The Skills Review 2021: Best Online Video Courses Taught by Athletes - Rolling Stone
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Team of the Crop: Shaun White, Michael Phelps, Megan Rapinoe Set Online Courses at ‘The Skills’

This new video instruction platform offers sports and wellness courses from some of the biggest athletes in the world

michael phelps the skills online class review

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Staying fit has always been a challenge, whether you’re learning a new sport, committing to a new diet plan or just trying to up your fitness game. But things just got a lot easier thanks to The Skills.

The Skills is a new video instruction platform (somewhat like MasterClass) specializing in high-quality wellness and sports courses taught by professionals. And when we say professionals, we really mean the pros: Shaun White, Michael Phelps and Larry Fitzgerald are just a few of the teachers you’ll find on The Skills. Soccer icon Megan Rapinoe joins the all-star roster of instructors this February. This means you can learn a new sport and get wellness tips from the people who do it better than anyone in the world.

Another reason why we recommend The Skills – besides their top-tier instructors – is their method for approaching a new sport. When learning any new sport, there are the obvious challenges of getting down the techniques and safety measures. But there are also major psychological barriers to push through. The Skills is well aware of this mental side of learning a new sport, with instruction on the basics as well as tips for getting in the right headspace. And at the end of the day, these psychological lessons are just as valuable as getting in shape.

The benefits of The Skills are now even more numerous as we continue to stay at home due to coronavirus lockdowns. The inability to play team sports, plus limited access to the usual range of equipment and zero in-person instruction has made keeping up with fitness and sports challenging at best. With The Skills, there’s no need to risk in-person lessons or training. Just log in from any device and get a quick lesson.

How Does The Skills Work?

The Skills offerings are broken up into two categories: courses and shorts. Courses are taught by A-list athletes and typically contain twenty or more videos. These comprehensive classes total around 100 minutes for the whole course and include tips on everything from technique to mindset.

Shorts are meant to complement full courses, spanning around five sessions each with more disjointed classes that don’t need to be viewed in order. These shorter courses are still taught by world-class instructors, and span from building confidence with Torah Bright to leaning an ollie with Dashawn Jordan.

How Much Does a Course on The Skills Cost?

When you sign up for The Skills, you can choose either an all-access membership or a single-course membership. All-access members can enjoy every course on the website, including shorts, and can stream classes on multiple devices at once. Single-course membership gets you access to one course on one device only. Right now, an all-access membership costs $180 a year (in line with what MasterClass charges) and a single-course membership costs $120 per course (so obviously, getting the annual All-Access Membership is the better deal here).

Note: While The Skills offers a number of lower-commitment “shorts,” you won’t be able to purchase these classes directly. Only people who have the All-Access Membership can access the shorts.

The Best Courses on The Skills

Whether you want to start swimming, learn to play tennis or just improve your morning stretch routine, The Skills can help. Below are some of our favorite courses currently in the website’s (growing) library of classes.

1. Michael Phelps Teaches Swimming

Most of us can swim, but there’s a difference between dog paddling on vacation and swimming for fitness. If you’re looking to unlock the low-impact, calorie-burning benefits of swimming, check out this course from Michael Phelps on This Skills. The 26-time Olympic gold medalist will cover everything you need to feel confidant and comfortable swimming laps. You’ll learn all the basic strokes, plus wall kicking, diving and other techniques, but you’ll also get a glimpse into the mindset of the most decorated Olympian of all time.

michael phelps swimming class

Courtesy The Skills

Michael Phelps Teaches Swimming

2. Larry Fitzgerald Teaches Football

It’s never too late to get better at football, and this course from Larry Fitzgerald makes it easy to learn the sport or up your game. The Cardinals’ wide receiver starts with beginner-level instruction on catching the ball and running, but he then turns things up with lessons on tracking the ball, blocking and proper footwork. The mental side of Fitzgerald’s course is equally wide-ranging, including lessons on everything from the role of a wide receiver to taking care of the community.

Larry Fitzgerald football classes

Courtesy The Skills

Larry Fitzgerald Teaches Football

3. Kerri Walsh Jennings Teaches Volleyball

Volleyball is one of those sports that always looks fun at the beach or gym, but might be too intimidating to jump right into. But with the help of four-time Olympic medalist Kerri Walsh, you’ll be ready to join the fun. And like all courses on The Skills, Walsh’s classes are about more than just the fundamentals. In addition to lessons on serving, passing and attacking, you’ll learn to combat pressure, play with heart and take a loss.

Kerri Walsh Jennings volleyball classes

Courtesy The Skills

Kerri Walsh Jennings Teaches Volleyball

4. Maria Sharapova Teaches Tennis

Finding a good tennis coach can be difficult (not to mention pricey), making this course from Maria Sharapova especially attractive. As anyone who has attempted tennis knows, getting your form and serves on-point requires some guidance. Sharapova offers just that in her high-quality, easy to follow videos, plus some useful drills for improving your game. You’ll also get some of Sharapova’s wisdom around tennis and being a world-class athlete, such as her story of winning the 2004 Wimbledon championship.

Maria Sharapova tennis course

Courtesy The Skills

Maria Sharapova Teaches Tennis

5. Shaun White Teaches Snowboarding

If your first trip to the mountains left you feeling a little rusty on the slopes, check out this snowboarding course from Shaun White. The action sports legend starts from snowboarding 101 with tips on things like safety, picking out a board and turning. He then quickly works up to lessons for intermediate and advanced boarders with lessons on half pipe moves. But snowboarding is a sport of creativity and style, so Shaun spends ample time on the philosophy of snowboarding as well.

shaun white snowboarder tips

Courtesy The Skills

Shaun White Teaches Snowboarding

6. Dashawn Jordan (Shorts)

Among The Skills’ short course instructors is X Games medalist, Dashawn Jordan, teaching a couple of quick videos on street skate tricks. His short lessons include how-tos on classic tricks like the ollie, the pop shove it and the kickflip. There’s also one lesson on positivity, which is something every pro athlete needs for empowering yourself and those around you.

Dashawn Jordan skateboard tips

Courtesy The Skills

Dashawn Jordan (Short)

7. Torah Bright (Shorts)

Torah Bright is a highly decorated pro snowboarder, but she’s also a mom and an expert on overcoming challenges. In her shorts course, you’ll find quick lessons on everything from snowboarding tips to staying fit while pregnant to eating better. These tips are great for everyone – whether you consider yourself a budding athlete or not – but they’re especially good as supplements to a full-length course.

snowboard girl Torah Bright

Courtesy The Skills

Torah Bright (Short)

8. Scout Bassett (Shorts)

Getting over that mental hump and just doing it is one of the biggest accomplishments when it comes to fitness and sports. Of course, getting started can also be daunting and difficult. If you’re like most of us and need some inspiration, check out this collection of short lessons from Scout Bassett. She’s a professional Paralympic Track and Field athlete, getting out there every day despite a prosthetic leg. In this Shorts course from The Skills, you’ll learn what motivates her – and get some fitness tips to boot.

Paralympic athlete Scout Bassett

Scout Bassett (Shorts)

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