How To Turn On a Skateboard (Beginners Guide)

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Looking to learn how to turn on a skateboard? Before you start trying to pull tricks like ollies, you need to know the fundamentals. Being able to balance while you avoid falling backward is part of that. So is turning in the desired direction while you’re on your skateboard.

If you start practicing now, it won’t be long before you’re ready for flip tricks and all sorts of other new skills. The process involves either doing a kick turn or leaning with your body to change direction.

Table of Contents

Turning By Leaning

Before you try turning, stand on the skateboard deck and lean both left and right. If tilting is challenging, you have tighter trucks than you should. Tight trucks make it hard to turn. You can adjust your trucks by loosening or tightening the kingpin nut.

Even after you start learning, you can make adjustments to a truck or set of trucks to get the right feel. If you’re a beginner, a tight truck is better than loose trucks.

First Steps

Find a spot where the ground is flat and smooth. For example, a parking garage or parking lot is a good option when you are learning how to turn on a skateboard.

Start riding while in a normal stance. Then, push on the ground to move the skateboard until you’re going at a decent speed.

Start Leaning

If you ride in a regular stance with the left foot at the front of the board, try to do a frontside right turn by putting all the pressure onto your toes. A backside left turn can be done by placing more pressure on the heels.

As you lean more, the turn will become sharper. If you ride in a goofy stance with the right foot as the front foot, just switch up the directions while on your board.

Keep Balance

Keep your body in the center of the board to retain control while you steer. Avoid a fall by slightly bending the knees to position yourself on the board. Consider wearing knee pads while you learn.

Move Back Into Your Stance

When you’re done with turning, place your center back to the middle of your feet in a proper stance.

Practice a Skateboard Kick Turn

So wondering what this turn is all about? You quickly lift the nose of the board while you balance on the back wheels as you swing the board in a different direction.

This is an advanced skateboard turn. It lets you switch directions at any speed while the back wheels stay on the ground.

First Steps

Again, look for a flat and smooth location near a soft surface in case you fall. Stand on your board in your most comfortable stance. Push and keep pushing until you have a bit of speed.

Start Moving Your Feet

Take your back foot and place it on the tail of the board. The front foot goes right over the front wheels of the skateboard. While you’re waiting to start turning, keep yourself going in a straight line with your body centered over the board.

Start Shifting Your Weight

Begin to move your center toward your back foot and away from the front wheels. This will make the skateboard nose move into the air so you balance on the back wheels.

Prevent falling by leaning forward slightly to keep your center of gravity in the middle of the skateboard.

Learn to Turn Left or Right

Use more weight to swing the board toward the direction you want to go. The front foot should steer you while you twist your shoulders and hips in the appropriate direction.

Move Back Into Position

The next step is to move yourself back to the front foot. This gives you more control and lets your skateboard land to complete turning.

Practice Through Tic-Tacs

If you have the ability to turn frontside, make kick turns, and otherwise stay on top of your skateboard, most skaters learn how to do a tic-tac to practice.

These are consistent heel-to-toe kick turns that help you gain speed. Instead of pushing off on a skateboard, you keep yourself planted. A tic-tac can also be used to change direction while gaining speed.

The basic idea is to make a backside kick turn into a frontside kick turn with a sudden change. It can help you create tight skills and have a lot of fun while skating.

Take your skateboard and place it somewhere soft. Do some turning and try out your kick turns. Once you’ve comfortable, head to the nose of the board and start.

  1. Place the back foot on the edge of the deck tail and the front in the middle.
  1. Gently lean into the back of your deck to raise the nose.
  1. Twist your midsection to start turning the nose.
  1. Press your heels in over the nose so the board comes down.
  1. Start doing the hip movement in the other direction.

Tic-tacs can be used to keep moving forward, but the nose needs to be near the ground. So don’t lean back too far and always look ahead to where you are headed.

Don’t lean too far to either side or you won’t pick up speed while you’re learning. Always twist to the direction the nose is pointing and when the wheels in front touch down, twist the other way.

If you want a challenge, keep practicing the movement while you go around a city block. Once you get the process down, this may be your favorite way to move, turn, and commute.

Wrapping Up

In order to start learning tricks and taking on the neighborhood, you need to have complete mastery of turning. Not only will it ensure you can quickly move from one place to another, but it can also prevent accidents and keep you from being injured.

Try the steps above to learn how to turn like a pro. Keep up with practice and soon it will be something you can do without even thinking!