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Program Hatched to Turn San Francisco Kids Into Inline Racers

David Miles Starts Youth Speed Development Program

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

David Miles, president of the California Outdoor Rollerskating Association, has found that San Francisco school children know little, if anything, about inline racing.

At one school where he was teaching a skate class, he asked his students if they had ever heard of inline-to-ice champion Apolo Anton Ohno.

He's an astronaut, one of the kids said.

The situation might push a lesser skate evangelist to skateboarding. But not Miles, who has been organizing skate events in San Francisco for 25 years.

Instead, he came up with a plan that aims to turn some of those school kids into inline champions.

"Most of (my students) can only putt around the gym floor ... (but) there are a few that could be really great," he says.

"I am about to begin an experiment to get some of these kids into racing."

The Youth Speed Development Program

His plan, which he calls the Youth Speed Development Program, is to create an outdoor speed skating league for young skaters.

Skaters in the league would attend regular practices and compete in five 10 kilometer racers this spring and summer. The races would be part of the 2005 Dan Burger Points Series.

The series is put on annually by the California Outdoor Rollerskating Association. It includes the Napa Valley Inline Marathon and the Godfather's 100 K. The first race of the season is scheduled for April 10th.

Miles plans to start recruiting skaters for the youth league early next month. He plans to recruit at schools, Boys and Girls Clubs and scout meetings.

Four to Six Teams

He expects to be able to find enough skaters to form four to six teams of four to six skaters each.

"I have been asking (my students) if they would be interested in racing," he says. "Most of these kids don't play any sports, but the thought of inline racing seems to be a winner."

To make it easier for kids to join, Miles plans to keep the out-of-pocket expenses low. Membership in the league will be $10 a year. Race entry fees will be $5.

Miles has put out a call for coaches, or team leaders, as he calls them.

He says the league needs at least six coaches who can take the "Bad News Bears of skating" and shape them into diamonds.

(posted on February 22, 2005)



Related reading:

CORA's Youth Speed Development Program Proposal

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