To successfully participate in our speed skating practices and classes, a child should be able to maintain attention for at least 20 minutes, be able to follow directions and instructions, have basic ice safety sense (e.g. know to stay on the inside circle and out of the lanes when not specifically skating in the lanes), and be able to separate from his/her parents. With these skills in place, a child may begin speed skating as young as five years of age. On ice sessions are usually 90 minutes in length; very young children may find that 45-60 minutes is sufficient.
Each UCB skater must also be a member of the US Speedskating Association, the governing body for speedskating in the US. The US Speedskating Association is a member of the US Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union (ISU).
The US Speedskating Association registration can be done through their web site at www.usspeedskating.org When you join US Speedskating, select Potomac Speedskating Club in the drop-down menu under “Clubs” and the Association is “Direct.” New speedskaters may register as “First Year Competing Athletes” for $30 for the first season of racing only. After completing the on-line application, you must supply US Speedskating with a copy of your birth certificate or passport as proof of age. Your membership is provisional until US Speedskating receives one of the documents. Please note your US Speedskating number and provide it to UCB club officers. You will also need this information when signing up for skating meets.
All members of US Speedskating must also agree to adhere to the US Speedskating Code of Conduct which is part of the sign-up process. [See “Resources” section.] As a sanctioned, direct member club of US Speedskating, UCB and its members are expected to follow the rules outlined in the Code of Conduct. We strongly suggest that all members, parents and minors, read and understand what this document specifies in terms of appropriate conduct and behavior.
US Speedskating Association
PO Box 18370
Kearns, UT 84118
An important aspect of short-track speedskating training is the time spent in off-ice, known as dryland training. Dryland training is strength, endurance, speed, flexibility and form training done off-ice specifically to improve, and enhance on-ice performance.
Dryland training incorporates agility and strength training exercises that serve to develop strong glutes, quads and back muscles needed to maintain the short-track “crouch” position, skating “imitation” exercise, “belt” training for crossover work, interval training for cardio fitness, and stretching. Some coaches view dryland training as more important than the time skaters spend on the ice in terms of developing good technique. Dryland training either precedes or follows the on-ice training sessions and is considered to be mandatory for all skaters except the very youngest skaters. Coach Lee will tailor the dryland training regime according to the age, skill level and strength of each skater.
Dryland training can be quite vigorous. It is important you/your child wear running shoes that support the feet. Be sure that you/your child can stay well hydrated by bringing a water bottle or sports drink with an adequate supply of water.
Skate laces should be:
— Loose-to-slightly tight at the toes– Tight around the middle of the foot– Loose-to-slightly tight at the top of the boot
During normal skating, lace tension can shift around. Typically, the top of the boot can become too tight while the middle of the boot becomes too loose. There are several methods to control this:
— Loosen & re-tighten laces during rest periods. This also allows the foot to rest and improves blood circulation. Many people just remove their skates entirely, but it depends upon how long the rest period is.– Use thicker laces – Sometimes just switching to a thicker lace material provides enough friction to maintain proper lace tension.– Use waxed laces – The wax coating on the laces further increases friction between the laces & boot, and tends to lock in the setting for a longer period of time.– Use over-under eyelet lacing instead of under-over eyelet lacing. This lacing technique is harder to pull tight, but really locks-in the tension. However, be advised that you might need a “lace puller” to take your skates off.– Tightest combination is all of the above together.
Please be very careful in using these techniques so as not to slow down blood flow to the feet, which can cause numbness or even frostbite, etc.
Drying: Dry the blade thoroughly after each use. Even small water droplets on your blades left overnight can cause rust.
Storing: Leave the guards off your skates when storing. A little dampness in the guards can cause rust.
Guards: Always wear guards when walking to and from the ice surface. Keep the inside of your guards clean at all times. A small speck of dirt on the inside of the guard can damage a blade.
Laces: If the laces are too long, remove a piece from the middle and tie the cut ends at the toe. Check your laces before you skate, and replace them if they are frayed.
How to wash skinsuits: Skinsuits should be washed regularly as sweat can break down the cut-resistant materials in skinsuits. Skinsuits should be handwashed or washed on a gentle cycle in cold water. They should be hung to dry or dried on a gentle, cool setting.
Speed skating blades are quite different than those used for hockey and figure skating, not only are they longer, but they are also sharpened so the surface of the blade is flat on the ice. This allows the skater to glide more effectively. It also requires that speed skating blades be sharpened by hand using a jig and proper sharpening stones. Never have them sharpened by a machine! How often you sharpen them depends on how often you skate and the condition of the ice. Ask Coach Lee to show you how to tell when your skates need sharpening.
Coach Lee will also sharpen skates. Currently, her fee is $10 for a one-time sharpening or $30 per month to sharpen the skates as needed. The club offers regular sharpening clinics run by Coach Lee. You may also find information on line at http://www.ellismethod.net/files/Tips/Jan10.html
* You can purchase some equipment at local sporting goods stores (bike helmets, shin and knee guards).
* UCB has a limited number of short-term rental skates. If we have suitable skates in your size, we can lend you skates for the first month free of charge and thereafter we charge $30/month. For other sizes or for longer-term rentals, we recommend that you contact our good friend and speedskate retailer, Don Giese, who offers rentals and sales of Bont speedskates from his home in Bowie,Maryland. Don may be reached at 301-262-8042.
* Second hand skates are often available for re-sale. We post these on our web site or check with Coach Lee or club officers to see what may be available.
* Through Coach Lee, UCB enjoys club pricing on SD skate boots from Koreaand skate blades, and can size each skater to ensure optimal fit and configuration for your age, height, weight and skating ability.
* The club also occasionally orders bulk orders of speed skating neck guards, gloves, socks, skate guards and other speed skating equipment. Check with Coach Lee and/or club members for more information.
* Sharpening jigs and other speed skating equipment can also be ordered online through one of the two online skate shops listed below.
Hard shell speed skating helmet (or bike or hockey helmet
Neck protector (bib style)
Knee pads (volleyball)
Shin guards (soccer)
Water bottle or sports drink
Optional: skinsuit, eye protection
These rules are to encourage a safe, productive and enjoyable practice for all:
- Safety mats must be in place around the ice for the protection of the skaters if they fall or slide into the boards. Help is needed in moving mats on and off of the ice. All parents should spend a few minutes helping do this at each practice.
2. A coach must always be on the ice when members are skating, and will be the person in charge.
- All skaters are expected to follow the coach’s direction.
4. All skaters must skate counter-clockwise (left turns only!) unless the coach directs otherwise.
5. On the skating track, the fastest skaters have the outside lane. The slower skaters have the inside lane.
6. When skating on the track, skate in a consistent pattern. If you wish to stop, stand up and glide carefully to the center of the ice. Do not stop suddenly or cut across the track.
- The safest place to be is at the center of the ice.
8. Skaters must not stand against the boards. A falling skater could crash into them.
9. If you must leave the ice, ask permission of the coach. Extreme caution must be used when crossing the track: Stop, look, and when it’s safe, cross the track quickly.
10. Deliberately falling and sliding across the ice is dangerous to others. Do not do it.
11. There will be no swearing, throwing objects or general poor sportsmanship.
12. If the above rules are not followed, disciplinary action will be taken. After the first offense, a skater will be given a verbal warning. For a secondoffense, a skater will be removed from ice for remainder of practice and parents will be notified. Third offense, the skater is removed from ice for next the 2 practices and parents notified. Further offenses, the skater is removed for the remainder of the season and forfeits ice fees, dues, etc. Further decisions of the coaches will stand.
13. Please tighten skates and use the bathroom before coming onto the ice.
14. As a courtesy to others, all skaters must get on the ice promptly for practices so the coach can follow her plan without waiting for tardy skaters.
On-ice practices typically last between 60-90 minutes, depending on ice availability. On-ice practice is usually accompanied by dryland (off-ice) training. Dryland training lasts between 45-90 minutes. Dryland-only practices last about three hours.
The ice sheet at each practice is marked out with rubbers “blocks” that indicate the 111.2 meter per lap track that skaters follow always in a counter-clockwise direction. Skaters are grouped by Coach Lee according to ability and relative speed. Skaters spend the first 5-10 minutes of each practice warming-up by skating laps—the faster skaters skate on the course around the blocks “outer track” while beginners remain inside the blocks on the “inner track.”
Following the individual warm-up period, Coach Lee informs each group of skaters “A” group, “B” group, “C” group etc., the duration and style of each of their practice sets and the order of skaters. While one group is skating their set on the outer track, the other groups can practice specific skills on the inner track. For the beginning skater sets, Coach Lee will skate with each skater and this hands-on training helps beginning skaters to ramp up most quickly. Skills learned and practiced during on-ice sessions will vary during the season and by the ability of the skater and are determined by Coach Lee. Beginning skaters will focus on form and stroking eventually graduating to more strenuous and complex training to perfect position and speed. In addition to form training and stroking, higher level training focuses on: strength training, speed training, endurance training, and race strategy and tactics.
Wheaton Ice Rink: 11717 Orebaugh Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902
Rockville Ice Arena: 50 Southlawn Ct, Rockville, MD
Fort Dupont Ice Rink: 3779 Ely Pl SE, Washington, DC 20019
Prince William Ice Center: 5180 Dale Blvd, Woodbridge, VA 22193
Short Track meets are skated on a 111.12 m oval track. Skaters generally compete in 3-4 distances skated over one or two days. Depending on the number of entrants, skaters may compete in a semifinal or heat, and then a final event at each distances so a typical weekend meet will entail two distances, four races each day, or four distances and eight total races in the course of a two-day meet.There are different types of competitions.
Age Class Meets: Skaters race against others in their own age class. Most interclub meets and all National Age Class Championships are run in this format. For example, there may be 12 Pony-aged skaters who enter a meet. These 9 and 10 year olds would be grouped together in the Pony category but would be divided into heats of 4-5 skaters per heat. The top skaters in each heat would qualify to move on to the next round—semifinals, quarterfinals and finals as appropriate.
Ability/All Points Meets: All skaters are seeded according to their times, from fastest to slowest, rather than by their age, and the category is then divided into two or more groupings, or “heats”, of four-six skaters. After the semifinal round, the fastest skaters from each heat are placed into an “A” final, the next fastest skaters compete in a “B” final etc. and points are awarded according to the placement in each final. Points are tallied after all distance/events are completed and the skater with the most points is declared the winner for that competition.
A skater’s competitive age is determined by their age as of June 30th of the season in which s/he is competing. For the 2011-2012 season, a skater’s age as of June 30, 2011 will determine their racing category until the following July as follows:
|Intermediate or Senior||18|
|Master||30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60-69; 70-79, etc.|
Pre-race meals: Races often begin early in the morning—7:30 start times are not unusual, although occasionally the first race for a particular category is not until the afternoon. Breakfast is still important and skaters should wake up early enough to have a decent breakfast at least 60 minutes before warm-up and 90-120 minutes before the first race. Bananas, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, cereal (go easy on the milk) or a breakfast bar can be good but if nerves make it hard to eat food, try drinking a specially formulated energy/protein drink (not just Gatorade) and snacking on healthy snacks. Adults can drink coffee and some recommend you avoid caffeine a few days before the meet and make the race-day coffee really count for you.
What you should eat:
Week before: Favor food high in carbs, low in fat. Avoid ice cream, desserts, sweets.
Night before: Small portions of protein (lean chicken, fish or steak) and carbs (pasta) are good but stay away from foods high in fat.
At the meet: Skaters should not eat any big meals on meet day. It is better to consume small snacks throughout the race day. Many meets provide fruit, bagels, cream cheese, peanut butter and other snacks and water for skaters only.
Energy bars, applesauce/fruit cups, carrots, nuts, Chex mix, dried fruits—apricots, raisins, apples, mini pita bread, crackers, hard boiled eggs, tuna, bananas, beef jerky.
Water—best to drink water all through the day, and not chug a whole bottle twice. Thirst is a beginning sign of dehydration. If you or your child is thirsty you/he/she is already slightly dehydrated.
What not to eat or drink:
Avoid peanut butter and milk right before a race. These products tend to coat the throat and make it difficult to breathe and swallow when they are racing.
No seafood—one of the coaches who attends most national meets is highly allergic to seafood and it cannot be consumed in any form in the arenas at most rinks. No soda pop. No sugary beverages–sports drinks are full of high fructose corn syrup–not very healthy in fact. Ramen noodles—while convenient, these are notoriously high in sodium, fat and calories. No candy or junk food.
Parents should dress warmly and comfortably. Shoes that you can move quickly in are a must especially if you volunteer at the race. Two pairs of socks are also helpful if the rink is very cold. Also make sure to bring a throw size blanket and a highlighter (2 different colors if you have 2 children) so that you can follow the race schedule and keep track of your skater’s races.
Have skaters bring a backpack or a small roller bag to the rink, but don’t over pack.
|Skinsuit with kneepads and shin guards||Socks/Knee-highs||Sweatshirt|
|Blade Towel||Skate Guards||Change of clothes (particularly if traveling after the meet)|
|Some Band-Aids||Small towel|
|Small fleece blanket to sit on or wrap in||Hand warmers and toe warmers||Mini-Blow Dryer (to dry a skinsuit in case a skaters falls on wet ice)|
Carry skates with soakers on the blades. Don’t put skates in a backpack or roller bag. Speedskating blades are more delicate. They should always be carried by hand.
Dress in dryland clothes when you come to the rink. Speedskating races do not wait for late skaters. Always arrive when the coach tells you.
The reason speed skating is so much fun is because it is a sport of strategy and athleticism. Very often the fastest skater doesn’t win. This first meet is the beginning of a learning experience for you and your children. New skaters will make mistakes. Experienced skaters will fall. And every once in awhile, all skaters have a disastrous meet and fall or get DQd in every event. That’s short-track speedskating! It’s important to learn from mistakes and be able to shrug off disappointment and re-focus on the next event. Set an example by reacting calmly to disappointments and demonstrate good sportsmanship with other teams, their skaters, and your teammates. Have patience with the process. Speed skating is so emotionally engaging that it is very easy to get caught up in the “thrill” of it.
Here is some good advice from our friend at the Pittsburgh Speedskating Club: let the coach coach. Stay out of it. The parents are responsible for the following things only:
— Cheering wildly (but in good taste) and giving out hugs
— Seeing that their skater arrives on time
— Feeding their skater healthy foods and beverages
— Teaching their children to be good sportsmen win, lose or draw and helping them to see some silver lining in all dark clouds
Fees vary but generally run from $20-$50 per meet. There is usually a cap of $70-$90 if there are multiple skaters from the same family.