Skateboarding 101

Here's a primer for any parent whose child wants to take up this sport - one that offers many physical and social benefits

Skateboarding 101

Photo credit: Getty Images

In recent years, more than ever before, kids around the globe are picking up their boards to dare ramps and hills, and challenge themselves to attempt gravity-defying tricks. Whether they’re skateboarding as a mode of transportation, a way to express themselves creatively, or a competitive sport, one thing’s for sure: skateboarding offers great physical and social benefits for both beginner and advanced riders.

My tween has been riding for almost a year, and it’s been amazing to watch his balance, coordination, and confidence build with each visit to our local skate park.

“Mom, can we go again after dinner?”

You bet!

Skateboarding offers a full body workout

Riders use a variety of muscles and movement skills to propel the board, and exercise their feet, legs, arms, and torso as they twist and steady themselves with each trick and turn.

Kids learning to skate enhance their coordination

In skateboarding, legs and feet balance on the board, arms and torso move and adjust, and eyes are constantly gauging distances and height. Great coordination will help kids be successful in any activity or sport.

Kids learn perseverance and patience

Learning takes time, and falling (over and over again) is unavoidable. You try a trick and don’t land it. You try again, change your timing, foot stance, and speed. Skateboarding involves plenty of effort and perseverance, skills that can be used throughout life.

Skateboarding is about inclusion and personal development

Board taps and other displays of support abound at the skate park. You’ll see beginners and veterans taking turns on a ramp, with words of encouragement if someone falls or doesn’t land a trick. Skateboarding’s diverse and welcoming community is also a great opportunity to form new friendships.

How to keep kids safe while learning to skate

If your child is a raw beginner who’s never stood on a board, it’s important to learn the basics, skate safely, and have fun! While there is no way to stay completely safe while skateboarding, there are things you can do to help avoid skateboard injuries:

Wear protective equipment:

  • A properly fitted and secured multi-sport helmet, or one meant specifically for skateboarding.
  • Wrist guards.
  • Knee and elbow pads.
  • Closed-toe shoes with non-slip soles.
  • Choose the right skateboard for your child.

Practice safe riding: