The trick is not the trick
Have you ever failed to reach a goal? Maybe you planned on doing a trick this season, but the opportunity to try it never really seemed to appear? Maybe the conditions were shit every day of the season? Or perhaps you need to start focusing on the small steps you can take every day to master the trick.
Almost anyone who is involved in sports will tell you that it is important to set goals. And most people who are a bit serious with their riding will tell you their goals for the season if you ask them. But what people (both coaches and riders) have a harder time to explain is how you reach those goals and land those tricks.
In this post I will focus on trick goals. Trick goals for a season are pretty easy goals to work with since it’s easy to make them SMART . They are specific, binary (you either stomp or you don’t), easy to set within your limits, relevant to you and your creativity and since you often set them in the start of a season they’re time-bound. What I will present here is a template to use to work towards your trick goals so that you won’t have to be disappointed in yourself at the end of the season and wonder why you didn’t reach your goal.
If you’re waiting for the perfect day, it won’t come.
This is not some sort of play on Murphy’s law but just a matter of mindset. If you’re walking around every day just trying to feel if everything has lined up in your favor for you to try that trick, you probably will find some sort of excuse not to try it. There might be wind, the landings aren’t slushy enough, and if they are you don’t get speed, or when the weather is great you have a loose binding or your feet are cold or you’re “just not feeling it”.
Just try harder, right?
Well, both yes and no.
In my line of work I’ve seen riders beat themselves up on hard tricks for 30+ tries without them landing the trick and I’ve seen riders who “only” have been training on 5’s and 7’s learn double corks all of a sudden. In my opinion you should be somewhere in between these two types. You need some of that do or die mentality to even try the hardest tricks, but you need to get to those tricks by working methodically and letting your body learn the movements in order to minimize the risk of injury when you try the biggest tricks.
What you need to do to get to the mentality that you can do it, and have the skills to back it up, is to become more process oriented in your day-to-day riding.
What is process oriented and where do I buy it?
A process oriented approach puts your focus here and now while maintaining the end goal in the back of your head. In short you will focus on doing the “right things” that will help you reach your goal every day, instead of waiting for the perfect day to practice on that big trick. A 30 min. dedicated training towards your goal every day will add up and make it easier for you to land that trick, just because you’ve actually trained for it and not just tried to send it.
To keep the process oriented approach going you should evaluate each day and think about what you did good that will help you reach your goal. And this is regardless of the result of the day! If you had a bad day but kept focus and worked in the right way, you should focus on that, because that’s what will get you to your goal. Every day can’t be a success but with a winning process your results will add up.
The sum of it’s parts.
To be able to work process oriented on a specific trick you will need to break down the trick into parts that you can work on and perfect even when conditions are sub par. For example if you want to do a backside double cork 1080; you have a backside takeoff, an open landing and two flips (basically a bs5 to a cab underflip).
So here we can start to think about what we can work on in order to eventually land the bs double 10.
Since you can divide a bs double 10 into a bs 5 to a cab underflip, those two moves is what I would try to perfect, and especially the cab underflip since that’s the landing trick.
Do cab underflips everywhere! If you haven’t done a bs double 10 you can’t be sure how you’re gonna come out of it, if you’re gonna flip it more or less. So if you know cab underflips off of everything and everywhere, with more cork, with less cork, off the toes, you will have a multitude of movements that you know and can use instinctively whilst in the air. When you can “cat” your way out of every cab underflip scenario you can be pretty sure that you wont mess up when doing the bs double 10.
Corked bs 3s might be really good to try aswell if you should find yourself in somewhat of a late dip in the trick.
The same goes with the bs 5. Do it with more cork and with less cork. And most importantly: know when you do what. Be in control of the cork, that will give you more air awareness when you want to step it up with another flip.
This is just an example trick that breaks down quite easily but to summarize:
Break down the trick into smaller parts
Identify what type of takeoff and landing you need to practice and make things challenging.
Practice those parts every day
If you do something every day the time spent practicing will add up. You don’t need to practice a whole day but set aside 30 minutes and do it every day, you will get results!
Build confidence in sub par conditions
Ride when it’s icy and do easier tricks. Do your “practice” tricks when the visibility is poor. Try the jump when it’s a bit windy. This will give you the confidence to try your trick even if the day isn’t prefect.
Acknowledge your work
Take the time to evaluate your day riding. Focus on what you did right and keep doing it!
So the trick is not to try the trick until you land, but to set yourself up for success by doing little bits every day.
Some last words for thought
I see a lot of people shying away from a challenge just because they feel uncomfortable. I’d like to urge you to embrace feeling uncomfortable. Not that you should feel that way all of the time, but when facing a challenge that is your body’s reaction to it. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it, it just means you should step your game up and focus!
If you don’t accept feeling comfortable at times you won’t progress the way you have the ability to. Because even when the perfect conditions arrive, it won’t feel warm and cozy to do that trick. You will feel nervous and uncomfortable and think negative thoughts. But remember: that’s your body telling you to step it up and get your shit together and land this trick! Not an urge to you to back away.