This week's column:
How Can I Get Started With Speed Skating?
Sept. 28, 2011
Hi, Bill: I've been skating since I was about seven or eight. But I never had lessons. So my skating is not as refined as it could be. However, I would like to take up the sport of inline speed skating and see how far I can go with it. I wonder if you could give me some advice. I live in Brooklyn and don’t know of any speed skaters or clubs in the area. How can I find a club or a coach? Also, would it be advisable for me to buy a pair of inline speed skates or should I wait until after I find a coach? I can skate well on my high-cuff fitness skates but I have never had a low-cut boot. Thanks a bunch. Jackie S. from Brooklyn.
Hi, Jackie S: Great to hear that you want to see how far you can go in our sport. You’ve got the right idea about finding a coach. You will need one if you want to reach your potential. Inline speed skating is highly technical and without a coach, it is hard to master.
Most skate coaches in the USA are affiliated with indoor speed teams. Others are independent and work with skaters outdoors.
To find an indoor coach, call or email USA Roller Sports and ask for a list of skate coaches and teams in the New York area.
To find other coaches or teachers, such as Eddy Matzger, look online or post a question on the Skater Network or other skate forum.
One place where you will regularly find speed skaters in New York is Central Park. I don’t know the schedule but I know a group of them train there. Find out when (ask on the Skater Network) and show up. I’m sure the skaters will be more than happy to help you.
As far as equipment goes, yes, you will have to give up your fitness skates. They may be comfortable, but their high cuffs make it impossible to get into the low skating position, which is necessary to generate top speed.
But don’t buy your new skates until you find a coach. With so many skates to choose from, you will need someone to point you in the right direction. Just make sure the skates you buy are right for you, not the vendor.
Good luck. I hope you can find a team and some honest advice!