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World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.

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April 20, 2011

Should I Join a Skate Team or Club?

QHi, Bill: I am wondering how to get started with inline speed skating? Should I just start on my own or should I join a club? I know how to skate. But I don't know the specific techniques of the sport. - Tricia in Houston

Hi, Tricia: If you intend to become a speed skater, it’s best to join a club or team. Here’s why:

1) Inline speed skating is a very technical sport. There’s a lot to learn. And it helps to have a skilled coach, which most clubs have, to steer your technique in the right direction.

2) Training with a team is usually lots more fun than training alone — and it’s certainly less boring than going solo.

3) On a team, you don’t only benefit from the coach’s knowledge, you also learn from your teammates. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be on a team with a truly accomplished skater who can serve as your “roll” model.

4) Club, or team, workouts are typically more intense than solo workouts. This is especially true for interval training. When you do interval training in a group, the natural competitiveness keeps the pace humming. And that helps you push yourself to the limit, more so than most people can do on their own.

5) Relay races or drills are typically part of training with a club or team. And relays are another good way to get high intensity training. When you're in a relay, you push hard so you won’t let down your team.

6) Skate clubs typically organize their schedules around a calendar of meets and races. That means you’ll have the opportunity to race. And while you’re at races, you’ll get to meet more skaters and check out all the latest equipment.

I could come up with more reasons. But suffice it to say, if you can join a club, do, especially if it’s a club with a good coach.

Cheers, Bill

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