SKATING IN YOUR BASEMENT
Finding ice to practice technique in the summer can be a major problem. A solution is to build your own sheet of “artificial ice.” The slide board is the next best thing to ice skating. A skater can duplicate almost every movement in speedskating the straightaway. It should not be used just to slide back and forth, but as a training method to learn stride control, timing and rhythm.
- 1/2 sheet of 5/8″ chipboard or plywood cut to 2′ x 8′ length. (You can’t buy a half sheet at a lumber yard, but you could go in with another family so you can each have one.) If you talk nice to the yard man, he may rip the sheet for you on their saw making for easier transport.
- You will also need GLOSSY formica cut to the same 2′ x 8′ length. Cutting that formica in half may be a problem. (If they will only sell you a full sheet, don’t have them rip the plywood. Instead, glue the formica to the plywood, then you can rip the two at the same time…making for a smoother cut.) There are two kinds of formica; dull and glossy. You can only tell the difference by looking at samples of each.
- One quart of formica cement.
- Two feet of 4″ x 4″ wood post. If you are really good with a saw, you can cut that two foot section diagonally and have triangular end stops at each end. The alternative is to have a second two foot section of 4″ x 4″ post for mounting at the other ends as a “stop.”
- 6 large screws (2.5″ to 3″)
- Felt boot liners to serve as your skates. (Wool socks over your shoes also work.)
- Dow Corning 316 Silicone Release spray…available at Detroit Ball Bearing Company in most cities. It costs $11 a can and it works best to make your surface of the slide board super fast. One can lasts a year. (I know a company in Muskegon that sells it. Hard to find these days.)
Total cost of all materials should be about $75. Yes, the sporting goods stores do sell a roll out plastic version for twice that price but of questionable quality.
If you are over 5′ 9″ tall you will need the full 2′ x 8′ surface. If you are not that tall, then about 72 inches should be long enough. If you are a really good carpenter, you can make “drop in slots” to make the board smaller for your children and extend it to full size for yourself. The key is to be able to easily glide with one pushoff from side to side! Very small children may need an even shorter surface.
Follow the instructions on cementing formica to board. This is a two person job and I am not kidding! Once the formica touches the cement, it bonds permanent. There is no margin of error. You cannot make any minor adjustment as the bond is instant and permanent. You have to drop it down precisely on the first try!
Put the end stops in place and fix with screws from the backside. You may wish to put some carpet on the end stops to cushion your foot.
Put on the felt boots and spray the board and go to it. If you have a mirror to watch yourself, this will be excellent. You can also throw the board on the grass outside and face a window to see your reflection. Use good push-off from side to side. Stay low and swing your arm as you would skating the straight-a-ways. About ten minutes and the sweat will be pouring off of you. That equals about one hour of ice time when done correct. What is “correct?” Please go to YOU TUBE on internet to watch video shot by skater Andrew Love of Olympian Derrik Parra using proper technique at the Pettit Center in Milwaukee. You can type in these words once you get to YOU TUBE: Derrik Parra–Slideboard workout.
We have slideboard workouts developed by Olympian instructor Nancy Swider-Peltz for beginners and experts.