Is it possible to get youths excited about strength-training? It is when you can approach it as if it was a game, I think!
Our skaters typically can’t wait to put their skates on. After all, weekly, they only have the time during practice to be able to wear them. So we came up with this warm-up to incorporate a little bit of off-skates training in with their warm-up.
You need a set of dice (or more if you have a big group). We got our foamy sets from the dollar store. It’s a good size and of a good material. The skaters can easily toss it. It’s soft so if it rolls on someone, it won’t hurt. And it’s sturdy because, well, they’re kids.
On a separate piece of paper or bristol board, write out what exercise each roll will be. So, for example, if the skater rolls a one, she looks to the paper and reads she has to do squats. A two is push-ups. Three is a fast feet run on the spot. You get the idea. I recommend rolling just one die out of the two or more that you have. This way, others aren’t waiting too long for their turn to roll.
So while the skater who rolled is doing her exercise, her partner is skating a predetermined amount of laps (we ask for three laps). When the laps are done, they skate in the middle of the track where her partner is doing exercises and they trade positions.
We usually run this drill for 10 minutes.
Here’s a quick game you can use. It’s like off-skate training you can do on skates!
Divide your skaters into two lines. Everyone in the line will be doing squats. Meanwhile, you have a “chaser” and a “skater.” These two juniors begin skating around the two lines of squatters with the chaser trying to catch the skater.
As the chaser skates around the squatters, she can at any time tap one of the squatters and shout, “GO!” The tapped player now becomes the chaser and the original chaser takes the empty spot in line and proceeds to squat.
When the skater is finally tagged, the chaser now becomes the skater and you can pick a new chaser.
This game works best when you change the chasers frequently, which will likely happen because this gasses the kids out. Even when you think you’re getting a break by tapping a new chaser, you don’t really get a break because you then need to squat.
A terrific way to enforce agility, stopping, strength training, evasion and speed.
Tell your skaters you’re going to play Duck Duck Goose and you could be met with more eye rolls than cheers.
But if you lead in to it saying, “This isn’t some baby Duck Duck Goose. This is EXTREME Duck Duck Goose,” you might pique their attention.
The rules are the same. Have a skater skate around, gently tapping the top of the other skaters’ helmets and saying, “Duck” for each one you tap. They choose one and say, “Goose” and that person is to skate around and get back to their spot, trying not to be caught by the person who chose them. If they do get caught, they get to call “Duck Duck Goose.”
But what makes it extreme? And what good is this to teach your juniors skating skills?
Speed is part of it, as well as precision. I might encourage the very new to just try their best to skate around the circle of their derby sisters, others to only sticky skate around the circle. Skaters that handle it can weave around the circle and advanced skaters can skate backwards or even weave backwards.
But it can also reinforce some of those off-skates drills you’re doing. Have the skaters in the circle stay in derby stance or have them do squats. In time, their legs will be screaming at them and they might be pleading, “Pick me as goose! Pick me!”