Okay so before we go further, DO NOT take this blog to mean that talent is worthless or that good snowboarders aren’t talented, that’s not what I’m saying.
So, yesterday’s blog hit on an interesting debate on twitter. I claimed that talent isn’t what makes a good snowboarder spin 1080s off huge jumps and some disagreed.
Let me say this:
I absolutely believe that talent isn’t what makes someone a good snowboarder.
In fact, talent isn’t what makes any good snowboarder able to do the things 99% of the things they do. Talent helps, but it is not why they are able to do those things.
Then what makes a good snowboarder good?
I’ve known a lot of amazing snowboarders and not one of them got to their skill level because of talent alone. Ask any of them why they got to where they are and I guarantee that 9 out of 10 of them won’t say it was because of talent.
Heck, I’d be surprised if even one of them said their skill was because of talent.
No. They got to where they are because of the hours they put in practicing. Follow any local snowboarder you see shredding the park and spinning corks and double corks and 1080s and look at how many days and hours he/she spends lapping the terrain park.
Everyone will look at a good snowboarder and say “wow, he’s talented” when really they are seeing the result of hours upon hours of snowboarding. Sure, talent might help him learn tricks a little quicker but he still put in countless hours to get there.
Find me one top athlete in any sport and I’ll show you an athlete who spent countless hours practicing to get to that point.
How talent actually works
If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you already know that one of my old snowboarding goals was to land a 1080. I hit that goal a few seasons ago and I can tell you right now, it was NOT because of talent. I am no more talented at snowboarding than the average joe.
Talent helps you land a new trick in 5 tries instead of 7 tries. Talent helps you pick up basic movements and repetitive techniques in 2 hours instead of 4 hours.
However, talent does not get out out of bed at 7 am in the morning to hit the freshly groomed jumps. Talent does not get you into the gym when your body is already hurting from a long day on the slopes. Talent does not convince you to hit that 75 foot jump that scares the crap out of you.
Are snowboarders like Torstein Horgmo and Shaun White talented? Absolutely. Did talent make them spend hours upon hours falling and correcting their technique on the slopes? No.
Forget talent. You know the one factor that every single top level snowboarder has in common? The amount of hours they spent on the slope.
If you put in the hard work and time on the slope, even the most untalented, uncoordinated snowboarder can land 1080s and that is something I truly believe.