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Inline secrets from the world's top skaters and coaches

This week's tip:

Starting Your Own Skate Club or Team
How to get your club up and rolling

By Cale Carvell

Team Rainbo

Team Rainbo - The team that skates together, grows together.
Photo: Lynne Arrigoni

Joining a skate club or team is one of the best ways to connect with other skaters, with whom you can train, travel, share knowledge and socialize.

You'll find clubs and teams scattered around here and there. But if you can't find one in your neck of the woods, start your own.

It's easy to do. All you need to get started are a few skaters with energy and commitment.

Be Persistent

The key is to not give up. Getting a club started can be like skating against the wind. But as they say, "If you build it, they will come."

Most places are loaded with people who love to skate, and given the choice, they would rather skate with others than alone. So don't give up.

Here are some of some of the strategies that helped build Team Rainbo into a club with more than 70 members:

Regular Practices

Hold team practices at least two times a week (at the same time and place).

Announce your practice schedule on a handout and post it at local sporting goods stores, health clubs, ski clubs, roller rinks ... anywhere where active people congregate.

Make it clear that your club is for both recreational and speed skaters. People tend to be intimidated by the idea of speed skating, so let them know that your club is about skating for everyone.

Require team members to skate together for the first 15 minutes of each practice. This builds team cohesiveness and identity. After the first 15 minutes, let the team split into groups of similar abilities.

Encourage the advanced skaters to give the less experienced members tips to help them improve.

Pay Your Dues

Establish some form of dues. Paying dues makes members feel that they are part of something and reinforces their commitment to participate.

Create a team t-shirt or uniform. This also builds team identity.

Use the Internet

Post a team web site. Make sure the site explains who you are, what you do, and how people can get involved. (Example: Team Rainbo's website)

Start a group email list. The list will provide team members with an easy way to share information about such things as the weather and who's attending which practice sessions.

Promote Yourself

Write an article about your club and send it to the local newspapers, magazines, etc. The media is always looking for unique stories ... and most editors and reporters still haven't heard of inline speed skating.

Let people know about the benefits of joining, such as camaraderie, training tips,discounts on merchandise, meeting new people ... and just plain fun.

Find a Leader

One of the most important things is to have a leader who is committed to the team and willing to put in the time to grow it.

It may take a few years. But with patience and consistency, the skaters will begin to appear. And if you make it fun for them, they will bring more skaters, and you're club will start to take off.

Once that happens, you will be in a position to attract sponsors and organize races, social events and skate clinics. Before you know it, you'll be part of the movement to grow the sport. (Orginally posted: April 4, 2008)


Debbie RiceCale Carvell is one of America's top veteran inline speed skaters and the founder of the Team Rainbo Inline Skate Club of Chicago. For 35 years, he owned and operated the Rainbo Sport Shops. The shops specialized in all forms of skating and were among the first in the world to promote inline skates. (photo: Darlene Prois)

Team Rainbo page


Related reading:

Skate Tip of the Week Archive
Beginners Guide to Outdoor Racing
Beginners Guide to Inline Skating





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