Dan Bowen is the first SUS and CXC certified SpikeBoarding coach in the world and has been helping to introduce the relatively new sport to NYC athletes. In addition to an amazing core workout, Bowen says SpikeBoarding benefits to athletes such as switch hitters in baseball and double-footed soccer players.
Dan Bowen was born in NYC and spent his early years in Westchester. He graduated from Trinity Pawling and got his BA from Lafayette College. By day, Bowen is a Site Manager for NYC Outward Bound Schools, which focuses on urban and wilderness expeditions that encourage participants to get out of their comfort zones. He manages the high ropes elements and climbing wall. When he’s not SpikeBoarding Bowen can be found playing both team and individual sports – his favorites are hockey (ice and roller), rock climbing, golf and skiing (Nordic and Alpine).
What is SpikeBoarding?
SpikeBoarding is everything that cross-country skiing is brought to a skateboard. Cross-country skiing, which is also known as Nordic skiing, is practiced on snow and for over 50 years Olympic athletes have also trained on wheels (Nordic roller skiing). All the progressive attributes of Nordic roller skiing are exactly the same as SpikeBoarding. Logistically, however, I find it a lot more convenient to step out of my house and onto a SpikeBoard than to wait for snow or clip in/strap on the roller ski equipment.
How did you discover SpikeBoarding?
I was playing roller hockey in my regular game on the corner of Houston and 6th Avenue in Manhattan when a strength and conditioning coach introduced me to it.
Did you immediately take to it?
Yes, day one on a SpikeBoard was a lot of fun and I made way more progress than I was anticipating. Having never ridden a longboard before, I was pleasantly surprised at the balance of the SpikeBoard and its maneuverability. Within my first week I went uphill in the SUS (Stand Up Spike) stroke and felt my core engage each and every time my skateboard spike injected into the asphalt. Imagine making your daily commute from point A to point B while at the same time receiving the equivalent of hours of tedious sit-ups, planks and leg lifts at the gym! Did I take to it? Yeah, I was hooked from the beginning!
What makes SpikeBoarding such a good exercise?
Hey that’s a great question and really it is a coaching question. SpikeBoarding works every physiological system in the human body the same as Nordic skiing with one big new plus. No sport has ever done exactly what Nordic skiing has done plus added bilateral limb development at super high VO2Max levels.
The priority of any good coach is to first make the athlete and then make the superstar a specialist. If there were a Noah’s Ark situation and a “Noah coach” had to save only one type of athlete from which to later create all the athletes we know the “Noah coach” would choose the Nordic skiers. You might argue but how about the gymnasts or football players, but they lack massive endurance. What about the Triathletes? They lack the balance. You can take a Nordic skier and make them into any athlete you need. If you look up athletes with the highest VO2MAX you’ll find the Nordic skiers, and they perform a sport that requires the development of every system from head to toe. SpikeBoarding and Nordic skiing are completely interchangeable, literally!
What sports does SpikeBoarding help with?
SpikeBoarding athletes have the physiological foundation to become superstar specialists in any traditional sport. We are particularly interested in studying the effects of bilateral limb development on baseball players’ abilities to switch hit and soccer players’ double footedness. If you want to hit a baseball or kick a soccer ball equally on both sides consider SpikeBoarding for your strength and conditioning.
What are the challenges to teaching SpikeBoarding, and specifically doing so in NYC?
Space is the number one issue, which is the same in all sports. Let’s face it, space is the issue for so much that happens in all city activity from contracting to transport. All of the transport sports I coach (cycling, inline skating and SpikeBoarding) are optimized by big open places for beginners to be safe for themselves and others. With that said, the way I coach is very personalized, and the city requires much more personalized oversight from coaches for all the transport sports. In the suburbs I have given a class to 12 kids at a time in big open empty lots. In the city, I work one-on-one and start in a playground. From there I proceed side-by-side with beginners on bike paths teaching them the very particular nature of how the city moves, how to hold a line, when to be where and how to behave.
Space is the biggest challenge. Even the parks now have so many users. Frankly, limited space makes you a much better transport sport athlete. It’s akin to alpine skiing on the east coast. Icy hard-packed snow makes you a better skier. Practicing a transport sport in Manhattan will make you a better small wheel sport athlete and a far safer one!
How can people in NYC try SpikeBoarding?
As a coach it is important that I educate people. I’m finding this question gets asked a great deal of SpikeBoarding and the answer is really already there. Here is an example to make it simple. How do I try swimming butterfly? How do I try pole vaulting? How do I try hitting an 85 mph fastball? How do I try sacking the QB? Did that help? You see, the question is sort of set up for activities like parasailing and ziplining, both of which are plug and play activities. Ziplining and parasailing can be tried. SpikeBoarding, like all sports, requires a season long dedication. I recommend approaching the sport of SpikeBoarding with the same commitment and dedication you’d bring to learning how to swim the butterfly stroke. The sport is as technical as butterfly swimming but, I might add, less challenging. Certainly as a hockey player I will tell you that the two strokes of SUS and CXC (Cubi Cross) are 80% less challenging than skating backwards on ice full out in total control and doing crossovers to both sides. Come to SpikeBoardng as you would all sports and even spoken languages. If you take this long view you will have so much fun each and every day as you learn! That said, day one is day one and your first class is your first class. I coach and I know I’ll do all I can to make day one of SpikeBaording as fun and safe as I would coach day one of hockey. But let’s be real. No one is Wayne Gretzky on day one and neither should any one expect to spike as I do now on day one.
If you’d like to schedule day one of spikeboarding please contact me through www.CoachDanBowen.comSee more New York Sports Connection articles
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