How to ACTUALLY get better at skating (deep performance)
So how do you get better at skating? Trying tricks, right?
Yes, BUT there are so many other things you can do as well and so many things you can do to improve your ability to lock in new tricks, that most skaters just aren’t doing.
So in this video/article taken from the skate performance workshop I did, I’m going to go over exactly what these things are...
As cringe as the word “goal” might sound in skating, nearly all of us have some goal related to skating:
Maybe it's to learn new tricks,
skate gaps, handrails or just push out your comfort zone.
Maybe it's to have longer sessions, feel better on your board or recover faster.
Maybe you want to go pro, skate in big competitions or just reach a level you’re hyped on.
Or maybe it's just to have fun, skate with mates and bomb hills.
The problem is though, many of us have things holding us back from these goals, like:
struggling to learn and lock new tricks in,
mental stress preventing us from fully enjoying skating,
fear of committing or getting injured,
not feeling physically on point to skate - low energy, lack of power, aches and pains.
These are all straight up valid problems and countless skaters face them daily and leave many of us wondering if we can actually get better at skating, or that maybe we're too old to keep improving.
All this makes sense...
First off, give yourself a break. All this makes sense when you consider that:
Skating is incredibly hard and most people have shit methods to learn.
Skating puts insane stress on the body and most of us do nothing to handle this stress or increase our abilities to handle it.
It can be pretty dangerous, meaning you’re potentially going up against millions of years of evolution designed to keep you safe.
You’re probably working against yourself physically and mentally, like many skaters do.
The one (bad) method skaters use to solve these issues.
How do most skaters try and solve these issues?
Well there’s pretty much one map in the skate world to get better at skating - try tricks, skate more and hope for the best.
Combined with the classic skate life of:
No warm up
Not fueling sessions
Maybe high mental stress
That my friends is a recipe for success.
Ok no it’s actually not at all...
The Marc Johnson dilemma.
Now don’t get me wrong, actually trying tricks and skating is the most important part to get better at skating, if you want to learn kickflips crooks, nothings going to help you more than actually trying kickflip crooks.
But to skate at your best, to learn and progress fast, and to feel good whilst doing it, it doesn’t just depend on the physical act of moving your legs in a certain way to do a trick.
If that’s all it was, how come one day you can feel on point and the next, you feel like absolute shit and you’ve lost all your tricks?
Like Marc Johnson said:
"There are some days when I'm skating, and it's almost like a sixth sense. One day you can skate horrible and the next you don't even stretch or anything, you just feel on point. I never figured out what I did to make it that way, but some days it's just that way"
There's a reason for everything and even though activating that "sixth-sense" is complex, it's possible.
How your body functions and how you skate are systems made up of many different parts, including:
The physical: how healthy and well recovered you are, how energised, vibrant, strong, light you feel.
The mental: how focused and confident you are, how you handle challenges/setbacks, how you handle stress, how focused you are
How you practise: how you learn or how well you remember and lock in tricks
The environment: the kinds of people you’re with or places you’re at, do you feel safe/supported, is it the right environment for what you’re trying to do?
What’s going on in the rest of your life: are you feeling down coz your cats ignoring you, are you stressed from relationships or work.
Purpose: are you connecting with what’s important to you (do you even give a shit about doing another back 5.0?)
The way you skate on a certain day depends on the total state of all these different systems, not just how your legs move as you try a trick.
This is what a deep-performance approach is. It’s about taking a “whole-life, whole-person” approach to skating and wellbeing based on an understanding and experience of skating, science, physiology, and being a human.
It doesn’t mean you’re never going to have bad days, everyone does, even the biggest pros, but by building skills in these different areas, you can massively reduce how many bad days you have, and increase your ability to skate better, progress faster, feel better, and just straight up kill it as a human.
And if you’re thinking well so many pros got sick from just trying tricks, yes that’s true, but:
Most pros got good when they were young and could learn crazy fast, combined with having the right mindset to power them forward (something we’ll get to soon).
But the truth is even when you are young, you could potentially get even better if your sessions aren’t fueled by custard creams and ribena.
The updated SkateLife model.
Ok so we now know just tricks aren’t enough. There are other things that could block us from changing how we skate and feel, and other skills we can develop.
With our new, more reliable map to progress, we can better identify what we need to do, and not do, to get where we want to go.
We can break it all down into regular actions, that allow us to remove the blocks between us and our best skating.
And just to reassure you, the beauty of everything we're going to go over in upcoming video/articles, is that you don’t have to slap on some lycra leggings and empoy a coach to aggressively blow a whistle at you...
Most of this stuff is just about making subtle changes that can fit with your lifestyle, slotting in with even the biggest skate rat lifestyles.
So at this point the skate-troll will present you with a predicament:
Do you want to continue what you’re doing, struggling, learning slow, being controlled by fear, and give up on your body and mind
Or do you want to take advantage of the massive amount of control you have over your own life, combined with of all the sports science and wisdom that pros and skaters of all levels are already implementing to progress fast and feel good on and off their board.
Hopefully you answered yes to the second one... If so, stay tuned for the upcoming articles dropping soon! Or if you can't wait, check out the full workshop here.