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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 March 19th, 2014, 03:20 AM   #1
slowsk8
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Default Dying sport?

This came up in another thread, thought I would give it a thread of it's own.
It's not dying every where, so what makes the difference?
This years team photo. OK, so how do I get the photo to show? http://s1045.photobucket.com/editor?...482_n.jpg.html



Got it.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 04:01 AM   #2
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- Our sport has an exceptionally steep learning curve, especially when
- There are very few skilled coaches around to help, and if
- There are relatively few places to skate regularly, and when
- Many rinks and other appropriate venues actively fight us - with this,
- It costs boatloads of money to skate, especially for kids, whose
- Peers already discourage healthy, character-building activities and whose
- Parents and other proponents are often hard-up for the time and money needed to build interest.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 04:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by eighteen_psi View Post
- Our sport has an exceptionally steep learning curve, especially when
- There are very few skilled coaches around to help, and if
- There are relatively few places to skate regularly, and when
- Many rinks and other appropriate venues actively fight us - with this,
- It costs boatloads of money to skate, especially for kids, whose
- Peers already discourage healthy, character-building activities and whose
- Parents and other proponents are often hard-up for the time and money needed to build interest.
It would seem that my son is extraordinarily lucky, then.

Sure, the first one is valid, though subjective, and plenty of other sports are difficult to get started in. We have a ton of good coaches and rinks that fully embrace speed skating, if not outright vigorously promote it. Sure, it's not cheap, but luckily I already had some parts laying around (starter wheels, bearings, starter frames) and I basically know what he needs (so I'm not relying on a coach that is also making money on their recommendations, which couldn't ever bias a recommendation, ever...) He's 7, first grade, peers don't play in to it all that much; even if it did, Apollo is kind of a local hero around here (J.R. Celski also came from here), so I don't think it'd be that much of a problem. His parents are super interested and Mom has plenty of time.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 09:09 AM   #4
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. To much corruption
. To little resources
. Not enough government funding
. Expensive equipment
. Hard to pick up in the first place

In Australia there is barely any clubs, near enough top no government funding and there is only one state that has developing junior skaters. My club has a lot of people and is the biggest in the country.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 03:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Quadtastic View Post
. To much corruption
. To little resources
. Not enough government funding
. Expensive equipment
. Hard to pick up in the first place

In Australia there is barely any clubs, near enough top no government funding and there is only one state that has developing junior skaters. My club has a lot of people and is the biggest in the country.
no government funding?
I was talking about local inline (or quad) teams.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 04:14 PM   #6
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Default Wait a minute!

I'm not buying the cost gambit. It seems there are plenty of financial resources to give most kids their own iPhones, iPads and everything else electronic, at least here in Southern CA. It is something more than money.
Speed skating is not perceived as being 'Cool' so it doesn't get any traction.

Also, look at the competition: snow boarding, skate boarding. Both sports have their heroes- Sean White, and that old guy Tony Hawk.
I will agree that there are damn few places to skate. I can barely find a empty patch of decent asphalt.

And forget about the government funding skating. Oh... just don't go there!
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Old March 19th, 2014, 10:06 PM   #7
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no government funding?
I was talking about local inline (or quad) teams.
Non-US countries have their national federations and they should support the sport. FIRS invests some of money back to its members, yet I have never seen any of it get past officials in national federation. Government money is non existent because it stops at federation, not at government (at least at us). Imagine we had 2 competitors on World Championship, yet we got rejected because there were not international athletes registered to Olympic Committee list. And why was that - because national federation did not care to send registration form. Simple as that.
I have "international race" with my club next weekend and we will drive to race and back just to have a race. In my country except "open national championship" (which we organize) there is no other competitive skating event just because federation does not even care to organize national championship. How do you expect me to get some kid started? What is even worse is that FIRS is fully aware of situation and they do nothing -> NOTHING!
For me, sport is not dying because it is not cool, but because of bureaucracy and corruption. What motivates kids if not nationals, races, training camps etc. And now to spit even further -since when does Artistic and Speed belong in same federation? All we have in common are wheels - yet speed is far more equal to cycling than to artistic quad.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 12:33 AM   #8
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Default Dying Sport?

I guess I am lucky, central Iowa has a very active speed skating presence and local rinks encourage speed even during open skating.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 01:31 AM   #9
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central Iowa has a very active speed skating presence
are you Tony M? It would be great to come over and check it out sometime! CR is kinda dead.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 06:00 AM   #10
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It would seem that my son is extraordinarily lucky, then.
He is, definitely. You might just be in the best spot in the country right now, though. Here, we're *way* down on facilities vs. even just a couple years ago, never mind 10-15 years ago when things were going well.

I certainly didn't mean all those factors apply to every skater... just that, well...

When life takes ME away from skating, be it a job that takes me 100 miles from a rink, or cuts the budget down so I can't get to practice or keep wheels on my skates, I miss it. Someone who never got into it, or only has the painful memories of trying to get started (often without much coaching)... they don't have much to miss, and they probably won't be back.

All those things don't need to conspire to keep people away - one or two of them will. And no, speed skating isn't necessarily more expensive than being serious about other sports, and anything is difficult to master. But it is more expensive than it is to, say, dabble in baseball, or cycling. And harder - dabbling in speed skating is a tough thing to do... better just to go to the rink, rent your skates a couple times a year and 'skate fast'. And no, it isn't necessarily a wise choice to buy a kid a $500 phone rather than put $500 into skating (or whatever other sport), but you know people do that - exactly my case for lack of parental support.

Every one of these doesn't need to apply to every ex-skater or every prospect who never gets serious, just a couple stack the odds against us, relative to other sports and other non-sports activities. I don't like it... just calling it like I see it from my end.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 01:33 PM   #11
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It's way down here too (Mid-Michigan). The difference between 10 years ago and now is remarkable. Every single skater I knew from that time has stopped skating.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 04:41 PM   #12
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I think ... here is the difference.. and I realize this will either tick people off or confuse some of you..but here goes

1988 - probably one of the Glory years - Everyone was on Quads. People skated outside on quads recreationally..but.. they are much more suited for a rink (please spare me the worlds was on quads.. I dont care.. not my point)

Sessions - Better music which encouraged skating, and not just dorking around.. was played. Also quads are more suited for that sort of skating, Bottom line. This converted to ALOT of people to pull from - Plus there wasnt things like PS4, or Xbox live, sucking up Kid's time.

ALSO - Kids got involved in one things, not 8 things. Most the parents I know have their kids in multiple activities during the week


Fast Forward a bit - 1994 - Inlines Hit hard, BUT, quads are still there. Sessions were full of quad skaters, which really in MY honest opinion require more finesse and skill to learn to be fast on - Many inliners at this time didnt have technique, and would just clod hop around the rink (I realize there were exceptions..but lets face it.. most were a disaster compared to today's standards of Technique, which is partly encouraged by current equipment) - Also, Inlines hadnt quite broken away from quads speed wise - I remember this was close to the time someone went sub 49 on a 500, which was unheard of (in perspective, if you arent running a 45 as a Master or younger.. you have no chance now adays)

Still a steady crowd to pick from - Outdoor races are happening.. and we are in the spot light in the X Games.. espn, etc, This would last a year or two, then we would shoot ourselves in the foot - Plus inlines are prooving to be "dangerous " to people because they never learned how to use them right to begin with... so that shies the public away

Fast Forward still - 2000 - Quads are a relic, considered "Traditional Skates" (whatever that means) - But.. here is a problem. Sessions are also down (In 1994, a friday night session at my rink as a kid was 400-600.. 90 meter floor... This year... I remember barely breaking 300 one night in winter when you couldnt do anything anyhow, mostly it was about 150 at BEST on a friday night.. the money maker for most rinks) - Sessions are people darting around hockey stopping, Rinks start closing. Outdoor races are there... but they begin a trend of Marathons, rather then the 5k's 10's of old that most people could do-


Fast Forward to now - Its been years since RSA/The rinks and USARS had their divorce. Session now is 95 percent inlines at many rinks - Quads are "free" so people only get then when they want to skate as an experience - Quad skaters in general are kind of a relic, BUT are making a resurgence Via Derby, and Jam Skating - However... both are looked down on by the almighty speedskaters. So, neither crowd makes an effort to embrace the other - You also are dealing with Xbox, PS4, Hockey, Soccer, Baseball, Rugby, Dance, and anything else the parents throw at the kids

Alot of our problem is the overall disposition of people - Skating is work. When its fun (er go quads) you get a work out you dont even realize, then practice is the exception to being on your skates. Its kinda flipped with inlines, if Im not practicing I would rather have quads on, which is rare - Dont get me wrong I came in as an inliner, and they'll always be my first love.

but when skating at its BASE isnt fun and addictive, (which I think it used to be with quads...) Why should people pick it up?

that being said... we still go to the fountain of the rink - But the problem is.. People going to rinks arent interested in Long term Fitness activities - They have too many other things going on - We dont really embrace what inlines were MADE FOR either, which is outdoor skating. Instead we go through effort of efforts to make a new version of short track inline inside


There are SO many different races that are inviting to all you can do outdoor. Those rinks are also free, as they are anywhere you can find with space to roll (as opposed to many rinks which charge for the floor time to clubs, as opposed to 1988 , when they couldnt have enough skate clubs)

We dont embrace that. Instead in this country we keep throwing money into it - youll never get the glory days back, Sadly I think rink skating is on a decline it cant come back from, because even though there are probably now more quad skaters in the country then inliners ( if you consider derby), we inliners have done an effective job of snobbery and running them off, so the Derbs are content to stay in the hockey rinks, etc, rather then spend money to deal with some skating purist looking down their nose at them. the Majority of Inliners who skate regular who arent on a speed team.. arent going to a session.. they are skating the park trails and roads.

But we are too good to do that.

The problem is US. No one else. We are too diehard at keeping the sport in a rink.. and too arrogant to realize that there are even other roller sports
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Old March 20th, 2014, 05:38 PM   #13
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Just my opinion and not saying I'm right about this because I have very limited exposure to "rink skating." But, indoor skating in the USA, to me, isn't the most polished of athletic environments. Most of the skating rinks I've been in, appear out-dated...almost like a smokey bowling alley of 15 or 20 years ago. I just don't see it as a modern day "fitness center" that would attract new people. In addition, indoor skating (again my perception only) appears to be full of drama and lots of people/coaches with their own agendas. Could be wrong about that. So, I'm not surprised if "rink skating" is struggling.

Outdoor skating is different. Outdoor definitely has the most potential in my opinion to draw new skaters. Outdoor could be extremely appealing to a wide variety of fitness enthusiast, including runners, cyclists, walkers, skiiers. Inline skating offers a form of fitness that isn't boring, that isn't hard on your body (if you don't fall), that's fun, that provides a great workout, etc, etc.

I think the roadblock for outdoor is that it's still very limited to specific regions, cities, etc. Not every city has a trail system that you could safely skate. The cities that do, don't have that many skaters. There isn't a lot of publicity and shops to buy decent skates. I think most people have a hard time spending $200 or $300 on rec skates, when they really don't know enough about the equipment to feel confident in their purchase...where do I get replacement wheels? Are these the right kind of skates to get? Am I really going to enjoy this enough to spend the money on them? Is there anyone else in town to skate with? Any competitions or any coaching? The questions go on and on. I think people are intrigued by the sport, but it's not enough to get them to commit. As a young kid growing up in school, do you honestly think a kid is going to say, "Hey, I'm going to ditch the team sport thing to go rollerblade on the local trail by myself." So, there are a slu of problems. I don't mean to be negative. It's a great sport. It deserves to grow, and I hope it does. But, I don't know how to address all of the roadblocks.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 05:47 PM   #14
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In my areas sessions are dominated by crappy rental quads, almost guaranteeing a poor skating experience. That's part of it.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 06:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by slowsk8 View Post
This came up in another thread, thought I would give it a thread of it's own.
It's not dying every where, so what makes the difference?
This years team photo. OK, so how do I get the photo to show? http://s1045.photobucket.com/editor?...482_n.jpg.html



Got it.
Just to comment on the statement "It's not dying everywhere." If you look at places like Minneapolis, the reason speed skating is thriving (if you can say that) is because you have "trail systems," shops, and groups of skaters...and, not just groups of skaters, but good people who love the sport and aren't trying to self-promote (and create drama). The Minnesota community, from the people I know of, enjoy each other. They meet up and skate. They help each other. They share in their passion. And the sport is growing there. It can't happen because of one individual or two individuals or three or four...lots of cities have that...it takes many skaters with a common interest that work together. If the groups get bigger, then a shop or two opens up in someone's garage. Or, a local bike shop starts to sell skates. It takes time. Another area that I consider a good hub is Toronto. Again, you have a group of skaters up there who form a "local team / organization," which in turn really promotes the sport. In my hometown, there are too many egos and there is no collective group to really grow the sport. When I first moved here, there were six or seven people that skated together every day. And, that group enjoyed each other. Practiced together and didn't talk about how much they knew or run people off. And, because of it, they took me in one day (rec skates and all) and let me tag along, and before I knew it, I was aspiring to be a competitve speed skater. So, that's how it starts. But, most areas can't limit the local drama enough to just enjoy the sport and grow together versus apart.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 06:48 PM   #16
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I agree SkateMo
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Old March 20th, 2014, 08:06 PM   #17
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Just to comment on the statement "It's not dying everywhere." If you look at places like Minneapolis, the reason speed skating is thriving (if you can say that) is because you have "trail systems," shops, and groups of skaters...and, not just groups of skaters, but good people who love the sport and aren't trying to self-promote (and create drama). The Minnesota community, from the people I know of, enjoy each other. They meet up and skate. They help each other. They share in their passion. And the sport is growing there. It can't happen because of one individual or two individuals or three or four...lots of cities have that...it takes many skaters with a common interest that work together. If the groups get bigger, then a shop or two opens up in someone's garage. Or, a local bike shop starts to sell skates. It takes time. Another area that I consider a good hub is Toronto. Again, you have a group of skaters up there who form a "local team / organization," which in turn really promotes the sport. In my hometown, there are too many egos and there is no collective group to really grow the sport. When I first moved here, there were six or seven people that skated together every day. And, that group enjoyed each other. Practiced together and didn't talk about how much they knew or run people off. And, because of it, they took me in one day (rec skates and all) and let me tag along, and before I knew it, I was aspiring to be a competitve speed skater. So, that's how it starts. But, most areas can't limit the local drama enough to just enjoy the sport and grow together versus apart.
There are some egos here in MN. Also, I think it makes a difference that we don't have any indoor skating here. The only indoor skating we did was at the Metrodome. To my knowledge, we don't have a rink based indoor speed team in the state, as much as I would like to see this happen during our hiatus from Dome-skating while we wait for the new stadium to open. Also, most of this skating goes on in the Twin Cities area. There is a conspicuous lack of skating in the rest of the State, though the MN Inline Skate Club is all over, I haven't seen any group skates in Rochester (something I am also trying to change). If you know anyone in or around Rochester, we will be training on Saturday mornings soon. Let me know, I would love to expand the group.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 11:22 PM   #18
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are you Tony M? It would be great to come over and check it out sometime! CR is kinda dead.
I am not Tony, but I do know who you are talking about. Tony is more into doing the mens derby team here lately with his brother Dante.

Mark Muse is the active coach here in Des Moines training all age levels. I have trained with Mark about 6 months before taking a less active speed training routine due to other hobbies and interests. Scuba diving and part time electronics repair along with a full time job reduces my time to once a week during open sessions on Saturday night.

Believe it or not, I am not harassed by the staff as long as I am not endangering younger inexperienced skates. Although I tend to slow down during very busy times and work on technique.

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Old March 21st, 2014, 12:00 AM   #19
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Bubba, I don't disagree... But in two instances I'm not so sure I understand your point. I'm not being snarky either... So here: Speed is dangerous. Cycling speeds without brakes make road skating treacherous. I've been dog piled on for posting this before, so whatever... People are smart and it's a BIG turn off.o our wide profile and lack of a braking system the public trusts are always going to keep our numbers relatively low IMO. Some people, many people, literally have no place to skate. Second: I get very frustrated when I hear comments about the unbelievable technical skill and patience and everything else required to speed skate. I think we are actually flying fighter jets in live combat while tap dancing. Yeah, it's tough stuff but so is damn near everything, or lots of things. My daughter has been a ballerina and studies voice and drama. She works like a maniac. Let me tell you, ballet is hard and technical. And she has video games available. So do her friends that play lacross, field hockey, ice hockey, you name it... They put in the work. Kids today are harder working and smarter than at any other time, too much so... There are young people excelling in virtually every activity you can think of, crushing records, working hard and succeeding. That IS NOT a reason to hang our decline on. I am impressed every single day by the college students I work with. That BS "college experience" is long gone for most kids, they work and they care about getting good grades and learning and they are committed and socially responsible, at least way more than previous generations and it increases every year. Sorry for the rant, our young people are amazing and I find they are under appreciated. And they know it. We've trashed their economy, forced them into disgusting debt, reneged on our promises of hope and a future and we call them lazy and obsessed with video games...
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Old March 21st, 2014, 01:28 AM   #20
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Guess I didn't word the OP well. I brought the question over from the JO/NOVICE thread, so was talking about indoor teams.
Outdoor speed skating/racing is not doing well in the NW either. I would put the main reason to having no local races.
But back on topic.
I think the most important thing to an indoor team is support from the rink. In the NW we are lucky to have at least four rinks that get good support, just happen to be four of the largest teams.
Next would be the people skills of the coaches. Almost anyone could learn to coach the skills but it takes more to coach the kids, and some of the adults.
If you make people feel bad they don't want to come back.
Next is the parents. Some need to learn to let the coaches coach.
Our coach hands out a list of "rules" to everyone that they need to read and sign.
One thing on the list is the parents should not coach the kids in the rink. A yell now and then to "bend your knees" "stay low" "keep steeping" etc. is fine but not pulling a kid off the floor to yell at them that they are "doing it wrong"
And the one I think we have the least control over.
It takes more then one good rink/team. If you have the only team in the region, you have no one to test your skills against.
Any thoughts?
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