The more you snowboard, the more you realize that snowboarding is all about managing that risk between having fun and getting hurt. It’s good to see progress and it’s fun to snowboard and try new tricks, but you obviously don’t go from landing your first jump straight to trying triple cork 1080s.
Every veteran snowboarder follows certain rules to avoid getting hurt when they try new tricks and techniques.
Sure you could use trial and error to figure a new trick out, but most of us quickly realize that just using trial and error leads to more crashes and injuries than we would like.
So, to help us avoid those nasty injuries that keep us off the hill, here are the golden rules of safe snowboard progression:
1) Never try a trick you don’t fully understand
You need to know and understand every aspect of how a trick works before you try it.
How do you get that last 180 around, how do you initiate the rotation, where should your head be looking, how do you stop the rotation, when do I prepare for the landing, what’s the right speed? These are just a few of the things you need to know before you try any new trick.
You should know how you’ll execute every single part of that new trick before you try it. If you don’t know how you’ll execute everything from the time you drop in, up until the landing, then you have no business trying that trick on the snow.
2) Master the lead up tricks
Basically every trick is made up of other tricks and we want to master those other tricks before we work on and master that bigger trick. For example, if we want to learn how to do a backside 540, we first learn how to hit jumps, land 180s and land 360s first.
Think of these lead up tricks as the pre-requisites for a new trick. Just like you need to study maths in high school if you want to become a physicist, you have to learn the lead up tricks before you can go on to learn that bigger trick.
We have to break each trick into the little pieces that make it up and master each portion before we put them all together and master that bigger, harder trick. This is one of the many ways we increase our chances of landing a trick, which ultimately means less crashing and less injury.
In addition, skipping steps in progression is stupid because not only do you increase your chances of injury, but it’s actually 100 times easier to learn a new trick after you’ve learnt all the lead up tricks.
Imagine trying to run before you learn how to walk. That’s how much harder you make it for yourself if you try to skip a step in your natural trick progression.
3) Know that you’ll be able to land on your feet
Even if you understand how to execute each step of a trick and master all the lead up tricks, it still doesn’t guarantee you’ll land it the first time. In fact, you’ll most likely crash the first few times you try any new trick.
That’s why you should never try a trick unless you’re confident you can at least land on your feet, even if you crash.
You want to be able to absorb and dampen any crash impact, that’s why landing on your feet is important because it gives us the best method of absorbing any impacts while also keeping vital areas like your neck and head out of danger.
Remember, you’re going to crash. That’s normal. We’re just trying to make sure that when you do crash, we do so safely with lowest chances of injury.
Good luck and stay safe on the slopes!