How to Get Into Skateboarding by Ian Pinkos

If one is interested in getting into skateboarding, he or she may quickly notice difficulty in finding a clear way to progress. Somebody new to the skate scene needs guidance into the vast world of skateboarding and, with this guide, anything is possible.

 A majority of skateboarding is about finding one’s comfort on your board. With comfort comes persistence, consistency, and style. First things first, it’s important to get very comfortable just riding and rolling around on your board. Without a solid understanding of how to comfortably maneuver around on your board you will find it nearly impossible to obtain any type of confidence when attempting more difficult tricks. These early learning lessons, of pushing correctly, tilting one’s feet to turn, getting comfortable with only one foot on the board when moving, and other simple muscle memory connections with one’s board will help you get your base level of confidence when learning how to skateboard. Confidence is something essential in skateboarding because without it, one could find him or herself not committing to the actions one truly wants to achieve, which could lead to potential injury. As such, it is important to learn to trust oneself and one’s abilities on the board. Trust comes with many hours of practicing how to ride around, turning, carving, and safely coming to a stop on a skateboard. After doing this for days, months, and years, just riding around on a skateboard looking like a stupid poser, not doing anything at all, just riding, tripping and falling over your 2”x4”, you must come to put trust in yourself and combine it with the confidence you have in yourself to gather up some true commitment within you. With this Commitment you will be able to transition into actual tricks on your board, like an ollie, or a shuv-it. Once one builds a strong foundation of confidence, trust, and commitment, it becomes time to actually have fun on a skateboard for once, just kidding, but seriously having the ability to hop around on your skateboard adds a whole new level of gameplay while on your skateboarding journey. 

One such trick, that is fun to master for beginners, is the “Ollie.” Learning the ollie can be separated into three main components, the pop, the drag, and the landing. Starting with the pop, take your back foot and snap your ankle in an explosive downwards “popping” action. It is important to allow your front foot to move upwards with the board while popping, instead of planting your front foot down creating unnecessary tension. Once you get the pop down, implement the dragging motion of your front foot to get the boad to gain upwards momentum and also to level out the board. Your front foot will be dragging and sliding up to the nose of the board, directly after your pop. The difficult part of this dragging process is the timing, it takes countless attempts to get an understanding of the precise time that one starts dragging their front foot up the nose of the  board. After hours of time spent popping and dragging, one must learn how to properly land on the board after the dragging movement. Confidence and trusting oneself is important in this landing stage, without having the trust in oneself, one will never commit to landing back onto the board after going airborne. One wants to aim to have both feet land on the bolts of the deck. When learning how to put these three motions together to make an ollie, be aware that if one does not smoothly stick the ollie and roll away from it, then one will be tossed around like a ragdoll. This is something inevitable and necessary to withstand in order to become more comfortable with doing. Eventually, one learns safer ways to fall to the ground, and it is important to be fully conscious that at any moment you could be plummeting to the ground, and to be ready to smoothen your fall to make it safer.

Now that one knows the basic ollie, it is time to get creative with skateboarding by trying new things. Going online, to YouTube, is a great way to learn about new skateboard tricks because there are a ton of YouTubers showing in-depth tutorials on how to do tricks, starting from front-180’s to Tre-Flips. Also, if one’s lucky enough to have a friend who is better at skating,  or a nearby skatepark, it is possible to learn a lot from other skateboarders that are more experienced than you are. I asked one of my skateboarding companions, Bryan Costa, about what tricks to learn after one has gotten comfortable with an ollie. He said, “I think after your ollie it would be a good idea to start to learn how to do a front-180. The front 180 is when you do an ollie with a 180 rotation of the board and your body. That 180° body spin will surely challenge one early on, however, it is important to learn this body varial movement as soon as possible. After 180s, work on shuv-its to learn back ankle independence. 180’s and shuv-its are a part of the “basic set of tricks” that one should first learn when getting into skating. If you rush into landing a kickflip before you have learned and gotten comfortable with these “basic set of tricks ”then your progression in skating will be greatly faltered. You must learn how to crawl before walking, how to walk before jogging, how to jog before sprinting. There is a process to learning a difficult sport like skateboarding, If you get ahead of yourself it will only lead you to frustration and disappointment, this alone can ruin your motivation to even get onto your skateboard so be careful with ambition with this sport.

After all of these mental and physical battles,challenges, blood, sweat, and tears,you’ll come to appreciate these battles. As these challenges are the things that you beat and get great satisfaction and pride as dophime rushes through you. To start you must get your bearings down, get comfortable riding around. Next, get that confidence and commitment up then go for the ollie, this will come within time, never overnight. Lastly, after endless hours of repetition of riding, falling and ollieing, you’ll eventually be ready to try some other tricks such as 180’s and shuv-its. This stage has a lot of learning from others, learning tricks that other friends know, watching videos online for tutorials on new tricks, or even watching professional skate parts and drawing inspiration from the legends. Skateboarding is a physically and mentally demanding sport that enforces you to always learn new and stylish ways to perform when enjoying a nice skate session. It has many rewarding factors when you overcome challenges you face when learning, hopefully these rewards will keep you motivated and focused.

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