Skating is fun to
watch, especially if you know an athlete well, and can talk
with them about the sport before and after they skate.
But you can do much more. Following are ideas, written for
parents, but applicable to anyone who has a friend who
If the skater is a
child you are responsible for, you can do much to help them
set realistic goals and expectations. The most important
benefit of skating is leaning life skills, learning to work
to accomplish future goals, learning fairness and that life
isn't fair, and learning to deal with all kinds of people,
some of them great friends that are mutual helpmates, and
some of them people you benefit from cooperating with even
if you don't enjoy them as much as others.
Speed skating can be an
intensely competitive sport. Parents can encourage, support
and motivate. Some parents become abusive, mentally
and physically, and/or make demands on their kids, demands
which are unrealistic and/or not really to anyone's benefit.
It's hard to recognize when you are crossing the line
between support and abuse, so be open to messages from
others, and watch other parents. If you are doing much
more than other parents, seriously question whether what you
are doing is really helping your kid be a better person.
Most important, respect
the Coach, and especially don't put your kid in the middle
of conflicts between you and the Coach. The Coach is the
team leader and teacher, and has much more experience than
you in doing that. If you believe an aspect of
training is being neglected, plan a way to add that to the
existing program, and offer to the coach that you'd be an
assistant coach, doing that additional part of the program.
Parents are largely
responsible for their kids nutrition, sleep, and other
health factors. Serious speed skating demands much
more from a body than video games, and the health habits
that support quality speedskating will have immense benefits
in later life.
Time management is
another area where parents are key. School work is
most important, well before skating, and for some families
religion, extended family, community service, etc., are also
extremely important. All these can be done, as well as
the skating training which quality skating needs, but not if
time is wasted. Help your skaters to plan and schedule.
If your skate practice has breaks, consider taking homework
to do there, or consider doing it in the car going to/from
practice; generally look for ways to make every minute
Skating teams need many
support activities. Money is raised, spent, and
accounted for. Skaters are telephoned for schedule changes.
Meets are registered for. Uniforms are acquired and sold.
Skaters are helped with equipment. The rink is opened and
closed and kept clean, and the rink owner is worked with.
All these are areas in which you can help.
Below are links to