Although this may sound like one of the most beginner tutorials we have ever made, keeping your head up is a super important skill in snowboarding that many of us still fall victim to. While it may not seem like it will affect your riding, it can be one of the biggest area's of failure for beginner and experienced snowboarders alike.
(Narrating/Riding: Duncan Mainland and Nev Lapwood. Film/Edit: Vince Emond. Filmed At: Whistler Blackcomb)
Why Is Looking Down Bad?
When you look down at the ground, or your snowboard, it puts all the weight of your head and shoulders forward, making it super difficult to keep your balance.
An unbalanced position means you will continue to fall over.
Notice how Duncan cannot maintain his balance and continues to fall over, it's because he's not in a balanced position. Have you ever had someone knock you over while you are strapping in? Don't worry, it's not just because they are a piece of dirt, it's because you're not in a balanced position when strapping in.
Base Of Support
Your feet and snowboard are what you're balancing on and is your base of support. Your head and shoulders are fairly heavy, so you'll want to keep them stacked over your base of support as much as you can.
Head up and a centered, balanced stance.
This means you are able to see where you're going and has a huge impact on your balance and how well you are able to ride.
Science Of Balance
We have three systems that work together to keep us balanced, one of them is of course your vision. Try this: Stand on one leg and look straight ahead with both eyes open. Unless you are a complete clutz, it's fairly easy to maintain balance. Now, close your eyes. Did you notice how much harder it became to balance? You may not have fallen, but you are probably wobbling a lot more than before.
Eye's closed + standing on one leg = not so balanced.
This is because your brain is not receiving the visual information of your surroundings. Therefore, you can only rely upon the inner ear and muscular systems for balance which are not as effective as the visual system.
Look, You're Snowboarding!
The same thing happens when you are looking down at the ground while snowboarding. You're not seeing what's happening around you and therefore not providing all the necessary information to your brain. In turn, you're limiting your ability to balance.
Lift that head and see what you've been missing out on.
Lift up that chin and straighten your back to keep your head up while snowboarding. Keeping your head up not only improves your snowboarding posture and balance, but it also allows you to gather more information while snowboarding. Win, Win, Win!
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