As I said in the PM, your riding is pretty typical for a rider who is making the transition from beginner to intermediate and nothing to be critical of. It is simply time now to advance another notch. The real key to taking your riding to the next level of fun, control and style is to go from this fairly static body movement to dynamic movements.
1)I am seeing a rider who is very very static with almost no flexion or extension of the legs.
2)I am seeing a rider who is using their shoulders and arms to initiate rotational force to pivot the board on the snow.
3)I am seeing a rider who is almost always in a countered stance; that is the rider has twisted at the waist to face forward.
4)I am seeing a rider who is holding their rear hand out in front of their toe edge almost all of the time.
Effect on board performance:
1)The static, stiff position inhibits the rider`s ability to tilt the board and use the sidecut as it was intended because in this posture, they are physically unable to open and close both the ankle joints and the knee joints. This is an undesirable situation as it will inhibit the rider from transitioning into carving skills and being able to ride aggressively in challenging terrain.
2)This rotational movement pivots the board on the snow with a flat base. Because of item 1, the rider must use rotation as it becomes the only means to steer the board. This can subject the rider to very dramatic and potentially dangerous high speed edge catches and needs to be corrected as soon as possible.
3) This places a very powerful rotational force on the board that favors the heelside. Anytime the body is twisted out of alignment, it creates rotational force. The body wants to realign itself and with pivot the board to do so. This position is the leading cause of toeside turn problems.
4) This has a "hidden" rotational effect on the board. The rear hand being positioned out in front in this manner creates a subtle rotational force favoring the heelside. When this hand is in this position, it inhibits the toeside turn by applying opposite rotational force.
1) figure out your range of movement. Stand as tall as possible and call this a 1 on a 1 to 10 scale. Now, squat down as low as you can possibly go and call this your 10 or maximum flexion. This is your range of movement; it may be more or less than another rider`s and that is just fine; what is important is to find YOUR range of movement. Now, ride in your 5 position to enable you to flex and extend as needed for any condition.
2) Keep your shoulders placed more over the tip and tail of board and keep them roughly aligned with the board. Start using your feet to steer the board. Good snowboarding is a bottom up movement, not top down. Use tilt, twist and pressure as a primary means to steer the board not pivot.
3) Turn only your head to look forward or heelside and work on keeping hips, torso and shoulders aligned roughly with your board. Use a visual aid to help develop muscle memory. Hold your arms out and keep your fists over the tip and tail of the board.
4) Keep that back hand behind you at all times. A good practice to start working on is to position that hand opposite of the direction you want to nose to point. Imagine a compass needle; if the nose points heelside, the tail will shift toeside, if the nose points toeside, the tail should shift to the heelside.
To review quickly, a board is controlled in 4 basic ways:
Currently you are using Pivot almost exclusively to steer your board. This means that the base remains very flat in relation to the snow and you are using rotation of the upper body as your primary force with some scissoring of the legs to spin the board around in your desired direction. This is a very normal stage in progression; especially for a self taught rider.
Let`s start looking at the other, more effective ways to steer your board starting with twist.
Find a very gentle slope with a flat runnout where you can start playing with these concepts. For this, ride with your back foot unstrapped and on your deck. Point the board down the hill and start a gentle glide. Now, use the front foot to try to twist your board toes down then heel down and see what happens. It begins to turn doesn't it? This twisting movement engages the sidecut and makes the board turn. Try this leaning way back, then centered then lean forward over the front foot and notice the response. In what position is this movement the most effective?
Now lets move on to tilt. Strap both feet in and on this gentle slope, point the board straight down the hill and pick up a little speed. Now, lean your entire body over your toe edge to tilt the board onto it`s edge and try to stay balanced. You will notice that the board easily begins a toeside turn. Now lean back over your heel edge and see what the board does. Play around with this at different speeds and edge angles. You should notice that the higher the speed, the higher edge angle you can balance on. Now you are starting to feel what carving is all about!
Lastly, lets play with pressure. You can think of this as your "fine tuning" because it is a very subtle force that allows the rider to make very minor adjustments to twist and tilt. It also becomes an effective means of control at high speeds when twist and tilt can become overkill. From a straight glide, apply pressure to the toe edge then the heel edge and see how the board responds. You should notice a gentle "drifting" of the board as you apply these pressures to the edges.
So, spend some time exploring these movement concepts one at a time until you feel that you understand how you are doing it and how it is affecting the board. Next, start encompassing them in your riding. Namely, stay aligned, stay flexed and try to control your board from the feet up. Later, you can start mixing up pivot and tilt, twist and pressure all in coordinated measures to start making very responsive, smooth and stylish turns.
thank you snowolf, it took a few tries but now i know what you and the others meant by a 'countered' stance