Monday, December 5, 2011

Feeling the need for speed!

Well there's a video series for that. Speed For Free with Brian Orser.

In fact there's dozens of videos at They cover Learn To Skate, Warming up, Dance, Spins, Jumps, and a few other things.

I purchased about 20 videos (and one e-book) in the areas I'm interested in, and decided to do a review.

First, let's talk about the quality of the videos. You've all seen skating videos on YouTube where an ambitious coach gets a camera and a mike and makes a video. I can say, these are much, much better than those. The coaches are radio miked and clearly understandable. The videos are clear, with appropriate use of slow motion, close ups and other effects. The videos are either made on an empty rink or a lightly attended freestyle. There's no music playing in the background. Overall, a plus for production values.

The coaches are personable, and well informed. I found some useful tips in the videos I ordered, and the lessons were well organized. Occasional choppy editing, led to abrupt endings in some videos. The coach would finish a word, and bang! the video was over. The lessons are each about 2 minutes long, so there's not much leeway for expansive discussions. Inside those time restrictions, these videos work very well.

Of the videos I ordered, I found they worked best when addressing a narrow, specific topic where visual explanations are required. I also found the coaches spoke as if addressing an adult (which was okay by me).  Since I only pulled videos out of Learn to Skate, Dance, and Warming Up, I can't make any comments about the spin, jump and spiral videos.

But, when I went to the website, it has its problems  Although the videos are organized in several groups, these didn't always line up.   Learn to Skate and Warming up both had Back Crossover videos from different coaches. Videos in a sequence would be spread through out the list rather than lumped together. Videos weren't listed in any order I could discern. Use the search box to locate the topics you want.

Purchasing videos was straightforward. However, you can accidentally buy two of the same video if you press the 'buy' button twice. This can happen because videos in a series have similar names. Check your list very carefully. This is buyer error, not a website error.

If you order more than 10 videos, use the coupon code TENPACK and you'll get a 40% discount. It's also possible to order all the videos on a USB drive. Each video is $4.99.

The videos are mp4. They played on my Mac in Quicktime. They don't work through iTunes. C'set la vie.  (edit) I have since found that they do work through iTunes. I had to load them into the library.

Worth it? Yes. Lots of good tips and detailed video.  Professional, well informed coaches.
Cons: Be careful when you order to avoid duplicates. Use the search box to find videos you want.

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