Today’s reader question:
How do I know when to move on to a new snowboard trick? How do I know when I’ve mastered a trick?
So first, let’s talk about what ‘mastering’ a new trick means, then we’ll move on to when you can safely move on to a higher difficulty trick (ie 360 to 540).
The different levels of mastering a snowboard trick:
The way I think of my mastery of different tricks is I divide my skill in each snowboard trick into different levels. Each level depends on how far I’ve advanced a certain trick.
I do this because landing a trick 3 times in a row still doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve mastered everything about a certain the trick.
This is where I put all the tricks that I can land most of the time. This doesn’t count anything like style, grabs or anything else.
This means at some point in time I’ve landed this trick a few times in a row and I feel like I have a good handle of how this trick works and that I could probably land the trick if you asked me to do it right now.
This is for tricks which I can land 9 times out of 10 WITH style.
For example, if I had backside 360s in this level, then instead of just a regular backside 360, it would mean I could do a backside 360 with a nice stylish indy grab during the spin.
This is where I put the tricks that I’ve become so comfortable with that I’ve started adding crazy grabs or tweaks in.
So if a trick reaches this level it means it’s a trick that I can not only throw down first try, every time, but it also means I could do something crazy with it.
For example, instead of a regular backside 540, I could throw a corked backside 540 with a mute nosebone or something equally crazy.
Level 3 is basically where I start really experimenting with putting my own style and flair into my tricks.
Alright, so that’s how I usually divide my bag of tricks into experience level, but how do we apply this to learning new tricks?
When to up the difficulty level and learn new tricks:
Okay, so let’s say you’re learning backside 360s. When should you move on to backside 540s? Well, here’s how I progress with my freestyle snowboarding.
I always work on a trick until I can land it a majority of the time with style before I’m willing to up the difficulty level. This means I won’t try backside 540s (at least not seriously attempt them) until I can land a backside 360 a majority of the time WITH style.
Why I wait to increase the difficulty:
To me, this is important because style is key. I don’t count being able to land a trick as having a trick ‘down’. For me, there’s no point progressing your trick to another level if you can’t do it with style.
I also wait to progress because I feel like landing a trick a few times in a row (level 1) doesn’t mean I really understand all the mechanics of the trick. I might have a rough idea of how things work, but I like to be REALLY comfortable with a trick before I up the difficulty.
What this means is when you’re able to land a certain trick every time with style, you’ll understand the mechanics of the trick better and have an easier time upping the difficulty and moving that 360 up to a 540 or even a 720.
One more reason you should get style and comfort before progressing:
I’ve said before that many tricks share the same techniques. So for example, a 360, 540 and 720 share many of the same techniques when you execute the spin.
This can work for us, but it can also work against us.
For example, if you were to progress to 540s before getting 360s properly mastered, you’ll have all sorts of bad habits in your technique that carry over and affect all your later spin tricks as well.
So there you have it.
The short answer: Master a trick up until you can land it with style before you up the difficulty.