"An organization committed to growing the sport of Inline Speed Skating"

Welcome to :: Grow Inline Speed



Featured Team

Team Florida!
Let's hear from the team!





Coach Renee Hildebrand


Joey Mantia, Renee Hildebrand, Julie Glass

at the Pan American Games 2003


1.       How long have you been coaching?

I have been officially coaching since 1983, however, I was always one of the oldest skaters on my speed team and have always helped with the younger skaters.  I started coaching basketball, softball and T-ball when I was 15.  I have always loved kids and any kind of coaching.  Being able to coach the sport I am so passionate about is the best.

2.       Did you compete before coaching?

I competed from 1978 -1982 on quads.  I started speed skating at 16 in Charleston, South Carolina at Starlite Rink. I made it to nationals in 1982 in a Senior 4 lady relay, but we got lapped out of the semi-final at Nationals.  Good thing for my skaters that I can coach better than I could skate! 

3.       If so, do you still compete? 

I have flirted with skating Quad Nationals one year, but I doubt it will ever happen.

 4.       How many practices per week? 

Team Florida has 4 rinks, but the most intense practice schedule is in Ocala. Most of the serious skaters from the other rinks travel to Ocala at least once a week to train with us.  The other three rinks practice 3 times per week, all indoor.  The Ocala part of the team has 3 indoor practices a week and 2 outdoor practices per week.  The Jr and Sr world class skaters also do 1 - 2 outdoor training or cycling sessions on their own each week.  Ideally, the older skaters should skate 6 days a week, with one day off to rest and recover.

5.       Do you include outdoor practice? 

See answer to #4 

6.       What drill do you use the most and what are the benefits? 

I use a lot of drills for technique--I guess if there is one I do MOST of the season, day in and day out, it's right foot, left foot drills.  It is the basis for cross overs.  I learned the basic right foot/left foot push drill from Virgil and Sue Dooley in the 80's for quads and have slightly modified it over the years for inlines. I also use a right foot/left foot hold drill that I got from Diane Hollum's book on ice speed skating.  Another variation is right foot push on the smaller circles, with left elbow on the left knee, which I got from Larry Osborne at a coaches conference in Vegas several years ago.  I use all of these variations of push drills to develop technique and power at the beginning of the season, but continue to do them less often later in the season.  

7.        Do you have a lot of parent involvement? Describe. 

I have great parent involvement on my team--there are some parents I could not do without.  I think this has "evolved" over time.  I remember when I first started coaching, I would load a van up with 20 kids and take off for a meet.  It was fun, but its much better with parental support.  As a matter of fact, I have never known a skater to stay in this sport WITHOUT parental support.  As a coach, you can dictate how much parent involvement there is.  You need to delegate things to the parents to make them feel important and involved.  You also have to educate the parents about the sport--its much more exciting if you understand the sport.  The more comfortable they feel with you and the sport, the longer their children will skate and the more support they will offer. 

8.       What is one thing in your opinion that could be done to grow inline speed? 

This is a hard question.  We all have lots of complaints about how things are done, but few of us can state what SHOULD be done.  I think in order to grow inline speed we have to find a better way to market our sport to the public.

We have to get people to recognize the sport and get excited about it--both as participants and spectators.  I think having a "starter" skate that parents can afford is a big factor.  The Powerslide R2 package has been the only affordable skate I have found to actually hold up to the rigors of speed skating.  If a parent can get their kid in a $300 skate instead of spending $800-900, they might be more interested. One other thing to help the sport grow is local, inexpensive meets for the new skaters to compete in.  I think the reason our state is so strong is due to the success of the South Florida Speed League where kids can skate once a month in  a one day meet for a nominal fee.  If a kids first meet is an invitational and a parent has to pay $100 entry fee, travel expenses, etc.  PLUS they just had to spend big bucks on skates--sometimes it is overwhelming to the new parent.

9.       What do you think makes your team successful? 

I think what makes my team successful is lots of hard work and dedication to the sport on my part and the part of the skaters and parents.  Consistency is a big part of being successful on a year to year to basis.   I have a training program that I run every year, with minor modifications each season based on new or learned information.  In September, everyone starts over at the beginning, even the World Champions, with squat drills, circles, technique drills, power and strength building activities.  We also do off-skates training most of the season, emphasis is on power and strength in the beginning of the season and on speed in the latter part of the season.  Yes, sometimes its boring--I would much rather watch the kids go fast, however, it is the most important aspect of the program.  The rest of the season is built on the basics.  I think the other component of my teams success is the fact that they know I will be waiting at the end of the floor with a hug no matter what happens in the race.  In other words, they know I care about them, unconditionally, not just when they win.