In the past year, two STEAKS® CRW members have become certified skate instructors. Helly Monster got certified in France, while B000M got certified in the US. We thought this was a good time to ask them about their experience, the programs they chose, their reasons for choosing them, and their motivations for becoming skate instructors.
Choosing a skate instructor program
When wanting to get certified as a skate instructor the obvious first question will be: which program do I choose? Knowing your options and knowing what you want to get out of your certification is key. Especially if you have many different options to choose from in your country. But sometimes, the choice is made easy:
Helly’s reason for choosing the CQP program:” In France, if you want to be a roller skate teacher and want a certification (to be professional or volunteer) you can only get certified through the French Federation (the “FFRS”, the Fédération Française Roller & Skateboard), which is the responsible organisation for rollerbladers, roller skaters, skateboarders and now scooter skaters. So my choices were limited. There are only two certifications available in France:
- The “CQP” (Professional Qualification Certification), which is a certification ruled by the professional Sports Convention in France.
- The ”DEJEPS“ (State Diploma in Youth, Education and Sport), which is the same but also allows you to be a director of a sports structure and to work with high competitive level athletes.
You can’t do the DEJEPS program if you haven’t done the CQP yet, even if there are a few exceptions.”
B000M’s reason for choosing the Skate IA program:” Skate IA was the only accessible certification program that offered instructor and student insurance alongside their certification program which is why I chose it.”
Two skate instructor programs - two very different learning experiences
Program choices are not the only international skate instructor program differentiator. Turns out the training duration can vary strongly depending on the certifications available in your country. B000M was able to get her first certification done during a three-day course with Skate IA. Helly participated in a five weeks course by the French Federation FFRS, which also required her to give a certain amount of skate lessons before being able to take her final exams. This obviously affected the total time frame of Helly’s certification period, which ended up taking seven months in total.
B000M on the Skate IA program: “Last August I became a Level 1 certified skate instructor with Skate IA. The certification starts on Fridays with a three-hour-long online theory where they explain the structure of instructing and other helpful tips. On Saturdays and Sundays, the in-person training goes on for 8 hours where you learn a variety of skills and how to properly instruct them based on the Skate IA curriculum. On Sundays, you take both a written and physical exam and upon passing - you become a certified instructor!
They teach you a variety of essential teaching skills - some of which were even new to me even though I have a decade of teaching and about 5 years of coaching junior roller derby under my belt.”
Skate IA offers numerous consecutive courses and certifies their instructors in a way that they can gather their practical experiences quite quickly while teaching beginners. After a practical phase, interested instructors can return and get additional training and certifications. The French Federation on the other hand gets all the training as well as a minimum of practical experience done, before graduating instructors.
Helly on the CQP program: “(...) On a timeline of 7 months, we had 5 weeks of lessons. We also had a minimum number of hours of lessons to give (70h this season) and at the end, we had exams. We needed to hand in a document with an annual cycles program we designed and we had to do an internship report (because we had to teach in a structure). We were evaluated in a session where we had to create most of the lesson subjects, and we had to work on a project within our roller skaters group.
We learned how to teach the basics, but also how to skate in skateparks, slalom and high-jump. We learned how to organise a lesson and a seasonal program, how to adapt the lesson to the people you teach and how to do the administrative work. We learned too how the French Federation works. It’s mainly focused on rollerblades but my learning group had some quad skaters so they tried to adapt to us.”
What can skate instructor programs teach you that you don’t already know?
Both B000M and Helly each had coaching experience before deciding to become certified skate instructors. They both have volunteered as coaches within their roller derby leagues. B000M has been coaching Gotham Junior Roller Derby & Helly conducting beginners skate classes during her time with Nantes Roller Derby. They even have experience instructing skatepark meetups and have been giving fellow skates the occasional tips at the park. Even though they had this experience they both felt they needed or wanted extra training and them ended up benefiting from their programs:
Helly:” (...) I wanted to have more knowledge to help people in a better way. The instructor program helped me to organise my work better. It helped me learn new skills that I can now teach and to be sure I can teach them safely.”
B000M: “(...) The Skate IA certification program primarily taught me how to instruct more effectively by minimizing explanations and repetition.“
For the love of Quad, Efficiency and Safety!
In the end, a certification can help you streamline prep time, build on the teaching skills you already have and teach you completely new skills or you can integrate them into your training. Other than enhancing your skillset, you might have additional motivations when embarking on your skate instructor journey. Some of that motivation might also determine which program you end up selecting (if you have choices). B000M chose a program that also offered insurance for the instructors and students, which is a smart move! Some research into the matter will surely pay off.
But at the end of the day, when you have found a program that checks all the business, efficiency and safety boxes you require, the magic happens when you get to share your love for your sport with your student. Or as Helly puts it:
“I just want people to enjoy roller skating, feel free and be happy thanks to roller skating. In these difficult times, I would love to offer a moment where people forget everyday life and do something for themselves that brings them joy. Roller skating, whatever the discipline, can bring you so much confidence and that’s what I want to give to my students.”
We fully support this! The world needs more skate instructors like Helly and B000M!!
Want to get coached by B000M or Helly?
B000M coaches in NYC, USA. She wants to keep teaching junior roller derby skaters but also skaters interested in beginner skate park skills. Hit her up with an individual list of skills that you would like to tackle. She will make it her goal for you to learn those skills. You can email her at email@example.com for rates and times for 1-on-1 instruction or you can register for Junior Roller Derby classes at www.gothamrollerderby.com
Helly coaches in Biarritz, France. She can help you out with skating basics, skatepark skills and - as a former dancer of 10 years - is currently working on her own roller dance skills to teach them in the near future. You can contact her via her Instagram @hellymonster for 1-on-1 lessons or you can become a member of @euskalrollerderby where she is coaching groups.