Famed synchronized skater leading off-ice training sessions

Now retired, Becky Tyler is showing East York residents how training goes beyond the ice surface.

Becky Tyler (middle) instructing two participants.  (ZACK BODENSTEIN/EAST YORK OBSERVER)

From the ice to the yoga mat, Becky Tyler has done it all.

After many synchronized skating accomplishments — most recently her induction into the Skate Canada Western Ontario Hall of Fame — Tyler, 22, has a new passion: teaching.

She’s giving off-ice lessons four times a week for about 50 East York Skating Club members, aged 6-15. They’ll run for the entire 2017-2018 season.

Though skating is Tyler’s biggest strength, her love for teaching is a close second.

“There’s no greater sense of accomplishment than hearing them get so excited about accomplishing one of their goals, no matter how little it is,” Tyler said.

Tyler attributed the on-ice success she’s had with NEXXICE Senior to the importance she placed on her off-ice training.

Susan Ord-Lawson registered her 12-year-old daughter for the program.

“I feel it’s really important to have an off-ice program, which helps with strength, balance, flexibility and conditioning,” Ord-Lawson said.

“It helps complement other elements, like free skate, jumps and spins.”

East York is one of the few skating clubs in the city to offer this in the session’s packages.

That makes it cost-effective and accessible, since the complex is right behind the arena.

Tyler’s qualifications make her a perfect fit.

“She has skating experience, a background in her studies, and she’s also doing different training for off-ice areas,” Ord-Lawson said.

Along with her teaching, Tyler is studying kinesiology at York University.

She’s also certified in First Aid and WaterART Aerobics while pursuing Pilates and Personal Training licences.

“I’m trying to get certified in as many things as I possibly can,” Tyler said.

The classes are structured to include calisthenics, pilates, ballet, stretching, dietary advice, and even theatre for on-ice precision.

While the first five all seem obvious for training, Tyler’s inclusion of theatre is a unique twist.

What makes it important?

“Learning how to present in front of a crowd and imagining a crowd that’s not even there, so they can emulate it when they compete,” Tyler said.

“I wanted them to be able to get out of their comfort levels and have the experience of taking on a different persona on the ice.”

It’s gone over well.

“My daughter and many of the other kids really enjoy it,” Ord-Lawson said.

“Becky seems very friendly with the kids; she seems to have the teaching passion, as well.”

Tyler is set to graduate in December, when she’ll look for a job in the field.

“I take every opportunity I can to be on the ice,” Tyler said. “I miss it more than anything,  and I can’t picture my life without it.”