“I love skateboarding, but I’m having trouble with my confidence. How can I fix that?”
We get told this a lot, whether it’s in Skate Supports, comments or skaters at the skatepark. Confidence is a tricky thing. It’s hard to progress in skateboarding when you’re not confident in your skills. Yet, it’s hard to be confident in what you’re doing when you’re first learning. So, how do we fix that?
Confidence is defined as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” When you have confidence, you can roll up to the skatepark and not care about what anybody else says. Confidence is the ability to keep trying a trick again and again until you get it. You’ll stay up all night, because you know that you will keep going at it until you land it.
So, how do you get to that point? What’s the key to building confidence? While there isn’t a straight, clear cut way in building confidence because everyone is different, here are a few tips that we’ve found help.
When you practice, you’re pushing yourself. You’re trying something new. As you start out, the best thing to do is practice and make sure you’re having fun while doing it. Just. Keep. Practicing.
When you’re practicing a lot, you’re going to run through a lot of emotions. You’ll probably go from being excited, to being angry, to wanting to give up, to getting more excited because you’re almost close, and then super excited because you finally landed it. Just know, this is completely normal. You have to stick with it and persist. Once you land it and you can do it in your sleep, then you know you’re confident in landing it. That’s one step closer to building overall confidence.
When people want to help you, they will give you constructive criticism or tips on how to land a trick. That’s what you should listen to. Don’t listen to those who want to put you down and persuade you to stop skating.
This becomes more apparent when you’re at the skatepark. Some skaters don’t want other skaters coming to the skatepark to get in their way, or don’t want them to overcrowd the skate park. Whatever the reason is, I’ve seen skaters tell younger kids not to skate at the park or just convince them to quit at all. Which the often end up doing.
Unfortunately, it’s more common than it should be. We want to build up the skateboarding community, not decrease it. If you come across anyone who does that, just don’t skate near them, don’t listen to them and keep skating. If anything, prove them wrong by persisting.
Another way is to keep learning. Not only does practicing help, but learning is also a key part in building confidence. Watching videos, reading books and anything that will help you with any part of skateboarding will increase your confidence.
This also goes hand in hand with keep practicing. You can study different skate support videos or slow-motion videos of kickflips and really be able to see what the feet are doing, and what you’re doing. This is helpful when learning the trick, or just trying to improve it. Always keep learning.
Another good way is to keep up with the industry. Watch skate contests, follow your favorite skaters on social media, read books, etc… The more you know about the industry, you more excited you tend to get about being apart of it, and thus making you want to get better. You will also get inspiration, which pushes you, again, to progress even more.
Getting involved with your local skating community allows you to meet new people, learn more about the industry and be able to do some awesome things in your local area. Once you’ve done a few, you can create a name for yourself and become better yourself at skating and helping others skate. It’s a great way to build confidence.
A good way to do this is reaching out to local skate shops, or after school skateboarding clubs. People are always looking for help. Especially local skateboarding groups that want to promote skateboarding as a fun, enlightening sport that can actually help a lot of people and make the community a better place.
While skateboarding is an individual sport, there’s nothing quite like spending a day with your friends skating around the streets. By skating with others, you’re learning from them and maybe even teaching them. The best thing is, they’re there to help you and push you forward. They cheer you on, give you tips and anything they can do to help you push you further.
More often than not, skating with others helps your confidence because you’re in a group. You generally feel happier and willing to push yourself more when your friends are with you. They will also stay with you until you land that trick. They pump you up and give you tips so you can go home happy!
Skating and practicing every day gets you more comfortable on your board and also ensure you keep progressing, and you can progress faster.
If you’re just starting out, try this for a week. Take your board to school, work, the library, etc… Practice whatever trick you want to learn and actually do the steps every single day. And do it for 10, 15 or 20 minutes. However long it takes. You’re putting time in and will be able to land it when you’re done.
Going to the skatepark for the first time can be very scary when you’re just starting out. It’s not as scary if you’re with your friends. Similar to the skating with friends section above, going to the skatepark with your friends makes it more fun because you always have someone there with you. So you can focus your attention on having fun and learning new tricks.
As you’re starting out, it’s simple to look at what others can do, and why you’re not as good as them. Most of the time, it’s because you want to land a trick, or land a bunch of tricks. For many people, that trick is the ollie.
But once you land the Ollie, and spend all that time and you feel like giving up, and then persisting and finally landing it, you feel like you’re on top of the world. Once you land a trick that you’ve been having trouble on, you’ll instantly feel more confident about yourself and more confident going to skate with others.
Anything we miss? Leave a comment below! If you’re having trouble with your tricks and want to learn how to fix it, Skateboarding Made Simple is what you need! You can pick it up here!
Also, be sure to submit a Skate Support Request to Aaron, so he can personally help you out. He’s helped many skaters land tricks and fix their problems this way. You can submit one here!
The skatepark is often a haven for skaters everywhere. A safe area with obstacles and ramps you wouldn’t normally find in the street. In some areas, it’s the only place where you can try out new obstacles and really push yourself.
It can also be very intimidating and scary for new riders. You’ve probably seen those “skaters VS. …” videos on YouTube, and might have been turned away from going to the skatepark. You don’t want to get in other people’s way or crash into somebody while they’re doing their line. But by following these simple guidelines, you’ll be able to feel safe at the park and push yourself in a way you never thought was possible.
If there’s a line of people who want to ollie down the 5 stair, don’t cut in front of everybody else. This is probably the most annoying thing you’ll find other skaters doing. If you’re not sure if anybody else is going, just ask them.
Whenever you go up to a new obstacle or space in the park, just wait your turn and make sure no one else is going in that general area so you can avoid hurting yourself and others.
The skatepark is a fast moving environment. You have skateboards, bikes, scooters and everything else you can think of moving around and flying about. Always look around you before you do your line. The last thing you want is to crash into someone and hurt yourself or others. So always look around and make sure the coast is clear.
Most skateparks are meant to flow from one part of the park to another smoothly, so it’s always good to check all the possible areas that people can come in from.
One thing you’ll find is people just standing on their board on a ramp while someone else is doing their line. While this my not seem like a bad thing, you run the risk of the board dropping into the bowl while someone else is doing their line, or they may be going where you are. For a safe distance, stand a few feet back and go when the coast is clear.
If you’re practicing and learning the basics of the mini-ramp, you’ll probably spend a lot of time riding around and going in circles and trying to get used to the motions. Or, you’re trying to learn the rock to fakie and tail stall, so you spend a lot of time on it.
And that really is a good thing. Practicing this stuff really does take time. But, make sure that you’re taking your turn, and then let someone else go. One day, you’ll get a lucky and no one else is at the skatepark or practicing at the mini-ramp. When that day comes, skate it all you want.
Every once in awhile, you’ll hear someone yell “Board!” at the skatepark. This is simply to signify that their board is either shot up in the air and could fall, or it got away from them while doing a trick. If this happens to you, be sure to yell board so it doesn’t hit someone else. Taking a skateboard to the head isn’t a pleasant experience.
Communication is key at a skatepark. Not sure if someone’s going down an obstacle? Ask them. Someone’s sitting down on a bench you want to do a trick on? Kindly ask them to move. You don’t need to be snotty or mean about it. Everyone at the skatepark is there to have fun, so the nicer you ask them, they’ll be more than willing to do it.
This really should go without saying, but if you see someone who’s younger and learning, try to help them out. Don’t yell at them or make them cry just because you probably could. We all have to start somewhere, and you don’t want to be the reason why that kid quits skateboarding all together.
If they keep violating any of the other guidelines, talk to the parents if they’re there. This is a good way for the parents and kid to learn what to do and what not to do at the skatepark.
If you’ve been to the skatepark enough times, you’ve probably seen someone struggling with a trick that you can do in your sleep. If another skater is struggling doing a kickflip down the 5 stair, don’t go right after them and do it in front of them.
This shows a “I’m better than you” attitude, and displays a lack of empathy. Chances are, you didn’t do it first try. You had to work at it for awhile until you finally landed it. Let them have that same type of satisfaction. If you do it in front of them, it increases the rate of them feeling bad and wanting to give up, which is the opposite of effect we’re trying to make.
Instead, try encouraging them and giving them tips if they’re willing to receive it. Cheer them on so when they do land it, they have someone to thank.
Most skateparks have areas to sit and store your stuff. But everyone always ends up sitting on the ledges and obstacles. It’s fine, but someone may want to be skating that ledge. It’s just a good, general rule to be aware of when at the skatepark.
Skateparks can sometimes have a bad reputation in the community where all the “bad kids” hang around. This isn’t true, more often than not. If you see something illegal or something that shouldn’t be happening at the skatepark, be sure to report it and alert your local officials if it’s safe to.
The more appealing and safer the skatepark is, the more beginner skaters will want to use it. The skatepark is open to all walks of life of all ages. Let’s make sure it stays that way!
Since the skatepark is a communal spot, be sure to take all of your trash with you instead of leaving it around the park. We want the skateparks to be a healthy, fun environment so we can keep them around. When the park has trash and litter everywhere, it makes it less appealing for skaters to go there.
A good, stable rule is to leave an area cleaner than you found it. Trust me, everyone will be thanking you later!
And that’s it! If you follow these, you’ll have a great time at the skatepark. And if you violate any of them, an apology will normally do the trick. So grab your gear and head off to the skatepark!
Want to learn how to ride at the skatepark? Check out Skateboarding Made Simple. We have seven volumes that you can buy in a package, or separately. They start out teaching you the basics, and then teach you how to land harder tricks, so you’re always progressing. You can check it out here!