What Are You Doing to Improve Your Snowboarding?

by Fraser

Snowboarding is about having fun, but we all like to improve, right? I know I do. If you’re eager on the progression curve, the outline below of what I’m trying to achieve, and how, might be of interest. So read on…

The Target

I was going to start this post with my plan, but it makes more sense to first state some of the things I’m aiming for. Goals first, plan later.

From CasVegas to Park Lane…

For a long time now, I’ve wanted to experience riding a “long” snowboard park. One with loads of hits, where you can get some nice rhythm going. Hopefully get that stoke from stomping a number of tricks in a row. Scoping out the numerous parks at Breckenridge, it seems Park Lane should be the target for that…

But looking at the hits in the Park Lane terrain park – a bunch of them, maybe the majority of them, are beyond my current means.

They call it a “medium park”. So by time I get there in January, I don’t want the rails and boxes to be out of reach. I want to be able to make a half-decent run through the park. That’s half-decent by my own standards; I’ll know if I’ve gotten to where I want to be.

CasVegas is the affectionate name given to the Xscape snowdome at the Castleford. I want to progress there – then take my improved riding to the parks in Breckenridge. That’s my core goal.

Specific tricks?

I don’t really have a trick-list as such, but there are some general areas that I want to focus on:

  • Frontside boardslide. I can do these now at a fairly basic level – but I want them on lock, I want to be able to do them on harder features. It’s ongoing.
  • Change-ups. Again, I’ve experimented with these at a (very) basic level; I want to be able to do different combinations.
  • Nose and tail grabs on 1s and 3s. I’ve got the nose grab fairly comfortable now. What I’d like is to add this to some spins. But it’s going to take some experimentation to find the combinations that work for me. Frontside 3 nose seems to appeal.
  • Shifty 180. Frontside and backside.
  • 540. Either will do.
  • 180s in and out of rails/boxes
  • 270 out. Doesn’t have to be spectacular, I just want to get a feeling for it on a basic level
  • One footer tricks… any will do. I grabbed one of these stomp pads to help.

The Plan

So how am I going to get there? A while ago, when I wasn’t able to snowboard, I said that I wanted to put two “learning tools” into practice once I was back on a snowboard… So, here’s the plan:

1. Castleford – I’m back on the board

I’m snowboarding again. Awesome. I’ve shredded at CasVegas the last three Fridays, and I’ll be riding there tonight. I’ve never done four weeks in a row before. The way the weekends are panning out, I’ve got the option to get a fair a number of sessions in before the end of the year. This will be my training ground.

When I’m riding at Castleford I tend to concentrate on rails and boxes; the kickers are a bit hit and miss so I feel I can get more consistent progression on the jibs.

Will Halifax fit in? When it comes to my local snowboarding in the UK, Halifax is a better option for hitting kickers. Right now I’m in a bit of a groove for travelling to Castleford. I’d love to fit a few days in at Halifax and rider the kicker there; it’s just less certain. That’s part of the reason for the bias towards rails and boxes in the The Target above.

2. Snowboard Addiction tutorials

During the out-of-action period, the first “tool” that I wanted to put to use was the freestyle program from Snowboard Addiction. Regular readers will be aware that I’m a big fan of their instructional material. Big trick coverage, great presentation, blah blah blah. I’ve said it all before. If you’re interested, read the review I wrote.

More relevant to my personal plan, some of the “trick-tips” have led to me making nose grabs and front boards feel comfortable, tricks I’d failed to do in the past (I don’t want to get ahead of myself with the front boards there). So I’m still positive about the program.

As per the list above, I’m interested in a lot of the rail and box tricks. But, I do really want to try putting shiftys into spins, shifty-180 to start with, and I’d also like to (finally) dial in a 540. It seems like ages ago when I was getting close – then it’s just faded away. I’ll revisit the jumping lessons…

3. The Snowboard Jedi program

The second “tool”. This is something that I’m less sure about. The Snowboard Jedi program is an audio-based, “mental training” course. Understanding the psychology of snowboarding (at a wider level, sports performance), then using your mind to improve.

So why am I unsure? After reading and listening, it sounds like something that could help snowboarders, maybe help my own progression. I don’t doubt the power of a strong mental approach to sports/competition/tasks… At the same time, the techniques themselves require practice; it’s not like I’m familiar with relaxation, hypnosis and visualisation methods. This isn’t some silver bullet affair.

Here’s an example. Last session at Castleford, I wanted to front-board the long, 10m rail. So, on the lift ride up, I started visualising myself stomping it – both associated and disassociated. I didn’t suddenly lock onto the rail and execute a smooth front board all the way to the end. I did however feel confident trying it.

Would I have been confident anyway? I don’t know; but that’s the point. I’m unsure because I haven’t connected with the ideas yet. I haven’t associated a positive result on the snow with something in the program – for example, in the way that I did with the Snowboard Addiction lessons and nose grabs… “oh, that’s how you do it.”

I’ve literally spent 20 minutes on a handful of nights over the last two weeks listening to some of the audios. I’m just starting out. At this point it’s not something that I’d recommend…

It’s kinda expensive at $97 and not particularly polished. In the back of my mind, I get the impression you might be able to get much of the benefit of this “approach”, if you even wanted to, by doing your own research. Then again, one of the plus points for the Jedi program is that it packages it all up for you, in a snowboard specific way. For a more comprehensive take on this, read the review.

Having said all of that, I’m going to give it a go, test it out. I remain interested.

What about you?

So what are you doing to push your own, personal envelope? Do you have a target or goal – and what about a plan to get there? If either or those things above seem interesting, go check them out. Why not drop a comment with your plans for this season…

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