Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Steven Schwartz

Second Advisor

Delores Gallo


Standard figure skating training methods focus on rote learning and skill practice. Little or no attention is given to the development of the skater's creative self. As a skater, coach, competitor and professional performer, it is my contention that it is this lack of attention to creativity that contributes to the high rates of burnout and stress-related disorders found in the sport. By enhancing creative development, I believe that confidence levels and levels of intrinsic motivation can be improved which should in turn lead to better, more substantial skill development and more contented skaters. In this paper, I will describe one such program, Creative Skating, that I developed to speak to these concerns. The conceptual framework for this project is grounded in the fields of creativity, education, and psychology, including the work of Teresa Amabile (1996) who has studied extensively the effects of intrinsic motivation; Bernie Warren (1997) who has focused on the use of creativity as a therapeutic tool; and Roger Von Oech (1997) who advocates the value of play for stimulating creativity and breaking the mental set. The Creative Skating method proposed here is intended as a supplement to standard training. This paper examines the problems of standard training methods, describes the Creative Skating method that I have designed, and presents evidence from a small pilot study of adult beginners participating in the Creative Skating workshop, as documented by a companion video tape. The participants' stress and confidence levels were tested by several instruments, including the PANAS measure (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen 1988), a visual self-portrait and a specially designed questionnaire before and after the workshop. The results offered considerable support for my hypothesis. Participants reported greatest gains in the areas of pride, trust in one's body, and confidence suggesting that by enhancing intrinsic motivation through play, adult beginners are better able to relax while skating, and begin to automate kinesthetic skills. Further study of the importance of creativity as a means of increasing intrinsic motivation levels, lowering stress levels and encouraging confidence in acquiring complex motor skills is warranted based on the positive results of this study.