Short Track Speed Skating is one of the Winter Olympics’ most popular sports. Our program gives anyone the opportunity to learn in a fun, safe and supportive environment. This is a unique chance for skaters of all ages and abilities to take to the ice and try for themselves a sport they have only seen on TV.
For your first session we recommend arriving 25 minutes early to get set up with proper gear and complete some paperwork. Our detailed learn to speedskate curriculum can be found here and instruction takes place during the same practices that include more experienced skaters. We provide the instruction and skates, you provide the desire to learn and have fun. The cost is $25 for one session, or $60 for any three sessions, one time newcomers only.
In summary, you need to wear the following at each practice:
helmet — There are helmets made specifically for speedskating. However, you can wear a bicycle, hockey, or skateboard helmet. Always required.
long-sleeved jacket or shirt – Layers are highly recommended. The ice is cold. Sometimes we will stand still and listen to instructions, while other times we will be moving and generating heat.
gloves – Should be comfortable and fit well. Baseball batting gloves come in junior sizes and work well, but almost any glove that fits well will do.
long pants or sports tights – These should be comfortable and should not drag too low.
speed skates – For younger skaters, we recommend using loaner skates from the Club. Before making the investment in new speed skates you may want to be sure the feet have stopped growing. We have a number of skates that have been donated or purchased over the years. Skates are also available in adults sizes. When the time comes to buy your own skates on line vendors are the usual option. See Links to Vendors, etc.
How practices work
We spend the first couple of minutes “putting out the pads”, which means lining the walls of the rink with padding. While the pads are being placed, one of our skaters will place seven small rubber “blocks” at each end of the rink to mark the track. Once the pads are in place and the track is laid out we begin a warm-up at a slow to medium speed. The flow of traffic is ALWAYS counterclockwise. For safety during warm-ups, slower skaters should move more towards the inside of the track, and faster skaters will skate outside.
After warm-ups, the coach will assign each skater into one of three groups: (1) younger skaters and new skaters; (2) experienced skaters; and (3) advanced skaters. For safety and instruction purposes, usually each group will be on the track by itself, either doing slow or fast laps or a specific drill. Meanwhile, the other two groups will be in the center of the rink, one will be recovering from having been on the track and the other will be preparing to go onto the track.
The key to skating fast and under control is to master speedskating technique. Practices generally include a mixture of exercises involving technique, speed, endurance and starts. The coaches observe each skater and determine what specifically needs to be work on. They will continue to work with each skater to be sure that technique continues to improve. This applies to new skaters and advanced skaters alike.
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