5 Biggest Mistakes New Skaters Make: Ultimate Guide to Quick Progress

Avoid common pitfalls as a new skater! Discover the top 5 mistakes beginners make and learn rapid progression tips in our ultimate guide.

What’s holding you back from that killer kickflip or the perfect grind? Maybe your own bad habits? Let me tell you, I’ve totally been there. A lot of these lessons come from endless hours of riding and some practical advice from a buddy who’s been shredding the streets for well over a decade. After riding up and down this grind rail that we call learning, I’ve summed up the top ten biggest mistakes beginner skaters make and how to conquer them.

What are the biggest mistakes new skaters make?

Okay, so we’re starting this off with a pretty solid understanding that mistakes are going to happen, and mistakes are part of the journey, right? Just like anything else in life, skating is no different. But if you can take a shortcut past some of the most common skating slip-ups, why not? Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Here’s where we dive in, pack up those gnarly falls and faceplants into our memory vault, and ditch the roadblocks slowing down our killer grind.

Image of a skater doing an ollie on a skateboard. Source: unsplash
Image of a skater doing an ollie on a skateboard. Source: unsplash

1. Learning tricks stationary

When you think of skateboarding, the first thing that probably comes to mind is not a static board. Yet, the first mistake most of us (yes, including me) make is starting to learn tricks when stationary. You’ll probably see someone pull off a sick ollie or kickflip while standing still, and you’ll think, “Yup, that’s the way to learn.” Well, I’m here to set things straight—it isn’t.

“Static tricks warp your skating instincts and rhythm, leaving you unprepared for the real world out there, where everything’s a move.”

Static tricks warp your skating instincts and rhythm, leaving you unprepared for the real world out there, where everything’s a move. Developing this habit can be a tough one to shake off once you try taking your ollies or front shoves to the streets.

So, here’s my tip: start learning your tricks on the move. Trust me, it’ll make a colossal difference. You’ll feel more comfortable, your moves will be smoother, and your progress will shift into high gear. Check out our guide to the best skateboards for beginners to kick-start your journey.

2. Squaring shoulders with the board

When you start cruising with your skateboard, you might have the instinct to turn your shoulders in the direction you’re facing. I know I did. But this is a serious no-go. When your shoulders aren’t aligned with the board, your hips tend to follow, messing up your balance and stance and holding you back from pulling off some solid tricks.

Our bodies act like compasses when we skate; our movements reflect where we’re facing. This mistake of not keeping your shoulders square with the board starts out small, but before you know it, instead of landing that majestic ollie, you’re spinning around like a top.

What are the best ways to counter this beginner goof? Keep your gaze forward, turn your head, not your shoulders, and maintain a stable posture, keeping those shoulders exactly where your feet are. A surefire step towards killing those tricks!

3. Not bending your knees enough

Oh, the dreaded stiff legs! Take it from someone who’s had more than a fair share of failed attempts at dropping in: bending your knees is essential. Yet, so many of us overlook this simple aspect. Non-bendy knees make you wobble, lose balance, and faceplant a lot. Plus, they affect your ability to nail some sweet tricks.

When you’re zooming downhill or pulling off a flip, bend those knees. When your posture is relaxed, your legs move freely, giving you the control you need while skating. Not convinced? Take a ride with your legs stiffer than your regular stance and see the contrast. You’ll be pretty much sold on bending your knees a bit more than you earlier did for a smoother ride.

4. Moving on too quickly

This one’s all too common in our fast-paced, instant-gratification world. In your quest to stock up on cool tricks, don’t make the mistake of treating tricks like a checklist. Ollie off the list, onto the kickflips? Hold your horses, man!

Image of a skater jumping with a skateboard in midair. Source: unsplash
Image of a skater jumping with a skateboard in midair. Source: unsplash

Skateboarding isn’t a race. If you’ve just learned ollies, that’s really sick. But now, take the time to master it at different speeds, over and under objects, until your muscles can do it in sleep. Reinforcing a trick in different scenarios and using different techniques can vastly improve your performance. This is one sure-shot way to get really comfortable on your board and get those basics down solid.

5. Focusing only on a single trick or area

While sticking with one trick till you master it like a boss is a good move, it’s also equally essential to explore all areas of skateboarding. Learning to ride your board in all its practicality is more important than nailing a single trick. Longboarding taught me all about balance, pushing, stopping, and power sliding—lessons that I didn’t realize were crucial until I took up street skating.

So here’s one for you: start by just riding your board. Master stopping, feeling the rhythm, getting a handle on your push and pull, and bombing those hills before you start eyeing those Ollies or kickflips. Trust me; it’s a wise decision. And in the meantime, make sure to explore our essential tips for new skaters if you’re just starting out.

My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

5 biggest mistakes new skaters make: ultimate guide to quick progress | 61vn95mf7ql. Ac sl1184 | skateboard salad
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

I had my board stolen a few years ago and was forced to quickly replace it with a complete. I got one with an Enjoi deck and loved it so much that I still buy the Whitey Panda deck each time I need a new deck. This complete with budget-friendly, beginner-friendly parts, but I still swear by it.

What other tips should new skaters know?

Embarking on your skateboarding journey can be much smoother if you keep a few handy tips in mind. Here’s my curated list of additional advice that helped me and hopefully will help you too:

  • Experiment with different speeds, terrains, and angles once you learn a basic trick.
  • Maintain a relaxed posture for better control and stability.
  • Regularly check your skateboard for any maintenance needs.
  • Most importantly, enjoy the ride, and don’t stress over mistakes- they are a part of learning!

Learning from my rookie skater mistakes

Alright, it’s confession time, folks. I’ve got to tell you, my first year of skateboarding was certainly not a walk in the park, well, until I literally hit the skatepark! Practice sessions were dotted with countless bails, failed attempts, and, yes, the infamous stationary ollies.

Remembering my buddy’s advice, I got my act together, learned to ride moving, and holy wheels. The difference was epic! Suddenly, landing tricks became less of a task. My ollies felt natural, my falls weren’t as bad as they were, and my overall progression had a noticeable shift. And through all those rough patches, keeping a keen eye on my skateboard maintenance certainly helped.

“Skateboarding isn’t a race. Reinforcing a trick in different scenarios and techniques can vastly improve your performance. This is one sure-shot way to get really comfortable on your board and get those basics down solid.”

So yeah, here I am, still in the learner’s lane, but loving the ride a whole lot more, pushing myself, skating better, faster, and safer. Remember, it’s always about doing what you love and doing it the right way! Happy skateboarding, dudes!

If you are a visual learner, check out the video below from YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you’re just diving into the gnarly world of skateboarding, chances are you’ve got some burning questions on your mind. In this section, I’ll tackle a few frequently asked questions about common skateboarding mistakes. Let’s clear up some of those puzzling queries!

Why do some skaters suggest learning tricks while stationary?

Many new skaters feel more confident practicing tricks while stationary because of the perceived ease and safety. However, skateboarding is fundamentally about movement. Mastering tricks on the move brings you closer to the actual skateboarding dynamics, enhancing your board control and skills.

I just learned to ollie. Should I try it down a set of stairs?

Not so fast, dude! While it’s commendable that you’ve got your ollie down, it’s worth noting that every new scenario presents different challenges. So, before you ollie down a flight of stairs, try out different scenarios: over an object, at varying speeds, or onto a surface. Patience is key! If you’re itching to know more about pulling off sick tricks safely, here’s our comprehensive guide on the best skateboard tricks for beginners.

Is focusing on a single trick really a bad thing?

Focusing on a single trick isn’t inherently bad, and it can indeed lead to mastery of that particular stunt. However, skateboarding is a vast discipline, and there’s so much more to it than just a single trick. Overemphasizing one move might stifle your overall progress and diminish the fun factor. Like everything in life, balance is essential!

Final thoughts

Navigating your way through the skateboarding journey is no less thrilling than a roller-coaster ride. While mastering skateboarding is a personal journey and different for everyone, understanding and avoiding typical beginner mistakes can undoubtedly fast-track your progress. Remember this: mistakes are just stepping stones on your path to becoming a shredder.

What’s the hurdle you’re trying to overcome in your skateboarding journey? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below. I read and reply to every comment. If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and for more awesome content like this, keep rolling with my blog. Thanks for reading, guys, and keep riding those curves!

Key takeaways

So we’ve assessed the biggest pitfalls that new skaters, including yours truly, have been tripping over. This article covered the major mistakes new skaters make and how to dodge them. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Avoid learning tricks while stationary; it’s always better to practice on the move.
  • Always keep your shoulders square with the board to maintain balance and control.
  • Bend your knees for more fluid movement and greater stability.
  • Instead of rushing to new tricks, reinforce learned ones in different scenarios.
  • Rather than sticking to a single trick, explore all areas of skateboarding.
  • Patience and persistent practice are your comrades on the journey of skateboarding mastery.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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