Skateboarding is one of those sports where the athlete has almost an infinite amount of aspects to improve upon. Skateboarders can never really reach their peak like athletes from other sports such as football or basketball, because in skateboarding there are so many tricks that it's nearly impossible to ever be able to learn them all.
The difference in skill level between an advanced and a beginner skateboarder is massive compared to many other sports. Beginners first have to learn a few basic tricks before they can move on to all the others, and in this article we'll discuss these basic tricks and give a general explanation on how to do them.
The ollie is the most basic trick there is. It's not much more than a simple jump with your skateboard. Although it's definitely not as easy as it sounds, at least not at first. After you become good at them, however, you will be able to do them just as easily as a normal jump.
Without knowing how to ollie, you are not going to know how to do much of anything on a skateboard other than ride around on flat ground. Nearly every trick in the sport incorporates an aspect of the ollie in some way. Therefore, it is essential to learn if you want to be successful.
How to Ollie
As mentioned, learning how to ollie is not necessarily the easiest thing at first, although some people do seem to get the hang of it a lot faster than others.
Stand with the ball of your back foot on the tail of the skateboard right in the center but close to the end, and your front foot centered just a few inches before the front bolts.
Slam the tail down with your back foot while at the same time crouching down as if preparing to jump.
Immediately after slamming the tail down, perform a jumping action while at the same time sliding your front foot forward to level out the board.
Stay focused and keep your body in good posture. Commit to staying on the skateboard and prepare to land.
The shove-it is one of the more popular tricks for beginners because even if you can't ollie very well, you can still learn this. A shove-it is when the board does a 180 spin (not flip), and the skater's body stays neutral. There is a version of the shove-it that incorporates some of the same motions as an ollie, allowing the trick to be performed higher off the ground, known as a "pop shove-it".
How to Shove-it
Stand with your back foot on the tail of the board with the ball of your foot on the top edge. Your toes should just barely be hanging over the top edge of the tail. Keep your front foot centered on the skateboard just below the front set of bolts.
Bend your knees slightly and put most of your weight on your back foot.
Perform a scooping action with your back foot while at the same time shoving the board with your front foot the same direction you're scooping it (outwards, away from the front of your body).
Stay focused and pay attention to the skateboard. Once you see it spin the full 180 degrees, catch the board with your feet and prepare to land.
The kick flip is one of the most common tricks, not just amongst beginners, but for all skill levels. This trick most definitely requires some ability to ollie, as you'll have to get it high enough off the ground for the board to be able to flip completely around.
Skateboarders like kick flips because after they are learned to the point of being able to do them with little effort on flat ground, they can be fun and fairly simple to do in combination with other tricks such as gapping down stairs or grinding.
How to Kick Flip
Stand with your back foot in the same position you would for an ollie, and your front foot just below the front set of bolts with the ball of your foot close to the inside edge of the board, cocked at a 45-degree angle.
Bend your knees, slam the tail down, and perform an ollie.
As soon as you feel your entire skateboard come off the ground, flick the board down and also outward with your front foot so that the board begins to flip.
Staying focused and with your front foot out of the way of the flipping skateboard, watch the board and wait for it to make its full rotation before catching it with your feet and preparing to land.
For some reason, a lot of skateboarders seem to have more trouble with heel flips than they do with kick flips. Personally, I think heel flips are easier, but that's just me. Regardless, it is still considered by most to be one of the basic tricks in skateboarding. The heel flip is basically just the opposite of a kick flip. The board is flipped the opposite direction and with the heel rather than the toes.
How to Heel Flip
Stand on the board with your back foot in the ollie position. Put your front foot just a few inches past the middle of the skateboard with your heel placed in the center. Your toes should be hanging over the edge a bit.
Perform an ollie and when the board gets close to the climax of its height, flick your heel down and also slightly outwards so that the skateboard begins to flip.
Stay focused on how the board is spinning and when you see the grip tape come back around, catch the skateboard with your feet and prepare to land.
Frontside 180 Ollie
There are two different ways one can do a 180 ollie, frontside and backside. However, the frontside version seems to be generally easier to learn than backside. A frontside 180 is when you do a 180 with both your body and the board, and you rotate with the front of your body going forward. So if you stood in a regular stance, or with your right foot in the back, you would be rotating counter clockwise. For backside, it's just the opposite.
The main reason backside is more difficult is because you end up landing facing the opposite direction, which requires a more advanced type of balance-shift.
How to Frontside 180
Stand on the skateboard with your back foot in the ollie position, and your front foot flat with the back of your heel lined up with the edge of the board.
Bend your knees and twist your hips slightly. Begin to perform an ollie but as soon as your back wheels get off the ground, twist your body outwards while guiding the skateboard with your front foot.
Use your hips to execute the frontside 180 completely, and prepare to land in the opposite stance you were in when you started.
There are a few other basic tricks out there, but these are the top five. Each one is considered to be a trick that is required to learn in order to be able to do other, more advanced tricks. For instance, it would be extremely hard to learn how to do a 180 kick flip without first learning how to do a basic kick flip or 180, or both.