Benefits of Skateboarding
  For many people it is obvious that skateboarding can be an exciting and fun activity for
both children and adults.  When examined closely, it becomes apparent that there are
more than a few reasons that can make skating a positive and rewarding experience for
just about anyone.  When practiced safely and properly skateboarding can be a vehicle for
future success as it provides opportunities to learn the kinds of lessons that may prove to
be influential throughout a young person’s entire life.
  A unique quality of the skateboarding experience is the practicality and convenience of
the activity.  Skateboarding is an activity that can be practiced inside or out, in large
spaces or small confined areas.  While public skateparks may offer the most ideal places to
skateboard, a skater can work to perfect moves in places like a driveway or basement, with
friends or by themselves.  Another unique quality of skateboarding’s practicality is the
relatively low price of skateboarding equipment, and the practicality of the skateboarding
experience itself.  There are no sign up fees, team registrations, lift tickets, or scheduled
practices required.  A skateboard also provides a cheap and convenient source of
transportation that can easily be picked up and carried, or stowed away when need be.  
  The most obvious benefit of the skateboarding experience is physical fitness.  The
physical act of skating incorporates the entire body as it builds cardio and strength,
improves flexibility, and works to improve balance and coordination.   In addition to these
obvious health benefits, skateboarding is the ideal crossover sport for other board sports
such as surfing, snowboarding, or wakeboarding.  If the waves are flat, the snow is
melting, or the water is too cold, a person can help keep their skills sharp and fitness
levels up by simply riding a skateboard.  
  What about safety?  Skateboarding continues to fight the long associated social stigma
of being an activity reserved solely for daredevils and risk-takers.  While the inherent risks
of skateboarding may appear obvious on the surface, when practiced safely and properly
skateboarding proves to be as safe or safer than traditional sports such as basketball,
football, and bicycling.  In actuality, skateboarding provides a perfect opportunity for a
young person to take calculated risks in a controlled environment, with very real and
immediate consequences if maneuvers are not executed properly.  Similar to martial arts,
skateboarding skills and fundamentals must be learned and mastered over time with
practice and patience, (unlike the instant gratification provided by television and video
games).          
  Besides the physical rewards gained from skateboarding, there are a number of mental
and emotional benefits as well.  Skateboarding naturally teaches kids how to set goals and
overcome fears through the organic path of progression that is embedded in the act of
skating.  Skaters are constantly striving to perfect a new trick or master new terrain.  
Overcoming fears and reaching set goals helps to build confidence and self-esteem in kids
as they grow and develop.  Factors that can be crucial to future success in school, careers,
and life in general.  Skaters learn to take initiative and have ownership in the process of
attaining goals on their own as they skateboard.  Skateboarding can help to develop these
skills and habits often found hard to teach in traditional settings.
  As skaters learn the importance of setting and reaching their own goals, they may also
learn the essential habits needed in order to become lifelong learners.  There is literally no
limit to what a person can learn on a skateboard as the amount of tricks and terrain a
skater may experience is virtually endless.  Regardless of the age or skill level of the
skater, there is always something new or different for them to master and perfect.  The
season never ends and you are never too old to learn something new.  These life lessons
teach skateboarders to never give up, and that they can always improve and do better, all
while they are just having fun and staying physically active.  
  Skateboarding is a creative experience that is truly an individual activity as each skater
develops their own style and unique variations of maneuvers.  The act of skateboarding is
inherently non-competitive.  Beyond fundamentals, there is no one right or wrong way to
skateboard.  When practiced safely it is both a mentally and physically stimulating activity
for developing children.  As we continue to see the popularity of more “traditional” sports
and activities decline among young people today, it is important for educators and
recreation professionals to embrace the kinds of activities that will keep kids interested and
active, as well as help fight the growing threat of obesity in the United States.  If practiced
and promoted properly, skateboarding can be an effective tool for teaching self-discipline,
and preparing the youth of today for the variety of challenges and hurdles they will
undoubtedly face throughout their entire lives.
Why Skateboarding?
    Kids are naturally curious and attracted to activities like skateboarding.  Skateboarding
involves essential lifelong physical and mental skills that can be beneficial to kids both
immediately, and throughout their lives.  In addition to these physical and mental skills,
skateboarding provides opportunities to learn and develop self-confidence, as well as
positive interactions with others.  Although many activities prove to be a healthy influence
on a child’s development, that activity will have greater significance if the child has chosen
it on their own.  Of the many different influences a child will be exposed to, skateboarding
proves to have some unique qualities.  
   First, skateboarding is intrinsically satisfying.  Children are naturally going to gravitate
towards an activity that involves the freedom of rolling, turning, jumping and the types of
movements incorporated into the skateboarding experience.  The different heights, speeds,
and technical movements involved in the act of skateboarding provide a natural
environment where a child can learn to solve problems and overcome fears.  
Besides the obvious physical benefits of skateboarding, there are mental benefits as well.  
The complex movements involved in skateboarding illustrate important physical concepts
to a skateboarder.  Believe it or not, in skateboarding there are important rules that need
to be learned and followed.  Some of these rules are unvarying (physical laws with real
consequences if broken), and rules that relate to ones own safety as well as the safety of
others.  Because skateboarding is so attractive to developing children, and it is an activity
that they have chosen on their own, the lessons learned may be more effectively retained.
  The intrinsic rewards of skateboarding cannot be discounted.  Educators understand that
a child’s success in school is heavily influenced by early childhood experiences that form
and mold a child's self-concept.  A child needs to have positively reinforcing experiences
that illustrate to them how they can solve problems, attain goals, and have control over
the direction their life will take. The concepts that are learned while achieving a skill in
skateboarding are just as important as the skill itself.
   A young person who has experienced the success of reaching set goals, has developed
a strong sense of confidence and self-esteem, and who also can relate and interact
positively with others, is going to approach future situations with confidence and an
increased chance for success.  The sport of skateboarding when utilized properly can be a
vehicle to enhance a student’s adaptations to any experiences they may encounter in life.
Skateboarding Benefits
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