When you’re newer to snowboarding, you’re insanely motivated to go out there and learn tons of new tricks and become a better snowboarder… but wait.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this.
The trick to long term improvement in your snowboarding is that you need to avoid riding at 100% all the time. It’s all about being smart and picking the right times to push your riding.
Let me explain this further.
Why you can’t (and shouldn’t) ride at 100% all the time
It’s great to be motivated to improve your riding and it’s great to push your limits, but you can’t do this 100% of the time. The journey to becoming a good snowboarder is a marathon, not a sprint.
Pro snowboarders like Torstein Horgmo may be seen on TV spinning triple cork 1080s, but even they have days when all they do is cruise around on the ski hill.
Basically what I’m saying is you COULD ride at 100% all the time and you COULD constantly take risks that push yourself to improve your snowboarding. If you do this I’ll bet that you’ll see rapid improvements in your snowboarding.
However, I’ll also bet that if you keep riding at 100% all the time you’ll end up injured.
Injuries are the bane of every snowboarder wanting to improve. Knee ligaments don’t grow back, dislocated shoulders become an on-going issue and back pain can become a serious problem the longer you snowboard.
The simple fact is you don’t want to ride at 100% all the time because constantly pushing your riding also greatly increases your chances of getting injured and ruining your future snowboard time.
The correct way to push your snowboarding & become a better rider
You want to push yourself at 100%, but you want to do it only when the conditions are right. In other words, you want to pick your battles.
Yesterday I talked about quality over quantity, and that’s exactly what you want to aim for when you push your riding to the limits.
So for example, let’s say you want to get better at freestyle snowboarding and learn to hit jumps and spin better. Well, the snow conditions in the terrain park aren’t always perfect.
Some days in the park will be slightly icy and the landings might be harder. On those days you have to be a little more careful. Those are the days when you should take it easy and just work on smaller things like your switch riding.
Match your level of riding to the conditions you are given. If the conditions are bad or you aren’t feeling well that day, don’t push it. It’s perfectly fine to ride at 20% of your capability if the snow conditions are bad or if you’re having an off day.
So, when is the right time to ride at 100% and really advance your snowboarding?
You want to look for those quality days when the conditions are right. Those are the days when you want to ‘take your balls out’ as my old snowboard coach would say.
For example, I may take it easy if the park is really icy, but there are also those days when the park conditions are perfect. Those are days when the sun is shining, the jumps are well shaped and the landings are soft without being too soft.
If I get one of those days you can bet I’m riding straight to the park and I’m not leaving until I’m either too tired or the lifts are shut. As long as my body is up to it, those are the days when I’ll really concentrate on learning new tricks and techniques.
The bottom line
You don’t have to learn new tricks or make crazy progress every single day. Your level of risk each day should match the condition of your body and the condition of the ski slopes.
When the conditions are bad and the risk to yourself is high, take your snowboarding down a notch and go work on lower risk, basic techniques.
Work on those bigger, higher risk techniques when the conditions are good and work on low risk, basic techniques (ie switch riding) when the conditions are bad.
It’s great to always want to work on improving your snowboarding, but aim to do it the smart and safe way if you want to avoid an injury filled life in snowboarding.