The stability that comes from good balance skills is important for everyone who wants to skate, but in these times when kids spend a lot of time on computers, in front of TV screens and playing video games, their balance needs are greater than ever.
Balance is essential for children who will be introduced to inline skating activities. It helps the skater to transfer feet and stroke efficiently and reduces the occurance of falls and injuries. Whenever inline skating or other roller sports training activities are discussed, "balance" is always a key word and there are many recommendations for adults who need to develop and build balance skills. Kid-friendly classes in activities that develop balance like yoga and pilates are gaining in popularity.
Adults can find many stability exercises,off season balance training and even use balance training equipment or balance boards, but kids need more user friendly methods. Kid-friendly classes in activities that develop balance like yoga and pilates are gaining in popularity. There are also simple exercises families can do at home to boost stability. And there are many simple but effective games that can help improve your child's human gyroscope. Believe it or not, many common games like hopscotch and freeze tag, promote balance while building fitness and creating fun, too.
Balance Related Activities and Exercises
Here are some examples of balance related skills that can be used as a game, an exercise or a challenge for the future skaters in your life:
- Standing on one foot is a great balance exercise. Try using different shaped poses, creating alphabet letters or timing the poses to see who can stay on one foot the longest. Take turns using both feet.
- Walking in a perfectly straight line like a tightrope walker is a real challenge. See who can go the furthest walking heel-to-toe on the floor without leaving a chalk or tape line.
- Walking in a straight line with a book or plastic plate on the head in a circular or serpentine shape is a good challenge, too. See if your child can squat and pick up an object without losing the object balanced on the head. This is good for an individual or a group can race with a book, plate or bean bag to balance.
- Walking on heels and on toes could improve balance and range of motion in the feet and ankles that is needed for skating.
- Animal role play can help balance, too. Try frog hops using both legs and leaping forward, walking on all fours tummy-down like a dog or even walking on all fours tummy-up like a bug crawling. These will build balance and generate giggles.
- Hopping on one foot in place is fun. Take turns using both feet.
- Hopping on one foot moving forward makes a good chase or race. Take turns using left and right feet.
- Side-to-side shuffles off skates help balance and make sense when you do it to the beat of good learn-to-skate music from instructor Jenny Jen Goldstein. Her tracks provide good skating tips that can be used when skates are in use.
- Lunges with one knee bent forward and the other leg stretched back Take turns using both sides.
- Leaping from one foot to the opposite foot is good for coordination and balance, and if you add commands for "left" and "right" feet, the games begin.
- Running forward or backward makes a good balance or fitness challenge.
Balance Games Are Fun
- Play a game of "Simon Sez" using the balance activities and exercises listed above..
- Jumping rope is an old standard that is always good for both stamina and balance.
- Hop scotch is a great balance game with or without skating as a goal.
- Freeze-tag combines aerobic stamina with a balance challenge.
Balance Tools for Kids
Children can use some of the same balance tools that adults use, just make sure to choose exercises that your child can do safely make the workouts into fun and games for younger children.
- Using an outdoor trampoline is a good way for children to improve their balance.
- There are many types of balance discs that kids and adults can stand on and try not to fall off to develop stability.
- The Electronic Arts EA Sports Active is a sophisticated workout program for the Nintendo Wii System offers something resembling inline skating and several other sports with timed workouts and a virtual personal trainer in a game format designed to help keep you fit. That system is a bit much for a little skater, but there are many other Wii balance and coordination activities that work for all ages - including little potential skaters.
- Kids aerobic spring balls are fun for building balance and agility.
- The whole family will like yoga balance fitness balls for strength, balance and stability.
Once the balance skills are in place, review simple safety tips for kids and introduce your children to roller sports.