When you see a kid on a skateboard, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? That they are cool? That what they are doing is exciting and maybe a bit risky?
Yes. Those are all true, but there are loads of other hidden benefits that come along with it.
- They are getting involved in a community,
- Building a social life,
- Developing a skill outside of school and,
- Investing in an identity
These are the things not easily seen …
Today I’m going to talk to you about how skateboarding can arm your kid with skills and experiences that will make them ready for life.
In an effort to keep this article short and sweet, I’ll pick what I believe are the 3 most important benefits and expand on them below.
Skateboarding is not limited to just skateboards, penny boards, longboards and cruisers also fall under this category.
I’ve been skateboarding for over 10 years now and I am extremely happy I got into this sport as a kid. It’s taken me to a lot of highs and lows, and it has showed me things I would never expect.
Its taught me a lot about myself and the world and it’s been a part of my development as an individual. I wouldn’t give up these experiences for anything.
What can skateboarding do for your kids?
Your kid will become a part of a worldwide community.
Sometimes it’s not the skating itself that you benefit from. But the sense of community as it’s an easy way for children to make friends. Which as we all know is crucial for kids growing up…
It becomes a shared interest they can talk to other people at the skatepark or at school about and it can become the foundation for new relationships or simply act as an introductory topic.
“Hey.. that’s a cool skateboard you have.. Can I try it?”
As they grow up skateboarding will help them to become a part of a world-wide movement. Knowing that all over the world, there are people like you who are just as passionate about skating, whether its cruising to the beach or popping tricks in a park.
Expanding on this, it can be said that skateboarding in itself is a melting pot of cultures and different ethnicity. Kids have role model skaters from all over the world, from Pro’s based in Brazil to those in Sweden. This teaches children to overlook barriers like language, skin colour, gender, nationality etc. and instead use skill as a metric to judge and therefore respect someone.
Skateboarding brings together people from all over the world. A skateboarder from Denmark can go to Kenya, still feel accepted and have common ground and shared experiences.
It’s incredibly (and surprisingly) inclusive. It’s a warm feeling knowing that simply owning skateboard, already makes you part of this exclusive club.
How about perseverance and confidence?
These two values are inter-linked. Confidence comes from repeating an action enough times that you have no doubt that you can execute it well, and you need perseverance to do this over and over.
Skateboarding has this in spades. It takes a lot of trial and error to learn a trick. It takes a lot out of you, but this is what skating teaches you. Its about setting challenges and goals for yourself and accomplishing them. Its about continuing a repetitive action even when its not clear when you will reach the end goal. It builds up that mental toughness and personal confidence. This is what skaters live for! It teaches you that failure is the first step to success.
And again the social aspect, a skater might need a second opinion or advice from somebody more experienced. This encourages them to socialise and build relationships with the skaters and people around them.
It’s a great tool for someone to understand the process of learning, failure and success. It gives you that transferable skill (and attitude) of chipping away at something until you get it down.
Again this is a life skill. If a kid learns this at a young age, it sets them up well for adulthood and life in general.
Fitness & Health Benefits
Skateboarding particularly longboarding is a good exercise, and it will keep your kid healthy. Though it might not seem like it at first, it utilizes a lot of muscles:
- The core works to stabilise your upper and lower body. It’s what keeps you in control when riding on uneven surfaces, when going down a ramp or jumping onto a surface. The more you skate, the stronger this will be and the more balance you will have.
- Gluteus maximus. These muscles are constantly being worked as you push along. As you go from a pushing position to an upright one, the muscle contracts and expands. This repetition causes it to get stronger and will build your kid’s stamina.
- Quadriceps. These work in tune with the gluteus maximus as you go up and down.
In particular, they work when you jump (or rather Ollie) and push.
The more you skate, the more powerful they (and in turn you) become.
- The Calves & Ankles. These muscles play a role in how you balance. These are what help you lean side to side and therefore dictate how you turn on your board. The more they develop, the less likely your kid will get wobbles as he skates. (So less injury)
ALSO – Don’t forget about burning calories….skating will help your kid stay fit, allowing him to burn up to 12 calories per minute. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable way to do it, even if it’s just simply pushing around.
In The End?
Skateboarding is more than just standing on a plank of wood. It is an engine for fun with a lot of other benefits.
If you can provide your child with the opportunity of being passionate and being a part of something. Do it.
However, before you go out and buy any board for your kid, I recommend reading about what makes up the best penny board, longboard or skateboard. Understanding this will help you make an appropriate decision.
Lastly, make sure you equip your child with appropriate safety gear to keep them from getting hurt. A helmet and knee/elbow pads will go along way as they learn to skate.