How To Break Down Difficult Snowboard Tricks & Master Them

Corked backside 540

People love watching double corks and flip tricks and huge spins, but how many of those tricks are as hard as they look? Well, in a lot of cases, ‘cool looking’ doesn’t mean difficult to learn or execute.

What does this mean for you?

This means if you see an impressive looking trick, don’t automatically assume it’s something you can’t learn to do too. It may be a lot simpler than you realize or there may be a way you can break it down and learn it piece by piece.

Let’s break this down further and have a look.

1) Never assume a trick is hard – break it down first to find out

As I mentioned earlier, there’s actually a huge difference between a crowd pleasing trick that looks good vs. a trick that’s really hard to execute. If you want to find out how hard a trick is to learn, break it down first.

For instance, take backflips as an example.

A backflip seems hard. However, in reality, if you wanted to learn to backflip you could probably learn it just as fast, if not faster than learning to spin a 360.

When we break down a backflip, we see it’s a simple 360 rotation and landing again. So what makes it difficult? The upside down part. So let’s look closer at going upside down.

How hard is it to go upside down? The answer: Not hard at all. In fact, a trip or two to your local trampoline gym and almost anyone can learn to flip and get used to the sensation of going upside down.

You can literally learn the technique for backflips and frontflips in a day or two, then safely master the trick into a powder landing before you start stomping the trick off a jump.

Backflips seem difficult because most people aren’t used to going upside down, so they immediately consider anything involving flipping upside down to be really difficult, even if it’s really not.

Never let yourself get caught up by irrational fear of tricks that you haven’t broken down and looked at closely. This fear can prevent you from learning tricks that are actually well within your reach.

2) The actual difficult part

So what makes a trick difficult then? Well, I’ve found that it’s often one of two things:

  1. The trick has a huge list of pre-requisite skills/techniques
  2. The trick requires awkward motions or precise small movements

So what do I mean by this?

Well, let’s look at each area one at a time.

Some tricks have large pre-requisite skills/techniques required

A huge list of pre-requisite skills/techniques means a trick requires you to learn a lot of other tricks and skills before you can learn that particular trick.

For instance, a switch backside 1260 is a really hard trick because of how many other tricks you have to master before reaching that particular trick.

You’d have to master basic jumping, then basic spinning, then switch spinning then slowly work your way up to mastering 1080s before you could even work on a switch backside 1260.

That’s a HUGE list of pre-requisite skills that you’d have to learn if you wanted to learn switch backside 1260s. This makes it very hard to attempt, much less land a smooth trick of this calibre, which is why it’s a very technical and hard trick to learn.

Some tricks require small precise movements to execute and land successfully

The other area that sometimes makes a trick harder than it seems is having to execute awkward movements or master very precise, small movements.

For example, let’s take the backside 180. On the surface it seems like a simple trick, but when we dig deeper it gets a lot trickier.

Firstly, when we look at the rotation, we find that it’s easy to over rotate a backside 180. You can’t just huck a hard spin when it comes to backside 180s, it has to be a slow, gradual 180 rotation that gently spins and comes around just right for that landing.

Next, we look at the landing and we realize that the entire trick involves looking back up the hill as you rotate. This means you’re basically blind to the landing of the jump for the entire 180 spin, which ups the difficulty a level and makes it feel awkward to learn this trick at first.

By breaking down this trick you start to see how certain areas of a simple backside 180 make it a lot harder for you to execute the trick flawlessly. Those precise small movements and awkward blind landings can throw most people for a loop when they first start learning backside 180s.

How you can break down and start learning these difficult snowboard tricks:

When faced with a new trick that you find difficult, work out why it’s difficult first, then see what you need to do to master the parts that seem difficult to you.

Does it have an awkward motion or movement that’s new to you? Then break it down and practice the heck out of that section of the trick.

Does it have a lot of pre-requisite tricks? Then make a list and start checking off what you need to learn.

It’s all about finding the parts of a trick that you find awkward or hard and breaking it down into ways for you to practice that section safely and repeatedly until you get it right.

- Jed

ps – Some of those difficult, but simple looking tricks also happen to be some of the most respected tricks in snowboarding. A slow rotated, stylish backside 180 will get respect from any rider in the park – even the guys doing double corked 1080s.

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