Ice skating teaches students problem solving skills
By: Bri Heaney
St. Louis Community College—Meramec offers an ice skating class for students to learn to skate or refine their skills all while learning valuable life lessons, according to skating instructor Susan Smith.
Smith says she loves to “pass on the enjoyment of ice skating”, and to “see that the kids learn more than they think they actually could.” Ice skating also allows students to get involved in other related sports.
“I just love hockey, and I thought ice skating would be a perfect way to get a physical education credit,” student Trey Breunig said.
Smith shared similar thoughts.
“It opens a whole new world of activity that is lifelong,” Smith said.
“Getting credit doing something I could go do out with my friends, it’s exciting; it’s fun,” student Heather Sheppard said.
Some students are just learning to skate, while others are learning to put on the brakes.
“I could skate but was not able to stop or go backwards.
I would just basically run into the wall until I caught myself,” Sheppard said.
Smith said she has had students from all points on the spectrum of experience, and has even had students love the class so much that they went on past the class into a career.
“There was one girl at one point in time where she liked it [ice skating] so much that she got a really good pair of skates, practiced all the time and eventually became one of the teachers here,” Smith said.
However Smith said the opportunities to expand go past just learning new skills on the rink.
“One of the things that I feel skating gives everybody is the ability to work through problems,” Smith said.
Smith said the key to skating is problem-solving.
“As you are learning, something goes wrong in skating all the time, and the result is falling and you get right back up and try it again, and so you’re problem-solving the entire time that you are skating,” Smith said.
“What’s going on? Why am I off balance? What is causing me to fall? So you are constantly problem-solving and you have to think ahead of what you’re doing, because if you think about it afterwards it is already too late; you’ve fallen.”