How to drop in on a skateboard

December 1, 2020 | Skateboarding
Drop in: a fundamental skateboarding technique | Photo: Shutterstock

Dropping in is one of the fundamental techniques of skateboarding. It requires correct body positioning and total commitment from the skater.

Technically speaking, dropping in on a skateboard is not difficult, and the move opens up a new, broad range of skating opportunities.

However, beginners are often scared of throwing themselves over the ledge. And that's perfectly normal and understandable.

They get to the top, look down for the first time, think twice, and quickly abandon the idea. The good news is that once they nail it, fear is no longer part of the equation.

Dropping in is an easy trick. The most crucial variable is mental preparation - you've got to fully commit to it.

From a physical perspective, everything's quite simple. It's 10 percent skills and 90 percent determination.

If you're not comfortable with immediately going for it, make it a step-by-step process. Don't worry.

First things first - put on a helmet.

Start practicing the drop-in technique by jumping on your skateboard when it is stationary.

Run and jump onto your board to train your brain to keep your weight forward and avoid falling off. When you're comfortable with that movement, try dropping in on a curb.

Then, move to mellow bank ramps. They're less steep and easier to ride and help you figure out how to deal with the bottom transition.

You can also try it out at a skatepark's mini ramp or the bottom of a regular half-pipe, pumping back and forth and going higher and higher.

If you can get to the coping, you're basically dropping in, but without the classic drop from the top.

You can even try it on flat ground or a little hill - just get all weight on the back foot and then put it onto your front foot.

Once you're acquainted with the steepness of the different surfaces and the balance and your confidence builds, start working your way up on more challenging angles.

The trick to a good drop-in is keeping your body weight forward on the skateboard as you go down a half-pipe, quarter-pipe, ramp, or bowl.

Dropping in on a skateboard: 10 percent skills, 90 percent commitment | Photo: Shutterstock

Drop-in 101

Let's break down the easiest way to drop in on a skateboard:

1. Lock in the board to the coping with your back foot placed square on the tail and the nose sticking out over the ramp;

2. Gently place your front foot centered above the bolts and just below the nose of the board;

3. Drop your front shoulder down, and confidently shift your weight to the front foot;

4. Let your body swing and lean forward while keeping the board level;

5. Bend your front knee, let your front foot come down, and transfer your weight to the nose of the board;

6. Slam the front wheels down in the ramp;

7. Roll down;

8. Before reaching the transition, remember to balance your weight out evenly between both feet;

Commitment Is Key

The drop-in process should be performed in a quick motion.

Don't overthink it. Do not question yourself. Don't spend minutes on top of the ramp gaining the courage to drop in.

Commit to the drop without hesitations. Otherwise, the board will shoot out, and you'll slip out and hurt yourself.

Obviously, if you do it too fast, you'll nosedive and fall straight to the ground.

In other words, do not put your back foot too far toward the edge of the tail, and don't put your front too far down toward the center or too far up toward the nose.

Focus on shifting your body weight forward and pressing the nose down relatively fast.

"Dropping in is a mind game. For almost every skater, dropping in is something of a rite of passage," underline Per Welinder and Peter Whitley, authors of "Mastering Skateboarding."

"When you can't do it, it hangs on you like a curse. After you can do it, you feel liberated and ready to explore mini ramp tricks at whatever pace you like."

The biggest challenge of dropping in is facing the fear of falling.

Beginners tend to lean backward as they drop in, but that's a fear response mechanism that you should avoid.

Ensure you stomp hard on the front wheels quickly and keep your eyes focused on the area you want to reach.

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