When I engaged in skateboarding in june, I had the ambition that it lasts longer than my month Lifehacker Fitness Challenge. I mostly kept my goals to myself, however, so as not to detract from my likelihood of having a successful month. Even so, comments came from older skaters sharing their learning or returning to learning experiences, most of which were trying to help me define “success” in the first place.
For me, success would mean a concrete goal of learning a new trick, and an abstract goal of having fun, learning to love to skate, whether I’m doing tricks or not.
How many skate tricks can you learn in a month?
I spoke with Yuri cruz, author of Kickflips and Chill: Your Inspirational Guide to Becoming a Great Skater, to get a better idea of what constitutes a reasonable set of goals. I had already learned how to ollie from a few rogue skaters who took pity on my efforts and advised me to practice holding a fence. This was the most useful skateboarding tip I had found, and I learned how to land a few modest, stationary ollies quickly, and completed the fence in about a week.
“As a beginner, I found shuv-its to be a good choice, then pop shuv-its,” Yuri said. “Just spending time on your board and doing things other than flip tricks can be really fun and helps build board control and confidence.” Much of the advice I heard from skateboarders revolved around “building self-confidence” and parts of “just getting used to being on the board,” which I consider a polite way of saying this. that most people don’t want to admit: no advice has helped me as much as doing it for a long time, as they all had.
A skateboarder I met at Cooper Skate Park in Brooklyn, Christopher “Smokey” Jones, echoed this sentiment. “You want to gain confidence,” he said, telling me not to worry about the hard falls he saw me do that afternoon. “Everyone dresses here. ”
When I asked him for a specific order of stuff to learn, he agreed. “Learn how to make an ollie out of stuff first,” he said. “And then ollie on a ledge.” Then a frontside 180, then a backside 180s. When you learn all of this, start doing shuv-its, and then you can start doing kickflips and stuff later on.
Of course, the number of tricks someone can learn in a month depends on the individual and how often you skate, but I’ve managed to learn two – the ollies and the shuv-its – that I can land reliably enough to claim them as wins in a month. .
How to stay motivated to continue skating
It’s easy to stay motivated when the rewards come quickly, but it got harder when I felt my improvement rate was dropping. At first I was happy to be able to do an ollie, but moving to the next level – which I define myself as a frontside 180, given advice from Smokey – was much slower.
“There are times when I just couldn’t get past a tough spot to pull off a lap and I would get so frustrated,” Yuri told me. “I literally put something on the floor and revisited it after a year. But no one wants to hear that when you have a goal in mind.
She was right, I does not have want to hear this, but what she came up with next helped:
To help with motivation, if you have the ollie or whatever, have fun with this ollie, make it the best ollie you can. Learn to ollie on things, go a little faster and ollie, learn what tweaking an ollie is and how to do it. Have fun with it and build on things you already have, because you can always do something even better or more unique in skating. It can help make skating fun again.
She also recommends watching skating videos, including yours, where you can learn by watching the mechanics in slow motion. I started to watch Betty on HBO for motivation – much easier – but I also walked the rabbit hole of skating content on YouTube and Instagram where I found countless people of color in the community that I once had only known as suburb and white. It wasn’t a mistake that I turned to Smokey and Yuri to hear their experiences, or a show like Betty which features a diverse cast of women navigating a sport that might be disagreeable to them. Watching their success was as motivating as getting my first shuv-it, maybe even more.
How long does it really take to learn to skateboard?
One of the hardest things about “learning” a skill without standard benchmarks is impostor syndrome which comes from not knowing where you are at. If you wanted to learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube, you’ll know when you got there, but “learning to skate” will naturally mean different things to different people.
For Smokey, who is now 48 and has been skating since the age of twelve, being a “skateboarder” meant going out there and doing it in order to improve a little bit. I found Yuri’s milestones very helpful in judging my own rate of growth, as I could try to compare some of my progress to his: “I don’t remember how long it took me to tick. or to do my first ollie, I saw that I learned to ollie things about four months after I started skating, and learned to do kickflips six months later.
Have I learned to “love” skateboarding?
Despite how bad I am, going out on my board has been the purest joy of my summer. There is a freedom to be bad at something and just have fun with it – something that tends to be rare among adults, especially goal-oriented ones like me who are proud to be. good to the things we do.
“Enjoy where you are and have fun with it,” Yuri told me. “If you’re a goal-oriented person like I can be, don’t forget to start having fun again. I was the type of person who kept telling me “once I learn this trick then I’ll be a real skater”, but after learning this trick I would like to learn another trick and say the same thing. ”
So my new goal in skateboarding, if I could add another one, is not to put too much pressure on any skate goals. “Remember, skating is supposed to be fun,” Yuri told me. And I like to have fun.