Breaking Through a Plateau

Unfortunately progression doesn’t always come easy in wakeboarding. Like most sports, the learning curve is really fast at first, and starts flattening out over time. If your skill level is stuck on a plateau, there are some simple drills and habits that will help you break through and progress year after year.

Avoid the bad habit of doing every trick in your same old routine before trying anything new. While there is a balance between Consistency vs. Learning, I’ve seen so many riders who are reluctant to try a new trick until they first go out and land every other trick they already have in their bag. By the time they do all this, they are typically getting tired out and don’t have much energy to work on something new.

Set your goals high, but don’t overlook the building block tricks in wakeboarding. For instance, most riders want to learn a Backroll, but skip learning 180’s, toeside airs, or backside spins.

Think of 5 tricks you would like to learn, and start working toward that goal each set. Take baby steps toward landing your goal trick, for example, if you want to learn a wake to wake Heel Side 180, make sure that you practice Ollie 180’s, Butter Slide 180’s, and 1 Wake 180’s first.

Ride more. For me, taking one set when I wakeboard will maintain my level of riding, but taking two sets each time I go will get me to progress. While some wakeboarders are blessed with a natural talent, the rider who is persistent will excel in the long run.

Don’t over-try one trick. While it’s good to buckle down on trying something new, don’t just work on that same trick your entire set. Just try it 5 times each time you ride, and move on. I’ve seen a lot of riders, especially on learning their first invert, start to get close to landing and try the trick over twenty times each and every time they go out. Fatigue always sets in preventing them from landing their goal trick, and their riding starts to suffer in other areas from being too focused on one thing.

Ride with a coach, or at least someone that is better than you. A good coach will quickly be able to see what drills you need to work on, and help you break habits that are standing in the way of learning. And just riding or watching people that are better than you will get you motivated to go out and try the tricks they are doing.

Ride in a Tournament. When you’re entered in a tournament, you’ll typically ride more in preparation for the event and build consistency. After the event, you’ll be excited to try new moves that others in your division were doing. Check out for chat boards on getting together with other riders in your area, and info on local tournaments this summer.

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