Melbourne skateparks are some of the best in the world and kids of all ages want to skate, scoot and ride BMX here. From the outside looking in, the action at your local skatepark looks chaotic at best and for the unfamiliar, probably seems very dangerous.
Action sports certainly may have elevated risks and fewer rules than other more mainstream sports but today let’s look at the top 6 reasons to take kids to the skatepark. (If you want a look at how you and your kids can reduce the risks and make sense of the skatepark chaos, check out the skatepark safety 101 article)
1. Helping your kids be more physically active
Many of the things in computer games that give a dopamine boost and trigger the reward centre in our brains can also be found in skatepark sports. Whether on a skateboard, scooter or BMX (or anything else) the excitement starts right away. Because of the nature of the different sports, rewards for your efforts start really early and easily, too. Simply rolling along on a skateboard gives a thrill and gets the blood pumping. There’s that dopamine and it’s really helpful in getting kids out and active more often.
2. Thinking differently and finding a kids’ creative genius through sport
Most of the action sports found at the local skate park are referred to as the ‘freestyle’ versions. Freestyle BMX, freestyle scooters, freestyle skating. Free-style. A participant is free to style it how they wish. This alone opens up a world of creativity and self expression. Creativity through learning, developing and building new skills doesn’t stop at the skatepark either. Those skills often spill over into school work, hobbies and a person's professional career. As one example, Spike Jonze started his career of film making by riding and documenting BMX.
3. Is this the best way to build resilience, persistence & self confidence?
There’s good reason those fail videos almost always featured a BMX or skateboard. Falling down is a huge part of the process but soon enough kids get over that. They’ll quickly discover how to keep getting up and trying over & over until they’ve learned a new skill. Whether it’s learning to ride without training wheels, drop into the big ramp at the local skatepark or land their first bar-spin air, each skill unlocked is another notch in their self-confidence. The best bit, the new self-confidence transfers across into other aspects of life too.
4. Teaching risk and how to limit the fails.
Kids are going to take risks. Failing & falling when learning how to skate, scoot or ride skateparks on their BMX bikes builds a huge appreciation for the risks involved. But, not unlike the treats within the previously mentioned computer games, the rewards for learning a new skill develops a more in depth understanding of the risks and how to reduce them. Learning from their mistakes, coupled with a growing self confidence, the risks kids are taking quickly become more calculated, planned and safer.
5. Are skateparks a safe place to meet new friends?
A lot of people who skate, scoot or ride BMX aren’t into traditional team sports. They’re individuals who like nothing more than to do things their own way. But with that, many share similarities and are stoked to meet others with a similar mindset. A typical session at a skate park is at least 3 hours and riding for that long isn’t easy so in between each roll, people congregate and chat. It’s a very, very social affair. It is here that plans are made, tricks are discussed & mastered and life-long friendships are formed.
6. Are skateparks fun?
Yes. A loud, resounding and whole-hearted yes. Riding, skating & scootering at your local skatepark has so many benefits, as mentioned above, but the biggest is just how much fun it all is. Be it the people, the challenge of learning new skills, the improved mindset or the increased self-confidence. It’s all bloody great fun!
This article was written with the help & support of the friendly staff and riders at Rampfest Indoor Skatepark. Their biggest desire is to see more people enjoying the physical & mental benefits of getting involved at skateparks around Melbourne & Australia. Hopefully this small article has you wanting to join in.
And remember, if you need some help getting started, you're always welcome to visit Rampfest! We offer: