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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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June 3, 2009

Why Did My Son Slow Down?

QHello, Bill. Last year, I bought 84mm Bont Alphas for my 7-year-old son, who has been skating for several years. Since then, his aggression while sprinting has reduced. He can no longer start as quickly and is no longer competitive on shorter tracks. Could the problem be the new skates? Kind regards, Jaspal from India.

Hi, Jaspal: Without knowing what skates your son was on before the Alphas, I'm just stabbing in the dark here. But I'll give it a try.

Was your son on high-cuff recreational skates before the Alphas? If so, he may not have sufficient ankle strength to handle his new low-cuff boots.

Another possibility is that his new skates hurt his feet. Speed boots typically take some time to break in. If his feet are hurting, he may respond by easing off the gas.

Here are a few more possibilites:

Are his new skates heavier or stiffer than his old ones. That could slow him down.

Are his wheels slipping? Maybe they are not grippy enough.

The other possibility — and I hope this is not the case — is "Ugly Parent Syndrome," in which an over-expectant parent demands too much from a child, causing the child to rebel by not giving the parent what they want.

I'm a little concerned about your use of words like "aggression" and "reduced" in your question. It's best to avoid the sporting language when your talking about children. At 7, your son should simply be having fun with his skating.

Cheers, Bill

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