To get good at anything, you have to make some mistakes.
However, there are some beginner mistakes that can and should be avoided altogether. There’s a difference between trying and failing a few times while learning a trick compared to skate tattoo 3 weeks into learning to skateboard.
So let’s go over some mistakes that some people, myself included, made when they were beginners.
Read and learn.
Common Beginner Skateboarding Mistakes
Pushing Themselves Too Hard Too Early
This is something that I hate to see and is something that I also did.
New skaters very often want to “prove” themselves that they belong and can be considered skaters so they push themselves too far. This leads them to fall hard and hurt themselves which makes them take a break from skating. They often never come back to it.
Personally, I pushed myself too much by trying to Ollie a simple 2-stair when I couldn’t really Ollie to begin with. I tried to step off of my board at the last minute and sprained my ankle the worst that it’s ever been sprained. It sucked and took me out for months as I kept re-spraining it.
Being Shy About Going to the Skatepark
This mistake is also something I’ve been very guilty of.
Yes, there is some amount of ability you should have before you head to the skatepark for the first time. It would help you with your confidence if you at least learn how to push, turn, and stop on your skateboard first.
Yet, so many beginner skaters avoid the skatepark like the plague. They are simply too self-conscious about their skating and being judged that it overcomes their desire to, you know, go to the place designed to be skated.
I totally get this though.
It took me a while to get comfortable enough to go to the skatepark because I was an adult who sucked. And I was self-conscious about that.
But you need to go to the skatepark to improve and you need to meet other skaters because other skaters will help you get better.
Everyone was once a beginner and you can’t hide the fact that you’re new forever. Just go and get it over with. Chances are there are some other beginners at the park as well.
If you’re still putting in work to Ollie, but are struggling check out my complete visual guide from a beginner’s perspective on how I learned good Ollies.
Making Skateboarding Their Personality
This usually happens with very young people like teenagers or possibly insecure adults.
You don’t want to be the person who has been skating for 3 weeks but has all skate clothes, only talks about skating, and follows every skateboarding stereotype to a T.
Skateboarding is a hobby with very cool culture, but just be yourself. You don’t need to fit in. Skateboarding is really about being your authentic self and not conforming so how ironic would it be if you tried too hard to conform to skating culture?
Be your authentic self. Everyone else is taken.
Practicing Tricks Stationary
I am going to tell you this now.
You will never be doing a trick you learned while not moving (stationary). The wheels on your board are meant to move and anything you do learn will be thrown into or incorporated into a line. So why even learn something stationary in the first place?
I made this mistake by first learning a stationary Ollie and then literally having to relearn the same trick while moving. Sure, relearning the Ollie while moving might have been easier because I knew it stationary, but why not cut out the middle man and just learn the trick in the way that you’ll use it?
So stop practicing in your garage and start rolling kids.
Not Videoing Themselves
Another cardinal sin that I wish I could undo.
Well, actually, it’s not the end of the world, but I wish I had more videos of myself starting out so I could appreciate how far I’ve come.
I’m still not great at skating, but I’ve improved by leaps and bounds since first stepping foot on a skateboard again. I have some tricks I have down, look much smoother on a board, and learn new tricks faster. But I can’t compare that to anything but my memory because I have no video.
The video above is from a Snapchat I made the first time I went to a skatepark. I wish I had more videos from around that time.
Everyone loves progression videos. So take some clips while you fall on your butt and laugh the first time you try riding a skateboard. Those will be precious memories you wish you recorded.
Buying the Cheapest Possible Board
I too fell victim to buying about a $35 dollar skateboard from an online company because I figured it would last a couple of months. No big deal right?
Well, it was a big deal and made a massive difference in my skating. It actually impeded my progression for the approximately 6 weeks I had it before it broke. Also, the board didn’t only break, but a truck snapped!
How does that even happen?
Check out my detailed guide on why cheap skateboards will hurt your progress and my experience if you want to read more about it.
Not Wearing Pads and a Helmet
Another easy mistake to make.
As a beginner you will fall hard. It is basically inevitable.
So do you want it to take you out for a few months with an injury or do you want to get back up and keep skating?
Not wearing a pad or helmet happens more often than it should because almost every single pro-skater that we see doesn’t wear a helmet and most skaters themselves don’t wear pads and helmets. We want to be like the more veteran skaters but they are setting a bad example.
To be fair, once you are experienced enough, you will have learned how to fall. So the nessicity of a helmet for flat ground or small street obstacles kind of goes out the window. But as a beginner, you have no board control and you don’t know how to fall. You are much more likely to need protection.
So yeah. Don’t worry about looking cool and just wear the dang helmet. Look at Andy Anderson. He’s one of my favorite skaters and might actually be my favorite skater. He makes a point of wearing a helmet always even on flat ground. The chance of him hitting his head is almost 0%.
Yet, he still chooses to be a good example. Be like Andy Anderson.
Not Buying the Right Type of Shoes
This is an embarrasing one and is kind of like being one of those guys who shows up to the gym in jeans and a fitted shirt.
You not only sort of look ridiculous but it actually hurts your ability to skate.
In fact, without proper skate shoes, you will not be doing Ollies or any pop or flip tricks. You will also likely end up tearing your non-skating shoes up to the point that you can’t wear them in public.
Remember skate shoes have the following features:
|Skate Shoe Feature||Normal Shoe|
|Minimal or no tread||Tread on bottom of shoe to enhance grip|
|Flat sole||Arched or flat sole|
|Extra padding on shoe’s upper (~.25 inch)||No extra padding on shoe’s upper|
|Lace loops to “hide” the laces||Normal laces|
|Suede or leather upper to increase durability||Various materials for durability or stylistic reasons|
|Vulcanized or cupped soles||Cupped soles|
Also, be careful because some skate brands like Vans sell casual shoes that aren’t meant for skating but look similar to skate shoes. Avoid Vans Classics.
Focusing Exclusively on Tricks
Another funny thing to see is a skater who can land kickflips, tre flips, varials flips, and whatever but looks awkward and stiff as he or she does them.
If you watch the skater cruise around or put together a line, you’d think they were a beginner, but they’re somehow putting down some complicated flip tricks.
These are the skaters whose idea of going to skate is to practice a tre flip and nothing else for 2 hours straight. They don’t cruise around, they don’t carve, and they don’t do anything creative with their board at all.
Don’t be this type of skater. Cruise around and get comfortable pushing and turning with your skateboard. Get some real board feel and board control before you move onto those advanced tricks or they just won’t look good and you’ll struggle with making lines anyway.
These skaters always make me think of those guys in the gym who have huge arms and tiny legs.
Not Being Patient Enough
Learning to skate takes a lot of time and dedication. Actually an insane amount.
I often say that skateboarding is the hardest sport because I truly think it is. I have played many other sports and skateboarding is by far the gnarliest to me.
Often beginners start skating and get frustrated that they can’t Ollie after a couple hours of skating. They get frustrated that skateboarding is harder than it looks. They haven’t realized that for most people, learning an Ollie literally takes months. So they get frustrated and quit.
Skateboarding is seriously a marathon and the people who get good fast are talented and somehow can skate everyday. I can’t do that and most adults can’t either.
Give yourself some time.
Being Afraid to Skate
One thing that some beginner actually struggle with is getting out there and just skating.
They get a bit worried about being judged for being beginners, they worry about not looking like skaters, and they are self-consious about making some social faux pau. They might genuinely want to go skate but maybe general anxiety is holding them back.
There’s nothing that will give you confidence like experience. Just go and skate. The more you skate, the better you will become at skating.
You will also likely make some skater friends who will end up getting you to skate more. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle really. So just go and do it. Do it today.
If you want some tips on how to step-by-step overcome the anxiety of skating in public, check out my guide here as one person with anxiety to another.
Not Taking Time to Recover from an Injury
This is something that I struggle with especially when it comes to ankle sprains.
I have only seriously sprained my ankles like once on each ankle. But I have mildy sprained and resprained a recovering ankle countless times. It is jsut incredibely hard for me to sit stilll and let an injury fully heal.
Being impatient has cost me months of skating that I wish I culd have back. Don’t be like me. Really give yourself a few weeks to heal that ankle sprain unless it’s really mild. You will thank yourself later I promise.
Your body and skate time will have consequences if you are abusing it now.
Trying Too Hard Not to Look Like a Beginner
You can’t escape who you are. No matter how shy or vulnerable you feel, you can’t pretend you’re something you aren’t.
So if you’re a beginner, then embrace it. Watch and try and learn from the more experienced skaters. Ask questions. Give the simple tricks an honest try and laugh when you fall. Just have fun and enjoy being a beginner when no one expects you to be good.
Skateboarding is about having fun adn making connections with people. So you can enjoy and embrace being a beginner at skateboarding just as much as a veteran skater can. People will be able to spot that you’re new anyway so why even try to hide it.
Be the new guy and try and make some friends. If you act confident, it’ll also help other beginners to come out of their shell alittle bit.
I included this one because, well, it is a mistake and beginners do it.
Pushing mongo refers to using your front foot to push your board instead of the back foot. Pushing mongo makes it difficult to control the direction of your board, forces you to turn your shoulders, and plain looks awkward. Some people claim it isn’t the end of the world but please show me a pro skater who pushes mongo and isn’t riding fakie.
It simply isn’t good form and you shouldn’t reinforce bad behaviors. Start learning how to correctly push form the beginning and your life will be easier.
Not Celebrating the Little Victories
Remember how I said skateboarding is a marathon?
That means becoming decent at it takes a long time. This usually means years before you can land any of the tricks you see in skate videos.
So what does that mean? Do you need to grind it out for months before you can fun skateboarding?
This means you should celebrate the little victories. Celebrate and video your first kickturn or your first Shuvit. Grab some beers with friends after you drop in for the first time. Enjoy your progress no matter where you are or what stage your are in. Even if you can’t skate often and aren’t progressing, celebrate the fact that you are able to be out and skate on that particular day.
Every day is a gift and being physically capable of skateboarding is a treasure. Celebrate the little things and you’ll be a lot richer.
Lastly, get some motivation to get out there and skate with my personal skate playlist on Spotify (free of course) and some of the most inspiring and creative skate parts I’ve seen with my Ultimate Skate Motivation Guide.
So that’s it.
Don’t worry if any of these mistakes describe you because you can always easily fix them. None of these mistakes are the end of the world. Everyone’s human and acts silly sometimes. I am also guilty of a few of these.
I was shy about going to the skatepark, didn’t video myself because I thought I sucked and was obsessed with progressing fast. Really my insecurities stopped me from having more fun and from connecting with other skaters early on.
Learn from my mistakes young padawan.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and look out for more content from Board and Wheels.
Almost everything I wrote above is from my own experience and from things I have personally seen. Just in case you want to read more however, below are some links that go into the same subject but with a slightly different viewpoint.