If I’m ever asked “should I take snowboarding lessons” my answer is always “yeah definitely, you’ll be way more likely to have good technique in the long run and you’ll likely progress faster than trying to figure it all out for yourself”.
Makes sense to me – but I’m only talking from theory.
I’ve never had a lesson in my life!
Apart from friends showing me some stuff here and there. Now, I’ve been told I picked it up really quickly and that’s fine but I suspect I have some big flaws in my technique.
And even though I consider myself at an advanced level of riding, I suspect that if I can fix the flaws in my technique then I can become a much better rider.
What I plan to do
So, after 7 seasons of riding, I’m finally going to take the plunge and get lessons!
My plan is to:
- Take at least 1 private lesson – with the express purpose of getting the instructor to look at my technique and showing me how to ride better
- Taking some group advanced lessons to improve my riding further
- Take some freestyle lessons to achieve my goals for the season (see below)
The Purpose of My Experiment
The main purpose of doing this is to gain some insight into the effectiveness of lessons so that I can reliably recommend that people take lessons or otherwise.
This experiment aims to answer a couple of questions
- How worth it are snowboarding lessons?
- Is it ever too late to get the benefits?
What do I think the answer will be?
I think the answers to these questions will be.
- It’s definitely worth it to take snowboarding lessons and it has made a big difference in my riding technique and has allowed me to become a better rider based on having a better foundation to build from.
- That you can get the benefits of lessons no matter how long you’ve been riding for and at any age.
I’m 95% confident that the answer to question 1 will be the correct prediction after taking lessons – and 80% certain the answer to question 2 will be the correct prediction.
My Goals for the Season
To become a better rider you should always have goals. Whilst I predict that taking lessons is going to be beneficial, it will only be so beneficial if you don’t have a target to aim for.
Now, because I’ve only recently started doing more freestyle riding, most of my goals are going to be freestyle oriented.
I used to do a lot more freeriding type riding but more recently I have been leaning towards more freestyle type riding but haven’t fully committed to it. But I figure now that I’m not a spring chicken anymore (33 years old!) that I want to go hard at freestyle riding whilst my body will still allow me.
O.k. here are my goals for the season.
- Ride 50+ days minimum
- Take at least 1 private lesson and at least 3 group lessons (including at least one freestyle lesson) – TICK
- Ride and land a box in the park – TICK
- Refine turning technique – TICK
- Refine carving technique – TICK
- Ride and land a rail in the park
- Improve Jump Technique – TICK
- Improve grabs – TICK
- Improve 180 technique
- Bonus – at least give it a whirl – land a 360 from normal to normal stance
Just for informational purposes, last season – when I started moving into freestyle – I focused on riding switch, learning ollies, doing some small jumps off natural lips and some manuals. I could already ride switch and do ollies but I wanted to fine tune those aspects.
When Am I going to start my lessons?
I’m planning on taking my first lesson on the first day I hit the mountain – hoping they’ll have lessons available that early.
The reason for this is that hopefully my old, potentially bad, habits will be at their weakest then.
How Will it Go?
Like when I learned to ride switch a couple of season’s back I suspect that this is going to feel a little bit like starting again!
This will be my eighth season snowboarding and whilst I am certainly a capable rider and picked it up very quickly in the beginning, I know that there are gaps in my technique and I’d like to iron them out to become a better rider.
Not only that, I want this experiment to show one way or the other whether or not it is necessary to take lessons – and how beneficial they actually are.
UPDATE: Check out the results of my lessons, and the answer to my experiment at the links below