When it comes to riding a skateboard, we might be quick to label falling as the ultimate failure that we want to avoid, when in actuality falling is a sure sign of progress. So what else could we be mistaken about?
While it’s true that we want to avoid those mistakes that keep us off our skateboard, it’s also mistakes that can lead to injury or keep us from progressing.
Sometimes this comes from a lack of knowledge and know-how but now with the internet, once you know what to search for, you should be quick to correct your mistakes.
Well, as you will read in this article, many of these common mistakes are physical acts of incorrect form or lack of know-how. But many will also include knowledge and information that skaters have kept secret over the decades.
That is, until now.
And remember, while falling is an inevitable part of skateboarding, it ultimately teaches us how to get back up and overcome obstacles and fear both in skating and in life.
So in addition to that, we will go over in this article those mistakes that can lead to injury or the misinformation we want to avoid.
And finally, the most common mistakes for:
- Mistake for Beginner Skateboarders
- Mistakes While Skating at a Skatepark
- Mistakes While Learning Skateboarding Tricks
Luckily, there’s many proven techniques to do so and with over 3,000 skateboarding instructors at GOSKATE – we’ve got a lesson or two to help reduce the most common skateboarding mistakes for beginners.
Most Common Mistakes for Beginner Skateboarders & How to Fix Them
Discovering a new passion for skateboarding is truly an exciting feeling. So much so, many new skaters will hop on the first skateboard they see without putting in much thought.
But just like any craft, art form or even sport, proper form and proper equipment can make all the difference in your progression. And with skating, many of these factors first appear at the introduction point to skateboarding.
So let’s get right into it:
Skating the Wrong Type of Skateboard – Skating the wrong type of skateboard means you didn’t get a chance to check out our “Best Skateboards For Beginners Guide” or our “Free Skateboard Size Calculator.”
But it’s never too late!
Okay, in all seriousness, you probably were walking down the isles of Big 5 and saw a radical looking skateboard and thought, “Hey, this looks fun.” Or maybe you’ve borrowed your friend’s cruiser board but can’t figure out how to pop an ollie. Well, that’s because only certain skateboards can produce an ollie and low quality skateboards from retailers like Big 5 will only get you down the driveway and not into the skatepark.
That being said, knowing there’s a right board and a wrong board for you depending on your skateboard goals is the first step to knowing which skateboard is actually right for you.
How to fix it – Check out our article on “How To Pick the Right Beginner Skateboard” or check out our “GOSKATE Free Skateboard Size Calculator.”
We also have GOSKATE complete skateboards you can purchase through our website that we guarantee will help you master the foundations of skateboarding.
Skating without Proper Safety Equipment – This one might seem obvious because we should all endeavor to skate safely. However, proper safety equipment means more than just pads and a helmet. It also means proper shoes, proper attire and even the proper location.
How to fix it: Always skate in an open area, like an empty parking lot or vacant sidewalk. Always wear closed toe shoes, preferably skate shoes with proper ankle and arch support and attire suitable for outdoor athletics. That doesn’t mean Yoga pants or basketball shorts but jeans and a T-Shirt. Knee pads and elbow pads are encouraged for beginners and helmets for anyone under 15 years old.
(Ask your parents or consult with an adult about protective gear!)
Skating Alone or Without Supervision – There’s several reasons why beginners should buddy up when learning how to skate. The first being it’s a lot safer to skate with someone who has your back in case you fall and need help. Secondly, skating with someone will also help push you to learn new tricks and unlock new moves. When it comes to supervision, both of the above are true. And in today’s skate age, it’s always fun to have someone to help film your progress to post to social media. But meeting someone your skill range can be hard and skating with your parents can only get you so far.
How to fix: We invite you to contact a GOSKATE instructor today to set up 1-on-1 lessons or group lessons for all ages and skill levels. You can also head to the local skatepark early in the morning for beginner friendly hours or even pedal around the neighborhood in search of a fellow skater. Keep your ears and eyes open for signs of skaters in your neighborhood.
Not Knowing Your Foot Stance – There’s an old folklore passed down that right footed people should skate regular footed and left footed people should skate goofy footed but that is simply not a proven rule of thumb. And many beginner skaters might not realize how to actually know your correct stance. Here’s how:
How to fix: Have someone stand behind you about 6 inches and gently nudge you from behind enough for one of your feet to branch out and catch your fall. Whatever foot came out naturally is the foot that is your front foot. If your left foot came out, congratulations – you’re regular footed. If your right foot came out, congratulations – you’re goofy footed!
Improper Pedaling Form [Mongo] – What the heck is mongo? Check out our Dictionary of Skate Terminology for the most comprehensive free guide to skateboarding lingo! In the meantime, mongo is when you take off your front foot to pedal instead of using the back foot. While the debacle around mongo pedaling is generally fueled by aesthetic reasons, (it looks a lot better to pedal with your back foot) there’s also some practical reasons you’ll discover as you become a better skater.
How to fix: Practice pedaling with your back foot at all costs or reevaluate your stance. You might actually be the other stance and that’s why you’re more comfortable taking your front foot off. Also do not be alarmed if you’re a mongo skater. Many of the world’s top pros skating mongo at first and it will help you become a better switch stance skater down the line.
Not Taking Care of Your Bearings – You know the saying, “Out of sight – out of mind?” Well don’t let your bearings get lost in your wheels. Because if your bearings are rusted, busted or just not properly lubricated, you’re going to slow you roll and have a hard time gaining momentum on ramps or even just learning how to master the foundations of skateboarding.
How to fix: Keep an eye and ear out (your bearings will sound like mice when broken) for rusted or busted bearings. Stay away from puddles, sand or even oil spots to avoid debris hitting your wheels and keep some speed cream or lubrication in your skate pack.
Buying Low Quality Skateboards – Buying Low Quality skateboards can be one of the most detrimental mistakes a new skater can make (or even a parent for their kid). That is precisely why we created the GOSKATE skateboard. So thousands of our students can get started with a high quality skateboard built and designed by actual skateboarders. That being said, it’s not easy for the skate novice to notice which skateboard will leave them stuck versus another skateboard that will have them popping a perfect kickflip.
How to fix: Avoid retail skateboards like Big 5 or Target skateboards. Avoid plastic decks or mini skateboards that do not have aluminum trucks. Make sure the wheels are made of actual polyurethane and the bearings allow the wheels to spin for more than just a few seconds. A good skate wheel will turn for over a minute when brand new. A good rule of thumb is to also count the layers on a skate deck, make sure there’s seven layers!
Have fun! – We cannot stress enough that skateboarding’s end goal is always to have fun. Avoid comparing yourself to others, every skater was once in your shoes. Remember, you’re a skater now. You get to do whatever you want that makes you happy. That also means those things within skating that can stress you out. You don’t have to film every single clip your child does, you don’t have to buy the latest clothes and you don’t have to try any tricks you don’t want to.
How to fix: Remember, the best skater is the one who’s having the most fun! And this helpful maxim: A mad skater is a bad skater.
Most Common Mistakes made by Beginners at Skate Parks
The Skate Park can be an amazing training ground for a beginner skater. It’s also a great place to witness how skaters interact with each other and how your local skate scene operates. However, the skill sets of other skaters can be intimidating. Not to mention the obstacles, ramps, bowls, half pipes, stairs and other things you won’t know how to skate off the bat. You have to be vigilant and ready. But don’t worry. That’s why we’re here now.
Skating a Skate Park at the Wrong Time – This is one of those mistakes that might not be the young skaters fault. Sometimes your parents work till 5 and that’s the only time they can take you. But there are better times (including weekends) that are more suited for beginner skates. Here are some times you might find yourself overwhelmed by the local skaters at your skatepark and rather, the times you might feel more comfortable.
- Last hour before sunset: is usually when the local scene is thriving. This is partly due to the fact many adult skaters get off work and want to get a session in before the sun sets. It’s also a gnarly time to be at a skatepark if there aren’t any lights and the after hours vibes of parking lot hangs start to get lit. Avoid this time if you don’t want to feel like you’re in the way or if you’re intimidated by locals who’ve mastered their skatepark obstacles.
- Weekdays: Weekdays are when skaters might stay closer to home rather than venturing off to other skateparks or hit street spots. So the ecosystem of the skatepark will be stronger during the week. This is something you can look forward to when you’re ready, but it might be better off to hit the skatepark on the weekend when they are less crowded.
- Early Mornings: Early mornings are the best time for beginners to skate at the skatepark. And what’s early? Certainly before 11:00 am when things start to fill out. Generally, there’s an older crowd more accepting of new skaters and often they can be the best “first skate buddies” you’ll make. Just remember to practice proper skatepark etiquette and be vigilant to where more advanced skaters are skating.
- Contests or GOSKATE Day: Contests and GOSKATE Day are some of the gnarliest and most beautiful times to be at a skatepark. You’ll witness first hand the raw scene of your local skate scene. But this also means the skatepark will be flooded with skaters hucking themselves down obstacles or grabbing at each other for free product. So make sure you go with your skateboard but be an observer. Maybe bring a camera to take some pics to share with your new skate mates.
Skating a Skate Park Before Mastering Foundations of Skateboarding – Many parents will drop their kids off at the skatepark thinking it’s more of a day care than a place where people come to hone their skills. These youngsters often have yet to master the foundations of skateboarding (yet alone have the right skateboards) and their boards shoot out from under them and trip another skater. Or worse they veer off and cause a collision. Many young kids will tell you the first time they slammed into an adult at the skatepark and how scary that was.
How to fix: This is exactly why we teach our students how to master the foundations of skateboarding: standing, riding, turning before we ever enter a skatepark with them. Doing so ensures a boost in confidence and safety. After all, many beginner skaters and kids alike will feel intimidated at first. But knowing they’ve mastered the foundations of skating ensures they’re off to the right foot.
Improper Skate Park Etiquette – We’ve got an entire article about skate park etiquette we invite you to check out. Sourced from our 3000+ instructors and thousands of satisfied students!
Most Common Mistakes when Learning Skateboarding Tricks
Not understanding there’s a nose and a tail – Many skaters will be surprised to learn your skateboard has a designated nose and tail, each providing different opportunities for tricks and even changing their names.
How to fix: Your tail will be the smaller, flatter end of the board and the nose will be the larger more concave end of your board. Basic tricks should always be performed with your tail in the back. Eventually, fakie and nollie tricks will be on the nose.
Improper Foot Placement – Improper foot placement leaves so many skaters dragging behind in terms of progressing to learn basic tricks like the ollie, pop shove-it, drop in, or heelflip.
How to fix: Understand first and foremost, there are a plethora of tutorials out there to help you understand proper foot placement for tricks like the ollie and kickflip. But you should also experiment with more toe and ball of your foot than using your whole foot which can weigh down the board or mute your pop.
Not crouching enough – Not crouching enough is generally a sign you’ve yet to become comfortable with maintaining your center of balance on a moving skateboard. Don’t worry, keep practicing.
How to fix: Maintain rolling at a comfortable speed and practice crouching low to the ground. Think sidewalk surfing and even grab your board. This is actually one of the most fun things to do and will help you gain the leap needed to perform high ollies. You can also practice crouching on a mini ramp rolling back and forth in the opposite direction.
Skateboard or Deck too busted – Your first skateboard might be a hand me down. And that’s okay. But at some time you’re going to have to get a new skate deck with brand new pop. This will help you in more ways than you could imagine.
Too Big or Too Small of a Skateboard – We can’t tell you enough about the times we’ve seen new skaters skate a board that is way too big or way too small for them. This is the reason why we created our Free Skateboard Size Calculator so all new skaters can hone their skateboarding skills with the proper skateboard.
Not Documenting Progress – Documenting your progress is one of the best ways to understand the mistakes you’re making. You know how dancers or gymnasts workout in front of a mirror? It’s a similar philosophy.
How to fix: GOSKATE has a new tool for every skater out there to help progress their skateboarding skills. We invite you to submit your video for GOSKATE feedback. So no matter where you are in the World, you can enjoy world class skateboarding instruction and master whatever skateboarding goals you might have.