Firstly, make a conscious choice of what terrain to learn on. Skateparks such as this, Charlton Park in London has water-smooth concrete, which is great for the experienced rider, but not so good for a newbie. This is because the board is so responsive to every little movement you make on surface like this. You may want to find a surface that is a little rougher because you’ll find the board won’t move around quite so much under you.
Rolling along – recap
Hopefully you’ve drilled your four steps from the previous lesson, to recap; from push position:
- back foot on bolts,
- turn your front foot to riding position,
- to get off, or push again, we reverse steps one and two by turning our front foot to point ahead, then
- take off our back foot.
If you’re comfortable with the previous steps we’ve learnt, pushing along will be very easy, as there is nothing new to learn. We’re going to push along and then use our foot to stop.
Check foot positioning
When you push off, look down at your feet and check they are in the right position, as per our previous lesson. Foot positioning is vital.
Feet on the bolts, this means we have a wide stance, which means more stability, and is safer. Safety first remember. If you’re laid up in bed, you can’t practice.
Preparation for carving
Your toes and heels should just be hanging over the edge an equal distance when in riding position. There is a very good reason why our feet are in this position. As you balance you will use your toes and heels to correct weight distribution & steer. We’ll come onto this in the next lesson on carving.
If you are lacking enough confidence to put the back foot on, first go back to practicing how to stand on your board on the spot. Then move onto pushing along without putting the back foot on the board. Just coast along. When you have practised these a ton, you will feel comfortable putting the back foot on.
Stance and safety
Don’t forget to ensure when riding you are low, bending with your knees, not your back, and arms out. If you feel like something is going wrong, be ready to go to ground. If you are a learner, you should have wrist guards, which should take most of the impact. If you learn to fall you will progress much more quickly because you can take more risks, and learn from mistakes quickly.
OK, once you have pushing and stopping on lock, you can move on to making a second push, rather than stopping.
Lastly, relax. You will find you are tense, and nervous. This is completely natural, you are worried about falling, but this tension is inhibiting your performance, and your ability to enjoy the ride. Remember, making mistakes is your passport to progressing, don’t be afraid of it, embrace it, learn to fall, and fall to learn. Stay closer to the floor if you are nervous. Your hands are the first point of contact with the floor. If you can fall with confidence, you will be able to relax more when you are riding.
That’s it for this lesson. Up next is carving on your skateboard..
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