Wouldn’t it be nice if you could look at any snowboard trick and know how to break it down and learn it? Well you can.
It’s all about understanding how to break down a snowboard trick into the different stages that make up the trick.
How do I break down a snowboard trick?
Every snowboard trick is made up of different areas. These areas include (but are not limited to):
- Pressure control
So, I’ve got good news and bad news.
The bad news: You have to learn all of the above areas BEFORE you unlock the ability to look and break down any trick. So you won’t instantly know how to do this when you first start snowboarding.
For me, this understanding came roughly around the point I had mastered 360s and 540s, but I think it’s different for each individual. You need to have certain basics such as 360s down before things really starts to click together.
The good news: Once you’ve mastered them, you’ll be able to understand and know how to execute any trick you see, even crazy tricks like switch backside 1260s.
How breaking down a trick works:
So for example, I’ll use a common question I seem to get recently – “How do I do a 540?”
To break this down, let’s assume you’re trying to learn a backside 540.
What makes up a backside 540?
Well it’s the same as a backside 360 (which you should know before attempting a backside 540) except you keep spinning an extra 180 right? So we start with the 360 technique that you already know how to execute.
That means we know to use the same carving, rotation, pop, pressure control, timing and speed as a 360.
Next, to spin more, you obviously have to wind up and release more pressure than a 360, so you take the same technique as the 360, but add more rotation by winding up harder before the takeoff.
So now we’ve modified our rotation to add that last 180.
Okay, so now we have everything up to the takeoff point of the backside 540.
How do we land the backside 540?
Once again, we look at what we know from other tricks. We know that at the end of a backside 360 you’d be looking forward at the landing as you come around and complete the 360.
We know we need that extra 180, so if we took away that first backside 360, what trick would we be doing? A backside 180.
Let’s double check. Okay so backside 360 + backside 180 = backside 540. That’s right, so let’s continue.
So let’s add the backside 180 to the backside 360.
That means if we are facing forward again, to continue the rotation you’d have to look past that and back up uphill again, just like executing the landing for a backside 180.
Now we know where to look to land that backside 540!
See what we’re doing here? It’s like a puzzle. We’re piecing together the bits and pieces that make up a trick and altering bits and pieces as we go along.
One more thing…
Don’t take this to mean you’ll break this down and immediate land that new trick on your first go. You still have to try it a few times and make small adjustments, not to mention your body doesn’t always listen to what you tell it to do.
Breaking down a trick gives us a starting point to learn that new trick, but it doesn’t automatically make us able to land that new trick. It’s the important first step because it gives us understanding of what we need to do.
For example, when I tried my first double cork backside 1080, I didn’t land it, but I knew that the execution was similar to doing 2 backside corked 540s in a row.
When I did try that double cork 1080, I was at least able to go in knowing how I’d execute it and where I’d need to look during the rotation to get the trick to click together.
So the next time you’re learning a new trick, try to break it down. Look at what other tricks make up that trick and how you can use what you already know to put together that bigger trick you’re trying to learn.
If you’re not up to that point yet, get working on those basics because there’s an awesome light at the end of that tunnel once you get those basic techniques mastered.
Good luck and happy boarding!