Michelle and I had a skate lesson with Ben Roberts on Saturday morning. It was a group lesson that ended up being just the two of us and which was really good and great value for money.
Ben was my instructor when I had my course at Citiskate. They've since gone their seperate ways but Ben's been in the business for a long time and he's one of those instructors who just wants to teach people, and it shows.
Ben's got some good credentials, he was editor of 1st In-Line magazine and then worked on magazines in the US for a while. He's a photographer who's worked the extreme scene and rubbed shoulders with the best (or so he says ;)) Anyway, he's an all round good guy and his enthusiasm for the sport is wonderful. You feel that he just wants to take as long as it takes to get you skating better. And it works!
We spent a lot of time on the grass doing wierd-feeling balance things, all the time he's looking for different ways to get you to understand the points he's putting across. If you don't get it or feel it then he tries another way; he knows what he wants you to learn and he goes out of his way to get you there; which is unusual in any instructor. Again, it's an enthusiasm thing, he wants to make you better and because of the effort that he's putting into it, you want to be better...
Once we we back on the tarmac the grass practice started to come into its own. Sure we'd been made to stand around on one leg for ages; falling over, or almost falling over; going through movements over and over again; practice and understanding, thinking about what's going on whilst you're standing on your skates. Once back on the road we had to put it all together and it came together surprisingly easily. The grass has a pleasantly safe feel to it and you can go through all the wierdness of stepping onto your outside edge (slowly, gently and controlled) without worrying about ending up flat on your back. Back on the tarmac it all just works... Most of the time ;)
Our lesson was supposed to be 2 hrs, we started a bit late (weather and london underground) but the lesson went way over time and Ben continued to teach with his inate enthusiasm right up until he left us as his tube stop.
Contact: benjamin72 at blueyonder dot co dot uk