How to make skateboarding easier by changing how you perceive the world
We're going to start off getting real… Tiago Lemos has bigger pop than you. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
To the average muggle skater like me and you, the things he does seem insane, but for him, they actually won’t seem as crazy because he’s literally going to be perceiving the world differently to how we do.
In this video/article I’m going to go over why that is and what you can do to activate your Tiago Lemos goggles to change how you perceive the world, making it appear easier to skate.
Every skater perceives the world differently
It seems like common sense to assume that two people looking at the same thing see it the same, but that’s not true. Your brain warps and stretches the obstacles and spots you see based on things like your physical ability, how you feel and your skill level on your board -literally making them appear bigger or smaller, harder or easier, etc.
This has been shown in a load of different research, for example people who are tired, elderly or carrying a heavy backpack perceive hills as steeper; baseball players hitting well perceive the ball to be bigger; reaching tools make objects seem closer; and experienced parkour athletes see walls as smaller than beginners.
Every skater will also see the world differently. Most of us wouldn’t have even looked at the ledge Tiago switch back tailed at MACBA as skateable, it is 92cm/36in after all!
Most wouldn’t see this trick on this spot Nyjah did as possible,
or this gap Jaws did as doable.
But the better you are at skating and the more skilled and physically capable you are, the more your brain will stretch and warp the world to your abilities, making it appear easier and more skateable to you.
Increasing your THPS stats to make the objective, subjectively smaller
If you imagine yourself having a stat bar like on Tony Hawk’s, with the different skate abilities on it: pop, balance, flip speed, etc. but also physical abilities like jump height, power, strength, endurance, recovery time. The lower these bars are, the harder obstacles will appear and the less you’ll see yourself able to do.
If we take 3 ledges - a, b and c - each being increasingly bigger than the last, as your stats like pop, jump height and power increase you'll start perceiving each ledge as increasingly more skateable. As your endurance stat increases you'll maintain that perception for longer and maintain a higher level of skating for longer.
The same goes for gaps, if you imagine gaps - p, q and 12-07b - each increasingly bigger, as your strength increases you’ll perceive yourself as more capable to absorb the impact from each gap.
It’s not that anything outside of you has changed; the world is objectively exactly the same, but because you’ve objectively become more physically able, and raised the bar for what your body can actually do, you change what you perceive and what you even think is possible.
All this makes sense - if you’re objectively less capable, your brain is going to purposely limit what you think you can do to protect you from doing something that could destroy you. You don’t jump off a 5 storey building or suffocate yourself in a bowl of soup, because you know intuitively that your body couldn’t handle it.
This is also why when you started skating you wouldn't have even tried the stuff you can do now, because you most likely would have absolutely rarted yourself due to a lack of skill or physical ability. So your brain didn't perceive the options of harder stuff as available to you.
It's the same when you get back to skating after time off from an injury too. Your body and mind won't be as prepared for skating as they were before your injury; which is gunna lower your confidence making stuff you could have done before seem more difficult.
But luckily where we’re at now isn’t fixed, so let’s get to how you can activate your Tiago Lemos goggles, change your perception and make the world easier to skate.
Activating your Tiago Lemos goggles
So if we know that being less physically able or skilled on our board will make the world appear harder and less skateable, then the solution is simply to improve our physical abilities.
1. Skate/shralp/get ya shrimp on
You'll be happy to hear the most important part of all this, is just skating. You need to skate on a regular basis and expose yourself to a load of different obstacles and styles of skating. This isn't just going to increase your actual skill level, but it's also going to help your mind and body adapt to the stresses of skating, along with training them to better express the different physical abilities and movements we need when we skate.
Just like I said before, when you started skating you couldn't do the stuff you can now, but over time, by being consistent and progressive you taught your mind and body that it can do more.
So skate regularly, including the kinds of spots you want to skate (gaps, ledges, transition, etc) and constantly spend time on the edge of your comfort zone.
2. Resistance training
The second solution, which even though is so important for literally ever skater, you're not going to be as hyped on it... it's resistance training (also known as strength training, strength and conditioning, working out - whatever tickles ya Johnson).
We can use tried and tested resistance training exercises for skateboarding to increase the physical abilities we need to skate - jump height, power, strength, endurance, recovery time, etc - all of the things we need to do things like jumping onto ledges, absorbing impact from gaps, having long sessions etc.
By consistently working out with the right exercises for skateboarding, as little as 2x a week, you’ll massively change each of these stats, what your body can objectively do, and what you perceive as possible on your board.
Training is important for everyone, but extra important for those skaters who hit their 20s and start to notice a decline in how their bodies feel, their energy levels and strength. Twenties is way too young to be feeling like this and skate focused resistance training is a way to literally turn the clocks back and get that feeling of youth back again.
It's even more important as you get to around your 30s and beyond, as it's at this point in life where you start to lose muscle as a natural part of ageing (known as sarcopenia). Less muscle to move yourself around is obviously going to make everything seem harder.
This is one of the main reasons those grannies walking past the run ups of spots take so long to pass, because they've lost so much muscle they literally can't go faster (so give them a break!).
Resistance training has been shown to not only maintain the muscle you'd lose from aging and without training, but also to put it on; further slowing its decline.
If you want to start training and you're looking for a skateboarding specific resistance training program, then check out the NBD skate performance program. It's a 12 week resistance training program designed specifically to target and improve all the physical abilities our bodies needs to skate.
3. Tiny lifestyle changes
Thing of a time when you felt tired in comparison to a time when you felt full of energy, your perception of everything was different, right? Everything would have appeared harder and your motivation to do anything difficult would have been lower.
By improving how your body functions and feels by applying the things above along with different lifestyle changes like eating better and locking in good recovery tactics like quality sleep, you'll make a big difference in how energised and vibrant you feel.
Feeling more energised on a regular basis and throughout more sessions is going to give you more energy to face challenges and push yourself past your comfort zone, something that's absolutely essential to get better at skating.
So there you go! How you see the world isn’t fixed, your perception is closely connected to what’s going on in your body and mind, and these are things we can change with consistent effort.
So if you’ve been thinking you’ll never skate a certain spot, pop onto a certain ledge, jump down a certain gap, well now you know you're probably wrong and by doing the things mentioned above, you’ll be able to start changing how you perceive the world making it literally easier to skate.