You’ve been on your board for a couple of weeks now, or maybe just starting out. Watching all these young kids flying through the air, kick-flipping stairs, wondering…
“how can I do that?”
“How is it possible for me to get good at skateboarding?”
“Why do some get good really fast, while I’m stuck trying to learn the basics?”
If you want to get good, three to six hours a day is realistic…even more, if you’re not already drenched in sweat, or snapping your legs off. Skating parks is usually a place you’ll learn, and grow the most. I’d spend six hours a day at the skatepark in my younger years, as you get older that changes.
Work, school, and life get in the way sometimes. There will be days you’ll be sore and just need a break. That’s necessary to regain balance and focus in your life. Your body can only tolerate so much, keep that in mind, and don’t let it discourage you.
Skateboarding Is Challenging!
Let’s be honest, skateboarding is very hard! Not only that, but it’s so frustrating when you’re smashing your board every five minutes! You’re spending hours…days trying to learn tricks. Maybe you’re on the brink of giving up believing it’s not for you. These thoughts will haunt you and, in the end, pull you apart from becoming better at skateboarding. The hardest part is trying to find a decent place to skate in the middle of nowhere.
In the beginning, it seems impossible, but with time you’ll actually start to get it. There will be days you’ll land everything on lock, others are days of disappointment. Allowing these thoughts will distract you, ultimately allowing fear of failure to set in. You’ll get through this stage as everyone faces it, dealing with it differently.
Keep A Steady Mindset
Skateboarding requires an insane amount of time and dedication to become truly great. This isn’t to say you won’t but it’s what you put into it, what you feel you get out of it. Like anything you do in life, whether it’s school, working on a project, even working out…lots of time is required! Some say you need to spend ten thousand hours to become great. In some cases this can be true…but realistically who’s counting?
Feeling overwhelmed, and frustrated all the time won’t help achieve your goal. Maybe you truly aren’t interested in pursuing whatever you’re getting into, but that’s okay. You’re freaking out because you still can’t land a kickflip…or whatever it may be. There’s also something you need to feel and experience to pursue bigger, better things!
Have you learned how to balance, or cruise on a skateboard? What was the feeling when you finally got it!? You’ve already passed the hardest part most people scratch their heads at. Learning tricks is the second battle which takes years of dedication.
Think About Consistency…
You want to be good right? Maybe even great? Consistency is something that helps develop your style and defines you as a skater. One problem for me was not committing to a trick long enough. For instance, I never learned how to b/s noseslides, crooked grinds…or backside anything. Due to the lack of focus not spending a whole day or week attacking it. Skating backside feels weird for some reason. I can kickflip into a backside 50-50 easier than just ollieing…weird huh?
A Tip Of Advice…
Don’t allow limiting beliefs to alter your mentality to stop what you’re doing. Smashing our head into the ground is another thing that might stop us from going back to that one spot. Just remember how good it will feel…how many people will be stoked.
Let’s Talk About Time
Remember the ten thousand hour rule I spoke of? Well, you’ll definitely get somewhere in that amount of time! Referencing this rule in regards to skateboarding is a bit different as you’re always learning new tricks, and improving your style. We have our good and bad days, this applies to anything you’re set out to accomplish in life. New tricks you learned yesterday are transcending into flip flip out, bigger gaps. If you’re injured…that sets you back quite some time.
How Long Does It Take To Learn A Trick?
Don’t let this scare you, but it’s taken me months to learn a trick. As you progress, the difficulty becomes greater, the key is consistency. It’s vital to understand learning a trick over and over again as it builds consistency, bringing you to another level. A level of understanding of how it feels to land, how to place your feet, doing it until it becomes second nature. Let’s say you’re leaning a kickflip, you cannot keep it under you, keeps flying in front of you…it’s driving you nuts!
Keep in mind that this phase will pass no matter how frustrating it gets. Advice from others has helped me a lot. It’s literally a breath of fresh air when you finally get it. From this point, you’ll incorporate tricks like tre-flips, or frontside flips. Feeling how a board spins and pops will open a new thought pattern on how certain things work better than others.
For example, flicking your board harder, and scooping a certain way with your back foot.
Your style will improve with your understanding of how you communicate with your board. It’ll take a while, you’ll understand it when you feel it.
What I Mean By “Getting It”
Nailed a new trick, how does it feel? Do you get that warm fuzzy feeling, expose a huge smile, maybe even slam your board in excitement!? Well, you’re understanding now the pure bliss of skateboarding. It enables you to break boundaries and set goals you otherwise haven’t. A feeling that can be felt accomplishing goals you otherwise deem difficult or too challenging. I’d have to say this is why skateboarding is so amazing, there are no rules or boundaries.
Should You Take Lessons?
There’s no faster way to excel in skateboarding than participating in a camp or taking lessons. Having a personal coach or group of skaters to be around is a great place to start. Not only will you open doors to meeting like minded individuals, but getting a proper start eases the frustration you may experience on your own. Having taught lessons in the past, it’s a gratifying opportunity to teach others how to skate.
Where Do They Offer Lessons?
Some indoor, and local outdoor parks offer lessons during the summertime. You can ask locals, flyers, or even online to see if a location near you offers training. Lessons can last 1-2 hours with costs anywhere from $30-$100 an hour. Private lessons tend to be more but can be well worth it for a decent coach. Not to mention, professionals are out there if you do your research.
Camps can be rather pricey, but it’s a once in a lifetime experience. YMCA offers their Element skate camp in California which costs $800/week with opportunity for internships. Ages range from 8-17, not to mention it looks like a blast. Woodward Skate Camp is located in six locations throughout the United States, offering scholarships for kids less fortunate and unable to afford the amazing experience. Most programs will be held in the summer months, around a week long.
Finding Locals Could Change Your Life
More like, meeting new people will change your life! Growing up in a small town, we had NOTHING! Just a curb, picnic tables, and crazy janitors yelling at us. I’d consider myself extremely fortunate to connect with some of the coolest, brightest, and influential skaters.
Me and my friends grew up skating with two brothers who were always killing it!
Cody and Colin eventually ended up getting sponsored, traveling the world as professional skateboarders. They’re personalities transcended my perspective on skating, even though I never got that good.
I’ve heard skaters quitting because they instilled this belief that they “suck” or “will never get better.” Other skaters love to BASH on how bad someone skates…nobody likes a negative personality.
It all comes down to just having fun! Bottom line, find other like minded individuals!
You want to know how long it takes to learn how to skateboard. There’s no real answer, it depends on how much effort, blood, and sweat your put into it. This applies to literally anything in life, don’t give up early and you’ll reap the reward. If you’ve never experienced landing a trick for the first time, I highly suggest achieving that goal. It took me years to build up a list of tricks, knowing at some point I could learn anything as long as my mind is set on it!