Problem 1: You have to step outside your comfort zone to progress your snowboarding.
Problem 2: Your chances of injury increase outside of your comfort zone.
Question: How do we safely step outside our comfort zone and learn new snowboard tricks and techniques without ending up injured?
Well, it’s all about taking good risks, while avoiding bad risks.
Good risk vs. Bad risk
Alright so what’s the difference between good risk and bad risk. Well, that depends on your current comfort zone and skill level. Let me explain further.
Let’s use a random snowboarder as an example… let’s call him Bob.
So Bob has just mastered small 10 foot jumps in the terrain park. That means his current comfort zone and skill level for hitting jumps is anything 10 foot or less.
If he tries hitting any bigger jumps and he’s stepping beyond his current skill level and stepping outside his comfort zone.
The ideal zone for fast progression and low chances of injury:
Using the above diagram, we can see Bob starts inside his comfort zone and each step takes him out further from his comfort zone and skill level.
1 Step Outside
If you take 1 step outside your comfort zone and current skill level, you’re in the green zone. Slightly riskier, but still pretty safe.
For Bob, this would be going from 10 foot jumps to trying 15 foot jumps.
2 Steps Outside
If you take 2 steps outside your comfort zone, you’re in the yellow zone. Things are getting a bit risky at this stage. You don’t want to be here all the time, but you might be pushed to this zone once in awhile.
For Bob, this might be attempting his first spin off a jump. It’s a new technique and he knows he’s going to fall, so he takes extra caution and makes sure he knows what he’s doing before he tries his first spin.
3 Steps Outside
If you take 3 steps outside your comfort zone, you’re in the red zone. You do not want to be here. This is where you go to take stupid, bad risks and end up injured.
For Bob, this would be going from mastering 10 foot jumps to immediately trying large 40 to 50 foot jumps. Obviously, not a smart idea.
So back to the chart above… we can now answer our first question. The best way to progress our snowboarding safely and learn new tricks and techniques is take a small step outside our comfort zone. Stay in the blue and green zones a majority of the time.
The area just outside our current skill level is where we can push our progression, while keeping things relatively safe. Ideally, this is where you want to be when you’re aiming to learn new tricks and techniques safely.