This week's column:
How To Keep Your Team or Club Together
March 21, 2012
Hi, Mr. Begg: We are a small inline skating team in Rwanda with 20 members. We don’t have the best facilities or equipment. But we are eager to learn. Can you advise us on how we can train ourselves and develop the sport in Rwanda? Thank you very much - Adap Skaters Club, Kigali.
Hi, Adap Skaters: Congratulations on your club. It’s great that you have been able to organize a club with 20 skaters in Rwanda. I’m sure I can speak for the entire skate community in wishing you well!
As you know better than anyone, skating is still in the early stages of development in Africa. Skating is growing nicely in South Africa. But it still may be a few years before Africa collects a gold medal at the World Championships. ... Maybe you can get things going in Rwanda.
Here is my advice on how to keep your club alive and rolling:
1) Train together.
Hold regularly scheduled training sessions for the entire team. Don’t allow your members to split up into separate groups. Splintered clubs tend to disintegrate while clubs that work together tend to thrive.
2) Choose a leader.
Groups need leaders to keep them headed in the right direction. Select a leader who is enthusiastic and positive. This will help your club grow and prosper.
3) Videotape yourselves.
You may be cut off from expert coaches and world champion skaters, but you always have Youtube. Videotape yourselves and compare your technique to that of the top skaters.
4) Keep things interesting.
Variety is the spice of life. Keep your skaters interested by changing things up regularly. There are lots of fun and effective ways to train. Here are some of my favorites:
- Long steady distance training in groups of similar ability.
- Ladder drills for speed. In ladder drills, you “climb the ladder” of distances and then "climb" back down. Here’s a good ladder series: 100 meters, 200, 300, 400, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and finish with 1,000.
- Relays are great for team building. You can do them with two, three, four or more skaters per team. Always mix up the teams and make sure everyone gets a chance to be on the winning team sometime.
- If your group is strong, introduce 500- or 1000-meter intervals. But don’t do more than 10 repetitions unless your skaters are very strong and fit.
5) Warm up.
Start your training sessions with a warm-up period: 10 minutes or whatever. Use this time for skill drills to build technique.