Endurance Skating

Training, Racing & LCHF Fueling For Skating And Endurance Sports

Coaching with Sk8Skool

Look, I know… I like to pretend that I know it all. But I really don’t. Yes, when it comes to stuff that one can teach oneself about sports science – physiology, anatomy, nutrition, principles of training – and digging past the bullshit and bro-science from the snake-oil salesmen to find the solid proven advice I can do a pretty damn good job. And even when it comes to putting all that knowledge together into a training lifestyle plan that my better half can tolerate, I don’t know anyone better qualified than myself to do that job… so, you won’t find me employing any “lifestyle coaches” or secretaries any time soon.

However when it comes to evaluating and developing sports specific skills, nearly all of us need a little help. Skills training is an absolutely essential component for all serious athletes in all sports – I can’t think of any exceptions – and especially in such a highly technical sport as Inline. In terms of speed skating the first step most of us can take towards this is to train in a group dynamic and learn from other more able & experienced skaters. Extending further, hiring an experienced coach is the next logical progression – you don’t know what you don’t know, and this is where a coach will help you understand your own weaknesses (and strengths!) and use this as a platform for develop from. I have witnessed first-hand many of my club mates and friends improve massively under the guidance of a good coach.

Coach Sooty

You can learn a thing or two from Coach Sooty

So to this end, I have begun to work with Sutton Atkins – a.k.a. “Coach Sooty” – in order to develop and take my skating to the next level. If you know me personally and take an interest in my skating then you may already know this. 

I have to say that I’m very excited… and also a little nervous; while I have never been afraid of training hard and “doing the work”, it is fair to say that sometimes I have been a little shy of devoting enough time to technique.

As well as a very experienced coach, Sooty is an elite skater with a long and impressive CV, and being Masters category has not stopped him from still regularly winning races outright – in short, he has plenty of skin in the game. Sk8skool is Sooty’s coaching business, and within that he writes a great blog on speed skating and also has a free newsletter which has great articles. 

It’s still early days, but Coach Sooty has already highlighted many areas which I have to work on if I want to improve my technique. The “Fall” which I wrote about in my previous article was just the tip of the iceberg. Sooty has already helped me –

  • Better understand my own skating using frame-by-frame video breakdown
  • identify 4 or 5 key areas which are under-developed
  • suggested key drills to practice
  • provided helpful overall feedback and answered follow-up questions

All this was covered in a single session with follow-up notes.

I have to say that having a video review and watching your own skating being broken down and analysed frame by frame by a coach is the single best thing that you can do for your own skating, if also one of the most depressing – we all skate like a world champion in our own mind, but the video evidence doesn’t lie – yes, your form really does look like that!  

While there are no secret to good basics (eg Bill Begg’s 6 steps to speed), having “on paper” knowledge and understanding are just the beginning – implementation, execution and refinement along the way are everything, and I’m looking forward to working more with Coach Sooty to meet these challenges head on.

So as Coach Sooty likes to say, “Let’s Go Faster!”


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This entry was posted on November 18, 2015 by in Skating, Update and tagged , , , , , .

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