It’s typical for every newbie or novice to chicken-out at their first attempt and skateboarding is no different. Most times, even when we fully kit out with the full protective gear, the fear of the first attempt still lingers. If you have friends to cheer you for every fall, you take that is a plus on your skate ass, but if you don’t or rather prefer to learn the hard way, then this post is for you.
The first step of overcoming your fear of skateboarding is to tell yourself you are willing to learn and you are ready to practice. This you can call level zero; level zero is the attempting and practice phase. This stage, you may start to feel like you “gat it,” but in reality, you ain’t “gat nothin’.” If you attempt a technical trick or anything beyond your skill and level of practice, you will hurt yourself!
As mentioned earlier, the fear you feel is completely normal, but what is not “normal” is holding onto the fear.
You have to be ready to;
- Master basic skateboarding technique
- Practice frequently
- Learn to ignore or overcome your fear
- Accept falling as part of becoming a better skateboarder
- Build your confidence but do not become overconfident
- Start with simple tricks
- Practice, practice, practice…
Fear will limit your ability to become a better skateboarder, so you must commit fully and ask yourself this question – am I ready to overcome my skateboarding fear?
To help you overcome your fear of skateboarding, below is a list of some tried and tested tips that have helped me and many skateboarding friends to become better over the years
Skate tip #1 – Master the Basics
Many skateboarders seem to think the startups don’t matter. They begin trying out and practising different tricks like kickflips, ollies, and other technical skateboard moves. This is the major reason why most skateboarders pick and get used to the wrong posture, which becomes a problem in the future as there are not properly acquainted with their boards. By the time they get used to just tricks, they would lack the basic knowledge to fall safely.
Skate tip #2 – Start trying out Tricks Slowly
Tricks are complex no matter how easy they look; one wrong move could make everything go sour. Tricks are a mixture of moves, turns all taking place in different phases. Before you go rotating your deck, practice landing on your two feet, and if you find a trick too hard to learn, you do not need to waste time; there are so many tricks to learn and you could come back to it later.
Sometimes you may need to be a master at trick A and B before you could even attempt trick C and D. The key here is to give your brain some time to process and master each process and then every other thing will fall in place.
Skate tip #3 – Get motivation from music
With the help of your favourite music, beating your fear will be a lot easier. Although it can be distracting when you are about to perform a trick, try not to listen to music at high volume if skateboarding in areas where there is vehicular traffic.
Skate Note- depressing music doesn’t help – a bit of upbeat opera just might do the trick though!
Skate tip #4 – Have faith in Yourself
Anything humanly achievable is possible, you just need to convince yourself that you can do it. The main thing is to tell yourself, “I am ready, I can do it” (please don’t do this if you haven’t mastered the basics of skateboarding). You need to accept that you may fall on the first try, and with a little more practice, you are bound to do better. There will be times when fear or nervousness become overwhelming, you might have to trust your instinct and just go for it.
This is because you might not actually be ready – some tricks can be really complex- and if you don’t deliver the right phase of each trick properly, it could lead to a bad ending. So take baby steps and do not completely ignore your fear when trying each trick.
One thing you should avoid is peer pressure, while there’s always a chance that your friends will be able to do certain things you can’t do – you will get better with time! If you succeed in using your fear as a tool method, then a little encouragement from friends will not go amiss.
Skate Note- try railing on stairs to dwindle your fear.
Skate tip #5 – Start landing on soft ground
Some tricks are better to be practised near or on grassy areas, in case of a fall. It helps you prepare for the impact of falling on concrete or coal tar ground.
Skate tip #6 – Fall Properly
Overcoming your fear becomes easier when you learn what makes you fall and how you should land from a fall. Practice your falls on soft ground (grass). Always wear your protective gear and learn how to land with your arms and other ways to fall with minimal injuries.
Weirdly, pain can help you to improve your skateboarding – so unless you seriously hurt yourself, you don’t need to stop when you take a tumble!
Skate Note- if you are not wearing your protective gear, practice how to roll when you fall with your hand in a defence position in front of you.
- Never fall with your hands behind you.
- Even after practising how to fall, always wear your protective gear.
Skate tip #7 – Land with one foot at a time
Some skateboarders are scared of placing both feet on their deck, if you are in this category, start with one foot.
Land on one foot before landing on the other (land on your front foot, then your rear foot, if this suits you better).
Skate tip #8 – Let your brain process every trick
When skateboarding, skateboarders who perform really well are those who can focus only on the moment. So, as much as possible, you need to concentrate and see every trick in your mind. All your concentration needs to be on your breathing and body posture; relax your muscles, prepare your mind, and go for it.
Skate note – most times it is better to skateboard with relaxed muscles and healthy body. If your muscles are sore, skateboarding could be a dangerous activity.
Skate tip #9 – Don’t Beat Yourself up
Don’t take it to the extreme and beat yourself up mentally, if your fear is holding you back. There is no need to be mad at yourself or use substances to boost your confidence or influence your skateboarding performance.
Allow your frustration to yield motivation. With time you would get to and exceed where you want to be.
Skate tip #10 – Don’t skip the protective Gear
Most skateboarders often overlook wearing the correct skateboarding protective gear, especially once past the beginner phase. So many people complain about being uncomfortable when wearing protective gear or some are just lazy to grab their gear before going out.
The point is that protective gear is a necessary evil, like it or not – ensuring kids wear the right skateboard protective gear is extremely important. They help protect you from body contact on a hard surface (it is better to have a 50% impact on concrete than 100%).
Skate Note – Do not take unimaginable risks because you are wearing protective gear, you could still land yourself in an emergency room.
Skate tip #11 – Master one trick at a time
You do not need to hurry when learning to master a skateboarding trick. Practice makes perfect! Be a master at one trick before moving to another; if you fail at a new trick, practice the old one, then go back to the new trick. Aim to become better at it by practising the different phases to avoid building a mental block/fear.
Skate tip #12 – Accept failure
The chances of you nailing a trick at the first attempt are often about 10% mark. You should look at skating as you view life, you fall ten times, stand up and try again. One trick to improve yourself is to stop overthinking every skateboarding trick. Once you start thinking about falling, you significantly increase the chances of it happening.
Skate tip #13 – Focus on yourself and not others
Constantly watching others will eventually lead to fear of being overwhelmed. You may have a friend or know someone who is killing every trick and learning at “flash velocity”. It’s fine!
Yes, it should motivate you, but not to the point where you perform tricks you are not ready for – if things go wrong, you might end up making things worse. Learn each move at your own pace, not others; with the right practice, you would become perfect.
Skate tip #14 – Learn to skateboard in public
The fear of skateboarding in public is something mainly experienced by beginners. The feeling that everyone can tell you are a newbie.
The thing to remember is that even if they do make fun of you, it will only be for a short while because with enough practice, you’ll also become a master. You can begin practising in less crowded areas until when you are ready to face the public.
Skate tip #15 – Practice with a Friend
There are many skateboarders out there who are willing to teach/ help you through the process. Try to join a skateboarding group (these are some in London area) to get tips on tricks.
Joining groups like this will help motivate you and improve your performance. You will meet a lot of people with talent, passion, and zeal. If you don’t like big crowds, then try hooking up with a friend or two that are also into skateboarding. Practising with them will do a lot of good to you, even if you are all newbies – it really doesn’t matter.
Skate tip #16 – Videos help
There are so many skateboarding videos online now that the hard part will be separating what works from all the waffle. Watching YouTube videos will help prepare your mind for each phase of the trick you want to deliver.
While videos will not help prepare your muscles, it is an easy way for you to learn stance, feet position, balancing and how to get in the zone.
Final Thoughts on How to Overcome Fear of Skateboarding
One of the main things I have tried showing you in this article is that skateboarding welcomes falling and overcoming fear. And for you to succeed, you have to learn to overcome your fear of skateboarding and learn to fall, correctly.
Many people do not skateboard anymore because they tried to do tricks that ended up hurting them, tricks they weren’t ready for. Some skateboarders skipped the basics, while others fail due to being overconfident and do it without protective gear.
The key is learning to trust yourself and practice, practice, practice..