At the beginning of a career, the average human works hard and gives his best to become an expert at what he does. He looks into the future and sees himself at the top. Well, that’s the same for most skateboarders.
In the beginning, most skateboarders are drawn to professionals who know how to work a board. They wonder what it will be like to be able to pull off major tricks and wowing the crowd. They wonder if they can make a living from skateboarding. If you’re in this position and you’re wondering how to be a pro at skateboarding, then you should keep reading.
The first order of business should be to know and understand what it means to be a pro skateboarder and how to be one.
In simple terms, a pro skateboarder is one who makes a living from skateboarding. Now, the truth of the matter is, there are kids who are badass at skateboarding and they do make money off it. But technically, they are not considered pro skateboarders simply because they are still under their parents or guardian. On a basic level, they can be considered pro skateboarders if they can live off it. In other words, it’s all just technicalities.
The term “pro” in skateboarding is the same as in other sports. Pros usually would have sponsors, travel all around the world for series of competitions, and live off the money they get from sponsors and the competitions they participate in.
So, if you understand this, then you realise that to be a pro, you have to be skilled enough at skateboarding to attract sponsors or companies where you can become an ambassador. And if this is your goal, then read through because you’ll come to learn exactly what it takes to become a pro skateboarder.
How To Be A Pro At Skateboarding
- Have A Passion For Skateboarding.
To become a pro at skateboarding there are going to be a lot of sacrifices that you will make. You’re going to give it so much of your time and energy. Some days you’ll wake up early just so you can be the first person at the skate park, and other days, you’ll give in more hours than you planned just so you can master a trick.
If skateboarding is not something you’re passionate about, you will get tired and maybe even frustrated. It will make it extremely difficult to make the sacrifices that are necessary for your success. If skateboarding is just all fun and games for you then maybe you should not bother trying to go further. If it’s not your passion, do not force it. It’ll be better you find something you’re passionate about and try to succeed there.
- Start Young
According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become the best in any field. If we go by his principle, that means there is over one year worth of practice to be done. This, of course, will be cut into a few hours a day, so it will work best to start out in your early years.
There are people who started skateboarding as early as two years old. Check out Nyjah Huston who holds a gold medal in the X Games and he did so at age 13 making the youngest to achieve that. Till date, he has only grown his skills and he is known as one of the best skateboarders in the game. There is also Ryan Sheckler who started as early as age 6 and he is also a great skater.
If you’re a parent and your kid has shown signs of loving skateboarding, you should encourage him/her to see it through. Passion is rare these days and if your child has got it for skateboarding, you should nurse it. They might just be the next big thing in the skateboarding world.
- You Are Not Too Old To Go Pro
It is true that there is an added advantage if you start skateboarding at an early age. But it is also true that starting late is not a disability. You can be in your teens, your twenties, or even your thirties and still learn to skateboard. Except you are a naysayer, you can be a pro skateboarder at an older age.
As long as you have a passion for skateboarding, you can give it a go at any time. The stress of adulthood should not make you think it is too late for you. On the contrary, your age might just give you an edge because you can learn at a faster pace.
Don’t look at the number, just ask yourself if you have what it takes. And you just might be the next big thing in skateboarding even in your thirties.
- Always Practice
Like I have mentioned, it has been speculated that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become the best in your field. And even if that speculation is not accurate, it does not change the fact that to become a pro skateboarder, you must practice. A lot. There is a lot of competition in skateboarding. There are so many people skilled at it and you will not stand out if you don’t put in the work and become the best of the best. There are no two ways about it. To attract sponsors, you must be really good. The time you spend skating, the more you’re comfortable on your board, and the more you can land more tricks.
There are a large number of skateboarders out there and a lot of them are good. What would make you catch the eye of sponsors? Well, to do something the other aren’t doing. And that might be to work harder than them which means more hours practising. You can hit the jackpot at any age, even in your teens. But that will take a whole lot from you. So are you willing to give it your best?
- Get Into Skate Competitions
After putting so much work and time, I would imagine you would have mastered some major tricks. The next thing to do is show them off. You can attract sponsors if they cannot see you and that happens if you put yourself out there. Enter every skateboarding competition you can find. Doing this will help you make friends as determined as you and will also put you in front of Representatives of skateboarding companies.
The more you attend competitions, the more you’re increasing your chances of being a pro skateboarder. And this chances increases, even more, when you win these competitions. Another advantage of participating in competitions is that you’re more exposed and desensitized to the pressures of performing in front of judges.
- Connect With The Public
One thing I know will put your name out there is getting a street cred. People have got to know how good you are they have to know you’re one of the best. Let it be that when they’re asked who the best is around, your name will be among the top 3. You have to build your reputation as one of the best skateboarders in the area.
Be in good rapport with your local skateboarding community. They will encourage you and spread the news of your success. A good way to find a sponsor is to put together a publicity or sponsorship package. This package will contain information about you as a skateboarder and as a person. An opportunity to show your potential sponsor that you have what it takes to be the best and sponsoring you would be a great business decision.
- Build A Social Media Following And A Brand
It is a really good idea to get followers or fans. We’re in the social media age and truthfully, you can get recognized by sponsors just from your online presence. When you build a social media following, you’re making yourself a brand. It gives you a strong foundation to fly from.
Even if you get sponsors and you lose them, your fan base will cushion the fall. You will have something to fall back on because you have already built a presence on the internet. People know you not just as a skater but as a person and even if you lose competitions, your fans will always be there to help you bounce back. And if you have some business sense, you can make some money off of it.
- Take Care Of Your Health.
A sure way to end a career, in any sport, is to get some terrible injuries. As a skateboarder, beginner or otherwise, you must learn to protect yourself to avoid injuries that will cause you setbacks. Skateboarding is already risky without trying to add more danger to it. There are some tricks you know you might not skilled enough to pull, the best thing is not to try them. And even if you must, you have to make sure to put on your safety gear.
If your dream is to become a pro skateboarder, you know it can end in a flash if you disregard your health. So do the needful and get a helmet.
- Get Fit
Skateboarding is a physical activity and you’re going to exert yourself a lot. Having a fit body will help you manage a lot of the stress and perform your best.
Getting fit also helps with keeping injuries at Bay. When you’re healthy and strong, you’re less likely to break your bones or sprain your wrists in accidents. It also makes it easier to get back on your feet after an accident.
- Be Consistent
Consistency is one of the keys to success. The practice is great but if you’re not consistent with it, you’re not going to go very far. You can’t practice today and forget to practice tomorrow and the rest of the week. To improve at skateboarding, you have to be consistent in practising. That way, you can keep track of your progress and helps build your confidence very fast.
- Give It Your Best.
To be the best, you have to give your best. You need to understand that you will not become a pro by being stagnant. You have to move forward. You have to try new things. Push yourself to do what you couldn’t do the previous day and push yourself till you can get it.
Always give yourself new goals. Do not revel too long in your small successes. Once you have learnt a trick, move on to the next. As soon as you master 3 stairs, try 4 stairs.
You should not put yourself in danger, though. Know your limit and don’t exceed it. There will be no victory if you knock yourself out of the game by getting injured.
Just put in the effort. To get to where you want to be, you have to put in the time, effort, and make the necessary sacrifices.
Becoming a pro skateboarder is not going to be a piece of cake. It’s going to take everything you’ve got; your time, and resources. So you have to be ready to go the whole nine yards.
Sponsored skaters are paid to do photoshoots, compete, and/or participate in publicity activities. They usually travel around the world doing these things so it’s a really great opportunity.
Companies are constantly looking for good skateboarders in the spotlight to help market their products as it is one of the most convincing forms of advertising. Getting signed is a great opportunity and even though you don’t hit the millions right away, with patience you will.
Just be true to yourself and give skateboarding all you have got. It is only a matter of time before you become one of the best in the game.