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Having the confidence to hit your local skatepark

If you’re new to the sport and want to master skateboarding, the local skatepark would seem the obvious place to start. But all new skateboarders face the fear of falling and embarrassing themselves in front of the more experienced skateboarders. It can get to the point where you are sitting or standing there just watching and feeling too overawed to get on your skateboard.

Yet the whole point of skateboarding is, of course, that it should be fun, and you don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines for ever. So here are some tips for getting stuck in:

• Just do it: Skateboarding is a more mental activity than you may have realised. It’s important to lose any lingering fear of what other boarders may think about you. To start off with, it makes sense to focus on what you do well, on having fun, and learning. Pick some of the easier obstacles to begin with. Perhaps focus on two or three tricks rather than trying to master 10.

• Turn up early: If you can bear to get up early, arriving at the stoppage before everyone else means you can practice without being distracted or feeling intimidated. By the time others start to show up, you should have grown in confidence.

• Practice. A lot: It may sound obvious, but it really is as simple as that. If you want the confidence to rock up at your local stoppage without feeling intimidated, you need to master your craft. That said, if you don’t conquer a trick after a couple of goes, try something else.

That’s not to say that you should take your skateboarding too seriously. Especially as a beginner, you don’t want to worry about getting spotted, sponsorship or (heaven forbid) getting paid. People get on their skateboards for the love of their sport, and so should you.

Having fun will cause you to feel less stressed and become more creative. This in turn will lead to a better mastery of the various tricks and improved style.

Finally, crashes and accidents happen to the best boarders. If you have one, don’t let it ruin your mood or your confidence – put it behind you quickly.

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