Earlier we talked about four scientific aspects of skating are foot placement, pressure, timing, and landing. When learning any new trick, there are a lot of techniques to learn and to practice. One way we have consistently expedited the trick-learning process is by breaking the process into four parts. There are four sectors of every trick (the kickflip, Ollie, pop shuvit, even the 900) We call them the Big Three of skate tricks. In order the Big Three are
Principle #1 – Foot Placement
Foot placement must be right before doing anything else.
Foot placement makes sure that prior to the trick your feet are in the correct spots to add pressure. The is one complication to foot placement- Grip tape. Varying brands of griptape and vary levels of stickiness. If the trick you are doing require sliding your foot, you will need to make the adjustment. For example with sticky grip, you want to start your foot positioning closer to the pressure point. With less sticky grip, you want to start further away from the pressure point.
The difference in foot placement is usually little (less than one inch) however if you change grip tapes and don’t make the small adjustment, you will fall more. When buying new grip, it is best to stick with the same brand of grip tape. Your feet and mind are already familiar with it.
Principle #2 – Pressure
Proper pressure will determine how high your board will pop.
Pressure refers to how hard you push on the board. Pressure applies to your front and back feet. Usually with tricks like the ollie and kickflip, your back foot initiates pressure in the tail of the board. The “pop” is when the tail of the board hits the ground.
When the pressure point is hit, the most powerful and perfect ollies are executed.
With an ollie and kickflip, the pressure points are both on the nose of the skateboard. The pressure point for the kickflip, is slightly behind the pressure point for the ollie by 25%.
Here is a diagram to clarify:
We will cover more pressure point later as we go trick by trick.
The second part of pressure is the weight you place into the front foot. The front foot is more often used to tell the board what to do. Depending on the pressure point, the front foot can make the board, pop shuvit, kickflip, heelflip, or ollie all while the back foot should remain in the same place. I will refer to these parts as pressure points. A pressure point is a target where you want to aim your front foot in order to do a trick. For example with an ollie, the pressure point is exactly in the center of the nose of the board.
Princple #3 – Timing
Timing controls over-flipping or under-flipping your tricks.
Timing means how quickly between actions your feet move. Most skate tricks require two actions. The first action is your back foot and the second action is your front foot. The timing between these two actions is critical.
Let me give you an example, let’s say I am going to do a kickflip. My first action is to briskly push into the tail with my back foot. My second action is a kick of the front foot to the kickflip pressure point. If I make the kick to the pressure point to quickly after the first action, the board will either not flip all of the way, or not give me enough height or control to land.
If I stretch the timing out too long, the board will end up over flipping and possibly doing a flip and a half or more. There is a sweet spot for timing in each trick. The exact timing depends on how hard your pop is. This is often the hardest thing for beginners to understand.
Starting out, give the timing some practice. Try adjusting the timing slower and quicker. NOTE: Timing should only be experimented with after foot positioning and pressure points are perfected.
All Big Three are equally important.
No skater will become great by only know three of the pinnacles. Foot placement will affect pressure. Pressure will effect timing, and timing will affect the landing. It is a chain of events so you want to make sure you have mastered the first pinnacles before continuing.
The Big Three are so accurate that they work every time. When a skater has mastered all four, he/she is no longer needs to experiment with anything, but has arrived at a certain technique that works every time. If you are landing kickflips, three out of every ten tries, you have not mastered the Big Three. You have only mastered the Big Three when you are executing the trick at least every nine out of ten tries.
In the Expert skaters, after years of practice, will get the Big Three in their subconscious; Thereby, enabling them to do many tricks without looking or without falling. The further you are able to engrave these four principles on your subconscious, the better of a skater, you will become.
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