One of the first tricks a skateboarding beginner wants to learn is the ollie. But this simple-looking trick is pretty deceptive. You have to have several skills mastered to pull it off correctly, and getting beyond the low ollie is even tougher. If you already know how to ollie, but have been struggling to get your board off the ground for a more impressive trick, here are some tips:
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Move Your Front Foot
Think of performing the ollie almost like making a wave motion with the board. You need the front of the board to rise up but also to move forward a bit. You do this by applying pressure with the front foot down, sliding the board forward, and then releasing the pressure for a spring-like action. To get your spring loaded for a higher ollie, start with your front foot further back, closer to the tail. This lets you get the front of the board off the ground higher before that final tail pop happens.
Get Your Feet Higher
One of the biggest problems with low ollies is that you aren’t picking your feet up when you snap the back foot up. Your knees should come all the way up to your chest when you do this trick. If you want to change just one thing to make your ollies higher, focus on this above all else. Forget what your front foot is doing or not doing – just get your own feet higher. This ensures that you are giving the board enough room and time to really lift up.
Try Rolling Into It
If you aren’t having much luck getting your ollies higher, try a rolling ollie. Instead of performing this trick standing still, get a bit of momentum going, and then perform the trick. This may help you to do the “wave” motion. It also helps you avoid a common mistake of trying to hop straight up like a bunny, instead of rolling the board forward a bit before the springing motion happens. If you are attempting this method, keep your front foot a little closer to the nose to get better control.
Get Some Help
A good way to get your ollies higher is to get a more experienced skater to help. You can either have someone watch you in real-time and point out the tweaks you need to make; or you can video tape yourself and watch carefully at what you are doing. Pay attention to where your feet are, and what motion you are doing as you jump into the trick. Watch for how high your feet go, and what you do in the air once you are there.
Once you are in the air, you should re-center yourself over the board, but don’t just straighten out your legs and slam it back to the ground. Let gravity pull you and the board back down together. Keep your attention on where you want to land, not on the board itself. If you are watching yourself practice and notice any of the bad habits listed here, just spend some time perfecting that one habit before moving on to the next issue.
Finally, getting higher ollies just takes more practice. Spend some time working on these techniques and your ollies will get higher over time.