Every young person wants a skateboard. They look like so much fun, but most kids get a skateboard try it out for a couple of days, maybe even take it to a skate park. Then they get frustrated and leave it somewhere in the house, never to be used again. Like many activities, the way we are introduced to them affects our first impression and the feelings we have for them. Skateboarding can be intimidating, it takes a while to get your balance, and those cool kick flips the bigger kids are doing, they aren’t so easy. If you get hurt your first time out, there is a chance that you will never try again. But skateboarding is a physically challenging outdoor exercise that your kids could benefit from. So, don’t just buy a board a let them go for it. Help them get the right start.
- Equipment: There isn’t a lot of equipment with skateboards. The board itself is a piece of wood (usually) with two sets of axles (trucks) and wheels. With only that, you can skateboard, but it won’t be safe. When your kids start out, they are going to fall all the time. Therefore, you need to get the safety equipment too. Especially a helmet, but also elbow pads, knee pads, and they should have gloves too. Also, on your board you should include grip tape if it isn’t already there. You can buy Grizzly Griptape here. Once you have all the gear, your kids will be able to build up their confidence.
- Starting Out: It is not a good idea to head to the skate park right away. The first thing you need to work on is balance, like riding a bicycle. Staying on a board isn’t difficult, but there is a certain amount of muscle memory that needs to develop before you can move on to the next level. So, find a flat, smooth patch of concrete and have them practice just pushing with the back foot, until they can coast and push some more. Right away, they will figure out how to turn the board by leaning. Once you feel like your child has got this figured out, find some slight inclines, and get them used to changing slopes. They will get this quickly, so when they do, get them to practice some kick turns which is just leaning on the back end and making 90 or 180 degree turns. Get them to try that when they need to turn back down the half-pipe.
- Skate Park: Now they are ready for the skate park. Make sure you go with them and watch their progress. At the park they are going to see every kind of trick and they will try what they feel like they can handle. Make sure your children know that the skate park is the only safe place to practice, except maybe at your home. Skate Australia has information on Skate Park locations.
The next step is to keep encouraging them as they get better. Skateboarding is something kids can teach each other, and if the facilities are well designed, they will get good quickly.