I finally started going out and skating about three weeks ago. I’m glad, too, because I’m totally having the time of my life. I’d been putting off going out all spring / summer since I was feeling pretty indifferent about the whole thing, and thought for a while I was just gonna give it up. At the same time, though, the weather has been really cranky this year — it was pretty much raining for an entire month there and I couldn’t have gone out even if I wanted to. It just barely started getting hot around here. Weird.
Anyway, so I’ve been into it for a few weeks now, and I’m getting into it again. Lots of fun. The thing that always surprises me is how much even just a little bit of exercise will help you feel so much better. My body which is used to a sedentary lifestyle has not taken the sudden change in much stride. First I got some nasty stomach virus or something that knocked me out for a week — doctors didn’t even know what the heck it was. I’m pretty sure that’s gone though. Now, I’m dealing with sleep issues. I guess I’m not used to having so much energy. I can’t fall asleep at night and then I can’t get around to waking up either in the morning. Really strange stuff.
Skating is a lot of fun, even though I still consider myself a total noob. It can get really frustrating some times because it’s taking me so long to learn stuff. This ol body of mine is just not used to doing this stuff, so I’m fighting years of lack of exercise, among other things. I’ve never been much into sports, so things like balance just don’t come naturally.
One good thing that happened that indicates I’m on the right track, though, is I noticed that when I started up this year, my body dropped into the stances of stuff almost immediately. Mentally, I had forgotten the steps necessary, like where to focus my position and stuff, but just riding around and going on ramps and stuff was really simple. So that’s good.
Anyway, in no particular order, here’s some stuff I’ve learned about skating in general and practicing:
- The shotgun approach doesn’t work (randomly trying different things all at once). In order to learn something, you have to focus specifically on what (trick) you’re trying to do, make sure everything is right (posture, stance, balance, position, etc.) and then practice, practice, practice. Just going out there and screwing around doesn’t help. It’s fun, but it won’t get you to where you wanna be.
- My best sessions are always ones where I’ve been out there for a few hours. Every single time. It takes me a good hour or two to really get my body limbered up and feel like its flexible. I noticed this morning that I was just generally stiff when I first started out — I should probably look at finding some specific warmup exercises so it’s not such a hard transition.
- I’m extremely averse to risk. For me, this isn’t just physically related, but everything else. I’m an introvert by nature, and tend to not do anything unless I know what to expect and have a reasonable estimation of how things will turn out. Any kind of sport (especially one that involves risk) takes a completely opposite approach, so I’m extremely hesitant sometimes to do pretty much anything, which I think is the biggest drag on my progress. The thing I probably like the most about skating is that it teaches me to take acceptable risk. Besides, I haven’t broken any bones yet, though I have pulled muscles quite a few times. The lesson, though, is that you’ve gotta put yourself out there and try different stuff to learn. I have such a huge mental blocker that keeps me from doing that, it makes things much harder. No fear would be nice.
- So much of any trick is learning how to land it. It’s super easy to pop yourself into the air (ollie, shuvit, whatever) but actually getting your feet and legs and everything else in the right place to land is much harder. It’s like, “Oh, whee, I’m in the air! Now what?”
- It’s gotta be fun, or you won’t do it. Practice is important to develop skills and find what you’re looking for, but if you’re not having fun, you won’t *ever* want to go out, at all. So be sure to have sessions where you screw around and just do whatever.
- The more I want to go out skating (for that day), the worse my performance is gonna be. It happens every freaking time. Whenever I’m totally indifferent or don’t want to go (and force myself to), I do my best. Whenever I’m pumped up and stoked, I can’t figure out how to turn. What the crap.
All things considered, it’s a rough ride for me, but it’s sooooo much fun. I go out, on average, about 10 hours a week, which isn’t enough in my opinion. What happens though is I just run out of energy and have to stop. Those are the best sessions, though, when you physically just can’t do any more.
I’m still hoping I’ll be able to learn some more stuff, but right now I’m focusing on one thing at a time and trying to make sure I can get that down. It’s boring and methodical I know, but hey, I figure it’s better to be frustrated on one trick than five of em.
Good times all around.