This one's for all you park rats out there...
I coach a group of younger kids on the weekends (all guys) ages 11 - 14. Most all are dead set on being the next Shaun White and so we spend a lot of time in the park.
Their ability level is all about the same, with a few kids that are definitely better than the others, which is to be expected, but for the most part they all keep up and push one another, which is cool.
This past weekend we were working on boarslide to fakies, lipslides, etc. These are smaller rails, good for beginners. I'm too lazy to post pictures, so I'll explain best I can. They were doing boarslides facing downhill, so boardsliding down the rail facing forward.
Obviously, one of the next steps of progression is to go backside (I realize the terminology might not be spot on here and the correct name of the trick is dependant on the approach to the rail but bear with me here), jibbing the rail with their back facing downhill. This manuver is definitely more intimidating, as its harder to see your exit off the rail, even more so keep the board flat based so you don't intuitively lean forward, slip out and break teeth.
I can do them myself but I've only gotten to that point after years of practice and riding on my own - I was never coached this.
My question is: how do I explain this trick to them, and get them to do it, safely? Moreover (and this part is for myself a little too) is how do you orient your upper and lower body so your're not just staring at your feet when you slide down the rail. All the pros really turn their shoulder opposite to the torque of their lower body so they're looking DOWN the rail. I have a problem with this, and I catch myself simply staring at my feet and not looking around my shoulder or underneath my armpit.
Any tips? (And kudos for reading all this too!)
If you have the luxury of a short flat box (3 feet or so is ideal) we will start here. I know there are many names for this trick, depending on many factors, the one i hear used the most around Mt Hood is frontboard. I think the easiest way to do this first, is to jump into it, continue spinning, and come off switch
Here we go:
First on flat ground, not moving, have them get comfortable doing a backside 90, landing with their base flat (this also means relaxed ankles), knees very flexed, upper body in line with gravity, and eyes looking over their back shoulder. Do this a bunch of times until they convince you they get it
Next, approach the rail at a moderate speed, and try everything just the same as above, remember to switch the gaze over the back shoulder, and they will ride out switch.
After many many many times hitting small boxes like this, then you can start getting into more complicated frontboard tricks like:
-locking into frontboard (so the spin does not continue while on the box)
-frontboard back to regular (much harder than to switch imo)
-that big upper and lower body separation like you talked about (this is when it really start getting good) just remember the lower body should be exactly like how i described above, and the upper body turned just enough to see
-270 on to frontboard
Thanks Bear - I'll definitely get them started on flat ground first.
Start practicing the trick on the ground without the board on to help build muscle memory. Then strap the board on and do they movements again. Now try them while going down hill I know you will use an edge but now your doing it while moving. Then as mentioned take it to a small box. After all this you'll have like 100 reps of the motion before you hit the rail. Find a low rail to start as well
As it sounds like you are going to be riding with these guys for a while, this might help you develop safer more effective plans for them in the future, and if they could learn it themselves even better.
1st a progression will always keep you safer, and make you better win/win
when building a progression each step build on the one before it, a good phrase to follow when building a progression is:
Static, Simple, Complex, Freeride
Static - build the skills not moving so when you mess it up it doesn't hurt
Simple - low speed, low consequence,
Complex - add in more slowly (in this example coming out regular or locking in)
Freeride - practice practice practice
How i get students (kids especially) in to this is by explaining it as you would to adults:
It may seem like we are progressing slowly by doing this, however trying a awesome trick 50 times and messing up EVERY time and maybe even getting hurt will slow your progression down a lot more than trying it static 10 times, simple 10 times, complex 30 times. Same number of tries = your a better rider and safer... Nothing slows progression like an injury!
Just like I said but bear put it in technical terms. both are spot on http://www.smileys4me.com/getsmiley.php?show=4528
Thanks to Sheepstealer & Slyder
Thanks for the shout out Slyder, your post inspired mine... Thanks Sheepstealer for teaching kids, I'm sure on and off the hill, and for keeping them safe, and (I hope) for making them respectful and respectable park riders.
SHRED CREW ASSEMBLE!
Now I need to find someone like Sheepstealer to teach dads !!!!!
I'm getting there, if we finally get some snow hoping to hit the hill this weekend. Been out 1/2 day, this time last year I was in double digits days of riding
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