4 Common Mistakes Learning to Ollie
The four most common mistakes I have experienced and witnessed people making when trying to learn how to ollie are..
- Not bringing your pop foot up after you pop the tail
- Sliding your kickfoot forward and down rather then forward and upward
- Not popping the tail straight down
- Not fully popping the tail to the ground to hear the SNAP
If you are struggling to ollie, or you can ollie but it's not pretty.Then chances are you fall into 1 or more of the common mistakes I listed here.
You can read them and go get on the board and try to correct them, but the most helpful thing you can do is think about it and try to understand what the mistake is. And how you can use your body to solve it.
I have had many people ask me to help them fix their ollie or ask me to help them figure out what they are doing wrong.
The number one thing most new skaters deal with when trying to ollie is that they leave their feet fairly close to the ground. This emcompasses the first two reasons I listed.These issues are brought about by fear of injury.
It is natural to be cautious, but you stepped onto a skateboard with the intent to learn. You have to sever a certain amount of caution from your mind. I see new skaters get their ollie footing then bend down and launch upward and everything looks good up until this point. At the last second their caution takes over and wont let them bring their knees up. It's almost like a magnet was activated in the soles of their shoes as soon as they popped the tail.
They will spend hours, days, weeks, even months doing this. They don't even know they are doing it.
Even if they DO bring their pop foot up a little, their front foot is slammed down rather than continuing to rise. Which is the second point I listed earlier. This is brought on by caution, and can only be stopped once you figure out that you are actually doing it. You are going to get hurt skateboarding, just be ok with that. I would argue that the reward is well worth the risk.
Caution causes hesitation, ask any skateboarder if hesitation can get you hurt. They will tell you YES! Because it never leaves you.
Even the pros will roll up and get psyched out. We call these battles. We all support each other through the battle. That's why you see one guy or girl skating looking rough and all his buds sit for hours cheering him or her on. They will stay and watch and cheer as long as they have too, because they know the battle. This is the reason for all the running and hugging when they land it. My point is, this fear is relative to your skill level. The same hesitation and caution you have for bringing your feet up and actually leaving the ground is the exact same thing you will go through when you ollie your first 2 stair, then 6 stair, then hit a handrail.
This is why there is so much respect for each other in the skateboard community. I know that I have rambled on, and hopefully I haven't bored you, but this is a critical thing to know and understand so that you can move forward with your progression.
In skateboarding we call it committing to the trick.
YOU HAVE TO COMMIT!
You learn to control your mind, and shut off your caution. Like the first time you jump off the diving board in the deep end. After the first one you can't stop.
The next two things are form issues. You can sorta ollie but it's not pretty and it all over the place.
You need to check not only your footing, but you also need to pay attention to how you are popping the tail. It is not a full leg push on the tail. It is like throwing a frisbee, once you get your wrist motion going your frisbee flies much better. Same thing with your ankle on your pop foot. Once you add some ankle snap like a drummer has to the pop you can hear that amazing sound of the tail snapping the pavement. It's got to be one of my favorite sounds. If you don't hear a snap, then you didn't pop the tail all the way.
I see new skateboarders who don't pop the board straight down. They pop at an angle, which will make you spin off your axis like you were trying to do a 180. I have seen this happen in both directions but mostly the front-side direction.
OK! So here are some things to think about before you try the ollie again for another 3 hours straight..
- Shut out your caution and bring your knees up! Try to knee yourself in the chest.
- Be fluid with your ankles, guiding the board not forcing it.
- Make sure your fitting is good, and keep adjusting until you see better results
- Snap your tail when you ollie. Make sure you hear the pop
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you are struggling with your ollie, or maybe none of these are problems you're having. I want to help you get past this so you don't give up and quit, or just stay stagnant and never get better.