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Inline Skating for Kids

 
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How to choose a  sport Why participate in sports When to start sports

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Sports for the child that does not like teams Sports and keeping Healthy
How to locate sports programs Selecting Cleats Preparing your child for not making a team
Benefits of Summer Camps Creating a sports bulletin board  

AGE GROUP

BOYS AND GIRLS 7 AND UP

Inline skating, also known as rollerblading, is becoming a very popular sport.  Rollerblading can be a terrific, fun form of exercise.  It is a sport that can be done almost anywhere and anytime.  It offers everything from fun and fitness to highly competitive training and racing.  As long as you have your gear you can use walking paths, parks, basketball courts, private driveways, and bike paths.  You are free, unless otherwise restricted by the location, to skate at anytime of day.  In-line skating is for people of all ages.  It is something that you can do with family, friends or alone.

EQUIPMENT

It is important to know what you are doing prior to strapping on the skates. You must always skate smart.  There are thousands of  injuries related to in-line skating each year.  So it is extremely important to wear safety equipment and be aware of and respect other people at all times.  Safety equipment includes:

  • Helmets, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads are a necessity

  • Added protection can be provided by long sleeved shirts and long pants.

To further ensure your safety it is important that your skates fit properly, equipment in good working condition  and  you skate on safe surfaces. 

Most in-line recreation skates have a brake located on the heel  rather than the toe.  It is very important that you learn how to stop properly for your safety and the safety of others.

PURCHASING INLINE SKATES

In-line skates are used for hockey, racing, fitness training, recreation, freestyle skating, and cross training for other sports.   There are models designed for each of these activities.  So your interests are pertinent in getting the right skates. In addition, your skills and activity level will also determine the right skate for you.

 

Recreational skates are designed for leisure.  Comfort and durability are priorities and these skates are usually equipped with 4 wheels.

Aggressive skates are designed for stunts, jumps, riding rails and half pipes. This type of skate is designed to be sturdy and provide maneuverability. 

Hockey skates are similar in style to traditional ice skates.  Designed for durability. Usually have lace-up closures and no braking system.

Speed skates are designed to be light weight for fast skating.  They will have a fifth wheel for stability and longer strides and larger wheels to help with acceleration.

Women's skates are designed to accommodate a woman's calf and foot.

 

Once you have determined your needs you must decide on your budget. You will find that skates come in all prices.  You should plan on spending at a minimum $50 for good pair and approximately $100 for the advanced, serious skater.

You will find that there are many different types and brands of in-line skates.  Spend some time researching different skates.  Pay particular attention to the different types of wheels, brakes and boots.  

Wheels come with two numbers. The first tells you the size of the wheel. The second focuses on the hardness of the wheel. The bigger the wheel, the faster you go and the longer it lasts. A softer wheel the smoother the ride, but it won't last as long. Beginners should purchase skates with softer wheels because they will  help them to slow down and remain stable. Softer wheels are typically known as 72 durometer wheels. The most common wheel choice is 78 durometers. An 82 durometer wheel is good for varied terrains and racers or experienced skaters use harder wheels which are 85 durometers.

Check the brakes to be sure they are proper for you. It should be on the right skate for a right-handed person and on the left skate for those that are left-handed

You can purchase in-line skates at inline specialty stores or large sporting goods stores.  Go to the store and try on different brands to see how they feel. You should take the socks that you will wear when you will be skating.  Make sure you stand while wearing each pair, they may feel like they fit great while sitting down and can put pressure on your ankles and toes when you stand. Try both skates on at the same time and skate around the store, on carpet of course to avoid injury, to make sure they feel comfortable.

The right skates should feel sturdy, secure and fit much like a shoe around your foot.  While the Internet provides retailers with great deals on skates, don't even consider it unless you know exactly what you want and the size that properly fits you.

For very young children Fisher Price has a beginner model that they will love and that is very popular.  As they get older and advance it is smart to purchase adjustable size skates.  This way you can adjust the skate as your child's foot grows.  This is what I purchased for my children and it proved to be a great selection.  They are a little more expensive but you will save in the long run. 

SKATING LESSONS

Lessons are a good idea and will help your child learn quickly and get through the first skating session without injury but they are not necessary to learn to skate. 

Your child can however learn and develop good skills  by skating with friends their age or by chasing after a tennis ball with a hockey stick.   You should go this route only if your are available for support. It is similar to teaching them to ride a bike, you must be there to help. You should select a location for learning to roller blade that is safe. The terrain should be relatively flat and smooth and you do not want people around that could cause distraction.  I taught my kids in our own driveway but you could also use a basketball court or vacant parking lot.

If you decide to have your child take lessons it is usually best to wait until they are around the age of 7.  Prior to this most children lack coordination and the attention span necessary for lessons.  Certified instructors can be found in the following places:

  • The Inline skating resource center website: click here Certified instructors.

  • Local Phone directory

  • Skate shops or sporting goods stores will usually have the names of local instructors.

  • Local roller skating rinks or skate parks.

You can get either private, semi-private or group lessons.  Private will cost approximately $40 to $60, and group will run about $15 to $20.  Semi-private will usually be a discount off of the private rate.  You will need to find out if gear is included in the price, is an additional cost or if you have to provide your own.  Lessons are not necessarily just for beginners, advanced skaters can take lessons that focus on a particular skill. 

Happy Blading!!