Don’t Kick These New Habits: How to Get Better at Skateboarding

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Skateboarding is an excellent sport, but many riders find themselves burning out fast. Sometimes they hit a wall and feel like they can no longer improve. Sometimes a new rider is trying too hard to get better at the sport but is avoiding the fundamentals.

If you want to get better at skateboarding, follow these simple guidelines. They will instill fundamentals, improve your balance, and give you the form you need to learn new and better tricks.

1. Learn to Fall

This sounds cheeky, but knowing how to fall is a legitimate skill possessed by the best skateboarders. When you are performing tricks on a board with wheels, you can expect to stumble and fall a lot. If you know how to fall and land properly, though, you are less likely to injure yourself and get back up for more practice. To avoid serious injury when a trick goes awry, follow these guidelines:

Each of these guidelines teaches a different way to fall and land so you avoid serious injury.

Don't Land on your Palms

The first rule is one of the most important. It is human nature to throw the hands out when falling so you can catch yourself, but this is a terrible idea on concrete or hard ramps. The fall will place all of the force on your wrists, which are small and easily broken.

Run Out of the Trick

To run out a trick, you need to literally run. If you are learning something new and realize it is not going well, bail out and run out your momentum. This prevents a fall and gives you a chance to try again.

Roll When Falling

Rolling, meanwhile, is a great way to reduce the force and momentum of a failed trick so a fall is not as painful. To roll, you need to tuck your arms in and flip so you land on your back when falling off of a skateboard. This technique should be practiced on grass first so you know how to do it properly when skateboarding.

Wear Protection Gear

Finally, remember to wear kneepads. These protect your knees from damage and often have a piece of hard molded plastic on the front. The plastic is designed to slide on a ramp or across concrete so you don’t hurt yourself with a blunt impact.

2. Go to Skateparks and Meet People

One of the most difficult parts of learning skateboarding is trying to teach yourself new tricks. While some people have great luck on their own, it is best to become part of a community. Making new friends at skateparks allows you to be social, have fun, and also correct each other when learning new tricks or techniques.

Meeting people can also be a great way to learn from one another. Other skateboarders will have new tips. Let’s say you know how to do a 360 hard flip and your new friend can do a 360 toe flip. You can teach one another and show off new skills, helping everyone improve. You then also benefit from the skills of another.

Plus, having a dedicated group of friends can give you an extra incentive to practice, improve, and visit the skatepark every day. Trying to do it alone by practicing in your driveway can be fun, but you’re missing out on tons of opportunities.

Community is one of the most powerful motivators we have as humans so becoming a part of a skating community is the way to go.

Man skating on a ramp

3. Train Your Core

Skateboarding is a sport that requires strength and flexibility throughout the body. If you are out of shape or just beginning, it is important to train your core, build muscle, and learn endurance. This can be done by skateboarding every day, but you can also learn by doing other forms of exercise like weightlifting, cardio, and crunches.

Training your core offers numerous benefits. It teaches greater control and balance while on your board and can make it easier to fall properly so you avoid injury. It also makes tricks easier, since you have better control over your muscles.

If you are unsure about core exercises, there are many YouTube videos and guides tailored to skateboarders. Some of the best activities are lifting, sit-ups, and crunches because they focus on building abdominal muscles. You don’t need a weight bench: even just having one or two dumbbells will be enough.

4. Learn Fakie and Switch

Maybe you know how to ride properly and move forward but never learned fakie and switch. Not taking the time to develop these skills can close off entire catalogs of skills and tricks. If you are struggling to get better and want a new way to improve, challenge yourself by learning how to skateboard backward or use a different stance.

At the same time, it is a good idea to avoid Mungo pushing and instead instill proper pushing habits. Although Mungo is easy, it is lazy and causes you to forget some essential skateboarding fundamentals. Learning fakie, switch, and good form might take time, but they are fundamental skills that will improve your overall technique and give you something impressive to show your friends.

If the switch stance is too hard, don’t sweat it. Focus instead on Fakie and avoid the Mungo.

5. Practice Every Day

Finally, the only way to get better at skateboarding is to practice every day. This means trying the same tricks over and over again, working on your form, and focusing on fundamentals. Skateboarding drills are not exciting, but they are necessary. Although it can be annoying and take a lot of time, there is a major difference between someone who has a good background of experience and someone who neglects the basics.

If you are struggling to get to a skatepark every day, there is nothing wrong with practicing in your driveway or garage. While you won’t have the opportunity to learn tricks on a ramp, you can still improve your form. You can then devote your skatepark time to trying out new tricks, flips, and styles.

skateboarder doing a trick in a skate park

Choose a skateboard that caters to your riding style. Check out our guide on the best skateboards for all riding styles to learn more.

Wrapping It Up

As with any new skill, skating takes a long time to master. It is important to remember that you should enjoy the journey rather than focusing only on the end goal. If you let yourself get down for not being able to land a tough trick and only focus on how good you want to become, you'll soon wear yourself and your motivation out.

Experts say it takes 10,000 hours to fully master a skill and that may be true for skateboarding as well. Don't sweat it too much and remember to have fun. Our brain is wired in specific ways and by completing certain tasks (like skating) we slowly change how those wires are connected in the brain without noticing. This is called muscle memory and it is crucial for your continual improvement.

There's no easy way to become a master overnight but following the above five steps, a solid foundation for improving your skating relatively fast should be laid.

The more time you spend on your deck and wheels, the better. Get out there, have fun, meet like-minded people and always challenge your current ability.

Going electric? Learn how to ride an electric skateboard in a few simple steps.

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Rasmus is the founder of ERideHero. Through half a decade, he has tested more than 110 electric rides across more than 6,400 miles. He handles the review process, content creation, and all things web and video.