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Kanata Jackrabbits SkateSki Football Championships
By:  Dev Paul   (2006/02/24)


On Saturday afternoon I had the most fun I have had on skate skis in years. The sun was out, no wind and I had spent the first hour and a half with my Kanata Jackrabbits XC ski crew working on legs only skate skiing and one skating. The kids were coming along really well. They are all 8-12 years old. It is one of the most satisfying thing in sport to explain things to kids and see them make progress in leaps and bounds. After an hour and 20 minutes, the kids were pretty cooked, so we went into the Mlacack centre for a break (ie hot chocolate time).

After the break it was time for some touch football. The only rule is that the kids had to skate ski everywhere. We have been doing this legs only classic for the past few weeks, but given the hard pack and good glide today was skate ski. Before the break, they were all cooked. After the break, with a ball as a carrot and points to be put up on the scoreboard there was some serious spring in their legs.

We played for 45 minutes. It was pretty well all out sprinting for most of it. The kids who are hockey player and figure skaters, really rose above the rest, but everyone improved without "thinking" about what they were doing. At the age of 40 I found a few things for myself:

  1. I never knew it was possible, but I found myself turning on a dime like when I was 13 playing defence in hockey and skating BACKWARDS on skate skis!

  2. Like on dryland, when you are playing quarterback, it is a lot harder to throw against the grain away from your direction of movement. It certainly requires some extra dynamic balance to do on skate skis. Both Michael Vick and Bjorn Dahlie would be proud!

  3. 40 year old men should not lunge at 20+ kph as they sprint for a ball that is randomly bouncing on the ground. When your back feels like wood you should not pretend that you are 15 years old again.

  4. Kids bodies are made of rubber. I saw kids in a variety of mid air configurations that I would swear that no one would ever be able to "stick" with the skis landing under the body. Amazing.

  5. Spatial awareness is so important in sport. I find playing these games with kids helps my coordination big time, and the kids improve their feel for skis without even knowing they are doing it. Being endurance athletes we spend too much time going in a straight lines.

Anyway, I must now nurse I slight sore back. Nothing major, but worth the fun.

Any of you guys coaching kids on skis should try this some time. You get 5 downs to cover the field, and the ball can be thrown forward, backward and sideways and it is live even when it hits the ground. The play stops only when you are tagged by the other team. This keeps a continuous flow or motion and keeps the legs and hearts beating.

Next week is the Keski 5K for our kids (back to skiing in a straight line), but we'll be back on for more skateski football in a few weeks. This time I will make sure I warm up my back!!!!

Try it!

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