Rock ‘N Roll

In-line skating is one of the fastest growing recreational sports in the United States. Why? Because in-line is a fun, low-impact, life-long activity that is great physical exercise for the whole family.

Schools are beginning to teach in-line through the Skate in School Program provided by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and Roller Blade.

Recreation programs are also beginning to include in-line skating as part of their program activities offered to kids and adults. Yes, adults of all ages are beginning to take up in-line, some side by side with their children. Why not camps?

Starters

For beginning skaters you need a grass or carpet area and a smooth-surfaced area. First teach the skill and technique on grass/carpet, then, move to pavement or floor.

In a town/city camp setting look for large parking lots surrounded by grass areas. School lots are great during the summer. Other ideas include dead end roads, gymnasiums, roller rinks, or cafeteria facilities.

Being outside is not a must. You will need the first couple of days just to teach them to put on equipment properly and learn the Rules of the Road, which follow shortly. Having a small area prevents beginning skaters from going too fast at first.

For more advanced skaters, look for parks, bike trails, large gymnasiums, roller rinks, skate parks, and safe streets. Even intermediate and advanced skaters can be challenged in small areas with just a few cones and some interesting obstacles, equipment or ramps.

For camps located in rural areas, look for paved roads, large indoor facilities (like a mess hall), or try the floor in the cabins.

Campers first need to be taught about protective gear and skates, how to put them on, how to maintain them and why it is important to wear gear.

Next, in progression, should be learning the aforementioned Rules of the Road, how to fall using protective gear, how to get up, and the basic skills of moving, stopping, and turning.

Highly recommended is the progression of skills offered by the International In-line Skating Association (IISA). The IISA provides lessons from certified teachers and certification programs to become a certified teacher.

The IISA Web site provides helpful hints for teaching kids and activities to keep them practicing basic skills. I would recommend certifying at least one counselor or the camp director.

Roller Blade and the National Association of Physical Education and Sport provide the Skate in School program that would be very adaptable for use in the camp setting.

Every good camp counselor is a good teacher. Using developmentally appropriate teaching practices is the best way for your campers to have fun and learn safe skating and proper technique.

First, and most important, the instructor must be enthusiastic and excited about in-line as well as being knowledgeable about the sport, including skill progression, safety issues, and equipment needs. Second, provide positive feedback to your campers. For some, this is a slow learning process and they need lots of encouragement. For others, this is a boring process, so they need lots of encouragement and challenges.

Third, give lots of corrective, specific feedback to help improve skating and allow them the opportunity to practice.

Other good methodology includes being organized, planning extensions for skill practice, getting campers active, incorporating cooperative learning, and providing fun activities for them to enjoy and learn skill at the same time.

Rules of the Road

Safety first! All participants in any program must wear a helmet and protective gear, wrist, elbow, and kneepads. In-line skating is as safe as any other sport if you “gear-up”, learn the basics and follow the International In-line Association Rules of the Road. So… let’s get rollin’!

Safe skating’s a snap when you remember to SLAP. Skate…

• Smart — Always wear your protective gear — helmet, wrist, elbow and knee pads. Master the basics — striding, stopping, and turning. Keep your equipment in proper working order.

• Legal — Obey all traffic regulations. When on skates, you

should consider yourself to be subject to the same obligations as a bicyclist or a driver of an automobile.

• Alert — Skate under control at all times. Watch out for

road hazards. Avoid water, oil, and sand. Avoid traffic.

• Polite — Skate on the right, pass on the left. Announce your intentions by saying, “Passing on your left.” Always yield to pedestrians. Be a good ambassador for inline skating.

(Source: IISA Rules of the Road, iisa.org)

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