Over the years I've spoken with many World Champions and many successful coaches, from many different countries, cultures and backgrounds... always trying to learn a little more, and see skating from a different perspective. Since 1987 until present day, one common thing they nearly all say is that they feel and listen to their skates and their body. And after talking with thousands of non-world-champions since 1987 until today it's apparent that this is one thing that they have not discovered how to do, or don't do regularly enough.
So exactly what do we mean? "Feel and Listen";
When was the last time you just went out and "played" with technique? I don't mean "trying to do it RIGHT", but just experimenting and see how it feels to do something different with your edges, your hips, your position, your body movement etc.
DISCOVERY is the key. Trying to go out and DISCOVER how things work for YOU on skates. This way you learn to listen and feel. Many skaters spend far too much time "Trying to do it RIGHT", doing exactly what the "coach" (instructor) says and not using enough time on "discovery", "playing" and "experimenting" with their skates.
If you begin to listen to what they are saying, (I also mean the SOUND that the wheels are making on the ground) this can give you valuable feedback as to what is happening to you skates, and to the energy and forces you are putting in to them.
Feeling the forces that affect your skates and your body can give you valuable information as to how things are working with your body. Feeling the pressure, feeling the acceleration from each step, feeling the "waiting moment" and the "fall moment", or just feeling something new for the first time. This only happens if the coach creates the right environment for this to happen. And a good coach will follow up with questions about how it felt and what you experienced. Try it for yourself.
Let's go faster,