What’s The Best Way To Practice Ollies?

So, you’ve just started skateboarding and you’re eager to master the art of the ollie. You’ve seen skaters effortlessly launch their boards into the air, and you can’t wait to join their ranks. But where do you begin? In this article, we’ll explore the most effective methods for practicing ollies, ensuring you build a solid foundation and progress towards nailing those tricks with style and confidence. So grab your board, put on your helmet, and let’s dive into the world of ollie practice!

Table of Contents

Choosing the Right Skateboard

Consider the skateboard size

When choosing a skateboard, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is the size of the board. The size of your skateboard is determined by the width of the deck. The ideal size for a skateboard deck depends on your personal preference and skating style. Smaller decks, around 7.5 to 8 inches wide, are better suited for street skating and technical tricks, while larger decks, around 8.5 to 9 inches wide, are more stable and better for vert and ramp skating. It’s important to choose a size that feels comfortable under your feet and provides you with the stability you need for your desired skating style.

Select the appropriate skateboard shape

Skateboards come in various shapes, each designed for different styles of skating. The two most common shapes are the “popsicle” shape and the “cruiser” shape. The popsicle shape is the most versatile and commonly used shape, featuring a symmetrical shape with a kicked nose and tail. This shape is great for performing tricks and is the go-to choice for street and park skating. On the other hand, cruiser boards have a larger and wider shape, with a more relaxed concave. They are designed for cruising and transportation, providing a smooth and comfortable ride. Consider your skating goals and preferences when selecting the shape that suits you best.

Choose the right skateboard deck material

Skateboard decks are typically made of either wood or composite materials. Wood decks are the most common and traditional choice, offering a natural feel and good pop. They are usually made of Canadian Maple, which provides durability and stiffness. Composite decks, on the other hand, are made from a combination of materials such as fiberglass and carbon fiber. These decks tend to be lighter and more durable than wooden ones, making them ideal for riders who prioritize strength and longevity. Consider your skill level, budget, and personal preferences when choosing between wood and composite decks.

Decide on the skateboard wheel size and hardness

Choosing the right skateboard wheels is crucial for a smooth ride and optimal performance. Wheel size and hardness play important roles in determining what type of terrain you can skate on and how your board will feel while riding. Larger wheels, typically around 54-60mm, are better suited for rough terrain or for riders who prefer a smoother ride. Smaller wheels, around 50-54mm, are ideal for street skating and performing tricks. Additionally, wheel hardness is measured on a durometer scale, with higher numbers indicating harder wheels. Softer wheels, around 78A-87A, provide more grip and are better for cruising and transportation, while harder wheels, around 99A-101A, are suited for tricks and sliding. Consider your skating style and the type of terrain you’ll be riding on when choosing the right wheel size and hardness for your skateboard.

Pick the suitable skateboard trucks

Skateboard trucks are the metal T-shaped components that attach the wheels to the skateboard deck. When choosing trucks, you’ll need to consider both the width and the height. The width of your trucks should match the width of your skateboard deck to ensure stability and proper board control. As for the height, low trucks provide stability and are great for technical tricks, while high trucks offer more clearance and are suited for larger wheels and a smoother ride. It’s important to choose trucks that are appropriate for your deck and riding style to ensure a comfortable and responsive riding experience.

Setting Up the Practice Area

Find a suitable skate spot

To practice ollies effectively, it’s important to find a suitable skate spot. Look for a place with a smooth and flat surface, such as a parking lot, empty basketball court, or a skatepark. Avoid skating on rough or uneven surfaces as they can affect your balance and control. A smooth skate spot will allow you to focus on perfecting your ollies without having to worry about obstacles or unpredictable terrain.

Ensure a smooth and flat surface

When setting up your practice area, make sure the surface is smooth and flat. This will provide a consistent and predictable surface for practicing ollies. Avoid areas with cracks, bumps, or debris, as they can disrupt your balance and cause unwanted obstacles. Take the time to inspect the area and remove any objects that may get in your way. By ensuring a smooth and flat surface, you’ll be able to focus on your ollie technique and progress more effectively.

Have enough space for maneuvering

Having enough space to maneuver is essential when practicing ollies. Make sure the skate spot you choose provides sufficient space for you to ride and perform your ollies without any restrictions. Having ample space will allow you to build speed, practice your footwork, and execute your ollies with confidence. The more space you have, the better you’ll be able to focus on perfecting your technique and expanding your skateboarding skills.

Clear the area of obstacles

Before you start practicing ollies, take the time to clear the area of any potential obstacles. Remove any loose objects, debris, or other skaters that may pose a safety risk or interfere with your practice. Having a clear and obstacle-free area will provide a safe and controlled environment for you to focus on mastering your ollies without any unnecessary distractions.

Consider practicing in a skatepark

If you have access to a skatepark, consider practicing your ollies there. Skateparks are designed specifically for skateboarding and provide various obstacles and features that can help you improve your skills. Most skateparks have flat areas where you can practice ollies, as well as ramps, rails, and ledges that can enhance your trick repertoire. Practicing in a skatepark also offers the opportunity to skate alongside other skaters, learn from their techniques, and receive valuable feedback. However, always make sure to respect the rules and etiquette of the skatepark to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Whats The Best Way To Practice Ollies?

Mastering the Basics

Learn the proper stance

Before diving into ollies, it’s important to start with the basics, such as learning the proper stance. The stance refers to how you position your feet on the skateboard. For ollies, the most common stance is the regular stance, where your left foot is in the front and your right foot is in the back. However, if you feel more comfortable with the opposite foot forward, you can also try the goofy stance. Experiment with both stances and find the one that feels natural to you. Keep in mind that your front foot should be placed at a slight angle, with the ball of your foot on or just behind the front bolts of the skateboard.

Practice balancing on your board

Balancing is a fundamental skill in skateboarding, and it’s crucial for executing ollies successfully. Start by standing on your skateboard with your feet in the proper stance. Focus on keeping your body centered and your weight evenly distributed between both feet. Practice shifting your weight from your toes to your heels and vice versa, maintaining control and stability. As you become more comfortable with balancing on your board, you’ll develop a better sense of control and be ready to progress to the next steps.

Work on your foot positioning

Proper foot positioning is essential for executing ollies effectively. Once you’ve established your stance, pay attention to the position of your feet. Your back foot should be placed on the tail of the skateboard, with your toes hanging off the edge. This will allow you to generate the pop necessary for ollies. Your front foot should be placed in the middle of the skateboard, perpendicular to the board’s length. Position your front foot with the ball of your foot in the center and your toes pointing slightly forward. Finding the right foot placement may take some trial and error, so experiment and find what works best for you.

Develop a comfortable pushing technique

Before attempting ollies, make sure you’ve developed a comfortable and efficient pushing technique. Pushing is how you generate speed and momentum on your skateboard. Start by placing your back foot on the ground and using it to propel yourself forward, pushing off the ground. As you push, lean slightly forward and transfer your weight to your front foot. Once you’ve gained enough speed, bring your back foot onto the skateboard and into the proper foot positioning for ollies. Practicing your pushing technique will help you build the necessary speed and momentum to perform ollies effectively.

Practice staying relaxed while riding

Skateboarding requires balance, control, and coordination, and it’s important to stay relaxed while riding. Tension in your body can hinder your performance and make it more difficult to execute ollies. When riding, focus on keeping your body loose and relaxed. Relax your shoulders, arms, and legs, and maintain a slightly bent posture. Being relaxed will allow you to move more freely, react quickly, and maintain balance. It may take some practice to stay relaxed, especially when attempting new tricks, but with time and experience, it will become second nature.

Breaking Down the Ollie Technique

Understand the ollie mechanics

To master the ollie, it’s important to understand the mechanics behind it. The ollie is a trick that allows you to lift both the nose and tail of the skateboard off the ground, creating the illusion of floating in the air. The ollie consists of several key movements: the pop, the sliding motion, the jump, and the leveling out. Mastering each of these movements individually and then combining them seamlessly is the key to performing a proper ollie. Understanding and practicing the mechanics of the ollie will help you progress and take your skateboarding skills to the next level.

Focus on the pop

The pop is the first step in executing an ollie and is crucial for generating the upward force needed to lift the skateboard off the ground. To pop the board, push down forcefully on the tail with your back foot, using a snapping motion. The harder and quicker you pop, the higher your ollie will be. Focus on putting enough force into the pop to create a strong and clean pop sound. Practicing the pop motion repeatedly will help you develop the necessary muscle memory and timing for a successful ollie.

Perfect your sliding motion

After the pop, the next movement in the ollie is the sliding motion. As you pop the board, slide your front foot up towards the nose of the skateboard. The sliding motion is what levels out the board and allows it to remain parallel to the ground while in the air. The timing of the slide is crucial, as sliding too early or too late can disrupt the ollie and affect your balance. Practice sliding your front foot smoothly and consistently, aiming to slide it towards the nose with the ball of your foot. As you perfect the sliding motion, you’ll notice an improvement in the height and control of your ollies.

Work on timing the jump

Timing is everything when it comes to executing a successful ollie. After the pop and the slide, the jump is the final movement that propels you and the skateboard into the air. To time the jump, focus on coordinating the motion of your legs and the pop of the skateboard. Just as the board begins to rise from the slide, jump up with both your feet, tucking your knees towards your chest. The timing of the jump is crucial for achieving height and maintaining control. It may take some practice to master the timing, so be patient and keep working on it.

Master the art of leveling out

Leveling out is the last part of the ollie and is essential for landing smoothly and maintaining control. As you reach the peak of your jump, start leveling out the board by extending your legs and pushing your front foot forward. This motion will level out the board and prepare it for landing. Keep your eyes focused on the landing spot and aim to get your feet above the bolts of the skateboard for a solid and controlled landing. Practicing leveling out will help you develop the necessary control and finesse to execute a clean ollie.

Whats The Best Way To Practice Ollies?

Strengthening Your Ollie Skills

Increase your ollie height gradually

Once you’ve mastered the basic ollie technique, it’s time to start working on increasing your ollie height. Start by gradually increasing the power and quickness of your pop. Focus on putting more force into the pop, using your back foot to generate as much upward momentum as possible. Additionally, work on improving the timing of your slide and jump to maximize the height of your ollie. Start by setting small goals for yourself, aiming to increase your ollie height incrementally. With consistent practice and gradual progression, you’ll be able to achieve higher and more impressive ollies over time.

Practice popping ollies while moving

To simulate real-life skateboarding situations, it’s important to practice popping ollies while moving. Start by riding at a comfortable and moderate speed, and then incorporate ollies into your momentum. This will help you develop the coordination and timing required to execute ollies while maintaining your speed and balance. As you become more comfortable with popping ollies while moving, gradually increase your speed to challenge yourself and improve your control. Practicing ollies while moving will make your skateboarding skills more versatile and applicable to various skating scenarios.

Experiment with different foot positions

While the standard foot position for ollies is the most common and effective, it’s also worth experimenting with different foot positions to find what works best for you. Try adjusting the position of your front foot slightly forward or backward to see how it affects your ollies. You may find that a small change in foot positioning can make a significant difference in your ollie height, control, or overall feel. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find a foot position that maximizes your performance and comfort.

Work on ollies over small obstacles

To challenge yourself and further strengthen your ollie skills, practice ollies over small obstacles. Start with something low and easily manageable, such as a small crack or a stick laid down on the ground. As you become more confident, gradually increase the size and difficulty of the obstacles. Ollieing over obstacles will help improve your timing, accuracy, and spatial awareness. It will also prepare you for more advanced tricks and maneuvers that require the ability to clear obstacles with ease.

Challenge yourself with ollie variations

To keep your skateboarding journey exciting and engaging, challenge yourself with ollie variations. Once you’ve mastered the basic ollie, experiment with different variations such as the nollie (popping with your front foot), the switch ollie (executing an ollie in your non-dominant stance), or the fakie ollie (performing an ollie while riding backward). These variations will not only expand your trick repertoire but also improve your coordination, balance, and overall skateboarding skills. Be creative and enjoy the process of mastering new tricks and pushing your limits.

Drills and Exercises

Start with stationary ollies

To build a strong foundation for your ollie technique, start by practicing stationary ollies. Find a flat and smooth surface, position yourself with your skateboard in a stationary position, and focus on executing the ollie technique step by step. Breaking down the ollie into separate movements will allow you to perfect each component without the distraction of forward motion. Practice popping, sliding, jumping, and leveling out until you feel confident and comfortable with each movement. Repeat the stationary ollie drills regularly to reinforce muscle memory and refine your technique.

Practice ollieing over lines or cracks

To improve your ollie accuracy and precision, practice ollieing over lines or cracks on the ground. This drill will help you develop a sense of timing, control, and spatial awareness. Start by identifying a line or crack that is slightly narrower than your skateboard. Ride towards the line or crack at a moderate speed and use your ollie technique to clear it. Focus on getting your wheels over the line or crack without touching it, and aim to land smoothly on the other side. As you become more proficient, challenge yourself by ollieing over narrower lines or cracks to push your skills further.

Work on ollies while rolling slowly

To enhance your ollie technique and control, practice ollies while rolling at a slow speed. Riding slowly will require you to be more precise and deliberate with your movements, as the margin for error decreases. Start by riding at a slow pace, and gradually incorporate ollies into your motion. Focus on maintaining balance, executing each movement with precision, and achieving a clean landing. Practicing ollies at a slow speed will improve your board control, stability, and muscle memory, making it easier to transition to faster speeds and more complex tricks.

Try ollieing off curbs or ledges

Moving on to more advanced ollie drills, try ollieing off curbs or ledges. This drill will help you develop confidence, spatial recognition, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Find a curb or ledge that is within your comfort zone, and approach it at an appropriate speed. As you reach the edge, execute your ollie technique to clear the obstacle and land smoothly on the other side. Start with smaller curbs or low ledges, and gradually progress to larger obstacles as you become more comfortable and skilled. Ollieing off curbs or ledges will improve your ability to adapt to various terrain and height differences, making you a more versatile skateboarder.

Combine ollies with other tricks

To challenge yourself and enhance your overall skateboarding skills, combine ollies with other tricks. This drill will not only improve your ollie consistency but also help you transition between different tricks seamlessly. Experiment with combining ollies with tricks such as kickflips, heelflips, or 180-degree spins. Start by practicing each trick individually, and then work on smoothly transitioning from one trick to another. This drill will improve your timing, coordination, and creativity, setting the stage for more complex trick combinations in the future.

Whats The Best Way To Practice Ollies?

Learning from Video Tutorials

Search for reliable skateboarding tutorial channels

Video tutorials can be incredibly valuable when learning and improving your skateboarding skills. There are many reliable skateboarding tutorial channels available online that provide step-by-step instructions, tips, and demonstrations. Search for reputable channels that are known for their accurate and comprehensive tutorials. Some popular skateboarding tutorial channels include Braille Skateboarding, VLSkate, and Skateboarding Made Simple. These channels offer a wide range of instructional videos for beginners as well as more advanced skaters. Take advantage of the vast resources available online and learn from experienced skateboarders who generously share their knowledge and expertise.

Watch step-by-step guides on ollie technique

To master the ollie technique, watch step-by-step guides specifically focused on ollies. Look for tutorials that break down each movement of the ollie in detail and provide visual demonstrations of proper technique. Pay attention to body positioning, foot placement, and the overall mechanics of the trick. Understanding the correct technique is crucial for executing an ollie successfully and efficiently. Repeat the tutorial videos as often as needed to reinforce your understanding and refine your own ollie technique.

Study different body movements and positions

Observing and studying different body movements and positions can greatly enhance your understanding and execution of ollies. Watch professional skateboarders, both in competition and during their practice sessions, to gain insights into their techniques and styles. Pay attention to how they position their feet, shift their weight, and perform the various movements of the ollie. Observing different skateboarding styles and approaches will help you develop your own unique ollie style and add personal flair to your tricks.

Utilize slow-motion footage for analysis

Slow-motion footage is a valuable tool for analyzing and improving your ollie technique. Search for slow-motion videos of skateboarders performing ollies and study their movements in detail. Slow-motion footage allows you to observe subtle nuances and finer details that may be difficult to identify in real-time. Analyze the timing, body positioning, and footwork frame by frame to gain a comprehensive understanding of the ollie technique. Take notes, compare your own technique to that of experienced skaters, and identify areas for improvement. Utilizing slow-motion footage as a learning tool will help you refine your ollie technique and take your skills to the next level.

Learn from professional skateboarders

One of the best ways to improve your skateboarding skills is to learn from professional skateboarders. Follow their careers, watch their videos, and pay attention to how they execute ollies and other tricks. Many professional skateboarders, both past and present, have released instructional videos or shared their insights through interviews and documentaries. Take the time to learn about their backgrounds, experiences, and unique approaches to skateboarding. Studying their techniques and learning from their wisdom can provide valuable inspiration and guidance on your skateboarding journey.

Seeking Guidance and Feedback

Join a local skateboarding community or club

Joining a local skateboarding community or club is a great way to connect with fellow skaters, find support, and receive guidance and feedback. Local skateboarding communities often have experienced skaters who are willing to share their knowledge, offer advice, and provide valuable feedback on your ollies and other tricks. These communities may organize group skate sessions, contests, or workshops, providing opportunities for you to learn from others and improve your skills together. Participating in a skateboarding community will not only accelerate your progress but also make your skateboarding experience more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Ask experienced skaters for advice

Experienced skaters are a valuable resource when it comes to seeking advice and feedback on your ollies. If you encounter a skater who impresses you with their ollie skills, don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation and ask for their guidance. Most skaters are passionate about their craft and are more than willing to share their knowledge and help others improve. Ask for pointers, tips, or any specific advice they may have on refining your ollie technique. The feedback and guidance you receive from experienced skaters can provide valuable insights and help you overcome any challenges you may encounter.

Take part in skateboarding workshops

Skateboarding workshops are organized events that provide structured instruction, supervision, and guidance on various skateboarding skills, including ollies. These workshops are typically conducted by experienced skateboarders or professional instructors and may cover topics such as technique, style, and safety. Participating in a skateboarding workshop will give you the opportunity to learn from seasoned skateboarders, receive personalized feedback, and practice alongside other skaters who share your passion. Check with local skate shops, skate parks, or skateboarding organizations to find out if there are any workshops or clinics scheduled in your area.

Film yourself to self-assess your ollies

Filming yourself while practicing ollies is an invaluable tool for self-assessment and improvement. Set up a camera or use your smartphone to record your ollies from different angles. Take the time to review the footage and analyze your technique, looking for areas that need improvement or adjustment. Pay attention to your body positioning, foot placement, and the execution of each movement. Compare your footage to tutorial videos or professional skaters to identify any discrepancies and implement necessary corrections. Filming yourself allows you to see your ollies from an objective perspective and make targeted improvements.

Request feedback from peers or instructors

Another way to gain valuable feedback on your ollies is to request feedback from peers or instructors. Ask friends or fellow skaters to observe your ollies and provide constructive criticism. Their fresh perspective may help identify issues or areas for improvement that you may have overlooked. If possible, seek the advice of a skateboarding instructor or coach who can offer professional feedback and guidance. Their trained eye and expertise will allow them to pinpoint specific areas that need refinement and suggest specific drills or exercises to address them. Feedback from peers and instructors can be invaluable in helping you progress and refine your ollie technique.

Maintaining Consistency and Persistence

Practice regularly and consistently

Consistency and persistence are key to mastering ollies. Make it a habit to practice regularly, setting aside dedicated time for skateboarding. Consistency allows you to build muscle memory, improve technique, and progress more effectively. Set a practice schedule that works for you, whether it’s daily, a few times a week, or on specific days. Even if you can only practice for short periods, make the most of the time you have. Remember that progress requires repetition, so stay consistent in your practice routine to achieve your goals.

Set achievable goals for improvement

Setting achievable goals is crucial for maintaining motivation and tracking your progress. Start by setting small, attainable goals for your ollie technique, such as increasing your ollie height by a certain amount or improving your consistency in landing them. Break down your goals into specific steps or milestones to make them more manageable. Each time you achieve a goal, celebrate your progress and set new goals to continue challenging yourself. Setting achievable goals keeps you focused, engaged, and motivated on your journey to mastering the ollie.

Track your progress over time

Keeping track of your progress is important for measuring improvement and staying motivated. Start a skateboarding journal or use a note-taking app to record your ollie performance. Note down important details such as your ollie height, consistency, and any specific areas you’re working on. Include dates and timestamps to track your progress over time. Refer to your journal regularly to remind yourself of how far you’ve come and to identify any patterns or areas that require additional focus. Tracking your progress provides a visual representation of your improvement and encourages you to keep pushing forward.

Stay motivated and committed

Skateboarding, like any skill, requires dedication and perseverance. Stay motivated by constantly reminding yourself of the reasons why you started skateboarding and what draws you to the sport. Embrace the challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Surround yourself with like-minded skaters who inspire and support you. Engage with skateboarding culture, whether it’s watching skate videos, attending competitions, or following professional skateboarders. Stay committed to your practice routine and goals, and don’t be discouraged by temporary plateaus or setbacks. The more motivated and committed you are, the more progress you’ll make in mastering the ollie.

Embrace failures as learning opportunities

Skateboarding, like any physical activity, involves a fair share of failures and falls. Embrace these failures as learning opportunities and stepping stones to improvement. Every failed attempt is a chance to analyze your technique, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments. Learn from your mistakes, celebrate your achievements, and don’t get discouraged by temporary setbacks. Remember that skateboarding is a journey that requires perseverance and resilience. With each failure, you’ll grow stronger and more determined to conquer the ollie and other tricks.

Staying Safe and Preventing Injuries

Wear proper safety gear

Skateboarding can be physically demanding and carries inherent risks, so it’s crucial to wear proper safety gear to protect yourself from potential injuries. Always wear a properly fitted helmet to protect your head and reduce the risk of concussions or traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, wearing knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards can provide added protection for vulnerable joints and reduce the likelihood of fractures, sprains, or abrasions. Invest in quality safety gear that meets industry standards and replace any damaged or worn-out equipment promptly. Prioritizing safety not only helps prevent injuries but also allows you to skate with confidence and peace of mind.

Stretch and warm up before each practice

To reduce the risk of muscle strains or injuries, it’s essential to stretch and warm up before each skateboarding practice session. Perform dynamic stretches that target specific muscle groups used during skateboarding, such as your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and hip flexors. Incorporate exercises that help improve balance, flexibility, and range of motion. Additionally, spend a few minutes engaging in light cardiovascular activities, such as jogging or jumping rope, to increase blood flow and gradually raise your heart rate. Warming up properly prepares your body for physical activity and minimizes the risk of injuries.

Start with low-impact exercises

When first starting to practice ollies or any other skateboarding trick, it’s beneficial to begin with low-impact exercises. These exercises help condition your body and build the necessary strength and stability without putting excessive strain on your joints. Low-impact exercises can include balance training, core strengthening exercises, and bodyweight exercises that target your lower body muscles. Gradually progress to more high-impact exercises and trick-specific drills as your body adapts and becomes stronger. Starting with low-impact exercises minimizes the risk of overuse injuries and allows you to progress safely and efficiently.

Avoid attempting tricks beyond your skill level

While it’s important to challenge yourself and push your limits, it’s equally important to avoid attempting tricks that are beyond your skill level. Progressing too quickly or attempting tricks that you’re not ready for significantly increases the risk of injuries. Take the time to master the fundamental skills and build a solid foundation before moving on to more advanced tricks. Learning gradually and progressively ensures that your body is adequately prepared and minimizes the risk of accidents. Recognize your current abilities and focus on consistent improvement rather than rushing into tricks that may lead to unnecessary risks.

Listen to your body and take breaks when needed

Skateboarding can be physically demanding, and it’s crucial to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Skateboarding for prolonged periods without rest can lead to fatigue, muscle strains, or overuse injuries. Pay attention to any warning signs such as excessive fatigue, joint pain, or discomfort. If you start feeling tired or notice any pain, take a break, and give your body time to recover. Adequate rest and recovery are essential for maintaining optimal performance and preventing injuries. Listen to your body’s signals and strike a balance between intense practice and proper rest to ensure long-term skateboarding success.

By following the outlined steps and maintaining consistency and perseverance, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the ollie. Remember to never give up and enjoy the journey of improving your skateboarding skills. With time, practice, and dedication, you’ll be able to execute powerful and stylish ollies that will impress both you and fellow skateboarders. So grab your skateboard, find a suitable practice area, and embark on the exhilarating process of perfecting the ollie. Happy skating!