The snowboarder physique part 2, acrobatics
Today I would like to take the time to talk about one of the qualities that I believe is fundamental to snowboarders, acrobatics. This will be the second part of a series of posts where I discuss different trainable qualities that you might want to develop to be a better snowboarder. If you haven’t read part 1 of this series you can do that, or if you just want some training tips for acrobatics just keep reading.
“Can you do a backflip?” Yeah, you might have gotten this question if you’re hanging out in the park a lot. Flips and spins are cool and a big part of snowboarding, maybe the most relatable part to people outside of the sport. But before you do a backflip or a double cork in the park you might want to have had a bit of practice so you know that you will, at least, land on your feet. But how can you train these skills? I will try to give you a few tips below that you can try out during the summer and hopefully come well prepared to next season.
Can you practice snowboard tricks off snow? Well here we touch upon the specificity area, a topic all on it’s own which I plan on writing a text on soon. But to keep it short, you kind of can, but It’s unclear if there is a direct transfer to your sport. For example: people might be really good at snowboarding but really lousy at off snow-acrobatics, and there are gymnasts who are really great at their sport but can’t do a 360 on a snowboard. This ability to transfer tricks from a trampoline to a big jump is probably something that some people are better at than others. So it’s more of a “feeling”-type of thing. If you can feel the snowboard trick on a trampoline it probably can help you, some.
What’s the use of training off snow then? As I mentioned in the previous post training your acrobatic and air awareness skills could be a good way to stay injury free. If you, like cats, land on your feet when things go out of hand you should minimize the risks of trying out new tricks. This type of injury preventing training could be really basic acrobatic movements like different types of somersaults and other tumbling exercises. If you’ve been training Judo or Jujitsu you know the importance of training proper falling technique. Falling is inevitable so try to learn to fall as smoothly as possible.
I recorded a short video with some exercise tips that you could try out. Basically it’s just a lot of somersaults and some sort of agility course. Play around and have fun with it! I don’t mention this in the video but you should always do a proper warm up before these types of exercises, especially the neck and back so you don’t sprain yourself. Other than that you can do some of these movements before or after some other workout since it’s not that strenuous and if you’re looking to improve your acrobatic skills or your agility you should practice often.
I want to learn tricks, not learn how to fall! Alright cool man. I’ve already said that the transfer of skills between sports is somewhat hazy, but i do believe that you can benefit from practicing tricks off snow. If you feel like you can mimic the snowboard trick on a trampoline or off a diving tower, good for you. Otherwise I recommend you first analyzing the basic movements of the snowboard tricks you want to do and then try to mimic the same movement patterns. If you learn them well enough to automate them it should be easier to transfer them into your snowboarding. Here, filming yourself and analyzing your movements can be of huge help for you to break down what you’re actually up to when you’re spinning through the air.
If you, like me, have trouble doing doubles on a trampoline you can try to divide the trick into two separate tricks. For example: a backside double cork on a snowboard is kind of a backside 540 to a cab underflip. If you can do those two tricks after each other, without hesitation, you could get a feel for the whole rotation and then try it out on the trampoline or on your snowboard.
I don’t have a trampoline. There are plenty of other ways to train your acrobatic skills. The best way for snowboarding is of course to do it when you snowboard, but this post is about off snow training so we’ll keep to that. Gainers or other flips off a cliff or a diving tower is a great way to, quite safely, practice your acrobatic skills and impress your friends.
You can play around, parkour style. I know that it looks pretty geeky but find some friends you can try it out with and watch a bunch of youtube tutorials and get at it! As long as you’re having fun, what’s the problem?
These are summer activities you can do if you’re not lucky enough to go snowboarding this summer. Try it out and plan for next season and come back with a deeper trick bag!
Have a great summer!