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Old 02-12-2013, 10:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Toe side turn/stop for 7 year old boy?

I'm trying to teach my 7 year old son how to ride. First time he was out, I had him take a 2 hour private lesson and he was able to learn the basics and ride down the bunny hill without falling for the most part. He would go straight down and do a heel side stop. He couldn't turn though.

Last time out (2nd time out) he can do a heel side turn but he just couldn't do a toe side turn. I've told him to try to put weight on his front toes but he is not able to make the turn to his toe side. He may not have the lower body strength to twist the board yet.

I've seen some youtube videos of little kids turning and it looks like many of them are doing pivot turns or back foot rudder turns. Should I try to teach him pivot turns?

I'm trying to get him started right so that he doesn't get into any bad habits that may be hard to break later on.

Any suggestions?

Last edited by snowman55; 02-13-2013 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
Of course every child is unique but in general kids under about 7-8 do not have the refined motor skills for the movements that we as adults use and independent movements such as front foot torsional steering can be way beyond their understanding. Kids typically use whole body movements to manipulate their board. Most often, we see pivot generated from whole body rotation.

As you know, pivot leads to some unpleasant results such as edge catches and slams so you should work toward steering him away from this. Understand of course that he may need to use pivot until he can master another technique so encourage but don't judge or berate.

The other whole body movement that you should start working on with him is tilt (board performance) or lean (movement concept). Kids his age can totally start carving by learning to use lean to tilt the board on edge and let the sidecut work. Just keep in mind that they may build up speed quickly until they learn to complete the turn up the hill so pick gentle terrain and a wide low traffic are to allow the kid to ride out the turn across the hill.

As soon as the kid gets the basic feel for this, you can play some great games to keep then really into it. A favorite is space lasers. You are the fleeing space ship making turns to evade the pursuer which is the kid. He uses his front arm to point his lasers on you trying to shoot you down. What this game does is it gets him using his shoulders to lead the turn and also makes the leaning into each turn come naturally without thing about it.

Now, yes we ordinarily do not want to be leading our turns with shoulder rotation but in the case of a kid his age, learning to use the upper body independently from the lower body is a HUGE step in their progression. As he gets more proficient and older, it is pretty easy to then eliminate the shoulder rotation. Make as much of this as possible a fun game for him. If the kids don't realize they are learning and think they are just having fun, everything works better.
I made a mistake of making him ride the snowboard like he rides his Ripstik. He can ride the Ripstik pretty well and he makes turns on the Ripstik by pressing his lead foot. I figured since he already has this concept down, he can do that easily on the snowboard. I found out it's much harder for him to do that on the snowboard.

I'll tried your suggestions next time we are out. Thanks for the tip. Much appreciate it.
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