Simplify Each Trick.
Examine each new trick that you would like to learn, and then break it down into simpler movements. For example, to learn a Heel side 2 wake 180, practice 1 wake 180’s and ollie 180’s to gain balance. Or when trying something harder like a Raley, make sure that you are first consistent at cutting hard at the wake and landing with two hands on the handle in the flats. Practice the simple aspects of the trick systematically and it will greatly reduce the overall learning process.
Make Driving Adjustments.
As the driver, you can make every bit of difference in the rider’s ability to land a new trick.
- In most cases a little slower boat speed will make it easier for the rider to try something new.
- On tricks that require a handle pass, try letting off on the throttle in mid flight to put slack into the line for easy handle passes.
- Drive a shallow arc if it looks like the rider could use more of a kick off the top of the wake. This technique does not remove as much line tension as the throttle chop; however it makes the wake steeper to provide a straight up kick, which makes some tricks easier to learn such as an off axis five.
Make the trick sound easy to overcome.
Most people just need the confidence to try something new. As the coach, you need to instill that confidence in them. Ninety percent of learning a new maneuver comes from a mental commitment. If you can take away a riders fear, their potential will be unlocked. As a related anecdote, whenever I try something new on the water, I tell myself this; Guys are doing back flips over 80 foot gaps on motorcycles. For me, that puts trying some type of flip several feet above the water into perspective.
Repetition builds muscle memory. If you have access to a trampoline, practice on the trampoline as much as possible the tricks you would like to learn wakeboarding.
When you’re out on the water, make it a point to train with repetition. I’ve always felt the best way to master a new trick is to try to do it 3 times in a row.
Having trouble getting yourself motivated to try a new trick?
- Slow the boat speed down and try it on a soft mushy wake.
- Think about some easier things that you can practice that will make the hard trick easy.
- Try the trick on the trampoline at least 50 times before you take it to the water.
- Ride with a professional coach or someone who is better than you, it can give you the mental edge to overcome your fear.