Time for more question and answer! Today’s question comes from Brian:
“I’m new to spinning and when I spin I don’t have any idea where I am in the air until I land. It’s like I can’t control my actions fast enough and it’s all disorientating. Any help?”
Here’s the deal: it’s totally normal for this to happen, so don’t worry It’s like this nearly every time you learn a new spin. Part of learning any new spin is practicing it enough until you get what they call ‘aerial awareness’ and you’re able to know exactly where you are in the air.
First, let’s look at how aerial awareness works.
The first few times you actually physically do the spin, you’ll be very disorientated, but slowly you’ll get more and more used to the physically feeling of spinning and the overall vision of what you see as you do a particular spin.
Over time and after doing the trick repeatedly, your mind will start to become more clear while executing the trick. You’ll notice that your body is used to spotting the landing and you’ll find that you’ll spot the landing earlier and earlier and you’ll feel like you have more time to do grabs in the air.
Why does this happen? It’s because at first, you’re too busy focusing on getting your body to do the trick. Your body is not used to the feeling of the spin and your mind is so busy trying to make heads or tails out of what’s going on in front of you.
As you get better, you don’t have to spend as much of your focus on doing the trick and figuring out what’s going on, instead your mind is familiar with what’s going on and you can focus on other things, such as grabbing and spotting the landing.
Just like a boxer has to get used to staying focused while getting punched, snowboarders and skiers have to learn to get used to each new spin.
How can you speed up the learning curve?
Besides the obvious, which would be to practice more, you can work on mentally picturing the spin. Go through every detail of the spin, from initiating the spin, up to landing. Picture exactly what you’ll be seeing throughout the spin and you’ll find that it helps you to get used to the spin a lot faster than just blindly physically doing it over and over.
In addition, focus on where your head will have to look for the landing. This is different depending on the trick, but there’s always a direction that you head should be looking to spot the landing and it helps to build up that muscle memory.
With a backside 360, you’d be continuing to look in the direction of the spin until the landing appears.
With a backside 180, you’d be looking back up the hill to stop the spin and the landing should appear below you while you land slightly blind.
If you want to take this to more advanced spins, let’s use a corked backside 540 for example, you’d be looking in the direction of the spin, aiming to finish similar to a backside 180, but also looking upwards since you’re spinning slightly off centre.
Spotting the landing with your head and eyes is one of the most important parts of executing a trick as it not only helps you to figure out where you are, but it also allows you to twist your body in order to land correctly.
Hope that helps you Brian (and anyone else with this problem)! Good luck