It is interesting how a pro skateboarder pulls off different amazing tricks. It seems so magical that he does all of these with no fear during performances. Do you think that they were born with abilities? If you think so, then you are wrong. Skateboarding, like every other game, is a sport that is learned. It is not inborn. Pro skateboarders strive hard to be better at what they do and they never stop pushing.
It is not a one day journey or an accident. It is a deliberate plan.
So if you ever asked yourself how do pro skateboarders practice? How do they skateboard so well? An what exactly they do that others do not do? Then it is worth noting that, pro skateboarders do not go to performances unprepared. They do a lot of behind-the-scenes preparations.
Something you can call proper homework. The wins in competitions will depend on how much practice was put in. He goes to contests to display what he has spent weeks, months, and years to practice. He does not learn his tricks when he gets to contests. He prepares before going.
The basic truth is that for a pro skateboarder to land any trick, he must practice. There are no two ways about it. He cannot rule it out of his career plans. The practice is the engine room of a pro skateboarder. It is the only way to skate well. Skating well attracts sponsors to him.
It is pertinent to note that when a pro practices it is not just about mastering tricks. They also practice the art of having the right mindset. This is because no matter how hard they try out physical practice if they do not have a positive mindset, their will to keep pushing will be non-existent.
How Do Pro Skateboarders Practice?
1. They Set Goals
Pro skateboarders do not go about practising aimlessly. First, they determine what they hope to achieve from each practice then they work towards it. Pro skateboarders make their living from skateboarding so they usually work with targets and push themselves to meet these goals.
A pro skateboarder’s goals do not permit him to be undisciplined. These guys don’t take their practice carelessly. To them, no day of practice should be useless; something has to come out. They do not dabble into practice. Pro skaters see the practice as a process, a serious one at that. This is because their entire life in the career is a goal-driven one. They know that whatever they put out there is a product of how well they have practised, so they carefully have a clear picture of what they hope to gain from each day.
Beforehand, a pro will decide the number of new tricks to try out and the old ones to master. Then the pro writes it down. This way, he is closer to achieving it. When he eventually goes out to practice, he ensures that each trick that has been written is perfected before going home.
2. They Have a Clear Purpose
A pro knows that achieving his goals is paramount to him. He has a clear purpose of what he is doing. Each of his practice is not a mistake because he knows where it is all headed. The average pro skateboarder wants to attract a sponsor, and to do that, he has to be the best he can be. You’ll notice that almost every pro skateboarder that is listed have a sponsor(s), and those that do not, strive to have one.
He knows his purpose, and he focuses on it. At this point, he does not allow himself to be distracted or give up halfway. His focus is to practice until he gets to the rank he wants to be.
He tracks his results from each practice and measures it to see if he is improving or not. He can keep track of his weekly, monthly, or yearly records. This is one of the reasons he grows faster. He knows what to do to achieve his goals.
3. They Have A Practice Strategy
Having set up goals, a pro thinks of means to achieve them. He comes up with well-defined strategies. He researches what to do to achieve his goals. He finds out the number of hours to practice each day, how often he should practice, the places to practice, whether to practice alone or with other pros.
A skateboarder determines where to practice before he sets out. He knows that the right location will go a long way to either lead to productivity or futility. Getting interrupted by the cops(or anyone else) will affect the number of hours he has set aside to practice so his location must be right.
4. Pro Skateboarders Practice Full Time
Since pros take skateboarding as a means to earn a living, they practice full time. Practice to them is not seasonal. They do not go on and off it. Some practice at least one hour per day. They know that consistency is one of the keys to their success, so they do not break protocol. They don’t give up on the journey. The rule is simple, practice to progress, or relent to become poorer in your performance. The full-time practice is the key to get better and keep up with the latest tricks in the industry.
Skipping practice hours or days is usually as a result of some type of emergency. The best a pro skater can do is reduce the number of times he practices in a week when he is not in the best of health, or go on a break when he is down because his body needs time to heal to be able to function well. He can also reduce the duration of his practice on days he does not feel well or something more important comes up.
5. Pros Practice With The Right Mindset
A pro skateboarder works on his mind a lot. He strives towards possessing the right spirit. He knows that a negative mindset will affect how much effort he puts into practice and how much result he gets.
Before practice, he puts himself in the right frame of mind. First, he trusts himself that he can do well when he goes to the park to practice. He visualises his tricks before landing them. It happens in his mind first. His mind’s eye goes a long way in helping him before he tries the tricks in reality. He believes in himself. This helps him to boost his confidence. He trusts his feet and motions.
A pro skateboarder does not give room to fear during practice. He has accepted the hazards that come with skating. He is not afraid of what will happen when he dares new things. This mindset follows him to contests, demos, and video making. Laziness is not his thing when he wants to practice.
Pro skateboarders are aware that injuries are inevitable during practice (note that injuries are not a regular occurrence). They have accepted it as part of the process. Even when they sustain injuries, they still do not give up on the trick that led to the injury.
A positive mindset is what enables him to try out new tricks, and ensures he is good at them. It makes him not give up when is failing or slow at perfecting his moves during practice.
During practice, he does not get too hard on himself. To him, skateboarding is fun, there is no need to be frustrated or mad at himself for not getting any trick right. He does not see skateboarding as a chore or something he forces himself to do. Neither does he see it like he is doing anyone a favour by practising. He uses every opportunity to catch some fun because he knows that skating is fun itself. This is how he gets better and make adequate progress.
6. They Work On Their Health Before Practicing
A pro skateboarder knows that his well-being is what puts him on the scene in the first place. A worn-out muscle or an injured joint from too much practice will hinder his performance. He ensures that he gets enough sleep and rest in between practices. This helps him recover from the stress of the previous practice sessions.
He takes the right food, drinks, drugs, and consume a lot of water. As part of ensuring he is fit to practice, he understands that certain foods can weaken his ability to achieve his goals. For example, a running stomach or stomach ache can send him back home even before he begins to practice.
Although he may not have full control over how his body reacts to food, a pro skateboarder tries as much as possible to identify those that do not go down well with his system. He stays off these foods when it is close to his practice time. Also, he takes foods that will make him happy and put him in the mood to practice, and the right ones to take which will make him recover faster.
The same thing goes for drinks. He stays off strong alcoholic drinks. No one wants to practice when staggering unless he wants to commit suicide. He needs balance, stability, and a clear head to practice, hence, he is mindful of what he drinks before going to practice.
A pro skateboarder does not take drugs that will slow him down during practice. Some drugs will make him feel dizzy or weak. This is why pro skateboarders rely on medical prescription before taking any drugs.
One of the strategies in achieving his practice goals is ensuring proper health. Pro skater practices for fewer hours when he is not very healthy then go for long hours when he is best in shape. He does not force himself to practice when his body is failing him.
7. Pros Observe Safety Measures
Although landing a trick is important to him, he puts safety first too. He wears the right gear to prevent serious injuries when an accident occurs during practice. He wears the right helmet, shoes, knee and elbow pads. When selecting his safety gear, quality is important to him. He does not go for gears because they are fancy but because they can serve their purpose, and protect him from an accident.
He puts safety first before he goes to practice. When practising at night, a pro skateboarder uses board blazers for illumination. He does not take his safety for granted because he is a professional.
8. They Know Repetition is Key
This is the key to how well pro skateboarders master their tricks. This is the essence of good practice. He goes on repeating the same tricks until he masters it. Once he gets a trick in his head, he trusts himself to be able to do it, and then he sets out to practice it repeatedly.
Pro skateboarders can practice a single trick for years. They go on breaks when a major injury is sustained. After recovery, they resume practising that same move. It took Tony Hawk ten years to land the skateboarding holy grail, making him the first person to perform the trick.
9. They Keep Track
Pro skateboarders keep track of their progress during practice. They study what they do wrong that affects their progress and strive to get it right. Sometimes when a trick is too difficult to master, they create or find other similar moves that will help them master it.
Pro skateboarders practice consistently. They may not have control over how a judge will rate them, but they take control of how best their practice can be productive. During a performance, they exercise perfect control over their boards because they have done their homework and have mastered their art over time.
To be a pro is a lot of work, but like it is often said, there is no great victory without courage, effort and a battle. Luckily, you don’t have to fight a battle; you just have to follow these tips to become a pro.
As long as skateboarding is your passion, be sure you will have the best time becoming a skateboarding professional.