When I’m jumping stairs the only thing I’m thinking about is how to land the trick, I’m thinking about what it’s going to feel like to land the trick, I’m thinking about how it’s going to flip, how I’m going to catch it, I’m only focusing on trying to make the trick happen.
– Paul Rodriguez
passive Vs. active recovery.
Have you ever thought about how what you do in between tricks might affect how your next trick turns out? Well it turns out what you do might affect how you skate throughout your session and potentially whether or not you get the trick you’re trying.
In the sport world there’s been an on-going debate over whether or not “active recovery” or “passive recovery” is better for maintaining performance during repeated periods of exercise in different sports. Active recovery meaning doing some low intensity movement - for example jogging slowly, and passive recovery would be doing absolutely nothing, for example lying on the floor in the fetal position.
Although there’s never been any research done on skating, we can make some assumptions that should apply to skating based on what the science bods have discovered for other sports.
So you have different energy systems in your body. All of them are active at all times but which ones are active the most at a given time is dependent on what you’re doing; specifically the duration of the movement you’re doing and the intensity of that movement. The catch with the energy systems is that the ones that provide energy faster, also deplete or fatigue faster, meaning the faster or more powerfully you move, the less time you can maintain that intensity for.
By now you're obviously a master in visualisation because you've watched the visualisation for skateboarding video, so imagine you’re filming a line; you do a few tricks and take some big pushes towards some stairs for the last trick. For your tricks you’ve been doing quick, powerful movements, and would have got a decent proportion of the energy from one of the energy systems that gets depleted very quickly (it can be almost completely depleted in just 15 secs of max effort) - which we’ll call the power system. So you get to your last trick down the stairs and almost stomp it but kick it away at the last second. Now you’re hyped and wanna try it again, you tell your filmer you're gunna stomp it next go. He nods and thinks "you've said that for the last 50 shots mate". So now you’ve got 2 options to get back to that spot where you’ve been starting your line:
1.Running back up the stairs and pushing back quickly to the spot where you’re starting your line, and going for it straight away - active recovery,
2. or walking back up the stairs, taking one push and cruising back standing on your board and limiting the amount of movement you do - passive recovery.
So which one of these is better, which one, if any, is going to increase the chances of you getting your line?
active vs. passive.
The quality of your skating is directly related to your power levels so whichever one restores the energy in your power system, should improve your skating and help you get your line.
Your body has to restore the energy in that power system and it starts doing this as soon as you stop the intense effort, but how fast it restores depends in part on what you’re doing in the recovery period; active recovery or passive recovery. The science bods have done a lot of research in a wide variety of different situations and found that in between repeated periods of exercise, active recovery resulted in a slower recovery of energy in the power system, which then ended up negatively affecting performance and speeding up time to fatigue. The restoration of energy in the power system requires oxygen and the science bods think that active recovery slows down the recovery of the power system because of other processes involved in active recovery that compete for that same oxygen. Yeh, there's oxygen gang beef going on deep inside of you and you didn't even realise.
so who wins the turkey?
So, in between tricks or lines in a session when you’re resting less than a few mins, if you want to restore your power as much as possible you should be passive and do as little as possible. If you do have to move or push a lot to get back to your starting spot, you could always just rest for 15-30 seconds before trying again. Trying to limit your movement in between your attempts could help you maintain that well needed power to stomp the last trick in your line, or maintain power to try your line 50 times instead of 40 times.