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Author Topic: What makes a great coach - pro/am  (Read 2219 times)
elisedance
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« on: July 22, 2009, 09:33:24 AM »

I've been thinking about this a bit.  The biggest hazzard for me as an AM is a coach that thinks about dance outcome and not my dancing.  By this I mean one that for whom achieving techical or step complexity is more important than getting me comfortable and confident in my dancing.  On the one hand I am ambitious and want to achieve these goals but on the other I realize full well that if I am not relaxed while we are dancing I am going to tense up and not even be able to do the simple steps.

I suspect that this need underlies many of the problems that pro/am (and I distinguish this because you are dancing directly with the coach and do not have luxury of unlimited practise with your partner).  I think many coaches forget this - they expect you to learn the lesson just like an AM couple would despite the fact that you do (usually) do not have the practise time to make your mistakes and establish 'muscle memory'.

IMO the first thing a coach should do is to dance the most simple steps until you feel really at ease - and only then add the complexities, replacing appropriate elements in the routine. 

Anyone else with insight?
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standarddancer
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2009, 11:42:34 AM »

Knows the student’s needs, knows when to correct, when to give encouragement and make the best performance.

I’ve seen great teachers criticize students to a point where student is so confused and so afraid of moving, and they do it right before comp or performance, totally ignore the psychological part of the students.
 
Good pro-am teacher also capable of “covering” students’ mistake on the floor. That’s why you sometimes see certain girls dancing so so with other guys but looking amazing with the pro. The pro covers their mistakes and make them “shine”.
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standarddancer
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 11:46:39 AM »

The pro has to treat students with professionalism, I’ve seen great pro dancing with students at major comp, made up to semi-final. Then pro disappeared, girl nervous searching for pro, then pro texted girl’s friend 2 mins before final that he checked with organizer and they didn’t make final, and he’s expecting the friend to tell the girl that they didn’t’ make final, so he decided to take an early flight back to town, and left poor girl alone at on deck area with upset feeling not making final. Very unprofessional, he should at least tell the girl in person about not making the final cut before heading out to airport.
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 12:39:59 PM »

IMO the first thing a coach should do is to dance the most simple steps until you feel really at ease - and only then add the complexities, replacing appropriate elements in the routine.  

I would agree here. I have had pro/am students do simple silver steps and still make it into finals in the open scholarship. They are comfortable in the steps and the technique and were therefore able to shine. I actually often see the problem you are describing with pro's that are still competing themselves. So you really run into a dilemma here. Do you dance with a actively competing pro that have you dance steps that are not comfortable for you or do you dance with a retired pro that are not as competitive? Everything has a price and you have to look at what you are willing to pay (I am not talking money here). I have often told pro's that are actively competing to simplify the routines in the pro/am competitions. They often forget that it is the couple that is judged in the scholarships and not s/he as an individual. It is better to have the student shine with simple and well executed steps, then to show everybody how good you are (the ego of the pro).

I am sorry if I am a little direct here, but I am just talking from 20+ years of teaching and coaching pro/am.

Knows the student’s needs, knows when to correct, when to give encouragement and make the best performance.

I agree with SD here. There are however not many teachers/coaches that are trained to have/do this until they have years of experience on their back or they have been trained to teach/coach by their teacher/coach.

Just my 2 cents worth!!

Dora-Satya Veda
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elisedance
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 04:02:32 PM »

IMO the first thing a coach should do is to dance the most simple steps until you feel really at ease - and only then add the complexities, replacing appropriate elements in the routine. 

I would agree here. I have had pro/am students do simple silver steps and still make it into finals in the open scholarship. They are comfortable in the steps and the technique and were therefore able to shine. I actually often see the problem you are describing with pro's that are still competing themselves. So you really run into a dilemma here. Do you dance with a actively competing pro that have you dance steps that are not comfortable for you or do you dance with a retired pro that are not as competitive? Everything has a price and you have to look at what you are willing to pay (I am not talking money here). I have often told pro's that are actively competing to simplify the routines in the pro/am competitions. They often forget that it is the couple that is judged in the scholarships and not s/he as an individual. It is better to have the student shine with simple and well executed steps, then to show everybody how good you are (the ego of the pro).

That quandry is a bit more interesting when you think about learning distinct form competing.  I agree that a competing pro wants to strut his stuff - and that can make the am nervous and not shine.  So for a competition that is really an issue.

However, I have also found that a competing pro pushes you much harder to learn - they want you to dance and feel like thier partner and you have to work really hard to get there.  Thus, I have found that (other things being equal of course) the training I get is better with a competing rather than a retired pro.
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etp777
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 04:08:03 PM »

Are we distinguishing between a pro and a coach here for proam?
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emeralddancer
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 04:27:32 PM »

I have a retired pro that pushes me harder than some of the actively competing pros in my studio.

but then again ... I did ask for it Roll Eyes
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It is more important who they are as people and only then is it important who they are as dancers.~Marcia Haydee
etp777
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2009, 04:31:14 PM »

Yeah, toughest pro in our studio is my buddy teacher, and she hasn't actively competed for like 4 years or something.
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 04:55:25 PM »

Are we distinguishing between a pro and a coach here for proam?
As in pro is your partner and coach is someone who teaches you and your partner?

I think this distinction has always been rather blurry - in any case in this discussion I mean the pro IS the coach.  Actually, the distinction there makes more sense in a way - pro for the person you compete with and coach for how that person teaches you  Wink
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
etp777
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2009, 05:00:15 PM »

Yeah, pro, to me, is person I dance with regularly and take lessons with.  Coach is a outside professional, generally with more experience, etc.  Teaching style and skills required are a bit different between the two, too.
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 06:59:22 PM »

But what if you dance with a person that is also 'coaches' (as you describe)?  Wink
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

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emeralddancer
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2009, 09:18:12 PM »

Well .... my PRO is my teacher .... way hard
and he is my coach too .... so yeah way hard.
BUT I also have a mentor/coach who is not a competing pro anymore and is also WAY HARD.
And both of these people in my life (and a few others as well) broke no argument from me at all. I mean they listen to my quibbles and all ... but when it gets down to it ... I get the "so what" from them both. or "what is it you want to do" or "are you in or are you out".

So neither my pro or my coach are easy in any sense of the word. THEY both know what I am capable of handling good and bad. AND I often get pushed to the limits AND beyond. Which now I am (surprisingly or maybe not) much easier for me to deal with (meaning my emotions, instead of "losing it".)

Really the mind is an amazing thing and when you make up your mind to change something, at how surprisingly simple it is.   Roll Eyes took me long enough for sure.

Just both of these people (and maybe it is because neither one is from this country, so their way of thinking is just much more matter of fact and less emotional) take no quarter you know. They give ALL to help me improve and can be quite demanding, rough, hurtful (if you let your personal feelings get in the way) .... but when they are like this .... I had to stop and think that they care, SO .... if they are hard, they expect and demand as much from me as well. SO in the end ... I can do nothing BUT give 150%, shut my mouth, listen, and execute. That or ....

walk away .....

Um ..... not doing that. EVER!!!!!!
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It is more important who they are as people and only then is it important who they are as dancers.~Marcia Haydee
etp777
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2009, 10:50:14 PM »

That's fine ED, as they're not MY coach then, they're someone else's.  Smiley

I know omost of the coaches I work with currently aren't teaching regular students anymore, but a lot of good coaches still do.  Actually, one of main coaches our smooth couple uses has regular students too.  And they place well
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2009, 11:24:54 PM »

Well .... my PRO is my teacher .... way hard
and he is my coach too .... so yeah way hard.
BUT I also have a mentor/coach who is not a competing pro anymore and is also WAY HARD.
And both of these people in my life (and a few others as well) broke no argument from me at all. I mean they listen to my quibbles and all ... but when it gets down to it ... I get the "so what" from them both. or "what is it you want to do" or "are you in or are you out".

So neither my pro or my coach are easy in any sense of the word. THEY both know what I am capable of handling good and bad. AND I often get pushed to the limits AND beyond. Which now I am (surprisingly or maybe not) much easier for me to deal with (meaning my emotions, instead of "losing it".)

Really the mind is an amazing thing and when you make up your mind to change something, at how surprisingly simple it is.   Roll Eyes took me long enough for sure.

Just both of these people (and maybe it is because neither one is from this country, so their way of thinking is just much more matter of fact and less emotional) take no quarter you know. They give ALL to help me improve and can be quite demanding, rough, hurtful (if you let your personal feelings get in the way) .... but when they are like this .... I had to stop and think that they care, SO .... if they are hard, they expect and demand as much from me as well. SO in the end ... I can do nothing BUT give 150%, shut my mouth, listen, and execute. That or ....

walk away .....

Um ..... not doing that. EVER!!!!!!

It sounds like you are describing my dance father and my dance mother. They were hard on me but both were a tremendous help and support to me through out my career. My dance mother is still there with great advice when I need her. I wouldn't be where I am today without them. I will be forever grateful for their care and toughness.

DSV
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"As we understand more things, everthing is becoming simpler"

Edward Teller
emeralddancer
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2009, 11:30:40 PM »

OT ... DSV ... you know the Peter's name came up today. trying to figure out the dynamics still. Will have to wait til tomorrow. But I instinctively know there is not 1 major influence but several and all influences are evident in the teaching styles of those pros. Yet not so evident in mine. This is going to take much more work.

BOT ... that was very much a compliment DSV. Thank you. It is in the caring of the mentors, like parents, that they do these things BECAUSE they care and seek the best in their "children". (even when we do not want to hear it or do it)
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It is more important who they are as people and only then is it important who they are as dancers.~Marcia Haydee
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