The Difference Between Good Skaters & Great Skaters

                                      By Dr. Aaron Vela, Skateboarding Chiropractor – Portland, ME

Dr. Aaron Vela - Skateboarding Chiropractor - Portland, Maine

Dr. Aaron Vela – Skateboarding Chiropractor – Portland, Maine

Every skateboarder strives to learn new tricks. To throw down their new trick on a new set of stairs, over a new hip, or in a combo like a kickflip, back lip, or tre-flip 50-50. The goal is to challenge yourself to better yourself, and have fun while doing it. But why do some skaters excel at skateboarding and why do others tend to stagnate in skill and development?

Potential factors include experience, confidence, strategies in learning new tricks, and perfecting them. Genetics, drive, and physical aptitude may also play a role. While these are indeed factors, they are not necessarily the strongest indicators as to who will be a highly skilled skater and who will not be.

What is a strong indicator? The answer is optimal neuromuscular and biomechanical control – the ability of your brain to control your muscles, joints, fingers, and toes in a highly efficient and accurate way.

Enter the long, technical medical jargon: proprioception. In simplest terms, proprioception is your body’s ability to know where each part of your body is in space and time while you’re moving or staying still. It’s the ability of your body to know when your back foot pops the tail of a skateboard down while your front foot slides nose-ward on the grip tape, bending the front knee to jump while your back foot then proceeds to jump just a millisecond after the front leg – as with an ollie.

In order to perform this most basic aerial maneuver with ease and grace, your nervous system and your muscles need to process the voluntary movements and synchronize the muscle contractions needed to pull it off. Now, what happens if your nervous system is not processing information optimally and your muscles are not getting the message efficiently to move your feet, legs, hips, and arms or your body can’t efficiently tell where your legs are? Maybe your tail pops but your front foot doesn’t synchronize and you don’t get any air. Maybe you get air but you land too far forward on the board and it slips out. Maybe when approaching a cement hubba down a 7-stair for a 50-50 you only lock in your front trucks and you slam your back knee on the coping.

Normally, messages in the nervous system move from one end of a nerve to its destination at a rate of about 268mph. All it takes is about the weight of a dime and for the nerve to be too taut or too slack to reduce the nerve’s efficiency by 60%. Imagine skating at only about 60% of your ability – do any skaters want that? Does any athlete want to do anything at 60% of their ability?

Professional skaters like Ryan Sheckler, Nyjah Huston, Danny Way, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Tony Hawk, and so many others have found the secret of chiropractic to take them to the next level in their careers and bring them back to the top of their game after injuries. You can level up your skating too – come into the office to see me to find out how. Skate or die ~Dr. Aaron