One of the most common reasons snowboarder’s get thrown off balance when hitting a jump is when they don’t compensate for the ‘kick’ of the jump.
Let me explain further so we can stop this problem for you.
What is the ‘kick’ of a jump?
When you hear other snowboarders talk about the ‘kick’ of a jump, they’re talking about the shape of the launch ramp and how it affects you as you snowboard up the takeoff.
The ‘kick’ they are referring to is how the launch ramp can throw or compress your body as you ride up the take-off. Ideally, you want less kick on a jump because it makes it easier to stay balance as you ride up the launch ramp.
Just in case you’re still confused, here’s some illustrations to explain ‘kick’ further.
Ideally, a launch ramp would be long, straight and it would gradually slope up like so:
However, some jumps will have launch ramps that sharply curve or slope up suddenly instead of gradually:
In the 1st example, you would say the jump is well shaped and there isn’t much ‘kick’ on the jump. In the 2nd example, you would say the jump has a lot of ‘kick’ or that the jump is ‘kicky’.
How to adjust your snowboarding when a jump has a lot of kick
When a jump has lots of kick, you need to ride it differently. The change has to happen in how you pop off a jump.
If you don’t know how to pop off a jump, stop here and read these two blogs first:
To avoid getting kicked off a jump you want to change your pop to match the slope of the jump. As you know, pop is simply gradually pushing up with both legs as you ride up the jump’s take-off.
The ideal pop:
A good pop starts with your legs bent at the start of the takeoff ramp and you gradually extend your legs as you ride further up the ramp. You should end with your legs fully extended and pushing off both legs as your snowboard leaves the top of the jump.
This whole technique makes sure your body stays balanced and you don’t get compressed by the slope of the jump.
What happens when you try to pop on a jump with lots of kick:
So you try to do everything the same as above, except this time the jump has lots of kick. This means it sharply increases it’s slope as you ride up the launch ramp.
This causes a lot of people to mistime their pop and not push up and extend their legs quick enough. When this happens, your body ends up getting sucked into the slope of the ramp and you end up going off the jump while falling backwards or onto your head.
If there’s a lot of kick, adjust your pop to make sure you extend your legs quicker.
Your goal is to ALWAYS start with your knees bent at the start of the launch ramp and to ALWAYS have your legs fully extend and pop just as you ride off the end of the jump’s ramp.
Any time you don’t extend quick enough or extend too quickly, you’ll be thrown off balance and end up crashing.
Hope this helps you with your jumps!