Intro

area 51 skatepark eindhovenYou’re never too old to learn something new! Or pick up on an old hobby or sport activity, for that matter. That’s what I’ve experienced over the past few years… That’s why it’s great there are things like a skate school where you can take skateboarding lessons. Today I’m gonna review and share a look on the skate school in Eindhoven, which is part of the Skatepark Area 51 in Eindhoven the Netherlands. As it is one of the biggest indoor skateparks in Europe, it features a lot more than that.

Lesson Content

There are many variables as to ascertain your skateboarding level. At Area 51, this is done by the instructor who uses several quick observations to see what level you are and bases the lesson content on that. Besides the basics, which anyone starting out with skateboarding should know, they leave room for your own ambitions. If there is a certrain trick or area you’d like to know more about, just ask the instructors and they’ll have you performing those basics in no time.

The basics to skateboarding are introduced to almost anybody who has some experience on a skatedeck. Not to let you start all over again, but just to be sure the proper platform is there/created to start building the rest of the technique. With this platform or basis, you’re rigged with the knowledge to help you out in situations during your homework sessions. This is where the power of this type of education lies, built on a logical way of thinking and prepping you with proper basics.

The advanced content is based on the basics skills you are taught in the beginning of a course. For instance: when riding that quarter, you’re reminded back to when you were making that first kick-turn frontise or backside as to leaning into the ramp, but now you apply it also on a ‘disaster’ or air out of the quarter. Another example is basics to ollies applied to higher speeds, on banks, in quarters, over hips & more.

As a lot boils down to body posture and alignment of shoulders, it is a good thing these basics are taught.

Instructors

An important factor to being taught well is a good instructor, which is very much the case at Area 51. Wouter Bosch has extensive skateboarding experience from the past and has been observing, figuring out, investigating and applying his own view and logical approach to skateboarding for several years. It’s this logical approach which lets you make sense of things, creating just enough of a spark to get you going and go for that new trick. As with most techniques, body posture, composure and alignment techniques, this can be taught best only if you experience or know what it feels like. This is where the skills of an instructor come into play, not pushing you but enthuse and boost your confidence by basics already in your skill-set.

Another strong point of the education is that new instructors are being trained and equipped to become an instructor. Although this might not feel efficient, but in my experience this can work just as well. Both instructors that have taught me are very well capable of bringing across the message or the way one should do a trick or technique. When the learning instructor is not capable enough of explaining, the other instructor senses this and adds the appropriate explanation. So far I’ve only been taught by skilled instructors and that’s a blessing, as they both know just the right tips to make me get more out of skateboarding.

Communication

In light of bringing across the lesson content and feedback there are no obstacles for the instructors when it comes to both the Dutch and English language. Sometimes they’re both so eager to explain something it’s hard to focus on either of it. Then again they both convey the same message and that’s comforting.

When it comes to communicating about lesson schedule changes or cancellation due to illness, it’s somewhat less organized. I find myself showing up for a lesson, only to find out it’s postponed or cancelled due to an activity or event. In my case I travel about 30 minutes for a single journey and an easy call or email would be sufficient. Furthermore during the summer holidays I knew when the schedule ended, but I had no real idea when it would start again. Luckily one of the fellow class mates did receive an email and he forwarded it. It’s not their strong-suit and there’s work and room for improvement on this topic. Even though this is from my personal experience, I’ve heard more complaints about it which made me point it out in the review.

Location & Service

The location of the park, traffic-wise, is good for people with a car. When it comes to train or bus, I think one needs to travel the last part by skateboard or by means of walking. The parking spots at Area 51 itself are limited and seem to be in favor of other people visiting nearby businesses or gyms. As an alternative, there is a pretty cheap parking garage with lots of space nearby, so parking your car shouldn’t be the problem.

Area 51 Old Park overviewThe park itself is a perfect location to learn how to ride a skatepark and it’s obstacles. Not only do they have the big park, but there’s a dedicated area for the school’s purpose. This dedicated area features a lot of obstacles which are not intimidating as some of the ones in the big park might seem when you enter the park for the first time. It has 2 quarters, a wall-ride, several curbs, a tube, a few kickers/ramps and some rails. It’s big enough to teach several people simultaneously, but it’s harder to follow the instructors words when there are people rolling around whilst you are being instructed.

From a service point of view, the park offers to pay for the lessons independently or you can get a card which gets perforated for each lesson you take for about 8 lessons worth (€80,- EUR). The website features several web-forms, through which one can sign up for either workshops or lessons. In these forms you can already specify your level, which tricks you can already do, if you own your own material, if you ever visited Area 51 or another park for that matter and what kind of lessons you want.

Price vs. Quality

The price of € 10,- for an hour of skateboarding lessons, when taken in a series, is a fair price, given the quality you get for it. If you take into account that the entrance to Area51 itself normally is € 5,- it is a good deal to follow a series of lessons, because afterwards you can stay at Area51 to practice the skills you’ve just learned during the lessons. You can also do a training session on Saturdays between 11:00-13:00 before the park opens up to the public for € 15,-, where the whole park and the dedicated area are at your disposal.

Thoughts

My thoughts in this are that it’s usually the right pointers that create my path forward in progression as I’ve seen it over the past few months. Since I started with the skate school lessons back in April 2011, I’ve progressed from just being able to cruise around the park and dropping in from stuff towards knowing my way around in the mini-ramp (rock-to-fakie, rock-n-roll, axle-stall, 5-0, 50-50 grind & more), perform several new tricks (boardslide, kickflip, heelflip, 50-50 grind & more) and improved my overall technique on all grounds (body posture, rotations, ollies, stance & more). I’d like to state that it’s a good location how to learn skateboarding. The instructors are experienced, the lesson content is specifically for you and your progress. Where you want to take it, is in your own hands!

Contact Information: Skate School @ Area 51

area 51 skatepark eindhovenWebsite:
General – http://area51skatepark.nl/
Skate school – http://area51skatepark.nl/skateschool/

Address:
AREAFIFTYONE STRIJP-S EINDHOVEN
Klokgebouw 51
5617 AB, Eindhoven
The Netherlands

Telephone: +31 (0)40 2341060

E-mail:
General – info@area51skatepark.nl
Skate school – skateschool@area51skatepark.nl

Background info

With snowboarding as well as with skateboarding I’ve seen that it’s possible to learn new stuff, which I had never thought possible. In the History part in the “About me” section of this blog, I already wrote about how I got into snowboarding quite some years ago. What I was capable of back then, very much differs from the stuff I’m throwing down nowadays! For the snowboarding part, this is mostly out of self-teaching, watching videos and through the use of the SnowboardAddiction.com resources. For skateboarding I also already went into the history of how I came to take the lessons at Area 51 skatepark, Eindhoven.