Learning to kickflip is hard for most new skaters, it takes quite some coordination and feels very awkward at first. If you struggle to learn to kickflip make sure you covered the basics and feel comfortable on a skateboard.
Given that you are familiar with your skateboard it can take between a few weeks, months, or even years before you can do a kickflip. The more you practice the sooner you will land your first kickflip. Practice every day, make sure you master the basics, and gradually build up your trick portfolio before you attempt to flip your board.
One common mistake new skaters make is to immediately practice kickflips, often they can’t even ollie or manual properly. It will take you a long time to properly flip your board if you think you can turn pro in a few weeks.
Kickflip While Moving
This may seem unnatural but it’s easier to learn a kickflip while riding. The end goal is to kickflip while moving so why not start there? If you practice without moving you need to learn it all over again when in motion because it’s completely different.
For starters, your brain needs to adjust to the movement and make a guess when it’s time to catch the board and land. There is quite a discrepancy if you think about it. It’s all theory though, some might disagree and some will agree but I feel like it’s a solid argument.
Another factor is learning how to fall properly, it’s really hard to properly roll when you’re not moving and it’s easier to control your fall when you’re moving. The only way to learn is the hard way, no one said skateboarding is easy.
I pretty much covered this already but let’s have a look at a few more downsides and perhaps benefits of learning a kickflip while not moving.
Skaters that learn tricks stationary often aren’t ready. They spend an hour or so trying to balance and push a board and immediately go for tricks, this is not the way.
Not only will you increase the risk of injuring yourself and become demotivated, jumping right into tricks means you skipped the basics and progression will be much slower in the long run.
One could say that learning tricks stationary is beneficial to get a bit of a feeling of how a trick works. While this is true, landing a trick moving is completely different and requires more focus and a different way of balancing.
In short, make sure you know how to ride a board comfortably before you even attempt a trick. Jumping right into the action will only make it harder to master a kickflip.
How Often Should You Practice?
If you look at the stories from professional skaters they all have one thing in common, they practiced for hours every day. In some extreme cases, they skated for 7 hours straight and even in the middle of the night, like Rodney Mullen for example. Everyone starts from scratch and has to learn how to skateboard properly.
As long as your body can handle it and you’re having fun you can practice as much as you possibly can. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and do some other tricks in between to keep yourself focussed and motivated. Just keep practicing, that first time you land it is such a great feeling!
Mastering a Kickflip
Let’s take a look at how to kickflip properly. In essence, it’s just pop, kick, catch, and landing near the bolts. It’s a weird feeling at first but you’ll get used to it in time.
Often people land on just their back foot and some just on the front. This usually has to do with a lack of commitment. At some point, you just need to go for it and land with both of your feet.
Kickflip Stance and Body Position
Right, it’s better to just try than reading but I’ll attempt to explain what it takes. A bit of theory won’t hurt but in the end you have to train that muscle memory.
A kickflip is just a modified ollie and stance is really important to keep your body in the right position and place your feet properly on the deck. Don’t lean left or right, you should stay above your board at all times. So give you board a slight push and assume the proper kickflip stance.
- Make sure to place your front foot slightly off the board at an angle, this will help you to kick in the right direction. You backfoot should be near the edge of your tail before you pop your deck.
- Pop your board by kicking the tail firmly using your back foot, just like an ollie, then use your front foot to drag the nose diagonally up and kick your front foot out, it should all be in your toes, not your entire foot.
- If everything goes well your board will flip and it’s time to retract your front foot. Ideally, you would catch your board when it levels out with both feet at the same time. This will only work if your body is properly above your board.
- Once you land, slightly bend your knees to absorb the impact.
- Landing with just your back foot is usually caused because you’re turning your front shoulder, keep them shoulders straight!
- Jumping forward instead of up
- Pop and flip separation, as soon as you pop your tail your front foot should already be sliding. Don’t pop and then flip.
- Don’t flip down your board with your front foot. It will result in landing primo or best case scenario just landing on one foot.
- Leaning forward too much, make sure the line up your shoulder with your board.
- Putting your feet to close together, you don’t need that much sliding in order to flip the board. Placing your front feet just below the front bolts is fine.
Is it Hard to Kickflip?
Yes, it is hard and it will take a lot of practice before you pop them like a pro. You’ll probably spend your entire life improving your kickflip, but that’s what makes it fun right?
Some learn faster than others, there is always that kid that pops them in a week and you’re just wondering how someone can learn something so complex in such a short time. Usually, it’s because the covered the basics but some people are just very talented.
Is a Heelflip Easier Than a Kickflip?
Some say that a heelflip is a bit easier as it requires less technique. Others say a kickflip is easier so I guess this is about personal preference. Some learn to heelflip first and others go straight to kickflips and never bother to even learn a heelflip. Why not both though?
Just go with what feels the most comfortable to you personally and don’t be distracted by opinions on what is easier or harder.
How long it takes to learn a kickflip depends on your skill level, how often you ride, and your commitment. If you have the luxury to skate hours each day you will master a kickflip sooner than someone who only skates on the weekends.
It’s okay to take a break once every while, it shouldn’t be a frustrating experience and sometimes it’s smart to walk away and try again the next day or do a couple of other tricks you like to keep yourself motivated.
Sometimes it takes some time for your body and brain to process the movements, it’s like those days when you just can’t nail anything down and the next day you pop a trick immediately, weird how that works.
Don’t compare yourself to others, just focus on you. Ask for tips from other skaters, usually, they will gladly help you out.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.