Other Sports: How to Add Add Inline Skating to Your PE Curriculum

Other Sports: How to Add Add Inline Skating to Your PE Curriculum

Larry “Duffy” Kopf, Contributor

Over the past few years I've had the unique opportunity of teaching teachers how to teach inline skating. I have run into a variety of reactions regarding adding skating to the physical education curriculum. The spectrum of reaction ranges from “This is cool—let's do it,” to “It will never happen in my school.”

My response to these extremes is “adding skating is not necessarily easy, but where there's a will, there's a way.” I'll try, in this article to give you the way—you must supply the will.

Rationale
Providing your administration with a rationale for inline skating is critical. Here's a list of reasons why in-line skating should be a part of your curriculum.

  • It's fun—the fastest growing physical activity in the U.S.
  •  People are doing it anyway. We can make it safer for them by providing proper instruction.
  • It is a lifetime activity with many physiological benefits.
  • You don't have to be an athlete. Everyone who participates can be successful.
  • It's a good lead-in activity for hockey and cross-country skiing.
  • It can be used as a form of transportation.
  • NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education) has endorsed inline skating as a viable part of the k-12 curriculum.

Physiological Benefits
What are the physiological benefits of inline skating?

Calorie Expenditure

  • Inline skating (comfortable pace) = 285/30 min.
  • Interval skating = 450/30 min.
  • Running = 350/30 min.
  • Cycling = 360/30 min.

Aerobic Benefits

  •  About the same as running and more beneficial than cycling.
  • Better than a stair stepper.
  • Low impact
  • May cause favorable changes in cholesterol level.

Anaerobic Benefits

  • Builds more muscle (strength) than running or cycling. Also uses muscles seldom used in running or cycling.
  • Better if you are looking for a combination of muscle building and calorie burning.

Equipment
What about skates and safety gear? Are the kids going to supply their own gear? (This is how we started). If not, you may be able to rent equipment. You also can check into the Rollerblade/NASPE Skate in School Program for funding alternatives.

We have recently worked out an arrangement with a local business so we'll have a trailer full of up-to-date skates and protective gear for a nominal charge. They are also developing a program to help schools out with rental skates. This is to their advantage as well as ours, since students exposed to the sport during classes may become future customers.

Facilities
Should you use the gym? Our custodians almost fainted the first time we skated in the gym. After three class periods of skating, I brought them in and they couldn't find anything worse than a cheap tennis shoe mark.

Wheels will not make marks on the floor. Black heel brakes will, but they do not damage the floor. Rollerblade (gray) brakes do not make marks. Beware of the really cheap skates. They may have protruding nuts or bolts, so don't allow them to be used indoors.

If you skate outdoors, the facility should be fairly flat and free from traffic.

Safety and Legal Considerations

  • Provide safety warnings (verbal and written) on the risks.
  • Make sure you have the support of your administration.
  • Require minimum safety equipment (helmet and wrist guards) and recommend knee pads and elbow pads. Instructors should wear safety equipment as well.
  • Have a safe facility and teach a solid skills progression with the emphasis on safety.
  • Talk to local medical professionals and police for support and recommenda-tions.
  • Don't be afraid of liability. If taught correctly, inline skating is no more dangerous than any other activity. The risks are obvious and most people understand this risk. They can also choose, to a degree, the amount of protective equipment they wear. We have never had an injury that required professional medical care.
  • It doesn't hurt that Rollerblade won their liability case on Court TV.

   
Contributor: Larry “Duffy” Kopf  (now retired) was a physical educator at Waunakee High School, in Waunakee Wisconsin.


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