Gift ideas for the Speed Skater in Your Life

December 1, 2013

 Now that the calendar flipped and December is upon us it is time to ask; have you decided what to get the speed skater in your life?

 

Aside from the obvious articles of equipment such as helmets, gloves, skates, etc, here is a list of gift ideas to assist a skater’s development away from the ice.  By no means is the list exhaustive.  To compile a larger list skaters and coaches are invited to share their own wish list in the comments section below.

$0 – $25

  • Spiral Note Book – Sounds simple but is maybe one of the most effective tools an athlete can have when used as a training log.  Use the log to journal goals and objectives and track progress during practices and competitions through the season.

  • Hot Hands – To help extend those training sessions on those cold days out on the Oval. 

  • Going for Gold – The Catriona Lemay-Doan biography tracks her career from provincial speed skater in Saskatchewan to repeating as 500m Olympic champion.

  • In Pursuit of Excellence – By renowned Canadian Sport Psychologist Terry Orlick, In Pursuit of Excellence is a must have for an aspiring athlete.

  • Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell argues that the factors that lead to success are not what we typically think.

  • Hacky Sack – Yep, the good old foot bag.  Using a foot bag makes for a fun warm-up that develops agility and coordination and is a great tool to meet and engage with friends at competitions.

  • Skipping Rope – There are several benefits to using this old playground staple for warm-up or training.    There are several ropes on the market that advertise as competition or professional ropes but some of the best ropes can just been a length of climbing rope.  About 2m of 8mm or 11mm climbing rope from MEC or another outdoors store works great.

  • Cables – This is not something that you will be able to pick up at sports store but rather will be something to be made at home.  About 4m of either seat-belt or nylon strapping, camp webbing, or climbing rope can be sewn or tied into a loop to form the cable.  The cable can then used to perform several technical drills.

  • iTunes Gift Card – Us the card to build a motivational soundtrack for training or competition, or use the card to purchase some of the great sport apps available.

    • Coach’s Eye – Instant video analysis and slow-motion review on your mobile device.

$25 – $50

  • Foam Roller – Think an over-sized pool noodle that is used for self-myofascial release assists with preparation before and recoveryafter a workout.

  • Massage Stick – Another great tool for recovery after a workout that should be a staple piece of equipment for many athletes.

$50 – $100

  • Sport Watch – A sport watch can come with several bells and whistles but it should really do one thing: tell you how long your workout was from start to finish.  The Timex Triathlon is a good option for a sport watch with its stopwatch and interval timer.  The stopwatch is great for timing runs, bikes, or swims.  The interval timer is useful during sprint or skipping programs because it can be set to beep at the beginning and end of each interval.

  • Bike Shoes and Clipless Pedals – Andrew Feenstra, a Cycling coach and proprietor of Cyclesmith in Halifax, advises that “shoes and pedals are important no matter what bike you have”.  The advantages of cycling shoes is that there is no flex so that all of the pressure in the forefoot transfers to the pedal.

  • Cycling Computer – A must have for training on a bike.  The computer should tell you three things: how far, how long, and how fast the ride is/was.  Valuable information to be tracked in a journal.

$100 – $500

  • Heart Rate Monitor – At a certain level of athletic development tracking heart rate will be a valuable measure when training.  Monitoring heart rate is a very useful indicator of the intensity of the training.  Many Heart Rate monitors come as a feature of a sports watch, or vice versa.

$500+

  • Road Bike – Biking in the off-season is a great cross-training tool and becomes bigger part of training as a skater’s development progresses.  Thanks to Andrew Feenstra at Cyclesmith in Halifax here are some things you should consider when looking for and purchasing a bike; as previously tweeted at Atlantic_LT.

    • Girls’ bikes are no longer just boys bikes painted pink. Bikes for women are made with shorter top tube, narrower handlebars, & wider seats.

    • A bike is an investment. First find one that fits you properly & then keep up with its maintenance so that it will last many years.

    • The size, in cm, of the bike is measured from the center of the crank to the top of the seat tube.

    • Fit? With seat at proper height & pedal down there should be some knee bend. Too much seat post = too small, Too little post = too big.

    • Fit? Comfortable reach from seat to handle bars. The handle bar width should match the shoulders.

    • Pedals & Shoes? Important no matter what bike you get. Stiff bike shoes allow all of the pressure in the forefoot to transfer to the pedal.

    • Store vs Online purchase? A store can swap parts to fit you properly. Online may require additional expenses to repair & fit for riding.

    • Maintenance? Just like a car a bike should receive a regular tune-up. Eg. the chain will stretch needing replacing after about 3000km.

    • Bike Shop vs Department Store purchase? Bike Shop prices begin at $900 which reflects quality of the components & thus long-term enjoyment.

    • Components? Brakes, shifters, derailers, etc. Shimano’s line of components range from low to high = 2300, Sora, Tiagra, Ultegra.

Again, the list is not exhaustive.  Skaters and coaches are invited to leave their wish list in the comments section to provide others with more ideas.

 

Happy shopping!

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