- Who skates?
- Why do they skate?
- What are the physical requirements?
- How long does it take to get good?
Most of us had the opportunity to roll around on a pair of skates as youngsters. And, like most things kids do, it was fun. Whether outdoors or at a rink, we delighted in the thrill of physical movement, a touch of speed, or just being with our friends. Then we grew up.
Everybody who picks up this book has one thing in common: you are intrigued by in-line skating. You may have youngsters of your own now. You may be single or part of a couple. You might be deeply committed to attaining a career goal or to making the most of your leisure hours. You may be a couch spud or a frustrated jock; in the prime of your life or in your "golden years." The good news is that just about everybody who is interested in in-line skating is capable of enjoying the sport to its fullest.
Whoever you are, why haven't you tried in-line skating yet? Perhaps you harbor one of the common doubts:
- What if I hurt myself, or worse, look like an idiot on wheels?
- It must take a long time and a lot of falls to get good enough to have fun.
- It's too hard to control your speed or stop on those things.
Fitness enthusiasts may have other reservations. You already have a regular routine to stay in shape, or a specific sport or hobby that requires physical training. You may see in-line skating as physical, but your concerns are about its cross training value:
- Is it strenuous enough to get my heartbeat up to aerobic training rate?
- How can anything that looks so fun be a good workout?
- Can cross training on skates complement my skiing, biking, running, or (your sport here)?
While more and more people of all kinds are taking up in-line skating, athletes were the first. The ice hockey players in Minnesota who designed the prototypes for today's in-line skates enjoyed their dry-land cross training so much that they started skating for fun, and soon began to share the recreation with their friends. Before long, in-line skates were being mass produced.
Soon, skiers, bicyclists, speed skaters, rowers and many other athletes began to cross train on in-line skates. Now in-line skating itself has generated several new competitive sports: extreme down hills, endurance and short track speed events, street and ramp ("vert") competitions, and, of course, roller hockey, to name the most popular.
Because in-line skating is so easy to learn, convenient, and beneficial to the body, the number of non-athletes the sport attracts exploded in the mid 1990s. People of all ages are no longer intimidated by the misconception that only the fearless or young can learn to skate on a single row of wheels. And they've all come to realize that every moment of pre-skating hesitation turned out to be lost skating time.
The big question is, why are so many people falling in love with their in-line skates? Here are just a few reasons.
- In-line skates are portable and versatile. They can be strapped on for a lunch hour session or for a refreshing evening roll around your neighborhood. They can be waiting in the trunk of your car for the spontaneous whim, or packed as part of your business trip kit.
- A well made skate boot has such good ankle support that first-timers are instantly mobile.
- The learning curve for in-line skating basics is incredibly short compared to sports such as skiing, wind surfing, and tennis.
- Safety on skates can be learned, just like the other skills. Armed with protective gear, the basic moves and a few important safety tips, every beginner can learn to skate with confidence.
- Skating allows great freedom of movement, without restrictive body positions, such as those necessary when riding a bike or using an aerobics apparatus.
- In-line skating complements the "eat your broccoli" forms of exercise: it's invigoratingly fun while keeping your body aerobically fit and burning calories.
- Skating is sociable. When skaters congregate from all over the area at the local skating "scene" they are eager to share the skating experience and their own techniques. It's easy to make new friends on skates.
- In-line skating can be enjoyed without fear of joint stress. The fluid strokes of the forward glide can produce a training heart rate, providing an alternative to high impact aerobic activities like jogging.
- In-line skating improves balance, strengthens every muscle from the lower back to the knees, and stimulates the upper body.
- Used for cross training, in-line skating is a welcome change from specific and repetitive workouts geared toward improved sports-related performance.
- In these times of purposeful pursuits, in-line skating provides a guilt-free excuse to have fun. Studies have shown that the ability to have fun is a requirement to being a well-adjusted person!
In-line skating captures that special kinesthetic joy that comes from unrestricted physical movement. Its stroke and glide are almost effortless and instinctive, giving you the freedom to abandon yourself to the joy of physical expression.
The day you try in-line skating, you will find that within minutes after taking those first tentative strokes, you will be laughing and excited and eager for more. You will feel like a kid again.
You do not need any special balance skills, muscular strength, previous skating experience, aerobic capacity, a stint with the circus, or youth to experience the benefits of in-line skating. A pair of reasonably fit legs is all it takes: if you can climb to your feet from hands and knees without grabbing onto something, you are ready to roll.
As with any activity more strenuous than walking, you must be aware of your physical limitations before starting to skate. If you have a chronic illness or skeletal problems, make sure you talk to your family doctor about your interest in in-line skating before you invest in a pair of your own skates.
If you have not had a medical examination recently, now is the time to get a checkup. After you spend several months of regular in-line skating, you and your doctor will both be impressed when you compare your improved "after" with your "before" condition.
Your internal gyroscope has been constantly improving since you first began to walk. Every balance activity you ever learned is still with you to ease your in-line schooling. This is the reason many people can still ride a bicycle decades after their last opportunity, and explains why people who were enthusiastic roller or ice skaters in years past find in-line skating so easy their first day. For many others, it means "practice makes perfect," because every moment you spend on your in-lines is recorded in that internal gyroscope, constantly increasing the balance history that will always be with you.
While you can learn the basic stride and turns during your first skating session, you should be pretty impressed with yourself after about 20 hours on skates. This is when you start feeling more coordinated and, therefore, more confident. As you read this book, you will go out and repeat each lesson's drills until you feel ready to move on to the next one. Plan on spending a minimum of two hours for each lesson.
Even before you finish the lessons in Get Rolling, many of your friends will be inspired by your skating progress and will want to buy in-line skates for themselves. You will be ready to help them by sharing what you learn in these pages.
If you need to convince some of your more hesitant pals to become your skating partners, just show them this book and watch what happens. Chances are, pretty soon you will be forced to suggest that they buy their own copy of Get Rolling so you can get your copy back!