Balance training is an important part of improving your snowboarding skills or even preparing yourself to learn to snowboard. Unfortunately, we start to lose our ability to balance after age 25 and we need to exercise to maintain it. Improving balance will help anyone from beginner level riders, all the way to expert. The better your balance is, the more comfortable and confident you will feel when you take it to the snow. That said, snowboarding and other winter sports require a level of “dynamic” balance. Not just balancing while standing still, but maintaining balance in a changing environment by quickly adjusting to the changes.
Which balance board should I choose?
There are many different options when it comes to choosing a balance board. Many are based on the cylinder or roller style. These are limited to two dimensional back and forth motion. Others include a stationary approach, where the user balances on various shapes or inflatable cushions. These are ok for static balance, but standing still can get boring after a while. It also does not really address the needs of dynamic balance that we previously addressed. Why not incorporate a fun balance trainer that improves more than just your balance? Have you ever noticed how olympic snowboarders twist their upper body as they leave the lip of the jump to initiate the spin or flip? Then pay attention as they fly through the air and spin. They are always looking ahead, leading with their upper body, aware of their position as they rotate. This is called spatial awareness. It is extremely important in successfully completing these tricks on any scale from 360 to 1440. What we see the kids doing these days is far beyond anything you can practice in your home, or even imagine for most of us. In fact, it blows my mind that real people are exceeding tricks that were difficult to accomplish on video games when I was younger. Although, riding at such a level is beyond anything us normal people think about, it all starts with basic mechanics of initiating motion. The dynamic nature of the Whirly Board actually trains your body to learn these mechanics properly. It helps you maintain your center of balance and establish a sense of familiarity with rotation. The Whirly also helps prepare you to be quick on your feet and improvise in the event A trick is not going as planned.
How the Whirly Board has Helped me:
I personally learned snowboarding mechanics the hard way. The first time I tried a 360 on my snowboard I landed on my face and got a bloody nose because I was thrown off axis. I did not apply the proper mechanics of initiating the spin because I had never tried it before.
Before Whirly Board
- Zero Spatial Awareness
- Always thrown off axis
I had zero spatial awareness because I had never been able to practice spinning in a controlled environment. As I continued to struggle with spinning through my board riding life, eventually that difficulty is what led me to create the Whirly Board. At this point I have spun so many 360, 540s and 720s on the Whirly Board, the motion has become second nature. I have achieved a level of comfort that seemed impossible years ago. I know exactly how to initiate the spin and I know exactly where I am as I progress through the rotation. I know when the landing is coming, how much further I need to rotate before it gets there, and I can prepare for it because I have practiced the motion many times over in the comfort of my basement using a Whirly Board. Go ahead improve your skills too, give it a Whirl.