Today’s reader question:
Where should I look and focus when trying to hit snowboard jumps? I’m doing straight airs (no spin) and I’m not sure where I should be focusing and looking while I hit the jump.
Okay for straight airs it’s relatively straight forward (haha get it? straight forward? oh man, I crack myself up):
1) Where to look during approach
Your focus should always be on where you are relatively to the lip (end) of the jump take-off when approaching a jump for straight airs.
Straight airs are all about leaving the jump balanced and in control, and the key to doing that is making sure you time your pop to finish just as your board is crossing the lip of the jump.
To do that, you have to pay attention to the lip because you should be watching and waiting for just the right moment to finish your pop and push off both feet just as you leave the lip of the jump. Your entire goal during approach and take-off is staying balanced and timing that pop correctly.
So basically, the entire run-in for a straight air I’m looking at the end of the take-off and thinking in my head, “alright, I’m getting closer to the end of the jump now… okay now it’s almost time to pop…. alright time to pop now.”
Note: Remember, popping is about control, not power. Firm even pressure while pushing off both feet is the key to a good pop.
2) Where to look once in the air
Once in the air, your focus should always be on looking at where the landing is and how close you are to landing because your goal in the air is getting your legs ready to absorb the impact of landing, and absorbing the impact just as you land.
You’ll notice that I talk about timing a lot because timing is basically the glue that holds everything together. If you don’t pay attention to where you are and how close the landing is to you, you won’t be able to bend your legs and absorb the impact of the landing at the right time.
3) Why can’t I focus on the landing in the air?
Not being able to focus on anything while in the air is normal at first. That’s just typical aerial awareness that has to develop over time.
Basically everyone is blind in the air when they first hit jumps, but over time that foggy moment in time starts to get clearer and clearer and you’ll start being able to know where you are in the air.
The key is just doing your best to focus on where the landing is when you’re in the air and with time you’ll find that focusing on the landing because easier and less of a blur and eventually you’ll even able to throw in a grab while spotting the landing in the air.
Hope that helps answer your question.