Learning an ollie doesn’t come naturally to everybody. Some struggle for months, even years and others pop an ollie within a few days. There is a way to speed things up but it requires you to be patience
On average it takes between a couple of weeks and 6 months to learn an ollie. It also depends on how long you practice each day. Some practice for 3 hours and others for 1 hour. The fastest way to learn an ollie is by making sure you cover the basics first. Cruise around, practice kickturns, manuals, and then move on to ollies.
Grasping the concept of an ollie is one of the biggest challenges to new skaters. It’s fundamental to learn if you want to become a skilled skater, many tricks are based on the ollie. Let’s look at how you can speed up the progress, why you might be struggling and the difference between ollieing while moving and stationary.
Ollieing While Moving
Ollieing while moving is the best way to master this trick. Now, before you say “this is much harder” you need to think about why you think that is. This fear has often to do with you not being familiar with your board. Now I already covered this subject recently over here, but let’s address this issue once more.
Ollieing while moving is actually easier if you know how to ride. Doing tricks while moving makes it easier to roll when you fall and your brain and muscles can adapt to the movement of your board. Sure, it will take some time to ride a skateboard properly, but in the end, you’ll progress much faster.
There’s a difference between managing to jump a couple of inches off the ground, and ollieing with style and confidence. The reality is that you always need to keep learning and improve your technique.
The biggest mistake new skaters make is by immediately going for ollie and kickflips. It will take you much longer to master the trick. Sure you’ll be able to get your board off the ground but you’ll probably lack style and are more likely to injure yourself.
The thing is if you do an ollie while not moving the risk of rolling an ankle increases. There’s only one way to go and that is down. When you move you can compensate for a fall by distributing the energy like rolling of sliding on your kneepads.
Make sure you actually know how to ride a board. It will take you so much longer to learn ollies and they will just look sketchy.
How Often Should You Practice an Ollie?
The more you practice the better, but there are times when you need to stop and let your brain and muscles adjust to memorize the movements. It sometimes helps to take a break and focus on something else like a shove it or manuals. If you feel frustrated or demotivated, it’s often a good idea to go to a different spot or practice other tricks.
I remember days when I just couldn’t get a kickflip down and get frustrated. I took a break and just popped it right away the next day. Weird how that works, but I guess my body and brain needed some time to process the movements.
Practice, practice, practice! You will fail, you will fall but in the end, it builds up character.
Mastering an ollie
Let’s take a look at how you pop an ollie. In essence, it’s just pop, slide, leveling, and landing on the bolts. it’s scary at first but that’s part of skateboarding, overcoming fear, commitment and the rush of adrenaline when you land a trick. Check the path you’re about to ride for objects like small pebbles, glass, twigs or anything that might block your wheels.
Use your feet, core, arms, legs, and shoulders (basically your whole body) to balance. People often forget it’s not just about popping your kicktail and sliding your front foot. Remember that you never stop to improve your ollie, you get better and better over time. lastly, wear proper skate shoes. You’re not getting anywhere on your runners
Where to Start
Before you even kick your tail, just stand on your board and jump up and land on your board. It will make you familiar with the feeling of jumping on a skateboard. Once you feel comfortable, do the same thing while moving. This will also get you familiar with the Hippy Jump. At some point, you are ready to move on but make sure you feel in control.
Popping Your Tail
Time to pop that kicktail. I’m sure you are familiar with foot placement (back foot on the end of the kicktail, front in the middle or close to the front bolts). Make sure your back foot can sticks out a bit, it’s way easier to pop a board this way.
Anyway, gently push at moderate speed and jump of your back foot, this is where you really need to commit. Your kicktail should pop a little. If you hesitate, you’ll fail. If you just can’t commit you might not be ready.
Leveling Your Board
Just as you popped your tail it’s time to level your board. This requires you to slide your front foot which will lift your board. Right after you slide it’s time to even out your board by lifting up your back foot.
If you truly commit this will happen anyway but you can ollie higher if you lift your back foot even more. Don’t forget to push your front (nose) forward when you slide your front foot, it will raise your kicktail.
A proper landing saves your board and possibly yourself. Landing in the middle could snap your board in half and you need to be balanced in order to stay on your board.
gravity will help you to return to the ground but don’t forget to extend your feet and bend your knees. You should also be right above your board. Slightly to the left or right might result in a sketchy landing. Land on or near your bolts and bend your knees.
You can always bail a couple of times to get used to the feeling but at some point, you really need to commit. That’s it in theory, but reading won’t help you learn to ollie.
- Landing ahead of your board? You’re probably leaning forward too much. Try to lean a bit more backward and see what happens.
- If you struggle to get height, make sure you are actually jumping and popping your tail.
- If your board goes vertical it means you’re not sliding your front foot enough. Pop and slide!
- If your board flies out in front of you, try to lean forward. It’s often a commitment issue.
- If you’re scared, commit! Falling helps to overcome your fear because you realize it’s not that bad.
Is it Hard to Ollie?
By now you should probably know its easier to ollie when you know the basics. The ollie is a fundamental trick that is hard to learn at first. Popping a deck and sliding your front foot feels very awkward and uncomfortable, it just takes a lot of practice.
Some will learn faster than others but dedication and perseverance is part of skateboarding, no one can ollie with style on the first day. So get out there and practice, check what others do and ask for tips.
The time it takes to learn an ollie depends on how often you skate, the environment and your basic skill set. Usually, someone who only skates 1 hour doesn’t progress as fast as someone who rides a board 2 or 3 hours a day.
If you’re struggling, it might be a good idea to do some easier tricks first. Check out my easy beginner tricks, not only do they look great once you master them you’re ready for advanced tricks.
There are always exceptions, some skateboarders progress fast which makes you wonder why you don’t progress as fast as they do. Often these riders are already comfortable riding a skateboard, they learned how to cruise, do kickturns and feel comfortable riding up and down obstacles. And there’s always this guy that is way ahead of the curve.
Don’t let that discourage you just ask for tips, there’s always someone that wants to 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.