How To Get Better This Winter
Unfortunately, not all of us live in a part of the world where we
can wakeboard all year long. So what can we do while the weather is
cold to become better wakeboarders? The following are some different
things you can do to improve your riding during the offseason.
1. Watch Videos - Watch as many wakeboarding videos as you can. Besides just watching for fun,
stop and rewind tricks and watch them in slow motion. Really focus on what the pros do, how they edge,
where they have the rope in the air, how they initiate a spin, how they have their weight, etc. You'll
be suprised how much you'll learn. Instructional videos are the best
choice if you're looking to improve. Here are the top instructional videos:
The Book Wakeboard - This instructional
video contains 5 DVDs. The book box set takes you from the very basic to the most advanced. This wakeboard instructional covers everything you need to ride and advance. The Book Wakeboard set is a must have in any DVD collection. Buy
it now at BoardFlix.com.
Waketrix - This instructional
video really focuses on the basics of wakeboarding and intermediate tricks. It features the riding of some top pros, and is
narrated and explained by Darin Shapiro and legendary coach Mike Ferraro. Buy
it now at BoardFlix.com.
Detention 2012 - This
video stars Shaun Murray as he
takes you through the basics of wakeboarding all the way to the advanced tricks. This is the new 3 disc set Buy it now at
Education - This video from Bump Films stars
most of the top pros in wakeboarding doing the tricks and has instructional advice from top coaches such as PJ
Marks, Charley Patterson, Zane Schwenk, and more. Buy it now from
The Book - Wakeskate - This is
the only wakeskating instructional you need. 3 DVD set that covers the Wakeskate basics, Intermediate tricks and Advanced Tricks. Buy it now at
2. Snowboard - If you're lucky enough to live near snow, go snowboarding. Snowboarding
will definitely improve your wakeboarding, as it is another board sport that incorporates the
same muscles, body movements, style, and types of tricks that are used in wakeboarding. While snowboarding,
concentrate on improving your balance, develop a smooth style, and work on your board control. Work on jumping,
grabbing the board solidly, and maybe even work on your air awareness and learn some spins.
It's also a great time to work on riding switch. Ride switch as much as possible, and do everything
you do both ways. This will help your switch wakeboarding immensely. Snowboarding also satisfies the urge to ride a board, and reminds us why we like wakeboarding in 90 degree weather!
3. Skateboard - No matter where you live, you probably can ride a skateboard. It's cheaper
then buying a snowboard and paying $40 for a lift ticket, so skateboarding is a good choice if
you're short on cash. Skateboarding will definitely help your balance and board control, it's also a
great way to learn to ride switch better. Riding switch on a skateboard is harder then a wakeboard, so
it will make riding switch on the water seem easy. Skateboarding will also help your wakeboarding ollies
spinning, and sliding. Longboards are a choice by many wakeboarders for off season training.
4. Balance Boards - These types of boards are indoor boards that sit on a roller that you
can use on carpet, etc. They are similar to a skateboard deck, but sit on a roller that allows you
to move around a little, ollie, do spins, shuv-its, grabs, and more. They run about $100, and they
are a great thing to do while watching TV, especially wakeboarding videos. They will mostly help
improve your balance, and your ankle muscles. A great way to make your ankles stronger if you are
prone to injury. Two popular brands are Indo and Vew-Do. If you are looking for an Indo board we have them here at Wakeboarder.com.
5. Lift Weights - Lifting weights will improve your wakeboarding more then you might imagine.
While wakeboarding doesn't seem like a sport that requires great strength, it is important to be strong
and in good shape. The muscles most commonly used are the hands, forearms, biceps, back, abs, shoulders,
quads, and hamstrings. As you can see, you might as well just do full-body workouts. Strong hands, forearms,
biceps, and back help you pull out rough landings, hold the rope strong, and edge with upper body strength.
Your abs and lower back help your spinning and flipping, because they are the center of the body. Having strong legs
is important to stabilize yourself on landings. Having strong muscles also helps prevent injury, keeps the fat off
so you have less weight to move around, you can ride longer and be less sore, and it makes you look good to the opposite sex. We won't go in
great detail about what exercises to do, but consult a trainer at a local gym, weight lifting
web sites, or talk to friends who may no more if you're not familiar with lifting weights. If you can't lift weights
do abdominal exercises and do some running or other physical activity to stay in shape.
6. Trampoline Training - For a couple of hundred bucks, you can buy what may be the best
tool to helping you improve your wakeboarding. A trampoline allows you to simulate tricks that you'd
do on the water. It allows you to practice the tricks over and over as you learn the proper technique
for the trick. You can work on grabs, spins, flips, and grabbed-spinning-flips all day long.
If you don't have space or don't want to buy a trampoline, many towns have local gymnastic
facilities that allow you to pay a few dollars and use their trampolines for a couple of hours, so
this may be an option for some of you. A couple of tips for trampoline use for wakeboarding:
Don't try anything you're not ready for. Just like in real wakeboarding, stay within
your limits. Trampolines can be just as dangerous, if not more dangereous then water.
Always bounce and throw your trick straight up in the air, and have someone else with you to spot you
if you can. If you don't throw your tricks straight up, you'll go flying off of the trampoline,
which is the most common way to get injured.
Tie a wakeboard handle or handle and rope to a nearby tree or post. The handle will help keep you on
your balance while simulating wakeboarding better.
You can also use a wakeboard on the trampoline if you take off the fins. A better solution is to get an
old skateboard deck and some old shoes, and either tape or bolt the shoes to the skateboard deck. This
will simulate the feet position of being on a board, and allow you to do grabs in a more realistic manner.
7. Stretching - Most people think of stretching only before riding. Stretching in the offseason can
help you in two major ways. First, it helps keep your muscles limber all winter so you are less likely
to get injured when you start riding again. Second, it can help increase your flexibility and coordination which will allow you
to grab the board easier, have more body control, grab inverts easier, and allow you to get contorted in all
kinds of stylish positions while in the air. To increase flexibility, you should only stretch to where you start to
feel a little tightness, and hold your stretch for 30 seconds or more. You should stretch all the muscles in your
body, because we use them all when riding.
8. Balance Exercises - A big part of wakeboarding is balance. To help improve your balance
you can do a couple of easy balance exercises. Without getting too specific, you want to do exercises
such as balancing on one foot for 30 seconds, hopping on each leg, standing on your toes on one leg only,
doing one legged calf-raises or squats, lunges, and other exercises. Doing these exercises with
your eyes closed makes the exercise more difficult as well.
9. Sports - Participation in any sport will help keep you in shape and improve coordination, endurance,
strength, etc. So participate in as many things as possible instead of sitting on the couch all day.
10. Visualize - Visualize yourself doing tricks and doing them correctly. Think about your approach,
how you want your weight, where the handle is, how the board is on edge, how you take off, what you're doing in the
air, and how you'll land. This is a great thing to do while lying in bed when trying to go to sleep.