no brainer tricking for the ultimate gainer

I’m back thinking about gainers again. Mainly because its still the most hit up search string people come to this blog for. I literally get 4 times as many hits for that trick than any other post.

If you want to read the first post get it here.

This has got me thinking again. I’d like to do a proper tutorial for a gainer… but as I search google, I can see that everyone is doing that already…. so in an effort to ‘really’ help people. I think I’d like to tackle the notion of ‘why’ we’re scared and what can be done to overcome that. All the instructions in the world aren’t going to help you throw that first rotation, unless your body and mind are prepared for it.

So here goes… with only 20yrs of learning how to overcome fears on a skateboard, I’ll try and convert this knowledge to tricking:

If ever I want to do something that my mind isn’t ready for… I have to face up to a few things. Firstly and most importantly, I’m probably not ready to do it. Sorry, buts that’s so true. I’ve stood on a vert ramp before, hearing the words of a young guy want ‘sooo badly’ to drop and me telling him everything he needs to do to land it… and when he finally makes the leap, he did just that and ‘leaped’ forwards, missing the nose of the board with his front foot and literally body slamming in the floor of the ramp in a heap of flesh and bones. I felt like a right knob, and just wanted to hide away in a hole.

What I hadn’t figured was, even tho I could mentally convince someone to try something, physically I couldn’t. When that guy leant forward to drop in, there was no blood in his legs to keep them strong, infact, pretty much all blood had drained from his body in fear and he almost passed out before he hit the ground. Luckily this also meant he didn’t hurt himself much and was ok to walk away.

Soo… now I know. If ever I see someone with real blood draining fear in their eyes, to tell them they aren’t ready and to leave it until another time.

Now that was a particularly bad example. For a gainer I haven’t noticed anything near as bad (yet). However I do see a number of people either a) not committing themselves to spin fully upside down or b) not throwing it at all because they are scared shitless of killing themselves. (ie: like I was).

If the later description is you. Then you need help. And since you’re reading this and interested, I guess it’ll be my help.

The second main cure to overcoming fear is ‘baby steps’. By this I mean, learning to walk before you try running. We all hate to admit it and I’m guilty of skipping the dull steps to get to the exciting ones too. But that’s cause I’m an old git, with twice as much fear as you lot and limited timespan before my private healthcare runs out ;) …. where was i? oh yeah, any decent tricker worth his weight will tell you that complex moves are made up of simple moves first. A gainer is kind of like that (unless you ‘j-step cheat’ them to the side), but its really a ‘chuck it and see’ type of move. There isn’t a lot you can learn first (if you wanna go totally upside down) apart from the basic backflip.

When I think back to my first attempts, I always thought that a) I was going to whack my head on whatever I was launching off of, and b) well… actually that was it …. it was just the fear of not getting around. Get rid of that fear by trying something simple first;

Learn backflips on a trampoline. And gradually get them better and better so you can travel forwards slightly. This is waaay easy to learn.. the comfort and safety of the basic backflip is so evolutionary for edging forwards into a gainer its unbelievable. I wish I thought of it first… I didn’t, but meh it doesn’t matter now for me really. Once you can travel forwards a bit, bounce less and less, try and do them at their lowest point with a quick rotation, safely… if the trampoline leads onto a foam pit, do that too. Once that’s nailed… try an exploder? why not, its much the same thing isn’t it? The gym I visit has a vault horse before a pit, which is great for chucking.

Try and stay away from swimming pools. Throwing a nuts flip into water has to be the safest way of not damaging yourself. But again the fear of hitting your head on the side is going to be with you.. and slipping on the edge of the pool too. Not a method of learning I’d personally attempt.

The Foam pits method I’ve explained in a previous post, so I’m not going to explain it again. However I still think its a pretty easy method to learn from.

Sand pits on golf courses are great if you have access to one, or hit the beach for another version of a soft landing. Grass ain’t soft if you’re going to screw up a few time and chances of slipping is a high risk to take. You only need one bad slam and you’re probably only going to increase your fear, instead of lessening it!

All this options leave out one thing…. the brain. Y’see the brain has a funny way of saying ‘nope’ when you want to say ‘yes’… and I’ve learnt that we can trick the brain to overcome the fears of certain things.

The dropping in on a skate ramp example is classic. Because I’ve noticed the longer someone stands upon a ramp ‘thinking’ about dropping in, the less chance they are of doing it and making it successful. I encourage people to ride about first, forget all about dropping in and then, when they feel ready (and pumped up for it) to climb back up the ramp again (ignore all the comments from the mates) to put down the tail, and just do it. 9 times out of 10 they ride away perfectly.

What they will have done is to remove all the ‘thinking time’ you’d usually give the brain to start panicking.

Over coming fears whilst tricking can be done the same way. Don’t dwell on something for ages … like your first exploder for example. Ok you need to understand what you have to do to rotate the trick, but don’t stand up on the ledge ‘thinking’ about it for ages… that won’t get you to do it any quicker or better. Do all the thinking you feel you need whilst sat at home watching and rewinding footage, or viewing other people on youtube. When you get to the ‘launch zone’ that’s all you want to be doing ‘launching!’ … not ‘thinking’… you wanna just get up there and do it. I’m talking zero seconds thinking time.

Climb up, set yourself up, compress, launch, rotate, land. Simple. People who get there and ‘think’, go ‘thunk’ (on the ground) … if you get to the point of launch and you’re still not ready, get down and admit you’re just not ready yet. There’s nothing wrong with admitting your not ready… personally I couldn’t give a monkeys what anyone thinks of me, as long as have all my limbs in full working order and the drive home, isn’t in a white taxi with blue flashing lights above it.

Anyways… so I guess this wasn’t the post about gainers like i thought it was, however it is about something just as useful. Recognise your fear, and either trick your head to over come it…. or accept your fear and step back until the time feels right.

You might feel invincible, but you’re certainly not unbreakable.

This guy inspired me and gave me flashbacks!



Filed under Flips, skateboarding, technique, trampoline, Tricking

3 responses to “no brainer tricking for the ultimate gainer

  1. Mark H.

    Wow, I can totally ralate to this fear! Especially the guy in the video. Watching him wipe out and get up to try again really is inspiring me. I’ve tried gainers off a diving board and always freeze when I get half-way around. I think I’m just not ready for this yet.

    I read in another tutorial on this site about kicking up with one leg and then the other to help get your momentum going. I’m going to try that tonight. If I still freeze up, then maybe I really am just not mentally prepared to do a gainer.

    Thanks for the tips!

    Mark H.

  2. good stuff… look forward to hearing you’ve landed one! ;)

  3. Brian

    I can do gainers (more like Shooting Star Press in wrestling), but I have a problem with going straight. I am going up, out and straight over my head, but somewhere in the launch phase I am turning myself.

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