Extreme(balance challenged) Newbie impressions

  • @devon
    Thanks - that and Chris' other instructional videos are very helpful. Today, I practiced figure 8s and heel-up dismounts on my front lawn for an hour. Heading out now for more practice and maybe a ride around the neighborhood.

  • @mtntrails may the float be with you!

  • @readysetawesome I think you are missing the points here.

    1. I don't have enough balance to go far in a straight line, let alone do figure 8s.

    2. Doing the tv exercise is to make use of the time when it's too dark to train outside, and to build up muscles so that I CAN eventually do figure 8s.

    Check the title...EXTREME Newbies. This is a place for those of us who struggle with this. I am struggling...but still determined. There are plenty of threads for those who get this right away. I am not one of you, and I think there are some others like me. So please don't come here to make fun of us. We are doing the best we can. Thanks for understanding.

  • @wheelrich whey helped me was lean your body more less just feet to turn. Bend knees slightly when going strait to absorb any bump

  • @jbnerkg Thanks. I am doing the knee bend, no problem. Just very shaky on the side to side balance. I do fine on my balance board, which is 360, not just front to back. But some reason the OW is more difficult for me. I think it is partly because I can't move my feet, for fear of loosing sensor contact, and it throws me a little.

  • Day 4- at last, a little progress

    Early evening, and I am just taking a quick break from training, for a drink, and to post this update.

    Tonight I have been "circling the wagon". I parked my Jeep Unlimited Rubicon in the middle of my grassy backyard (very lumpy and uneven). I have been circling it over and over, touching the sides as I go for balance. I am actually starting to get moving a bit faster, and smoother. Started out on Cruz, then Mission, now Delirium. Delirium gives me the best power to get around the corners, and climb over uneven turf.

    Starting to get the feel of the board. I actually heard about this method from a youtube guy from Singapore, who said he used his car for the same purpose. Well my Jeep is a 4 door Wrangler, with very vertical sides to touch for balance without having to learn over.

    STANCE. I am still trying to find the most effective position for my feet, at least laterally. Since they hang over on both sides, I have a couple inches to play with either way. I only reposition them after I stop, not while I have the board activated.

    Anyway, lots of work ahead, but it is feeling more possible each day.

    OK, back to training....

    p.s. the ankle flex exercises I have been doing in front of the tv, using the board, are starting to pay off already. I recommend them. See my Newbie Indoor Exercise post.

  • Day 5- morning warmup- Gotta head out for some daytime duties, but wanted to get a quick morning warm up before I get ready to go, so I just did 20 laps around my Jeep. Tried Elevated for a couple, but ended up on Delirium. It is the one with the most power, so easier to get over the more lumpy parts of the yard, especially on the turns. Also practiced just swaying to and fro while balancing on the board. It's coming, little by little.

    Still using the Jeep for balance assistance, but picking up a little speed. Can feel it in my calves more. If I get home early enough I will do a longer session this evening.

  • Day 6- morning, more of the same
    The chores of life are catching up with me, so didn't have as much time to train, but I got a few Jeep laps in the morning before I headed out. Don't want to lose what progress I have made. Moving a little faster and making the corner turns smoother.

  • @wheelrich Have you tried pavement yet? Sounds like you spend a lot of time in the grass... Which is much trickier... I advise folks to spend about twenty minutes on hard dirt or grass and then move to pavement...

  • I agree. I started in grass when I received my XR yesterday and the difference between my bumpy yard and my driveway and neighborhood street was almost night and day. Way easier to control and (for me) learn all aspects on the pavement.

    Floating is awesome.

  • @reddog After initially trying grass, I tried my concrete carport (20X20). I did a couple sessions on it, but my feet were so shaky trying to balance that I went back to grass and circling my 4 door Jeep. There balance IS trickier, but I was able to get better movement and I am starting to develop some "board feel" and control now. I will probably go back to the concrete and see if I do better now. I also discovered yesterday that I had let out way too much air from the tire. Pumped it back to 15 psi. That may help as well. I know eventually I should go to 20, but in the beginning that seemed harder to balance with.

  • @wheelrich Thanks, but if you read thru my previous posts, you will see that "extreme newbie" means I am not in your class, where I can pick it up by just hitting pavement immediately. I am gaining balance over time...meaning days, not minutes or hours. I appreciate the encouragement, but I have encountered other people here and on other forums in my league. They too, are having difficulty that cannot be overcome as easily as most of the posters. And there are not many who will post about their learning difficulties (I don't mean all the nosedive stories-lots of those). Plenty who love to tell how easy it is. But it IS coming for me. I can start to tell a difference. I have the patience to get there.

  • Day 7- midday 100 degrees outside-

    New drill- I am back on the concrete pad of my 20X20 foot carport. This time I am using the rectangular steel posts as balancing checks. They are steel and spaced about 4 feet apart along the side.

    Still have the wobbles, but I am able to skip a post now and then. Going to and fro, so I am effectively learning switch at the same time. Still using delirium, full protective gear. Up until now I have ridden with both feet perpendicular to the sides. But now I have angled my front foot toward the end a bit. Seems to give me a little more stability and makes speed control easier. Wow, my feet and calves are even more sore than yesterday. I guess that means I am working at it with more movement.

    Disclaimer: Remember, these posts are for people who have some difficulty mastering the side to side balance issues. Talked to a guy yesterday who said it took him 2 weeks before he was comfortable on the board. So I have at least another week.

    OK, I am just stopping to post while I get a drink. Going back. Yes, it is 100 degrees, but I am pretty much in the shade.

    Addendum: 101 now. Went out for a few more reps. Already I am able to almost go the entire length without touching the posts for balance....almost, not quite. But it is progress.
    Tried a wider stance this time, by moving my back foot further back. It seemed to help a little, but it was harder to get a clean dismount this way. Got an aerobics class this afternoon. I will see how the calves hold up for that.

    Tomorrow- I start week 2.

  • If you want to learn how to go on a relaxing cruise, my suggestion: focus on going one direction at first. Don't keep switching, it makes it harder for your brain to learn the skill of "regular" which is a totally different skill than "goofy" - your brain needs separate space to process what you're learning in one mode vs the other. IMO you should also adjust foot position based on the direction you're traveling (front foot angled forward)..

  • Those wobbles will go away fast if you keep with it, each day, adding a few minutes. Welcome to the float life!

  • @readysetawesome I hear you, but I don't have a circle I can do on my carport pad, so the switch is really just backing up so I can go again. I thought about trying to repoint my feet each way, but decided, as you said, to concentrate on one main direction at a time, so I keep them planted for now.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  • WK2- Day 1-
    Doing 30 minute drills today. My toes start going numb just before that.

    Temp: 80s
    Mode: Mission. Have been riding delirium a lot but for cement, mission does seem smoother.
    Drill: Still doing my back and forth on my carport cement pad. 20 foot along the side, with rectangular metal posts every 4 feet. Yesterday I was able to skip a post now and then. Today I can randomly float almost the entire length. Still using the posts now and then to rebalance, but it is definitely better. Wobbles still there, but not as bad. Beginning to gain control.
    New: I have added some music. Up until now I didn't want any distractions. But now I find some Coldplay in the background helps me relax more on the board. Today I want to get in at least 3 30 minute sessions, as long as my feet and calves hold out.
    Goal: My current goal is to be able to hover like Chris Richardson giving a OW training lecture. In other words, total control. Then I will be ready to explore and get some real mileage in and head for the beach.

    What I've learned: Ok, this is my 2d week, but it feels more like week 1 should have. I spent several days trying different approaches and reading a lot of advice (some of it conflicting).

    If I were starting from the beginning now, I would do only 2drills, (not counting day one, in which it was a good idea to have a friend to walk me thru getting on and riding around in a circle, just to know what that felt like). 1) I would do the circle the Jeep drill. An old van would work even better, with nice vertical sides. But I would just circle it over and over, holding on as much as needed, and parked on the grass, for a softer landing. This helped me tremendously in just feeling how to push the board around (without worrying about falling), and also carving corners at each turn. 2) What I am doing now...riding on smooth cement...with something to brace against, when needed (posts). The goal here is developing balance, building calve and foot muscles and gaining control.

    ok, enough rest...back to the board.

    Session 2- Yep, I did another straight 30 mins on the board. Each time I feel more confident. Actually, I just think about it less and get caught up in the music. But I have achieved what I call an awkward balance...meaning I can balance without support, but I still have to make conscious adjustments. Once in awhile I can do it without thinking.

    So it is 96 degrees out right now and I am starting to feel it. Gonna take off my gear and go back later in the cooler evening time. The floating addiction is taking hold!

    Session 3- 40+ minutes and pumped the tire up to 18 (from 15). Toes going to sleep later now. I am doing more forceful side to side (i.e. forward and backward) pushes with my feet and legs. Kind of an exaggerated 'Chris Richardson' (which I mean as an 'omage, not a ridicule).

    Love the floaty feel to the music! float on

  • WK2- Day 2
    -morning 50 minute drill*, same routines as yesterday.

    (*when I started this thread with 30 minute practice sessions, that included a lot of pausing and restarting, etc. Now my 50 minutes are a solid 50 minutes on the board, usually nonstop.)

    -when I first start my drill I feel like I forgot all the progress I made the day before. it takes about 10 minutes of warm up to regain some confidence.

    -the best part of my drill is toward the end. I am really relaxing and following the music more. today I planned on sticking to 40 minutes, but ended up extending another 10. feet are lasting longer each day.

    -direction- I noticed watching many videos, that there are 2 predominant ways of riding, besides goofy and regular. one is to ride facing mostly sideways, and the other is to turn your front foot and body toward the front. I was trying to merge into the 2 one. a good example of this is Slydogstroh. He faces the front end of the board so much that he often raises his rear heal and rides on his toe. Yes, some ride in-between as well. My drills involve moving my body sideways over and over and trying aggressive braking and balancing. so today I quit trying to face forward and stuck with facing the side. Now I can push the board forward (my left side) and backward (my right side) with much more control and balance. It is not like riding switch at all. both directions seem more normal.

    -Goofy or not? Just before I made the previous discovery, I began to wonder if I am really a goofy rider. I have been riding regular, thinking that 26+ years with the Air Force have trained me to always step out on the left foot, so this is probably my dominant foot. but I have noticed that when I am going with my body side to side on my 20 foot cement pad, it seemed like I was able to steer better going backwards (i.e. goofy direction) than forwards. So I experimented and switched the board and tried riding goofy a few times. What I discovered was...it switched...now it was easier to ride in the regular direction than the goofy direction. So what happened? Well, I think it is because it is easier to steer with the "rear" foot than with the front foot, and when I am headed toward the "rear foot" direction, it is even easier. What this taught me is to use my rear foot even more for steering, especially going "forward". Makes sense when you consider all the carved out rear pads on the market. But, I had to learn it for myself.

    Still having a blast. Enjoying my daily routines. Gaining control and insight. Also, I notice that my body core is getting stronger, even tho I regularly do step aerobics and cycling.

    I know I may be the only one reading this anymore, but it serves me as a journal, and as an incentive to keep working on my board development until at last I am able to ride freely. I know I could try that now, but I am enjoying my "studio" approach and in no hurry. It is more than just covering distance and speed. I have been doing aerobics for decades and it is like that for me. But at that point I will probably stop doing this thread, or I will have to at least rename it.

    -float on

  • Good to hear you're improving...

    You're quite right it's easier to steer with the back foot... I found if I tried to steer with both I would get the wobbles. Once I started just with the back the board was much easier to control at speed (slow speed very sharp turns I use both, but that's a skill that comes later).

    My snowboarding experience ended in a lot of frustration and a broken tailbone. I was just given a board and told almost everyone rides regular. Turns out I ride goofy... probably would have been a different experience if I'd started right...

  • @reddog Thanks for the feedback. As you see above, I tried goofy just to be sure. I am fine in regular, tho.
    I was gone most of the day today, but I managed to get in a little just before dark, so just finished...

    WK2- Day 3
    -evening 40 minute drill on the carport again
    progress- wobbles are mostly gone now. ankles much stronger. balance steadily improving. made several back and forths unaided. I am getting good at braking and just swaying to and fro before moving on.
    observation- with improved balance I was surprised to find I was having some difficulty controlling my carving, especially carving to my backside. But I discovered that it was time to start facing in the direction I am going, letting one arm go to that side of the board and balancing with my whole body, not just my feet. Wow, what a difference! Now, I did not change my stance. Pretty much kept my feet parallel to each other and perpendicular to the board. But I was twisted a little toward whichever way I was going and balancing and turning more with slight movements of my arms. This still feels new, but it often gave me really good control.

    I don't want to put deadlines on myself, but in a few days I will have to look for a larger smooth surface to workout on...with no posts for backup. Actually, I almost don't need them now.

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