Let’s talk HAND HOLDING 🤝
Sometimes much needed support, and sometimes (probably more often) totally psychological.
Whether it’s a slight nudge of body position, a bit of extra speed up a ramp, a steadying lift or an ET finger touch to trick the mind, there’s no doubt that the gentle feel (sometimes solid grip!) of a supporting hand can make the world of difference to someone’s learning.
But, did you know that hand holding, whilst comforting, can sometimes make it harder to land the trick in question? And in some cases, it can actually make you more likely to fall – this can be especially true if you or your hand holder do not properly understand what is involved in the trick itself.
Hand holding can be a big responsibility 🖐 but we have rounded up some of our top tips so that you can help your friend land their trick safely, and much faster! 🙌
Be sure to give enough space between you both, this will allowed the hand holder to have a good footing on the ramp and mean they are more likely to be able to shift their weight and catch you if you start to fall.
Not leaving enough space for the skater to be able to ride back down the ramp can cause a number of problems; not only does it make the skater more likely to jump off from fear of crashing, but it can also cause the hand holder to loose footing and become unbalanced, meaning your both more likely to fall.
LEARN THE WEIGHT SHIFT INVOLVED
It’s important that you both know the ‘mechanics’ involved in the trick you’re wanting to learn, different tricks have different weight distribution, so what might work for dropping in won’t necessarily work for a rock to fakie.
For example; with a drop in, it helps if the skaters ‘front’ arm (the leading arm) is guided downwards slightly when dropping – this helps the skater to lean their weight forward and down into the transition of the ramp, rather than leaning backwards. With the rock to fakie however, it helps if the leading arm is guided upwards on the way back into the ramp, this helps to level out the shoulders and avoids face planting the coping!
If you’re both new to the game, don’t worry – you can search for tutorials on YouTube and watch some videos that will help to explain the weight shifts involved!
BREAK IT DOWN
If it all seems a little overwhelming, just start slowly and break each step down. If you’re learning to drop in to a mini ramp or quarter pipe, we would suggest first starting out with two arms. You can use either forearms or hands, but be sure that the skaters arms are over the top, this will mean the hand holder can lift the skater up if they start to fall. Once you both feel comfortable with this, move away to one hand, but hover the second hand the first few times so that the skater can reach out if they feel unbalanced. You can keep moving further away, dropping down to index finger linking if everything feels good and stable.
Don’t worry if you need to take it back a level – the main thing is keeping that focused mindset and not letting your confidence dip – it will come!
LET IT GO
One of the most common problems with hand holding, is when you’ve actually mastered the trick, but don’t let go on the ride out – this can cause your body to twist, and mean you and your hand holder can become entangled in a kind of celebratory (but painful) skateboard embrace. A good idea would be to agree a point together where you both let go, allowing you to straighten up and keep your balance to ride away.
Share this with a friend who’s learning to skate, or to your own hand helper if you have one! And, don’t forget that bookings are LIVE for our summer lessons, workshops and residential retreats – Take a look to see what’s going on this year!