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First-ever "Skate Strong" workshop report...

skatey-mark's picture

This weekend we had absolutely perfect weather for the first "Skate Strong" workshop here in the Triangle.  Partly sunny and 82 degrees made for a very comfortable day, if not a bit warm at times.  Smiles abounded at the end of the day, along with some mild sunburn...  :)

We met at an outdoor track in Cary -- a 400m asphalt track at Reedy Creek Elementary School.  This is one of the locations that Triangle Skate Club meets on a regular basis, so is a well-known venue and ideal for a workshop.  Five people signed up for the whole day, and one other was able to show up for the morning.  We started a couple minutes after 10:00 in the morning and dove right into some dryland exercises.  Most of the drills we did would be very familiar to anyone who has taken a workshop before.  I tried to put my own spin on things, and explain the drills from a perspective of someone who was a beginner himself not too long ago.

There was a little disbelief when I told everyone that we wouldn't be putting on our skates until after lunch.  (What could we possibly do off our skates for that long???)  I have to admit, with this being the first time I've taught a group of people, I wasn't sure how long things would take...  But it turned out to be just the right amount of time.  We broke down each part of classic technique and practiced them, then finally put it all together for some "dryland skating" as lunchtime started to get close.  We finished off the morning session with some discussion about skating in a pack, and some "dryland pack skating" to demonstrate how to rotate in a "cooperative pack".

We adjourned to Moe's for lunch -- always a good choice and I as happy to see that they added a smaller burrito as an option for us adults that don't quite need the full-sized one.  We relaxed and chatted a bit over lunch, and discussed a little of what was coming in the afternoon.  We made our way back to the track, and everyone finally got to put on their skates.

We weren't quite ready to actually move on our skates yet, though.  We started out with some stationary and semi-stationary drills to emphasize the "heel carve".  Then some gliding drills to work on the "ampersand glide" and the set-down part of technique.  Then a few drills to work on proper pushing technique.  One of which was on the grass, which was met with similar disbelief as there was in the morning...  :)  Everyone did great though.  For those that have done workshops before, you know how awkward the drills can be, especially the first time you are exposed to them.  Everyone tried their best and did well not to get frustrated as the drills became more difficult towards the end.

Towards the end, I turned everyone loose to skate at their normal pace, and watched each person to give them individual things to work on.  After that, we did some slow pack skating and practiced rotating through the pack, this time while on our skates.  We talked a little about safely skating on the road as well, for those that didn't have as much experience on the road.  Finally, we ended the day with a little downhill pack practice to give people a feel for that.  (There is a small hill next to the track that's great for that.)

We finished up just before 5:00, and my voice wasn't going to be able to take too much more talking...  Everyone did well to keep trying the drills the whole day -- I didn't have to spend any time trying to motivate people -- they did a great job of motivating themselves.  Everyone seemed to have a good time during the day (I know I did) and hopefully came away with a few things to work on and improve their skating.

Thanks to everyone that came out!  We raised over $200 for MS Society, so it was pretty successful as far as that goes.  Hopefully we'll be able to do this again, either later this year or certainly next spring.  Many of the attendees are attending the Eddy workshop over Easter weekend, so this was definitely a good introduction to things they'll be seeing then...

Thanks again - and see you all again soon...

- SM -


"Skate Strong"

Nice job for the cause, Mark.  I will have to check the distance between the Triangle area and Myrtle Beach!  Claire

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