A coach performs two primary functions: one is to teach and the other is to train. Teaching involves instructing a student on how to perform the basics and helping him or her become a stronger and more consistent skater. Training helps a student become a strong, consistent, physically fit athlete who can move from test level to competition level and, finally, to the big championships. Both are similar, and instructors always return to teaching students that are in training as new skills are needed.
Gary has been teaching in Reston, Virginia, U.S.A. since 2001. Many of his students have participated in competitions, and many have won medals. Gary often skates with his students at annual competition events such as Pro-Am Competitions.
Gary teaches many different people of all ages. His classes include groups of children and adults who learn together on the ice for the first time, as well as private lessons in which people, ages 5, 17, or 70, can learn in a one-to-one setting, whether they are experienced or have never skated before. Either way, Gary imparts the same techniques to each of his students according to the same teaching standards.
In addition to teaching ice dancing, Gary teaches moves in the field (MIF), which covers many different edge exercises and steps sequences. Each level has different exercises that increase in difficulty and performance expectations. In MIF, there are two tracks (just as there are in ice dance): Standard and Adult testing. Skaters over 50 years of age may test ice dancing at a masters level, which brings the total passing score down, making it easier and less demanding to execute the steps.
Gary's enjoyment of figure skating is infectious; he loves teaching and passes his love of skating on to his pupils. He delights in watching them smile as they practice what they have learned. As a former competitor and champion, he understands the perseverance and discipline necessary to become a skillful skater. However, he doesn't focus only on competitive skaters but also on pupils who skate for fun and individual achievement. He starts simply with the basics, then helps his students learn each dance or MIF so that they can test and compete, if they so desire.
Gary feels honored to help his students reach their goals; he views it as a way of assisting the future of America in his own special way. For photos of Gary with his pupils at competitive events, visit the Student Competitions section of the Gallery page.
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