The Skateboard Moms' Blog

A Blog by Women Skaters, for People Everywhere.

HOT TIP: Conquering fear. September 13, 2007

Filed under: moms,mothers,skateboarding,Uncategorized,women — skateboardmoms @ 4:07 pm

Skatemom Isabelle rippin’ a full pipe

Skatemom Isabelle rocks the full-pipe in California.

One of our Skatemoms was injured this weekend. She was dropping in for the first time on a 7-foot transition and fell, fracturing her tailbone. She told us later, as she iced her sore bottom, that she felt stupid because she had freaked out at the last minute and closed her eyes on the way down.

What happened to our friend is completely normal. Humans simply aren’t programmed to calmly throw themselves off a vertical wall with a rolling plank underfoot. Skating at the edge of your comfort zone triggers primal instincts for basic physical survival. We get scared. And this has profound effects on the body. Our heart rate increases, and our brain releases adrenaline. Our breathing becomes rapid and shallow, or we forget to breathe entirely. We tense up.

Our natural defense mechanisms have served us well for millions of years, but they can make it dangerous to ride a skateboard. To skate well, we need to stay relaxed. To stay relaxed, we need to override our most basic instincts for survival. Here are some things we do to conquer our fears:

Use fear to your advantage.

Let your fear prompt you into affirmative action. Be scared enough to inspect your board and the park for hazards before taking a run. Be scared enough to use your helmet and all of your pads.

Talk about it.

Talking about your fear reduces anxiety. Every skater knows what it’s like to be afraid. And, in general, skaters are good at talking about their fear. Even the teen-aged ripper at your local park will admit that he gets scared sometimes if you ask him. Open up to another skater; tell her your scared. Seek her support and encouragement, and you’ll probably get it.

Breathe.

The way you breathe is key. When you feel your breathing start to change because you’re scared, make a conscious effort to keep it smooth and regular. Practice yoga, meditation, or self-hypnosis to help you control your breathing when you need to.

Stay focused and positive.

The more we prepare ahead of time, the more we can relax and enjoy the ride. Wait until you’re healthy to try new stuff so you won’t feel like you need to protect injuries. Visualize your entire run before you take it, and imagine yourself completing it successfully. Repeat portions of the run you already know well to develop muscle memory and ease nerves. Practice bailing out of a trick before you try it, so you’ll have a safe exit plan when you need it. Concentrate on staying relaxed while you skate. One of our Skatemoms likes to focus on keeping her wrists relaxed and loose while she skates. It seems that if they are tense and rigid, everything else is too.

How do you conquer your fear?

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11 Responses to “HOT TIP: Conquering fear.”

  1. Barb Says:

    I find a couple hours of intense Zen meditation, with a chaser of Hershey syrup (straight up), works for me.

    Seriously, being relaxed and confident is hugely important. But a lot of beginners (and old timers, for that matter) wonder how the heck can anyone “relax” when facing scary stuff like dropping in for the first time?

    I think it’s helpful to build your own tiny drop in ramp to get started (that is, if dropping in is a goal). Start with a drop of 1.5 to 2 feet high. It might seem silly, but it’s one that you can do over and over without too much pain if/when you fall.

    Progress in increments—until you’re ready (mentally and physically) for that big drop at the local skatepark in front of all those wide-eyed groms.

    Like

  2. Smoooochie Says:

    When I am trying something new and scary I take time to back away, do something I am good and then go back to the scary thing. That little bit of doing something I’m accomplished at gives me just enough confidence to try the new thing again. If that doesn’t help I just quietly curse and walk away. haha!

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  3. Jill Says:

    I have found that listening to music on my Ipod takes the edge off of fear for me. I only do this in uncrowded parks or when skating alone. I don’t want to have music drown out the sound of an approaching skater for obvious safety reasons.

    Like

  4. Melissa Says:

    When I first learned to drop in I was really scared. I was learning on a 4 foot mini ramp. I always asked the other skaters there for their adivice. The best advice I got was to imagine thet my front wheels needed to squash a bug on the ramp. If I did that they said my body would automatically go forward enough to not slip out backwards. I was still freaked out though. They said it was mainly about commitment. They said if I didnt commit I could get hurt. Well it took two weeks of going every single day and practicing the drop in before I finally got it. I fell forward, backward and my hip hurt soo badly and my wrists too. I cried alot and got really mad sometimes and even would throw my board. But the biggest thing that helped me to acheive my goal of dropping in was refusing to give up, no matter howe much it hurt or how long it took. As soon as I fell and I would right back up to the top of the ramp and try it again. I was dtermmined and thats what skating is all about…getting right back up and trying it again after you fall and never giving up.

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  5. Dan Hughes Says:

    Dealing with Fear and dropping in are two different but sometimes related topics.

    Fear is an emotion that is necessary for our survival. Without it, we’d probably not last very long. So, healthy fear or respect for what we do is important. What is needed is how to overcome irrational fear, or that fear or paranoia that prevents us from progressing on things that we want to learn. In this case dropping in.

    I find that, like Barb said, the best way to do that is to do it in small steps. And using the right principles in the process, each step shouldn’t be too painful. Because if we learn bad habits, then those problems will surface later making it more difficult to progress.

    In this situation, one thing I’ve observed is that beginners will tend to simply “lean forward” to drop in at the 2 to 4 foot level. And while this works for lower levels, it doesn’t work on higher levels, and it most certainly doesn’t work when dropping in vert. Because you’ll simply free fall until your wheels hit the transition (I’ve done that, and let me assure you, that’s scary!).

    What is important is to learn the principle to “Drop down not out” and in reality it’s better described as a “Pump-in” than a Drop in. This point can’t be over emphasized. The action of pumping-in sets up your whole body with balance and power as it prepares it for the speed and G-forces of riding down the transition.

    Also important, with most any skateboarding (and other sports), keeping low with your knees bent will lessen the impacts and make balancing easier. Holding the nose of the board can help as well.

    Now, in this situation it sounds like she fell backwards, and the the leading cause of falling backwards is attempting to hold back. Fear does cause this. And as with everything in skateboarding, if you don’t aggressively attack a trick, it will attack you. Meaning at the point of no return, it’s either commit to landing it and fully balanced on your board, or bail and try again. There is no happy middle ground. Holding back will not help. Either go fully, or not at all. Hence learning on lower levels and working your way up and learning the motion and feel of the trick and moving up incrementally is advised.

    One final thing that can help one overcoming the fear of dropping in is a spotter (or two). Now a spotter that also has some spare chocolate to share, that would be a real treat!

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  6. aj Says:

    i’ve been sk8’n bout a year now but i’ve never had the fear issue i just see something and do it yer half the time i nail myself but bails become natural after a while. the easy way to get round fear is just to try and fun and think what it would feel like to land that trick you have always been scared to do, and the fact that once you have pulled it off you will be able to do it again.

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  7. Todd Says:

    Hi all,
    Cool site and skating moms rule!
    I am a long time skater and just came back at 39 and things look a lot scarier than 20 years ago., I am posting a reply cause I think the more people that tell how scared they were dropping and and then posting a success helps people.. All these types of blogs helped me.

    I went to a 2.5 foot ramp and crashed and burned a couple of times then pulled it off and then did it like 20 times right on a row and then rushed as fast as I could to the bigger skate park to drop a 4 footer before I lost my courage. I just walked right on and did the 4 footer. little squirley but did it and then i did it 20 times there and now it is no problem….

    BIGGEST HINT OR TIP I CAN GIVE IS TO GO GET A BOARD THAT IS 10 Inches wiDE. INDY 215’S TRUCKS. sET THE TRUCKS SUPER TIGHT. YOU WILL FEEL SO COMFORATABLE YOU WILL DO IT AND YOU WILL SUCEED…..RIDE WIDE!!!!! AFTER YOU CAN DROP IN LOOSEN YOUR TRUCKS AND START AGAIN!

    tODD AKA T-SK8

    Like

  8. tuttronry Says:

    I’m the only one in this world. Can please someone join me in this life? Or maybe death…

    Like

  9. dombi Says:

    Elements of Garden Devise It is unquestionably correct to say that many moneymaking garden lay-outs started to take form on a representation board. At the beginning-although it require be known what stripe of garden is envisaged and some of the features to be included-it is not necessary to specify any definite ideas on organize but larger to crowd to begin on measuring and recording all the existing features so that an accurate bird’s-eye view of the garden can be strained to scale. There is no other advancing of seeing the field as a caboodle largely and the principle of the ancestry satisfactorily. It is from this platform that ideas for the plan of the garden and planting plans can be formulated. THE AT COCK CROW PLANNING PODIUM It is peculiar into a patch of acreage to be to the letter rectangular and the sides are usually unequal in length. The intrinsic aids at this early tier are a measuring band, at least 6oft(i8m) in period; a metal spike to shut the ambivalent, and a beamy writing pad. Gloaming without the aid of a surveyor’s more byzantine apparatus, a pretty accurate investigate can be made to clinch the direction of the boundaries and the position of the ancestry germane to these, via winsome the metage from a corner of the parliament or erection in line with the wall to the frontiers (Fig.i). If the but process is repeated on the verbatim at the same time side from another corner it transfer inform if the boundary is at an angle or parallel to the building.A fresh restrict can be made nearby fixing the tape in one of the far corners of the install and dealings along the footing boundary until the rampart of the building-which would be seen al right angles-disappears from view. If this measurement is compared with the others made earlier the points on the confines should use at the three places. If it is inescapable to sign a sight area across a be disturbed of catch from only poin to another, it is of use to accept on tap 10 or more 6ft(2m) bamboo canes (organize Fig.2). The canes are then spaced, perhaps 8 or ioft(2.5 or 3m) or more apart, for a given distance, and when five or six canes are in position the word is made exactly right by adjusting the intermediary canes between the two finale ones. When a sighting is made from the furthest motivation, only the nearest cane choose then be visible. The status of a tree or other permanen features can be recorded by measuring from the aim in cast doubt to two points which are separated past a known mileage; this could be two corners of the house. The measurements are then transcribed to credentials with the say of a compass and the neighbourhood apparent where the arcs cross. Having distinguished as various details as admissible that are able to be of use, a plan of the area can be pinched to scale. It can large be usurped that if the sketch out appears to be avenge on instrument it resolve probably be right on the site. The demand to enquire the garden commencement in design form applies particularly if the beds an< contours tail a curved outline.

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  10. Teresa Says:

    not sure what the garden comment above me is about, anyway;

    dropping in. I wanted so bad to drop in, but the first time I tried was w/o advice on a 5ft vert. not fun. Spectacular sideways fall, just like out of a kung fu movie.

    It took a really cool dude seeing me practice dropping in on a 3ft. wall at a skate park to get any help. He was so awesome, telling me it’s all about bending forward AND slamming the front trucks down, yet remain leaning forward. He actually slo moed it for me by standing below me in the bowl, placing my front board trucks on his thigh, “lean forward”. When I leaned so far forward that I actually had to keep myself from falling ontop of him by putting my hand on his head, he said “great”, and proceeded to gently and slowly lower the board to the transition and I rolled out. That was all it took! I understood how far I had to bend and lean, and did it.

    4ft. and 5 ft. drop ins are easier on the knees than a 3 ft. and 2 is next to impossible because it is so quick!

    Just bend forward, lean, stomp. You will get it!

    Like


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