Skateboarding Tricks: The Ollie

The ollie is the most basic skateboarding trick you can learn, and it’s by far the most useful. Ollieing (yes that’s how it’s spelled) can get you over curbs and gaps, but it’s also the foundation for every trick you’ll learn after it. So practice, practice, practice your ollies, and you’ll see improvement in your skating as a whole. This will probably be the first trick you learn, so take note on the 3 major variables when doing tricks: foot placement, pop, and flick.

Foot Placement: Naturally, the easiest way to do an ollie is in regular position, so that’s how I’ll describe it. First, square up your shoulders. They should be parallel with the direction you’re moving. When you place your feet, both should be perpendicular to the line you’re riding on. Your back foot (right foot if you’re regular, left if you’re goofy) should be on the tail, with the ball of your foot on the board near the center of the tail. Your right foot should be pulled back just a little from the front bolts, ready to swipe up and level the board out after you pop. You can start trying ollies while moving or standing still, whichever feels most natural.

Pop: The pop is an important part of skating, and something you must practice if you want to do advanced tricks. Different tricks require different pops, but it’s all the same basic idea: stomp the board straight down, and then jump off of that foot. It’s tricky at first, but the timing is important. You have to stomp the board hard enough so that it will pop in the air, then you have to jump off of the ground to give the board a chance to rise up from under your foot.

Flick: Once you’ve popped the board in the air, it’s probably going to be pretty hard to land on. With just a pop, skaters can do what’s sometimes called a “rocket ollie,” which is where the board jumps vertically in the air, and never levels out flat. But to do a proper ollie, you have to flick hard. The top part of your front foot’s shoe should show distress from sliding across the griptape (skaters always have holes in their shoes).  The biggest problem I see beginners struggling with is not flicking hard enough. This problem can be solved by practicing the timing, and making a conscious effort to flatten the board out in the air.

Practicing the ollie will lead to better balance on the board, and a new world of possibilities for tricks once you’ve gotten it down.

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