Learning to Skate at the Utah Olympic Oval

The sun is blazing here in Utah, with no sign of stopping. So naturally we are looking for a way to cool down but remain active.

So why not head on over to the Utah Olympic Oval for a Learn to Skate camp?

While my kids have ice skated a few times, they haven’t spent considerable time on the ice. And as with most sports, repetitive time learning over multiple days, helps them grasp the sport so much more quickly.

Learning new things is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. -Chinese Proverb

Learn to Skate Camp begins every day with a dry land warm-up around the track. The kids are taught to think, act and train like athletes, something that seems to flow out of the Olympic venue around us. But it is all done in a fun atmosphere. They play games like tag and red-light, green-light to get their bodies moving.

dry land training for kids

Before getting on the ice, they practice simple safety skills like falling on their bums, pulling in hands and legs so other skaters don’t skate over them, and the best way to get back up on the ice.

After retrieving the correct size skates at the rental area, the kids learn how to lace up their own skates (with help for the little ones) and head to the ice.

learning to ice skate

On ice the kids start with the basics: pushing, gliding, and getting up when they fall.

Learning to skate os the Olympic Oval

I watch my kids first tentative steps onto the ice. The silly duck walk, wobble and inevitable fall. I see them get up and keep trying. Right from the very beginning falling was treated as something normal – not something to be embarrassed about.

As they become more comfortable they practice squatting down as low as they can, skating backwards, and turning.

ice skating learn to skate skills

And as we return each day for the week of Skate Camp I see them progress faster than I would have imagined. They are more comfortable on their feet. They want to go fast and try new movements. It is so fun exposing them to new things and seeing them learn.

ice skating kids ice skating

With 45 minutes left in our camp session, the kids return their skates and regroup on the track. Every session ends with agility training, a jog around the track, core work and stretching. I’ll be honest, my kids loved the games, had fun with the races, but like me when I was little, they complained just a tad about the exercise. 🙂 Not to say they shouldn’t be doing it! By all means get down and do those push-ups!

The Learn to Skate program at the Utah Olympic Oval takes a kids class and turns it into something more. I saw my kids doing lunges and box jumps next to U.S. Speed Skating Team. It reminded me of something I wrote while watching my friend Rebekah Bradford Plath compete in speed skating a few years back:

My older kids got to see that Olympians are just normal people like us. And they have to work hard to achieve success.

My kids learned something I value immensely: If you work hard and keep trying, you will be amazed at what you can do.
kids in the olympic oval

Failure I can live with. Not trying is what I can’t handle. – Sanya Richards-Ross (2008 Bronze Medalist, 400m)

So if you are looking for a great program this summer or school year to introduce your kids to skating – or if you simply want to cool off – head on over to the Utah Olympic Oval, introduce your kids to something new.

They also have programs that will introduce your kids to hockey, speed skating, curling and track.

I guarantee a good time!

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