The Secrets of Skateboarding

  • 145 Page in depth guide of tricks
  • Features how-to, troubleshooting, and other skate secrets
  • Written by underground skater Tony Waters
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Visualization: Conditioning Your Body For Success

This is the traditional process by which we learn a new trick:

First, our mind has an image of what the trick looks like. We then gather information that will guide us to land the trick. We learn about the foot positioning, the amount of pop we give, what the front foot should do, where our balance should be, etc.

Next, we actually try the trick. Our initial attempts almost always results in failure. Why? Just because we know what we’re supposed to do doesn’t mean we’re going to do it right. We must experiment numerous times before we get a good feel of how the trick actually works.

Eventually, we land the trick and remember the actions that caused it to happen. After repeated landings, our body automatically remembers what it feels like to land a particular trick, fires the appropriate muscle movements, and we can finally land it on a consistent basis. The trick is now “learned.”

The time it takes to complete this process can be quite a long time. Personally, it took me about 3 months of skating many times a week before I landed my first Kickflip.

Although the amount of time it takes varies from individual to individual, this traditional method of learning tricks is ineffective because it relies heavily on the body to get a feel for the trick. However, when you use your mind to assist you in learning a trick, you’ll be absolutely astonished at how quickly and effortless the trick comes to you.

This is where visualization comes in.

How Visualization Works

One of the greatest advantages of our mind is its ability to be “trained” and “programmed.” It is the ability to visualize our intended destination or goal.

Our mind thinks in pictures, not in words. Everyone sees pictures so we think in pictures as well. Think about your skateboard. Did a picture of your skateboard flash upon the screen of your mind? You saw the image of your skateboard, not the words, s-k-a-t-e- b-o-a-r-d.

If you cannot genuinely picture yourself achieving your goal, chances are, it’s not going to be actualized. The old, overused and clichéd axiom, “conceive, believe, and achieve,” is packed with truth.

But what’s so special about seeing images in your mind? This is extremely important because your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined! Read that sentence over again and think about it.

The Power of Imagining

Psychologist, Alan Richardson, conducted an interesting study to prove this point. He formed three groups of basketball players and selected them to make a series of free-throws.

Group A practiced making free throws for 20 minutes a day for three weeks.

Group B visualized making free throws for 20 minutes a day.

The third group, Group C, served as a control group and did nothing.

Interestingly enough, after three weeks, the group that actually practiced improved their free throw percentage by 24%. The group that didn’t practice at all showed no improvement. And the group that visualized making free throws improved by 23%!

If this doesn’t get you excited about the possibilities of visualization, I don’t know what will! Visualizing yourself having already accomplished your goal will bring you to that goal much quicker.

How do we visualize ourselves achieving our goals? Simple- there is a simple outline we must follow to effectively take advantage of the visualization process.

How to Make Visualization Work for You

  1. Write a Metastory
  1. Put yourself in a relaxed state
  1. Visualize yourself already having achieved the goal
  1. Be consistent


  1. Write Down a Metastory

Stuart Lichtman, in his breakthrough book, How to Get Lots of Money for Anything Fast,” explains the usefulness of a Metastory, or a “perfect” picture imaginary experience that gives our brain something to focus on.

Simply put, a Metastory is an invented experience you wish to have. For this purpose, you’ll use a picture of yourself accomplishing your goal. You can write your own Metastory any way you wish.

Here is one of my personal Metastories:

I catch the board in midair, my feet over the bolts. My wheels hit the ground and I ride away smoothly. I hear loud shouts of awe and disbelief from my friends and see them come running over to congratulate me for successfully Kickflipping the Worcestor Bush Gap.

I can hardly believe what I had done myself! A huge grin lights up on my face as I stare at the huge row of bushes I just kickflipped over. This is definitely a huge milestone in my skateboarding career. My passion and love for skateboarding explodes- I just can’t wait to learn new tricks and skate new spots!”

In this example, my goal/Metastory was Kickflipping the Worcestor Bush Gap. But your metastory can be anything you want. It can be about signing the contract for a pro shoe model, Ollying over a curb, landing a heelflip, whatever you want!

Make your Metastory as desirable as you want. Remember, you are in control and have freedom to create whatever you want!

Take the time now to write a couple Metastory of you achieving one of your goals in your Skateboard Success Journal.

Familiarize yourself with your Metastory and fine tune it so it is perfect and extremely desirable to have. As you read and reread your Metastory, start forming images, sounds, and feelings associated to having experienced it.

  1. Put yourself in a Relaxed State

You now have a clear idea of what you want and you now must prepare your mind to bring it into reality.

Sit or lie in a comfortable position, in a place when you are not going to be distracted for the next 5-10 minutes.

Make a conscious effort to feel every part of your entire body relax. Start monitoring your breaths and focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Start from the number 10 and count down with each breath.

Start out by feeling the tension move out of your toes. Feel waves of peacefulness and relaxation move up and throughout your body. Next, move up to your ankles and loosen them, allowing them to relax. Continue onto your calves and slowly move up your body relaxing your legs, torso, arms, neck and face.

You should spend about 10 seconds relaxing each body part. When you have relaxed every part of your body, you should feel extremely comfortable and peaceful.

Great! Now you may start the visualization process and start to visualize your Metastory!

  1. Visualize yourself already having achieved the goal

You are now in a relaxed and optimal state for visualization.

You must spend some time concentrating on your desire and imagine it as if it were already here. There are three key guidelines to effective visualization:

  1. Feel your accomplished goal- Run the Metastory through your mind. You must not only see yourself having goal, but hear, smell, taste, touch, and most importantly, feel it. You may imagine a movie or still frames of key images.

Utilize all your sensory factors so you can make the image as real as possible. Ask yourself “What would it feel like if I had already accomplished my goal?” Feel the feelings throughout your entire body and make the feeling as real as possible.

If you are doing this right, you should feel absolutely joyful in the moment. So joyful and happy that you do not even need the goal to happen because you have the feeling within you already.

Have some fun when doing this! The more real the image is, the better this technique works. You may choose to imagine a full- length movie starring you. Replay the movie over and over again, seeing yourself achieving your goal. Create some background music, see it in high definition, and make the pictures bright and vivid.

  1. Visualize your goal in the first person- When seeing yourself already having the goal, you do not want a third person view of yourself. Remember, the mind cannot differentiate between what is real and what is vividly imagined.

See and feel the skateboard underneath your feet. Feel the wind blowing across your face as you ride. See your legs and feet move to execute the trick, see the board flipping beneath you and see and feel yourself landing the trick perfectly.

See the smiling faces of your friends standing nearby and hear their shouts of awe and disbelief. Finally, feel the sense of accomplishment that you deserve.

  1. Be consistent

Utilize this visualization technique every day! The more you do it, the quicker your goal will be implanted into your subconscious and the quicker it will become reality.

I suggest visualizing your Metastory at least 3 times a day- when you wake up, sometime during the afternoon, and right before you go to sleep. The most important time to visualize is before you sleep.

When you fall asleep, your last conscious thought will be in your subconscious mind and will remain there as you sleep.

Each visualization session should be about 5-10 minutes. Each day, if you can devote a mere 15 minutes of your time to doing these visualization exercises, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your skateboarding dreams.

When you Should See Results

The actual time it takes for a goal to completely manifest varies from person to person.

For some, it may take a day, for others, it may take a month. However, as long as you continue to do everything on a consistent basis, you will reach your goal.

It’s like driving a car. As long as you follow your map and stay on the right roads, you will reach your destination.

Sometimes, you’ll be the only car on the road and you may get there quicker, but other times, there is traffic and you may have to wait a while before you reach your destination.

How to Get Better at Skateboarding without Actually Skateboarding

Perhaps the greatest example of the power of visualization is the story of American Serviceman, James Nesmeth. Major Nesmeth was held as a Prisoner of War during Vietnam War for a number of years.

While serving as a prisoner in a 5 by 4 feet cage, Nesmeth visualized playing a perfect round of golf every single day.

He did this because he was not allowed to come in contact with anyone. He eventually realized that he had to find a healthy way to occupy his mind to prevent himself from going insane.

The result? After returning home and playing his first game of golf in 7 years, Nesmeth shot an amazing 74! This was 20 strokes off oh his personal best; pretty good for not having touched a golf club in over half a decade!

Apply the same concept to skateboarding and you’ll get better at skating without actually skating! This technique comes in handy whenever you have to take a break from skateboarding. Whether you are on vacation or just taking a hiatus, you can make sure you continue to improve simply by skating in your mind!

How to Consistently Land Any Trick

As long as you have a clear, mental picture of yourself landing a trick that you have landed before, you can dramatically increase your consistency. Try this:

  1. Pick a trick you can land about 25%-50% of the time.
  2. Try the trick 10 times and record how many times you landed it. You should land the trick about 2-5 times out of 10.
  3. Try the trick 10 more times, but this time, before each attempt, visualize yourself on your skateboard and perfectly executing the trick. You must visualize as vividly as you can- see, in your mind’s eyes, the details of your shoe, your exact foot positioning, the board flipping or spinning in the air, your feet meeting the board on its way down and landing it smoothly. Record the number of times you land it and you will find that it is higher than the first time!

When I first developed this method, I was a little doubtful of this technique so I tried it backwards. I practiced my Kickflips with all the visualization exercises part before practicing them without visualization.

I did to prove that visualization played a key part in landing the tricks, not being…

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