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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old April 22nd, 2012, 12:48 AM   #1
bjvircks
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Default "growing the sport" and "local involvment"

Our state ice speed skating association (which presently involves about 6 adults and as many kids) is in its infancy. With very little exposure or visibility it is difficult to attract new participants.

Four of the adult ice association members are skating Inline marathons.

Our city, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, used to be a hotbed of long track ice skating decades ago. but things went dormant.

I'd like to hear of various ways folks promote locally.

Understanding that money talks... I'm thinking that local businesses support the club to get their name in front of the public. We (club skaters) show up in fun places & races (in suits with our supporter's logos, etc). Local news outlets then get pressured by the local businesses to show us skaters doing our thing. Others then get bit by the 'Hey... that looks FUN!' bug and seek us out.

While I'm primarily talking about ice here... I'm thinking that INLINE is the best way for us to promote.

Thoughts? Input?
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 02:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjvircks View Post
While I'm primarily talking about ice here... I'm thinking that INLINE is the best way for us to promote.

Thoughts? Input?
Ohhh. In my honest opinion I don't think that's a good plan. I would side on the position of "promote inline for inline" and "promote ice for ice". In a broad general sense the public is stupid - you show up on inlines and say you're promoting ice most people will respond with a dumb look and say "Huhhhhhhh???"

Promoting ice skating in any form is much more challenging than inline. Why? Because ice skating can only happen where there is ice - at an ice rink. With inline skating you can get people's attention on any city street/sidewalk/trail/etc.

If you're trying to get sponsorship dollars for ice, I would suggest you create an inline+ice club. If you can get sponsorship for this inline (greater public visibility), then you can allocate some of the funds to support the ice club.

That's my 2

Your milage may vary...
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 02:31 AM   #3
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Inline should be easy to promote compared to Ice, you can get out there and be seen. club shirts for training should always be worn and a few business cards with web address or Facebook page details and contact details should be carried in a small zip lock bag so that if you are ever asked any questions when you are training by yourself so you can hand out a card and get back to it. Have the time and venue of regular club training session and an invite to come along for free lessons or to try out.

Pool your old equipment and snap up any bargains on eBay so you have loan equipment for these sessions and make sure it is in the boot of your car. Ensure that at least one member is ready to cancel their palns for the session so that any newcomers feel welcome and want to come back.

Don't wear skinsuits when training, just tights and a t shirt as skinsuits make the sport look scary and lots of people are turned off by the thought of having to wear them.

You need to write up your own press articles and make sure you have a good photographer at events and all races. You need to write up an article and provide race results to the local papers within a day of the event with some good photos of the local skaters in the lead of the pack or standing on the podium.

Somebody needs to record details of the races and lead changes etc so the articles can be written covering gutsy breakaways, long sprints, etc so the article can be written in a style which sounds exciting not just the result.

Speak to the editor of the local paper or sports editor as they will tell you the format they like and deadlines, ensure you provide notice of any race events locally a week before they start.

If you do this you may get a few articles in the paper as they are always looking for content without doing the work.

My wife has been doing this stuff for a local sports club which we have been building and have had a number of half page articles (including photo) over the past few years and this is for a small sport with only a dozen players in the district and less than 200 in the country.

Good luck with your efforts.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 07:01 PM   #4
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Skin suits are scary. Especially the first time you wear one in public. They hid nothing.

What we are doing in my area is through the local recreational department setting up a rink in a high school gym, then inviting the public.

The first one got about twenty skaters, and lots of lookie-loos.

I am of the philosophy that speed is not for everyone. But with the diverse world of skating there is something for everyone so we included dance, freestyle, speed, derby and session skaters.

In the intrest of full disclosure I skate short track speed, marathons, team dance and figures. I am also part of a group who is trying to open a new rink.

It was loads of fun and we cannot wait for the next one.

We also had a raffle, and passed out passes for the local rink.

Katy
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 04:03 AM   #5
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Take it from me - Think small ... and build on it.. whatever you end up doing

As has been said.. ice for ice, inline for inline - Ice people, with respect, sometimes have trouble accepting the inliners. If you can pull it off, more power to you , but I think thats a futile cause

NOW - What does work is working with the ice community, skating each other's practices, etc - That is sort of like cross pollinization, so to speak

Cass has some awesome ideas - Follow those
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 04:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roto View Post
In a broad general sense the public is stupid - you show up on inlines and say you're promoting ice most people will respond with a dumb look and say "Huhhhhhhh???"
Yes, very much the case if folks are left on their own to 'connect the dots' between one item and another. Our thoughts were to just get active people on inlines. Those active people are more likely to participate in multiple activities and have friends that do likewise. If some migrate to ice... all the better.

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Originally Posted by cass38a View Post
Inline should be easy to promote compared to Ice, you can get out there and be seen.
you'd think so, but it isn't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cass38a View Post
Don't wear skinsuits when training, just tights and a t shirt as skinsuits make the sport look scary and lots of people are turned off by the thought of having to wear them.
Ain't that the truth!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMA View Post
What we are doing in my area is through the local recreational department setting up a rink in a high school gym, then inviting the public.
good thought... we've never done any indoor, but regularly set up a six lap outdoor track.
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... speed is not for everyone.... there is something for everyone so we included dance, freestyle, speed, derby and session skaters.
We've got none of any other disciplines that we know of... but should go looking!



Our city is trying to build up itself into a "Blue Zone" healthy lifestyle area. Skating of all types play right into that theme. We could insert ourselves into community discussions about trails and programs. Our club was asked about participating as instructors for the Learn To Skate program offered at our ice arena. We'd be teaching the same intro material as the others... but we'd be on our speed skates.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 10:25 AM   #7
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The Hill Country Inline Club in Austin, Texas is one of the larger clubs. The officers work hard to promote it. I asked for a handful of business cards, and I hand out about two a week now, sometimes more. We're lucky enough to have the veloway to center on, and frequently get cyclists to draft the speed skaters.

The Texas Road Rash is a marathon event that helps spread the sport as well. Our president, Nicole Fisher, puts in a LOT of work on behalf of HCIC and the RR, so it takes dedication to build and keep growth and interest momentum.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 07:55 PM   #8
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hi,

here in Berne, Switzerland we have the so called "Inline Night Bern" event. This event takes place every second Monday from May to Septemer, it's organized by the City of Berne and attracts from 300 - 600 Skaters (Quads, Aggressive, Fitness and some Speedskaters).

http://www.inlinenightbern.ch/inb/ (in German)

This kind of event makes Skaters visible and encourages others to skate as well.

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