Blog post -
Transferable skills from Project Balance sees youngsters skateboard and snowboard
The Olympic Games is in full swing and the sports we’re seeing on our TV screens is evolving with a rise in urban sports that the International Olympic Committee hopes will appeal to young people.
Sky Brown has already become Team GB's youngest ever summer Olympic medallist following the introduction of skateboarding to Tokyo 2020 with 3x3 basketball adding to the focus on urban sport.
Such changes could provide big inspiration and opportunities for London in the near future.
At Royal Oak skatepark in Westminster, children at Westminster Academy have been learning all about one of the summer Olympics’ newest sports with the help of GB Snowsport.
London Sport caught up with British freestyle snowboard star Katie Ormerod to learn more about how Project Balance was supporting young people to try a new activity:
Firstly, can you explain a little bit about Project Balance?
KO: GB Snowsport are doing a project called Project Balance where we’re taking inner city kids and giving them the opportunity to learn how to skateboard and at the end of the project, we’ll take them snowboarding at the snow centre.
We’re teaching the core skills that are transferable between snowboarding and skateboarding in the hope that they’ll get into snowsports and enjoy it.
It’s really cool to give these kids an opportunity that they might not otherwise have had and to try action sports, whether it’s skateboarding or snowboarding.
How transferable are the skills you learn in an urban sport like skateboarding?
KO: When I got into the British (snowboarding) team as a teenager that’s when I started doing more skateboarding in the summer months, when I was at home, because my coach is a really good skateboarder. There are a lot of skills and good habits that transfer over into snowboarding.
The skills that you will learn are so useful for everyday life too. If you fall, it’s getting up from that fall, learning from it and moving forward and being determined. It’s about giving these kids the opportunity to have a passion for something and to challenge themselves.
How important are free facilities like Royal Oak skatepark and the social aspect of the sport?
KO: The facility here, you don’t need to pay to come to it, it’s free access. Having this access is key to learn snowboarding, as the kids will learn the transferable skills. It’s really important to have these facilities that are accessible for everyone.
That’s one of the great things about snowboarding, the whole community is so nice and supportive– if you’re learning a new trick and you land it, everyone will be just as happy as you are.
It’s a really friendly, nice community to be involved in. You can see it here at the skatepark, it’s one of the similarities, it’s the culture. Everyone’s hanging out and having fun.
How vital is that element of fun in maintaining participation?
KO: Having fun is the best way to progress. Growing up I had so much fun doing what I was doing and that’s what helped me progress.
The more you enjoy it to more practice you’ll get in and that’s one of the key things, just have fun and you’ll progress and keep learning.
The London Urban Sport Group shares knowledge and provides a collective voice for physical activity and sport within the urban environment, encouraging more organisations and local authorities to back this approach. Find out more here.
If your organisation interested in joining the London Urban Sport Group, get in touch.