Learning How to Skateboard for Beginners – A Complete Guide!
Skateboarding is an increasingly popular sport today, and the question of how to skateboard for beginners is of interest to many people. If you want to learn skateboarding but don't know where to start or what equipment you need, you've come to the right place!
Hardly anyone can learn to skate in one day; it takes time, practice, and a bit of bravery.
With this article you can learn how to use the right equipment, how to stand on a board, push a board, learn to fall. We also provide you some helpful hints to stick with the skateboard for daily progress.
Prepare Before Skateboarding
Get A Quality Skateboard
To get started with this activity, getting a quality skateboard is the most important thing. You should select a skateboard wisely based on your purposes, preferences, and budget.
Read the articles/watch videos on how to choose the best skateboard for beginners to get the basic information. After that, visit a reputable store to browse the selection and get advice from an experienced skater/salesperson and choose the right product.
If you just want to go for a walk and use the board as a transportation tool, a cruiser or a longboard is an appropriate choice. This product is quite easy for beginners to control but not suitable for tricks, so skip this brand if you are interested in popping games.
If you want to try kicking tricks and jumps, as well as the ability to move quickly and flexibly, a stuff with the perfect tapered ends is the right choice.
Although it's a bit difficult and requires more practice to stay on the board with balance when you're just starting out. Still, once you get used to it, you can enjoy working on a variety of tricks, from simple to complex.
Even if you are new to this activity, don't buy a toy skateboard, but go to specialized skate shops to buy a quality one. As a beginner, you need a relatively flat board and tight trucks so that you can easily learn to stand firmly on the board without falling.
As you gain more experience and control the speed, you can loosen up the truck to perform your favorite tricks.
Don’t Spend Too Much On Your First Skateboard!
You may get a skateboard for $100 or less till you master and take this sport more seriously. Or you can assemble your own custom device from individual components to save quite a bit of your budget.
For now, as a beginner, choosing basic stuff at a reasonable price to get used to and learn how to master them is a smart move.
Get Proper Shoes
Besides choosing a quality skateboard, getting proper shoes is equally important. What is the standard for shoes to learn this sport? A pair of flat sole shoes with good impact absorption and flexibility is a must-have.
The above criteria will help you stay tight to the board, absorb shock well to minimize injury and heel discomfort during training. Some shoe brands you can refer to are Etnies, Vans, Emerica, Lakai, Airwalk, DC's, etc.
Suppose you can't find a specific skate brand; choose a flat shoe, like a deck shoe, with a flat and even surface on the bottom, to start. Stay away from fashionable shoes, tennis shoes, or running shoes because they are not suitable for this game.
When you're new to skateboarding, foot pain is normal, and you have to get used to it. So ensure you wear shoes that aren't too tight!
Consider Wearing Runner Socks
When skateboarding in hot weather or for a long time, your feet may become sweaty, and your usual socks will get wet, compromising your performance and health.
Experience from the forerunners is to wear runner socks because they are designed with maximum sweat-wicking material, giving you dry and comfortable feet for hours of training!
You can also find special socks for this sport. There are a variety of aesthetic-pleasing designs available on the current market. However, don't expect them to do anything more than absorb sweat. You still need a pair of shoes that can absorb shocks and protect your ankles.
Stay Safe And Wear Protective Gear
Wearing protective gear, especially when you are a beginner, is not a new issue, but it’s worth repeating. You might argue that you often see skaters without protective gear, but that's because they're experienced and know how to fall to minimize injury.
If you are a beginner, wearing protective gear not only prevents the risk of injury but also makes you more confident with the feeling of being protected. You can buy a protector, or at least buy a helmet and knee pads to save money.
For a helmet, you need a skateboard-specific one with a smooth surface and a tight-enough chin strap to protect your head. In addition, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards are also essential for safety.
Once you feel steady and confident on the board, you probably won't need all of the above. But remember to bring them when you learn a new trick to keep yourself safe.
Inspect Your Skateboard
It's never too late to test a skateboard before use, whether you're a professional player or just starting out. Sharp edges, worn bearings, fractured kingpins, loose bolts, and more can all pose the risk of an unexpected accident.
If you skate every day, you don't need to do it too often, about once a week. However, if you haven't used it in a while, ensure everything is under control before stepping on the board. Some things to check to prevent injury:
Bearings to ensure the wheels are running smoothly
Wheels are mounted properly and tight
Bolts on the top of the deck to see if the baseplates are displaced or not
Sharp edges on the deck to avoid skin scratching during exercise
Broken grip tape to reduce friction when you stand on deck
Skateboard Basics For Beginners
How To Stand On A Skateboard And Keep Your Balance
To be able to stand firmly on a skateboard, you need to familiarize yourself with it first and ensure your feet are in the correct position.
Trying to stand on it for the first time can be a little intimidating, but you can fix it by placing your skateboard on stable ground, such as grass or a carpet.
With that position, it will stay still so you can safely step on it and practice balancing with it. Continue practicing like this until you get used to it and can plainly feel the board.
Then, let the board down the street and stand with both your feet on the board, one foot in front of the other, lined up with truck screws, and in a slightly bent-knee position. This pose will help you keep your center of gravity and stay closer to the ground.
Next, you need to practice stepping up and down using your push foot (it can be your left or right foot, depending on your habits or preferences). Once you've mastered this move and feel confident in your balance, you should learn how to push.
How To Ride A Skateboard
Once you know the basics, it's time to learn how to ride a skateboard. You should spend at least three times a week practicing it so that you can progress gradually.
To ride a skateboard, you need to determine whether your push foot is the left foot or the right foot based on your preferred position, which is the left foot or right foot forward.
If your left foot is in front of your right foot, you will push with your right foot and ride with your left foot, or vice versa. If you fail to identify this and use the wrong pins, things will be difficult and frustrating.
If you have difficulty and confusion in identifying the push and ride foot, you can follow two steps: first, run straight ahead and imagine in front of you a slippery surface that you want to slide on. Then jump and land with one foot forward, instinctively.
Or, you stand still and ask a friend to push you behind your back. The foot you use to step forward is probably your front foot.
How To Push
Now you've identified your push foot, let's start learning how to push the skateboard! Place your foot forward over the front truck bolts in a bent-knee position. Use your other foot to push a little so that the board moves smoothly, and don’t step it on the skateboard. Repeat this move a few times until you get used to it.
You're more likely to do a few short "stabs" rather than long pushes when you're just starting out. As you get used to it, you'll learn to use a longer sweeping push off for smoother rides and higher speed.
In the next step, you put the other foot on the deck, rotate the front foot to the side; this will help you to keep balance. How to push a skateboard can be summed up in the following four steps:
Step 1: Put your front foot straight ahead over the front truck bolts
Step 2: Push the skateboard with the other foot
Step 3: Push the board with the other foot and place it on the tail of the skateboard
Step 4: Rotate the front foot sideways
Practice it until you feel comfortable and confident. Depending on how much time you spend on practicing, it can take days/weeks for you to get control of the board and its speed.
If you still don't feel comfortable after a period of hard training, try changing the position of the push and the ride foot. Or you can bring your stuff to a place that is familiar to you, such as school, company, friend's house, etc., to have a comfortable time while practicing.
How To Turn
To turn a skateboard, step with both feet on it. Lean to the front back and bend your legs while doing this move. As you change positions, the board will also respond to your movements. Notice the principle of that movement by trying to change positions when riding your skateboard.
You can use two types of turns to control your skateboard, including kick turn and carving turn.
A kick turn is very valuable when you want to avoid an obstacle immediately or make a tight turn. Use your back foot to gently apply pressure to the tail so that you can lift the front wheel off the ground and rotate in the direction you want to turn.
These two movements should be done in one motion. It should be noted that do not put too much pressure on the tail, otherwise, you may fall. In addition, do not perform the kick turn when going downhill for safety.
Carving turns are a bit easier, just lean over and use your body weight to control the board’s direction. Too tight trucks will prevent you from doing this, so loosen them up a bit. Then you just lean in the direction you want to go, and your board will follow.
How To Stop
There are many different ways to stop a skateboard at various levels. For starters, the easiest is to slow down gradually. Lower the sole of your back foot to the ground, mimicking a push, and slowly apply pressure to the ground to slow down.
You can stop the skateboard by a tail stop. To tail stop, you shift most of your weight onto your back foot, stand on the tail, and use it to grind it to the ground to force the board to stop. However, this action can wear out the back tail, so many people do not recommend it.
Fortunately, nowadays, many skateboards, especially flat cruising models, are designed with a plastic stopper. Therefore, this is also considered an easy way to stop the board for beginners.
How To Fall
No skateboarder has never fallen, but learning how to fall properly will help you limit serious damage to your body. For starters, always wear a helmet with wrist and knee guards. They'll protect you against most nasty falls and scratches that are an integral part of the skating world.
So how to fall properly? Let's start by deliberately landing on the grass and falling off on purpose! During a fall, try to roll if possible, or if you're wearing protective gear, you can also slide on your knees and wrists to reduce the impact.
The most common cause of falls while skateboarding is running over small pebbles that jam your wheels or hitting cracks in the road, causing a sudden loss of balance. Therefore, to avoid falling, you must first carefully observe the terrain when skating to actively maintain your balance as much as possible.
Try Riding Backward
Riding backwards, or fakie, is one of the easy skateboard tricks for beginners that helps you better understand your board, the first step to learning more complex tricks later to improve your style.
The best way to learn fakie is to go up a slope or a quarterpipe and ride backwards. It's very simple; you just slide in an upward direction and then turn your head and shoulders in the opposite direction (backwards) while keeping your feet in place.
If you want to do fakie in uphill conditions or at a bend, it will be a bit more difficult. Don't lean forward, but lean back and bend your knees; it will help you keep your balance better.
At first, you may feel uncomfortable when you cannot control the board and lose your balance easily. Don't worry; repeat this move on the flat road until you master it. Once you're comfortable riding forward and backwards, you're ready to do riding uphill and downhill backward.
Skateboarding Tips For Beginners
Avoid Crowded Places
As a beginner, you obviously do not have enough experience and skills to handle all situations. Therefore, for the safety of you and those around you, avoid crowded places and traffic.
Firstly, these places are not wide enough for you to practice the initial movements. Second, you can injure yourself or others by hitting them, or worse, crashing into vehicles on the road.
Choose a relatively secluded and spacious place to start your first exercises. You can skate in the crowd once you have a lot of experience and skill with the board.
Skate As Much As You Can
Practice makes perfect! Spend time on it, preferably every day, and take every opportunity with it. Put it in your backpack and bring it to work, school, friends' houses so you can practice wherever and whenever possible.
Getting acquainted with the skateboard by using it to commute to school/work is the best way to learn how to skateboard. For this purpose, you may need softer wheels for a pleasant ride.
Find A Smooth Flat Surface
It is difficult to avoid branches and small rocks on the road while skateboarding because they always appear without warning. In many cases, inexperienced players will fall off the board.
You can reduce this risk by choosing skates with large, soft wheels and distributing your weight in the center of the board instead of putting too much pressure on your front foot.
Selecting and carefully observing the terrain before practicing is always the best preparation for your effective skateboarding exercises.
Don’t Expect To Learn It In A Day
Many people who learn to skate by self-study, or by participating in training classes or groups. Either way, ensure you take the time to practice hard every day to perfect your skills.
During practice, you can ask more experienced people to guide you to get the correct posture and technique. You can also refer to more videos and articles on how to skate for inspiration and add useful tips during training.
In skateboarding, the most important thing is balance skills. Therefore, you need to repeat small balance exercises over and over. Although it is a bit boring, it will certainly help you improve very quickly, preventing unfortunate injuries while trying out new tricks.
Theoretically, you could learn to ride a skateboard within a day, though not very proficient. It is also an advantage if you're experienced at other sports. However, that doesn't mean you can jump right in and learn advanced tricks.
If you haven't mastered it yet, don't be discouraged, because, like any other sport, you need to practice hard to become perfect. It is necessary to practice core exercises and improve the mobility and reflexes to help the body automatically return to balance when standing on a skateboard. And, don't forget to practice every day!
Hopefully, with the initial information, a few basic techniques and useful tips in this post, you will feel more confident and learn how to skateboard for beginners to start your skateboarding journey.
Don't forget to select the right product, wear protective gear, and choose an ideal location to practice the basics of skateboarding. Work hard every day; you will soon see a significant improvement!