Professional skateboarding lessons weren't an option for kids when I was growing up. So, what is the best way to introduce kids to skateboarding if they want to learn to skateboard and you want them to do so safely? I talked to the owner of South Street Skatepark in Rochester to find out.
Oakland County Moms: What kind of safety precautions do you take when giving skateboard lessons?
Linda Gallaher, Owner of South Street Skatpark in Rochester: Helmets are mandatory at South Street Skatepark, safety gear, including elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards are HIGHLY recommended. You will find that 95% of kids at our Summer Skateboard Camps and Saturday Clinics are fully protected. Our philosophy is: like many other extreme activities, you are going to fall; and when you do, only if you are fully protected will it not "hurt so much"! You are more apt to get right back up and keep on going if protected. If you're not protected it really hurts to fall...when it really hurts you may become discouraged and opt out! You will progress in your extreme sport if you are fully protected! Protection is equivalent to confidence; when you feel confident you are more apt to challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone; and hence your skill level increases.
Oakland County Moms: Kids in other sports have traditional practices. How often do you recommend kids practice skateboarding and what types of things should a beginner work on at home for practice?
Linda Gallaher, Owner of South Street Skatepark in Rochester: I would recommend kids "play" or ride on their skateboards when they feel like it; playing and enjoying their boards will allow for skill enhancement and more importantly simple fun. When an activity is fun and kids are encouraged to explore their own style and creativity it allows for not only skill enhancement but the desire to stick with it. As they ride their boards they will begin to experiment with what the board will allow them to do and vice versa...what they can do with their skateboard. That's what is so wonderful about skateboarding, it is a highly individualistic activity and yet the support and camaraderie among its "players" cannot be understated.
Oakland County Moms: I see so many kids practice skateboarding in the streets without protective gear. Do you drill the safety message home to kids about safety equipment once kids leave South Street Skate Park?
Linda Gallaher, Owner of South Street Skate Park in Rochester: We are parents too! We endorse and encourage safety along with our customers' parents. We can't keep safety gear in stock at South Street Skateshop, it's always a big seller and an important investment. We know that South Street Staff and Team members are role models for other skaters; it is mandatory for our staff and team to wear skateboard helmets at South Street Skatepark.
Oakland County Moms: How much do skateboard lessons cost at South Street Skate Park?
Linda Gallaher, Owner of South Street Skatepark in Rochester: We provide a 45 minute private instruction for $20.00; a semi-private (2-3 skaters) 45 minute instruction for $15.00 each; Summer Skateboard Camp for $145.00 (Monday through Friday 10-2pm); and Saturday Clinic from 10-Noon for kids ages 5-11 for $13.50.
South Street Skatepark
341 South Street
Rochester, MI 48307
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