I知 an Adult Learning to Skateboard. Let Me Explain.

CATEGORIES: SkateboardingSk8Spt
PUBLISHED: October 29, 2021

鼎ome on, Jon! Just commit!

I was 15, dithering at the top of a mini ramp as my friends egged me on. I leaned forward hesitantly and dropped in.

Wham. The board shot out from under me, and I slammed backwards into the ramp. That was pretty much the extent of my skateboarding experience. Since then I致e mostly stuck to the slow, steady pace of endurance sports like running and nordic skiing. But after spending most of a weekend playing the reboot of Tony Hawk痴 Pro Skater 1+2 last year, I felt the urge to go outside and do the real thing. I was reminded of the skating culture I never engaged with and inspired by others discovering熔r rediscovering葉he sport during lockdown.

In the spirit of the marathon training plans I diligently followed in years past, I looked for a routine that would be suitable for an injury-averse adult and would help me learn to pop an ollie (see sidebar)葉he foundational trick of street skating. No dice. Skateboarding, it turns out, doesn稚 attract a lot of fitness obsessives looking to routinize the learning process. So I devised my own, based on advice from professional skater and fellow Minnesotan Davis Torgerson.

Torgerson told me to watch skateboarding videos溶ot just YouTube clips, but also classic skate films葉o understand the flow of skating. Stretching also helps in avoiding injury. But mostly he stressed spending a lot of time on the board and staying patient. 鏑earning to skate is about having a complete feel for the board underneath you, he said. 典rust me, it痴 hard to learn. I致e been doing it for nearly 20 years and I slam every time I go skate.

The training routine I settled on (see 溺y One-Month Ollie Plan, below) was slow going at first. Just pushing myself around proved to be plenty of work, and I was doubtful I壇 get airborne in only a month. But a couple weeks and countless stumbles later, I got comfortable. Yoga helped my sore muscles recover, and watching skate videos kept me inspired. More often than not, I went out again after logging my daily practice hour because I壇 had some epiphany I wanted to explore.

Three weeks in, I was confident enough to attempt an ollie. After a few days, I figured out the sequence of motions while holding onto a fence. Then I cut myself loose. Later that day, I crouched down, popped upward, felt the board rise to my feet, and landed on all four wheels with a satisfying clack.

By the end of week four, I was able to get the board a few inches off the ground. That痴 not a lot, but it was an ollie洋y ollie預nd it felt pretty fucking cool. I knew I couldn稚 stop there. Considering which trick to conquer next, I took to heart another suggestion from Torgerson.

典he only advice I have in terms of tricks is to get addicted, he said. 添ou ュalmost have to lie in bed at night pondering what you池e going to try, how much harder you池e going to commit.

Though, as of this writing, I知 only a month in and my ollies barely clear a crack in the pavement, I can say that I知 addicted: going to the park every day, figuring out tricks, seeing the built landscape in a new way. I probably won稚 ever hit a nollie frontside hurricane like Torgerson, but maybe I値l finally drop into a mini ramp.

My One-Month Ollie Plan

There are two things you need to succeed at skateboarding: patience and a lot of practice. Here was my two-hour daily routine.

1. One hour on the board. Thirty minutes warming up and practicing what I壇 learned so far, and 30 minutes working on a new trick or skill.

2. Thirty minutes of yoga, with an emphasis on stretching, stability, and balance. During the pandemic, I started following the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. (There痴 even a lesson specifically for skaters.)

3. Thirty minutes watching skate videos. Some favorュites include Torgerson痴 part in Boonュdoggle, World Industries Trilogy, and anything with Rodney Mullen in it. To guide my progress, I focused on the following skills:

Week 1: Pushing, turning, moving starts.

Week 2: Kickturns, manuals, getting on and off the board in various ways.

Week 3: Riding diverse terrain, visiting a skate park, starting to ollie.

Week 4: Ollie, ollie, ollie.