Where To Look & Focus When Hitting Snowboard Jumps

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):

The breakdown:

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.

- Jed

How Long Does It Take For Snowboard Freestyle To ‘Click’?

Today’s reader question:

How long does it take to feel natural with learning snowboard freestyle? Everything feels so awkward and hard right now. How long does it take to become like those locals who seem so natural doing everything?

The breakdown:

1) It’s hard (at first) to learn the basics

Everything will feel unnatural at first. This is normal.

When you first get into freestyle you’re learning a lot of basic skills that you’ve never used before (eg – popping, jumping, hitting rails, spinning etc. etc.) and you have to get used to doing those movements.

As your body gets used to these basic movements, that unnatural feeling will slowly fade away.

2) Once you have the basics it gets way easier

Snowboard freestyle is like lego. You have a whole bunch of different basic skills and tricks and learning each of those skills takes time, but once you have those skills you simply connect them together like lego blocks.

So instead of learning entirely new skills, you use skills you already have to put them together into different tricks. It’s really just a matter of learning all of those basic skills first, which is the part that feels awkward and unnatural.

3) How long does it take to get all the basic skills?

That really depends on you, how much riding you do per season and whether you have any coaching/instruction, but for me it took about 2-3 full seasons to get all the basics mastered and for that unnatural feeling to go away.

That’s how long it took to get most of the basics mastered, such as ollies, spinning, hitting rails/boxes, cliff drops etc. etc.

Now I’m not saying you’ll take that long to learn basic snowboarding, you can certainly learn the basics quicker than that, BUT it does take time for your body to understand and feel natural doing all the movements.

For example, I was doing 360s in my first season, but it wasn’t until my 2nd season doing 360s that I started to understand all the movements I was doing and really felt it all ‘click’ together when I did each 360.

That’s why whenever I always stress how important learning each basic movement is before moving on to more advanced skills, because those little movements may seem insignificant, but they are the foundation of every other trick you will perform in snowboard freestyle.

Hope that answers your question.

- Jed

5 Rookie Mistakes Every Freestyle Snowboarder Makes

Just a quickie update for you guys today, our 2nd free snowboard freestyle lesson is going out tonight (once it finishes uploading).

It’s on ‘5 Rookie Mistakes Every Freestyle Snowboarder Makes’ and it also covers a few myths and lies that freestyle snowboarders get told.

1) If you’re already part of our free snowboard freestyle training

Check your email tonight/tomorrow morning because the link to today’s video on the 5 rookie mistakes will be in your inbox :)

2) If you aren’t on our lessons list and want free snowboard freestyle training

5 Rookie Mistakes Freestyle Snowboarders Make

You can sign up here if you haven’t joined yet and you’ll get lesson 1 right away (4 Flatground Snowboard Trick Tips) and lesson 2 a few days after that.

The lesson are 100% free and have been extremely well received by everyone so far, so thanks to everyone for the kind emails/comments.

In fact, so many of you guys watched the first snowboard lessons that I had to upgrade our video hosting because you ate through my entire month’s limit within 3 days!

Enjoy the free lessons,

- Jed

How To Build Confidence To Hit Your First Snowboard Jumps

Today’s reader question:

How do you get the confidence to hit your first snowboard jumps?

So basically it goes back to safe progression, just like learning any snowboard skill:

1) Learn the individual skills on easier features

The biggest mistake you can make is trying to jump straight to the jump instead of making sure you have the skills to hit the jump first. It’s actually not a good idea to learn to hit jumps by hitting jumps right away.

You want to work on the individual skills that are used in jumping and make sure you have them on lock-down first. So that means practice your popping, carving, general edge control and balance.

You can also work on basic airs and take-off/landings by practicing mini airs off cat tracks and mini cliff drops at resorts. Those are great ways to get used to spotting your landing and landing evenly on both feet.

Make sure you have solid control over your snowboard’s edges BEFORE you try to hit jumps. Edge control and control over your snowboard is crucial. Don’t be hitting jumps before you even know how to turn properly.

2) When you can do the individual skills easily, then you’re ready

So once you’re able to do basic mini airs and you have solid turning skills and you know how to pop properly while landing evenly on both feet from small airs, then you’re ready to start hitting jumps.

Find the smallest jump you can (preferably 5 foot or less) and put the skills together that you’ve been practicing individually. That’s how you build up confidence and make sure you have the skillset you need to hit your first jumps.

Remember, this doesn’t just apply to hitting jumps. You can do the same with any snowboard trick/technique you’re trying to learn. Always break down tricks and learn technique step-by-step before trying to do them all at once.

Hope that answers your question.

- Jed

4 Free Snowboard Flatground Trick Tip Tutorials

Sorry for the missing blog yesterday, but I’ve been up for 24 hours trying to fix a website bug that stopped me uploading videos. Thankfully it’s all fixed now and it means I can finally re-open our Snowboard Trick Secrets members area to new members :)

So firstly…

Want 4 Free Snowboard Butter/Flatground Trick Tip Tutorials?

Butter Trick Tip Lesson Example

As part of re-opening our members area, I’m giving away an entire set of snowboard butter & flatground trick tip tutorial videos. There’s over 30 minutes of instruction breaking down these 4 tricks:

  1. Nosepresses and tailpresses
  2. Ollies and nollies
  3. Sliding 180/360 presses
  4. Butter ollie/nollie 180 and 270 spins

I break down every trick step-by-step and the great thing about flatground tricks is anyone can learn them, even if you’re new to freestyle.

If you want these free trick tips, check em out here.

Oh and there are more snowboard lessons and trick tips…

As well as the butter trick tip tutorials, I’ll also be sending out free tutorials on:

  • The 5 Rookie Mistakes Every Freestyle Snowboarder Makes (and how to avoid them)
  • How To Pick The Perfect Snowboard Freestyle Board Setup

Oh and of course you also get to join our Snowboard Trick Secrets members area where we have a library of snowboard tutorial videos covering a large variety of snowboard topics from how to hit different park jumps to injury avoidance and spinning and rail trick tip videos.

So basically if you want a ton of snowboard trick tip tutorials and lessons, check out our Snowboard Trick Secrets training here.

Enjoy :)

- Jed

ps – For those inside the members area already, look out for an entire re-design of the members area coming next week, as well as more spin trick tip tutorials coming this weekend.