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Ask Bill Begg!

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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.

Find out more about Bill Begg and his column.

Sept. 23, 2008

What Skates to Buy for 6-Year-Old?

QDear Bill: The coach of the local skate team has advised us to buy my son a pair of speed skates. He is 6 years old and wears a size 34 (European).

Could you please recommend the best inline speed skates for him. I want to get him a very good pair to keep him motivated. Thanks and regards, Ignatius Newton

Hi Ignatius: Your son has a foot just a little smaller than my daughter's. The important thing is to get a skate with a frame (plate) that isn't too long, which will compromise technique and make your son clumsy on his skates. As a rule of thumb, the wheels should not extend beyond the front and back of the skate by more than the urethane and the hub width.

Wheel size is also critical and depends on how big the child is. For a six-year-old, don't get wheels larger than 84 mm or 90 mm, though I do know a young kid in Switzerland who tears around with three 100 mm wheels–so there are several options, but frame length, again, is vital.

It would be a conflict of interest for me to recommended a particular speed skate brand because of my association with one inline company. But I do suggest that you avoid general sports stores. They usually don't have speed skates, and if they do, quality may be an issue. Ask your son's coach, or any experienced skater in your club, to help you select appropriate skates. And check out the skate advertisers on Inline Planet. Their sites will give you good info and help you get the right skates on your son's feet.

Cheers, Bill

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