At her lesson with the Martha’s Vineyard Figure Skating Club on August 22, Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Wagner began by breaking the tension, and the ice.

“I’m not here to traumatize anyone,” she said, “I’ve fallen a million times in my career. Don’t worry about falling.”

Though a few of the skaters were doubtless still starstruck by the 2014 Olympian, they were ready to get to work.

The lessons on Monday were split between lower and higher ability groups. Ms. Wagner taught skaters drills and exercises to strengthen their core abilities. They slid down the ice doing one-legged squat-kicks and side crunches that many would find difficult even without the added difficulty of balancing on the ice.

She also schooled them in those smaller details that make all the difference in a skating program.

“Watch out for the way you carry your body,” she told the skaters, encouraging them to lower their center of gravity, and demonstrating a series of elegant hand-flourishes. “It’s these things which help you become a great performer.”

Figure skating has a reputation for intensity that was evident on the ice during the lesson.

“It’s a sport that requires a lot of self-motivation,” said club co-coach Jane Elizabeth Taylor.

The club caters to a range of skill levels, from beginners up to the competitive level. Six of its skaters have gone on to compete at a college level.

“You have to have a lot of patience with yourself,” said recent MVRHS graduate Ryan Giordano, who will go on to skate at U.C. San Diego next year. “But it’s a sport you can do with someone else or individually, so you can go at your own pace and reach your own goals.”

That individual character is part of what makes the club so important to its members.

“It’s independent with a community atmosphere, that’s what’s so special about our club,” said longtime member Sally Caron. “We are so lucky to have such a positive and encouraging atmosphere. That’s a big reason that kept me coming back.”

Ms. Caron has been skating with the club for 16 years and comes back from college every summer to join them again, just as Mr. Giordano plans to do.

Ms. Wagner has been a long time Nantucket vacationer, and when she found out that there was a rink full of figure skaters on the Vineyard, she was eager to come visit. She and Ms. Taylor were connected by a mutual friend, and plans were made.

“She has that competitive perspective of skating on a larger scale,” Ms. Caron said, “so I’m hoping she can push us out of our comfort zone.”

Since her retirement from professional skating, Ms. Wagner has been involved with a new project, Skate and Sculpt.

“There’s this mentality that, when you stop skating, you don’t need to be on the ice,” said Ms. Taylor. “That’s what she’s trying to change.”

That was the message she left with the young skaters while concluding her lesson: “Your skating matters, do not let anyone tell you otherwise,” Ms. Wagner said. “Skate who you are — that’s good enough for me.”