is so important. When it comes down to any sport including hockey, I think the best players are the best athletes and have control and cordinations of their bodies. It is so hard so many people are trying to keep up and think playing sports 365 is the way to get ahead. I know cause I struggled with it, helping my son and guiding him. Coaches want you for spring and summer hockey, everyone is doing lessons and this goes for all sports. My son was a very good baseball player, but it was frowned upon, that he would not play fall ball or all year and only played spring and summers, he was also pressured to make all spring and summer hockey events, group training, spring games, pick up, you name it the phone was always ringing. Throw in LAX, roller hockey and just being a kid and going swimming and playing pickup basketball and football, it is tough to do it all. I took a different approach then most, the strength and cordination training was key to all of it. As also previosly stated, your child has to want to do particapate or you are wasting time and money, and I see it all the time. Burnout is huge and as they get older it increases. I was lucky enough to play growing up as well as coached at many levels from learn to play/mite through Junior hockey and College and have been involved in hockey at so many levels, that I have seen and experienced. Rather than trying to motivate my son, I created an enviroment for him that fostered development. It all started with a net and bucket of pucks in the back yard, i probably spent more on pucks and balls then private lessons, add the shooting board, add a shooter tooter. Add a basket ball and hoop and a football, get him a baseball mit, though with him, teach him to through off the wall, while it will drive you crazy, it helps them. Buy them rollerblades, kep them working, which means wheels. Be willing to take them to the park and find friends and teammates with simular intrest. Introduce them to the different levels of sports, for hockey, take them to a college game, and some of the junior games. I was luckey to have coached many kids that went on to play high level junior, ncaa and pro hockey that I could introduce him and his friends to. It is amazing how easy it is for a young kid to have someone to look upto and learn from. This keeps them involved and out of trouble and builds on a solid fondation. I would recomend reading thebook "The Talent Code" it is one of many that has helped me understand development in a different way. I don't have all the answers and the hockey world has changed so much over the years. Like anything, do your research, make good decisions, turn off the negative people that say your kid will never make the NHL so why bother, most of them all Jealous and according to the odds they are right, but it is about so much more. All of these kids are heading to the beer leauge, wether it is hockey, sofball or golf, it is envidable, but they will learn to compete, make life long friends and memories. It is all about the journey and the people you meet along the way. My son is still in the middle of his journey, I don't know where it will take him and I oftem struggle with helping him make the decisions that will affect his life, but I can say he has far exceeded my expetations as an athlete and has become a better person because of it. I look forward to watching and supporting him. Good luck and hope I helped, take my advise and apply as you feel suits you best.

I could not agree more.  My oldest son played lacrosse and soccer in the spring and summer until he was a sophomore in HS, which became a break from the ice just to get a break.  This also included strength and conditioning a few times a week.  Undoubtedly it made him a better hockey player in the long run, and I always remember the spring hockey coaches giving him shit and pressuring him to play on their money-grab spring teams.  How many kids get burned out because the parents think in order to play at a high level they have to play hockey all year long?

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7 hours ago, sadday4hockey said:

So nice. The Snowflake himself found a friend in mrfreeze.

Come again Q?  Stop the steal?  🤡

Marjorie and Q-Bert say hi. 

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Ben and Bruce Hanus at PIA do a great job. They work them hard and get a lot out of the kids, without making it where the kids dread going there. If you're looking for hard-ass coaching, yelling, being loud, and whatnot, then they aren't the coaches for you. Like I said, they work the kids hard, but are positive and encouraging. They genuinely care about the kids' devolopment. That said, if a kid wants to work at 80% instead of 100%, there's not a lot anyone can do. It's mostly up to the kid as to what they get out of it. 

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