We’ve all been there, we got our skateboard, and the first thing we did was try and stand on it. We could barely hold our balance and would eventually fall. The people who started back in the day had to learn their way either through going to the skatepark (if they were fortunate enough to have one that would be visited frequently), look at the magazines, or freeze every frame on a VHS-tape. Nowadays, you go on YouTube, and you’ll find countless tutorials of any given trick or just how to ride a skateboard. However, as time went on, I started to see a pattern of beginners knowing every trick in theory by watching the videos but would barely push comfortably.
There is nothing wrong with watching every educational skateboarding video online; if that’s what you enjoy, great! If you want to improve your skateboard skills, you should be out there and skate.
The Barrier And How To Avoid It
Many starters look at skateboarding tricks as if there was a checklist of them, and you had to tick all off. Most beginners try to learn how to ollie on the first day they get their board; this is not intuitive since your brain doesn’t understand the physics of skateboarding yet and adapts to unfamiliar movements. It’s almost like learning a new language, except it’s a physical language. And learning how to ollie is essentially like learning how to Smalltalk in that language. Sure, you might get a few glimpses of how the language is built here and there and maybe get a few words rolling, but you will quickly hit a barrier.
The best method to enjoy skateboarding the most accessible way and improve much faster (and less frustrating) would be to cruise around. Ride around the park, the neighborhood, visit your grandma. While you’re rolling, take a second, embrace the feeling. If you’re going too fast or are scared of that one little hill, you have to skate down, wear safety gear. You’ll be surprised how much confidence you’ll eventually gain once you’ve reached speeds you were too scared of before. Ride your board all the time; after all, that’s what you’re going to do the most anyway.
Once the physics of skateboarding feel more natural to you, tricks will come much more comfortable, and you’ll have an easier time not just learning them but also executing them in the long run. Every second you hold a manual just for fun, do a kick-turn, push, slow down, bend your knees, hit a pebble, will not be forgotten by your brain. Your brain will remember how the board reacts and can, in the long run, make you the best skateboarder you could ever be.
To sum it all up, if someone would ask me if there was a secret to skateboarding, I’d say that it all lies within the act of riding. Once you’ve been doing that long enough, the board will not feel like an obstacle but rather an extension of your body.