Imagine whooshing down the road with the wind for company and in a set of wheels that doesn’t require you to turn 18 and get a license. Roller Skating as a sport is a big favorite among kids, especially in Karnataka. Although the number of skating clubs in the city isn’t all that high, awareness about the game is building up and there are several district, state and national level championships held to hone your child’s talent and competitive spirit. One of the clubs in the city is Esther Roller Skating Club (09886568364), run by ace skater Esther Bernard, 25. Esther was ranked the 24th fastest skater in the World Championships held in France in 2001 and has represented India in several Asian Roller Skating Championships. With 27 gold medals at several National and All India Roller Skating Championships behind her, she’s a great source to get some skating tips from. MetroMela spoke to her.
* I believe the right age to start learning roller skating is four years. This sport needs strong ankles and around this time, children’s ankles are strong enough. Their bodies are also flexible, they pick up the technique well and are easier to handle than smaller children.
* Skating is a great way to maintain balance. I feel that children are able to do well in studies and the sport even if they have taken it up in a professional way. I myself missed school half the year because of tournaments but did well in academics. I attribute a lot of it to the discipline of the sport.
* Skating teaches you to think smart and plan. You also learn to coordinate, balance your body and concentrate.
* It builds a good immunity level in your body. In all these years, I’ve rarely seen skaters fall ill.
* When you are skating, ensure that you have a lot of water in the breaks in between.
* There are chances of lots of bruises in skating, even though the kids use knee guards etc. Some kids play safe but to really learn, you need to get aggressive.
* Parents need to be aware that skating can become an expensive sport. The equipment for beginners is available at any sports goods shop across Bangalore. Beginners can buy good skates from Yonex for around Rs. 400. For kids participating in tournaments there is professional equipment available from premium brands like Bont, which you can order from abroad or through the skating clubs. Those are expensive and cost around US$ 250.
* Children can take up the game at any age but the ideal age to start is four plus. Most of the children I train for competitions are in the 5-7 age bracket (semi-professionals) and 8-12 years (professionals).
Skating Clubs in Bangalore…
Ace Rollers School of Skating
Started by an enthusiastic group of parents who wanted to promote skating as a sport, this club has been in existence for the last six years and takes children from four years onwards. Children coached by the club have participated in state level, national level and even the world championship. Experienced coaches train the kids and physical fitness is of utmost importance, says Dr Veena Ashok, a committee member. Beginners have four classes a week for an hour each, while those going for professional tournaments have classes six days a week at 5.45 AM. They practice at the Jayanagar Stadium.
Esther Roller Skating Club
Run by 25 time national champion Esther Bernard, this one year old club takes in kids from the age of four. Classes are held at the skating rink in National Games Village, Koramangala. They also hold summer camps from where they select talent for tournaments. There are three categories – beginners, semi-professionals and professionals. Classes are held in the evenings between 4.45 PM and 7.30 PM. The fee is Rs. 300 a month approximately.
Coles Park Skating Club
This club is run by five-six coaches and takes in kids from four years of age. The classes are held at Coles Park. You can opt for either early morning classes (6.20 AM to 7.30 AM) or evening classes (7 PM to 8 PM). The fee is Rs. 550 a month.