Today’s reader question:
I always get the speed of the jump wrong and either undershoot or overshoot the landing. Is there a skill to this? I’ve heard I should be able to feel when I’m going too fast or slow.
Getting the right speed on jumps is mostly a skill, but it’s also not an exact science. Even top slopestyle pros like Sebastian Toutant rely on some degree of instinct and it can still go wrong, as you can see in the video below:
How much of this is skill and can you ‘feel’ the right speed out?
I’d say it’s maybe 90% skill and 10% feeling to tell if you’re going the right speed.
I’ve covered how to break down the skill portion before in a previous blog that you might find useful:
When people talk about ‘feel’, they mean that over time you do develop an ability to just know when you don’t have enough speed or have too much speed.
You’ll start to get an idea of what it feels like to travel at different speeds and you’ll roughly know how it feels to travel at the right speed when approaching different sized jumps.
Where ‘feeling’ helps you get the speed right:
For me, it comes down to my gut feeling as I’m riding towards the jump. I’ll follow all the standard checks to try to get the speed right, such as watching other people and doing a few speed checks up to the jump first, but my ‘feel’ has the last say.
Every jump has a point of no return where it’s not possible to stop in time. If I reach that point and I feel that I’m not going fast or slow enough, I’ll abort the trick.
It comes down to trusting your instincts. The better you get, the bigger the jumps and the more risk you take if you overshoot or undershoot. It becomes a lot more important to abort a trick if it doesn’t feel right as you approach the jump.
Start with the blog I linked above, go through those checks before you try to hit a jump. Most of the time if you follow those checks, you’ll get the speed right, but also listen to your instincts.
It takes time to develop this instinct and exactly how long it takes to get that feeling is up to you. I wish I could give you an exact time frame, but honestly it’s all about volume.
Hit a lot of jumps and hit a large variety of jump sizes and you’ll develop your ‘feel’ for speed a lot quicker.
Hope that answers your question!