Many different sports have aids to help children learn the sport or hobby better. We have tee-ball to teach baseball. We have tricycles to help teach the art of riding a bike. Flag football comes before tackle football, and putt putt comes before 18 holes of golf.
Well, do you know what a skate mate is? Have you ever seen one floating around a roller rink? No, skate mates aren’t two friends learning how to skate together. They’re made of PVC piping and are shaped in a V in a 90 degree angle. They have wheels on the bottom. And they are devices that help children learn and feel comfortable roller skating.
While there are a lot of benefits to skate mates, they have become pretty controversial in the roller skating world. How controversial can roller skating get, you may ask? Well, just take a peek on Google at the great skate mate debate. Several seasoned skaters feel there is a time and place for skate mates and it is not during public skating sessions. The other side of this debate is that public skating sessions means public. This should mean any person should be able to skate or learn how to skate during this session. Some skaters view these skate mates as dangerous or hazardous to other skaters.
So what does the skate mate actually do? It helps the skater balance while learning how to coordinate and push your skates across the rink. These skate mates provide a sense of independence to the children using them. At the same time, they provide the parents freedom by not having to drag their children across the rink as the kids are slipping and sliding.
What are the positive aspects of skate mates? New skaters and families will feel more comfortable learning to skate. They’ll know that people of all skill set and ability are welcome. Skate mates help children and new skaters learn easier without having to hold on to the wall or another human. They also provide balance and center of gravity for new and improving skaters.
What are the negative aspects of skate mates? Just like new skaters without skate mates, skaters using this tool need to be aware of other skaters. Skate mates are bulky and can easily get in other skaters’ way. If used incorrectly, they can also go sliding across the rink and cause injury. That’s why it’s important for all skaters, even kids using skate mates for the first time, to understand the importance of rink safety. It’s not just about your own safety, it’s about creating a safe place for everybody who wants to skate.
Where do we fall on the great skate mate debate? We just want happy skaters around us. We also want the art of roller skating to continue to grow. We feel skate mates have a time and a place. As long as everyone around is skating respectably and responsibly, then there is no reason we can’t all skate harmoniously.
Whether you are skating for the first time, bringing your children along to test out a skate mate or dusting off your old custom skates, join us for our next event or open skate. Check out our schedule for theme nights, adult nights, open skates and lesson availability.