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What should I do to help my kid become a pro skateboarder?

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Question: What should I do to help my kid become a pro skateboarder?
I just got an e-mail from the mom of a skater. Her son is good at skateboarding, and wants to be a pro skater some day. She wanted to know what to do, to help her boy along. What should you do to help further your kid's skateboarding ability? Where should you start now if you want a pro skateboarding career in the future?
Answer: Setting up you kid to succeed in skateboarding is a great idea. A lot of parents out there would rather their kids NOT skateboard, and often this is more because the parents are simply un-supportive, than worried about injury. The fact that you are reading this at all right now is a great sign for your kid's future success!

So where do you go from here? Here are some steps to consider:

First off, simply get your kid skateboarding. You are probably already doing this, but just in case, it needs to be said. If you want your son or daughter to do well in skateboarding, they need to get out there and skate!

Now, here's the kicker - you can't push them. Well meaning parents can easily push their kids too hard, and kill the love for skateboarding that that kid once had.

Some kids respond well to pushing though - they are your kids, so this is all up to you of course!

Second your kid should really be skating all year. When winter comes, this gets tough – find an indoor skatepark, or some kind of facility that you can take your kid to. This is very important. By stopping all winter, your kid will lose a lot of what he or she gained over the summer.

Third, get your kid into some skateboard camps. There are piles of quality skateboard camps around the US and scattered across Europe. Check out these lists for ideas:

There might be plenty of other skate camps in your area - ask at your local skateboard shop. You'll need to ask at a real local shop, one that supports skateboarding. Not a chain shop, like Zumiez. They might know, but probably not.

Fourth you can help your son or daughter work towards getting sponsored. Skateboard shops and companies like to sponsor skaters, and this often involves giving the kid some gear.

Sometimes, sponsorships require that the skater do all kinds of things for the sponsoring company, and they can get demanding. Normally, I would recommend that anyone interested in getting sponsored not get too wrapped up in it. It can get distracting from skateboarding, and it can become a burden. However, if your son or daughter is serious about becoming a pro, this is part of the game!

Read How to Get Sponsored for some help with this, but basically I would recommend starting with local skate shops, and working up from there.

Fifth, get your kid into skateboard competitions. Start small, and work your way up. There are piles of small skateboard competitions all over the US and other countries – again, ask at your local shop.

I have another article on how to find non-sponsored skateboarding competitions. Take a look. By “Non-sponsored”, I mean that they aren’t looking for pro skaters. If your kid has some sponsors, that’s fine – these contests should still work.

One of your best bets right now in America is the Free Flow Tour. They have stops all over the United States, all summer long, and the winner gets to compete in the AST Dew Tour, which is an amazing opportunity. In 2008, the Free Flow Winner ended up winning 4th place, skating against pro skaters! Talk about launching his pro skating career!

These are a few steps to help you in helping your son or daughter on the path to becoming a pro skater. It will depend mostly on whether or not your kid actually wants to do it, and how much natural skill he or she has. Either way, encouraging your son or daughter to follow their dream, and helping them as best you can, is a great gift to give them. I hope it works out great!

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