Here’s a common scenario: You’re learning to snowboard and learning your first freestyle tricks, but your tricks are un-stylish and ugly. So what do you do about it?
Firstly, this is 100% normal. Everyone starts off with bad looking tricks and has to work to get that smooth style that you see in veteran snowboarders.
So the next question is – how do you get that style? Well, here’s how.
Good techniques comes first
Focus on your technique.
Yes, there are things you can do to instantly improve your style, such as keeping your hands calm and grabbing your snowboard when you spin, but you still have to go back to basics and actually improve your technique to execute really stylish and smooth snowboard tricks.
Think of it like this: If you’re allergic to cat hair, and it gives you a rash, you get some cream to treat the rash, but you also need to make sure you get rid of any cats that you own.
Similarly, keeping your hands calm fixes a symptom of bad technique, but you still need to go clean up your technique to help fix the reason you’re throwing your hands all over the place.
Back to basics.
To get good technique, it’s all about going back to the basics. Are you carving properly? Are you popping correctly? Are you winding up enough/not enough? Is your timing slightly off putting the pieces together?
You can have 2 people do the exact same trick, but it’s always VERY easy to tell when 1 person has the trick locked down because their timing and executing simply flows together.
Do you have a leaky bucket in your technique?
If you’re doing small things wrong, you can still get the job done, but you have to work harder to do the same job and it shows in your style/execution.
For example, take a basic 360 spin thrown by a beginner vs. someone who’s been doing 360s for multiple seasons.
The beginner really emphasises his rotation and pre-winds and releases that wind-up insanely hard to get that 360 rotation around. However, if you look at the veteran rider who’s been doing 360s for years, there’s a big difference.
The veteran rider lightly carves into the jump, barely pre-winds, does a simple small pop, then just floats a 360 around as if it was nothing. Effortless and smooth.
Both riders are doing the exact same basic techniques to create rotation, however, the beginner has a lot of holes in his basic techniques where rotation is being lost. He’s not carving as well, he’s not timing his release as precisely, he’s not rotating his body smoothly.
Those are small differences that add up to a hole in his bucket that cause him to fight harder to get rotation, similar to how you’d have to fight to keep filling up a leaky bucket with more water.
The bottom line
This is why I fight so hard on this blog to always emphasise basic technique. Your basic techniques make EVERYTHING easier and more stylish.
Get your carve right. Get your pop right. Get your timing right. Get every piece of the puzzle mastered and it automatically makes it easier and more stylish when you put together that puzzle into a finished product.
Even if you have one technique mastered 90% of the way, there’s still that 10% that you could improve on and make better. Fix the holes in your bucket before looking forward to new tricks and other techniques and your style will improve automatically.