Today’s reader question:
How long does it typically take to see progress in your snowboarding? I’m an intermediate rider and it seems I’ve sort of hit a plateau where I don’t see any improvement anymore.
Alright, so firstly, this is normal. Unless you’ve got some sort of private training or coaching, snowboard progression tends to stalls at certain points.
That’s partly why I created our Snowboard Trick Secrets program for freestylers who needed that push and coaching to get past those roadblocks, but anyhow that’s self promotion and I’m getting off topic…
Back on topic, snowboard progression usually goes something like this:
- Beginner – Massive improvements day to day
- Intermediate – Slowdown into mini step-by-step progression
- Advanced – Progression based on effort/choices
Let me expand on that a little for you.
You’ll see massive progress day to day because you’re learning the core basics of snowboarding and using them every single day.
It’s a big jump to go from being unable to turn and stay upright to learning how turn your snowboard, stay upright and learn basic board carving and balance.
These are skills where the difference is light and day. You either turn or you don’t turn. You either faceplant or you don’t.
Here you’ve got the basics figured out. You have basic turning. You have basic balance and body control. You can get down ski runs and look ‘okay’ doing it.
From this point onwards, jumps in your progression aren’t as noticable from day to day. Outside of learning new freestyle techniques (ie hitting your first jumps) you won’t really have many of those light and day jumps in your progression.
At this stage your snowboard progression will become step-by-step as you see mini improvements each day. It becomes all about fine tuning your riding and making smaller changes that add to your basic skills to make you a more effective rider.
For example, you’ll start to learn to bend your knees more and more and start to use them more effectively to turn quicker and smoother.
While you won’t notice day to day changes as easily, the progress is happening. This is often the period where people think they’re not really progressing, but they’ll look back at the end of the season and notice how much their riding has improved.
Progression in this stage is in smaller chunks and a lot more stealthy BUT it does happen. It just kind of sneaks up on you because you don’t notice it as much.
Beyond basic/intermediate progression, you get into more advanced riding where you know all the techniques and it becomes a lot more about putting different pieces together rather than learning new techniques.
I won’t really get into this here since it doesn’t really apply to most of you guys and honestly once you hit the advanced stages of riding you’ll often know what you should be doing to improve.
How to avoid stalling your snowboard progression
So what’s the key to getting intermediate progression and not stalling? Focus on finding one skill you’re lacking in and building on it one step at a time.
Since it’s unlikely you’ll be learning entirely new techniques, you have to identify areas where you need improvement and work on fixing one small area of it at a time.
This means if you don’t bend your knees enough, you have to work on bending your knees more.
Or if you don’t turn quick enough to ride tight tree runs, you have to work to fine tune your turning/knee control to turn a little faster.
Or if you were learning freestyle, you might be fixing problems with your style or your spin execution.
This is personally where I find lessons/coaching helps people the most because instead of having to identify the areas they need to improve on by themselves, a good instructor will be able to tell them which areas to focus on first and how to improve/build on them correctly.
Basically, by building step-by-step, you won’t see instant, massive changes in your riding, but trust me, you’ll look back after a season of making many small changes and realize that all of those changes add together to a big step in your snowboard progression.
So don’t feel discouraged if you feel stuck or not seeing big progress in your riding. Find small things you can improve in your riding and fix them piece by piece. As long as you focus on fixing one little thing at a time, it’ll build up to a bigger step in your progression.
What I’d actually suggest during this intermediate stage of your progression is to decide on a larger goal (eg – ‘I want to ride a double black tree runs’), break it down into the pieces your riding is missing to be able to achieve that goal and work on each of those small areas step-by-step to build towards your big goal.
Take it step by step and I guarantee you’ll look back later and realize how far you’ve come in your snowboarding.
Hope that answers your question.
ps: For those who do want my step-by-step tutorials to freestyle progression, our online ‘Snowboard Trick Secrets’ program is opening up again in a couple days. If you don’t want to miss out, get on the waitlist here.