For intermediate freestyle snowboarders, an even bigger hurdle is going from a 180 spin to a 360 spin, then from a 360 spin to a 540 spin, and so on.
Nowadays, it's not uncommon in slope style competitions to go into the 1620 and Triple Cork territory.
With all this happening right before your eyes, you probably get an even stronger desire to want to spin.
So, how can you spin an extra 180 degrees? I'll tell you the first secret right now.
“SPIN YOUR ARMS”
I can hear the voices of a lot of people saying, “Ok, I got that much!” However, it's not just about putting force into your arms. When you have a solid understanding of that, you'll be able to spin more effectively.
This method of spinning your arms is a natural movement for human beings. Just by seeing it visually with your own eyes, you can understand it. So, let me introduce this rotating movement from a more formal, physical stand point.
L = Angular momentum (strength of the rotation)
m = Mass (weight)
r = Radius (distance from the center of the rotation)
ω(Omega) = Shows the amount of physical acceleration, object, material point's rotation speed (angular velocity)
It's an extremely difficult formula, but basically...
You could say that the “difficulty in stopping the rotation” shows the force of the rotation in that object or matter. This time, we'll just leave it as “speed.”
When you write it even simpler, it looks like this!
Let's summarize it.
You understand that beginning to rotate with your arms open, is more difficult (heavier) than beginning to spin with your arms contracted.
It's easier to begin to rotate your arms when they are closer to your body and you can also understand why they feel lighter as well.
So, why do we spread our arms out?
The reason for that is the rotating movement that you gain from your arms being spread out also has the disposition to make it more difficult to stop.
What I mean by “difficult to stop” is that since you need a lot of power in order to stop, it means that there is strong rotational force.
This is due to “the size of the radius in which the hands spin.”
It is 2 fold when calculated in terms of the formula.
The fact that this part plays such a big role, simply means that it is a way in which you can gain a more effective ability to rotate (angular momentum).
Even if your body is light, if your arms are long, it's advantageous.
When calculating it formally,
It shows that the bigger these are, the bigger the force of the spin. So, when you do something like hold a heavy object in your hands, it explains why it’s more difficult to stop the rotation.
For example, even if you spin your arms at the same acceleration with nothing in one hand a heavy rock in the other, the hand that is holding the rock is harder to stop.
Furthermore, no matter whether it's from the outside to the inside of the circle of the rotating object, or from the inside to the outside, the amount of movement (rotating force) is said to be maintained. For example, for ice skaters, by pulling their open hands toward themselves, it appears that they are suddenly accelerating their rotation speed.
Conversely, try to extend your arms and legs in this spinning state.
When you do this, your rotation speed will slow down. In ice skating, even if this is repeated, the force of the rotation does not change.
Now, let's try to check this with the formula we saw just a little bit ago...
On left side of the formula, given that you do not change the “power of rotation,” the numbers in the right side of the formula, in response, will have to change.
In the event that “the weight of the arms” do not change, as the “rotation radius” gets smaller, the “arms' rotation speed” will increase.
Thinking about it simply, when you begin to spin, expand toward the outside and spin as quickly as possible.
Next, fold your arms inward. When you do this, the “upper body” gains the power of rotation.
But!!! If you do not follow through with the power of the spin in the lower body, eventually, the upper body's ability to spin will also die out. Do you remember?
Creating spin force in the lower body creates a lot of weight.
With your arms folded, you will gain more speed, but in place of that, you will lose the weight that was created.
On the contrary, due to this “heaviness” in the lower body, there is also the possibility of going back in the opposite direction.
However, if you open your arms in advance, the upper body will not go back, and you will be able follow through with the power of rotation in the lower body.
On that same note, with your arms spread out, rotation speed will not increase.
This is why in the end, you'll want to fold your arms inward.
That timing, when the lower body has followed through with the upper body, is basically when the power of rotation has been sufficiently conveyed to the lower body.
Since it's only natural that you can't do something like this while thinking about it, first, try it and then analyze how you are using your arms.
Actually, just doing this is not enough.
There are still other secrets to gaining a greater ability to spin.
That will be for next time!
Snowboarding is a sport, so naturally you use muscles when riding.
And it’s clear that muscle characteristics affect your performance.
Human muscles are actually divided into 2 types.
Here, I’ll simply explain the difference between the two types.
These kinds of muscles are used in powerful bursts of strength.
However, because they use so much energy they can’t be used for extended periods of time.
They’re powerful, but they won’t last long.
And that is why during your normal daily life these aren’t used too much.
The muscles that you grow through training are these “Fast Muscles.”
These are the opposite, they can last a long time but can’t give large bursts of strength.
These “slow muscles” are used primarily in cardio, but they don’t actually grow any bigger when you work them out.
The number one example that comes to mind when thinking of a sport that requires these muscles is a marathon.
Surprisingly, not many people know about these.
On top of that, the ratio of how much you have of each varies from person to person.
You can probably tell by observing different kinds of sports.
For example, participants in marathons and sprints may both “run”, but their bodies are completely different.
In boxing there’s more variation than just lightweight and heavyweight classes, competitor’s performance styles are also completely different.
I had a time back when I was teaching students and measuring the differences in their performance, where I asked myself why some of them can and can’t do certain things.
I remember how hard it was being able to see why “This student can’t copy and do what that student is doing”, but not being able to logically explain it to them with words.
Of course there were some mental reasons preventing me, but there were other reasons why I couldn’t form a coherent explanation.
And while I continued to study them, I learned about the existence of “Fast and Slow Muscles.”
Just like the runners or the boxers I wrote about earlier, I noticed that what if I chose the best ways to bring out my students best performance?
For example, a lot of my students wanted to compete and many of them were the very image of a top athlete.
It was obvious that a triple cork 1620 would use fast muscles.
It would be very difficult for people with slow muscles to Takeoff and spin the board so fiercely while keeping and fine tuning their balance mid air.
Fast muscles work well with exercise that’s strong and fast.
People that have a lot of these could get close to top snowboarding athlete performance.
On the other hand, if you don’t have many of these muscles that means your road to having top athlete performance will be a long one.
Still, even if you don’t have many fast muscles you can do some cool snowboarding.
Snowboarding, unlike gymnastics, is a sport where you’re also evaluated by how cool and artistic your performance is.
For example, pro riders show videos of themselves doing 180 and 360 spins.
It’s because this trick is so simple that you have more time to show how cool it is.
But with the 1620 they’re spinning so fast that you don’t have the time to see how cool it is.
That’s why nowadays there’s a lot of doubt surrounding those tricks.
I’m sure you’ve already noticed but, this is a hint that performances that are not only effected by the difference of “Fast and Slow Muscles” that you have.
In other words, even if you have a low amount of fast muscles you, it’s a good idea to aim for taking things slowly and making your performance as artistic and cool as possible.
A lot of my students didn’t have very many fast muscles, but they still aimed at being top athletes.
But I couldn’t just tell them “You need to change your performance style because you don’t have enough fast muscles.”
I couldn’t say it because the process for aiming to be a top athlete is something where you need to exceed your own limits.
However when they started to learn what they’re really good at, that’s when I was able to tell them this.
I think that many of you are in the same situation as a lot of my students were, you feel like you’re making slow progress once you’ve hit the intermediate level.
To continue having fun with snowboarding it’s really important to continue to challenge yourself.
Because that feeling you get when you overcome something difficult is very important.
At the same time, try to start injecting a little “cool” factor into what you’re doing.
Even if you don’t have a lot of fast muscles you can still do high level snowboarding.
The respect you earn from being cool hasn’t changed in the snowboarding world.
The style of what’s cool may change every now and then, but something that stays constantly cool is how well your balance is and how well your movements flow during your performance.
Even if you do simple tricks, if you do them relaxed and cleanly then they’ll surely become “cool” tricks.
Even if you can’t do high spins or difficult butter tricks, there’s a lot of fun to be had in simple and slow snowboarding!
Spin Trick Takeoff’s require a big movements all at once. Whether you’re going to be able to pull it off or not depends on your balance, which is easy to lose in this situation.
The speed at which you need to take off gets faster and the timing and balance get harder as you grow from beginner to advance.
Below we’ll talk about some failed examples at the intermediate level
A lot of misses come primarily from the bottom 2 reasons.
• You lean too much weight on the edge
• You take off with your weight on the nose of the board
There are some rare cases of people leaning back too much towards the tail of the board, but the above 2 reasons are more often than not the cause.
These two happen for a reason.
• You lean too much weight on the edge
This one happens when you think to yourself, “I want strong footing!”
On top of that, the more your body leans inside the turn arc the more centrifugal force will be created, making you want to have even stronger footing.
• You take off with your weight on the nose of the board
The jump is made just as uphill ones are but, if you stand up parallel to the gravity on this angle you naturally put your weight on your front foot and then you take off from it.
Also when you take off and your shoulders start to rotate, some people naturally rotate their front shoulder downwards and put their weight on their front foot.
Even advanced riders sometimes do these 2 things and end up failing.
In other words, this happens all the time for intermediate riders.
So, how should you deal with this?
-2 keys to raise your Spin Trick take off to advanced levels-
Here are 2 answers!
• Put your center of gravity on your back foot and take off
• Position your lower body 90 degrees in regards to the jump angle
Why do these 2 points solve these problems?
Let’s think about it.
First off I’ll explain, “Why should I put my center of gravity in the back?”
When you’re riding, everything is coming at you from the front.
For example, bumps, jumps and powder snow to name a few.
Everything hits the nose first, and then hits the bottom of your front foot.
For example let’s take bumps.
What if you’re putting 30% of your weight on your back foot and 70% on your front foot?
You’re going to wipe out and go flying forward.
But if you reverse the weight, 30% in the front and 70% in the back, you’ll be able to absorb the impact and maintain your balance.
This logic applies to when you’re jumping as well.
You’re approaching downhill, but the jump is uphill.
In other words, it’s the same obstacle as a bump in the snow.
If you keep your front foot light and jump, you can absorb any force coming from below you and keep your riding smooth.
However if you have your weight on your front leg, then the forces hitting you from below plus your forward momentum will not only cause you to slow down but also will send you flying forward to wipe out.
In short, putting you weight towards the back in any situation is going to make everything, including your performance, much more stable.
If you start moving too early when you do a spin take off which we don't want.
You’re already rotating your body before you jump off the lip, so you’re already rotating your board 45 degrees on the lip.
At this point the board is horizontal to the way you’re going, but your body is facing forward, so it’s the same idea with what we are talking.
Yes, you should lean your center of gravity toward the opposite direction of the way you’re moving (or jumping).
In this situation your body should slightly lean towards the mountain (uphill).
By always putting your weight towards uphill and then jumping has the same effect as a straight jump, where you put your weight on the back leg.
On top of that since your center of gravity is opposite of the way you’re moving, any “rising force from the jump” and “forward momentum” won’t conflict and won’t result in you losing your balance, and will reduce the chance of losing speed.
You will lean backwards, but you won't lean on your left or right.
Therefore your spin axis will be above the board, and it’ll make controlling spin that much easier.
You could put your center of gravity elsewhere, like right in between your feet, but then you might lean your body too much over the edge when you do a spin take off.
When you do this, your spin axis will also lean and make the spin difficult.
Your body will be leaning over the edge for approaching because of the set up for the turn, but at the final moment of takeoff you can switch your weight to your back leg.
However it is extremely difficult to shift all of your weight from the edge to your back leg in an instant, so try practicing it a lot.
Next let’s think about “Kicking off at a 90 degree angle from the jump angle”
When you look at a jump from the side, you see an upward curve.
You kick off at a 90 degrees angle from this upward curve.
In other words, it’s like your kicking from opposite the way you’re going, and kicking back towards the mountain.
You don’t lean your center of gravity on your back leg, but this will make the friction between the board and the snow even weaker giving even more reason for not being able to put weight on your front leg.
It’s a great angle for the raising force and the forward momentum to not conflict with each other, meaning you can reduce the chance to lose speed.
The relationship between the jump angle and center of gravity is similar to having your weight on your back leg, and you can take off with both legs, making it a pretty good for intermediate riders.
However unlike putting your weight on your back leg, putting it on both legs makes it easier to lean your body over the edge.
Being unstable like this will increase the resistance between the snow and the board, messing up the spin angle and making a spin much harder to accomplish.
So take a good look at the jump angle, and kick off at a 90 degree angle from it.
For the last 3 meters of your jump, imagine a small inclined trampoline.
If you jump off this trampoline from the left or right, it’s obvious you’ll lose your balance mid air.
However, if you jump off at a right angel you’ll be able to keep your balance in the air.
You can jump off at a right angle with your whole body when doing a back side spin, but doing a front side spin only make your lower body have the right angle and keep your upper body straight in correlation with your gravity.
I know this sounds hard and it will take a long time for you to get this down to go from intermediate to advanced, but this is an incredibly important skill to have. Don’t give up!
If you’d like more ways to practice, I’ve introduce them in my Snowboard Dojo Wiz Video Tutorials.
Please check those videos out!