Skater trainers: why and when to use wheel stoppers

January 12, 2021 | Skateboarding
Skater trainers: a plastic device that prevents skateboard wheels from rolling | Photo: SkaterTrainer

Do skater trainers work? Are they useful for beginners? How can they help new skateboarders learn and improve the basic tricks fast?

What are skater trainers?

Skater trainers are an accessory that is often used by beginner skateboarders to build confidence and learn tricks faster.

What do skater trainers do?

The tool, also known as skateboard trainers or skate trainers, is a small, square-shaped plastic device that holds the wheel and prevents it from rolling.

Once they're locked in place, the skateboard won't move and slip while the rider is practicing a trick.

Skater trainers usually help kids and adults safely practice skateboarding's fundamental tricks, including the ollie and the pop shove-it.

It is similar to learning how to ride a bike with training wheels - they stay in place all the time and hold up pretty well.

They are also useful for finding balance on a skateboard, training muscle memory, and improving coordination.

Some beginner riders prefer to start pushing on the board.

Skater trainers: a confidence-building tool for beginner skateboarders | Photo: SkaterTrainer

Building Confidence

But skater trainers can really accelerate the learning curve by allowing novice skaters not to worry so much about flying out and hurting themselves.

The fear of committing to a new trick - because beginners are afraid of falling - is a mental block that unconsciously hinders new skaters from learning the basics of the sport.

Skater trainers will help you get over the fear of landing on the board.

First-timers also try the basic tricks on grass or carpet, but the problem is that on grass and carpet, it is harder to pop.

Training basic tricks on cracks is also a popular technique.

However, when you pop, the wheels will slide out, and that is potentially dangerous for someone who is just starting.

So, skater trainers help build confidence and make skateboards seem less intimidating before transitioning to rolling wheels.

Wheel stoppers eliminate the fear factor before actually learning a trick on a regular skateboard.

They allow you to practice any maneuver while stationary without the fear of slipping out and breaking bones.

Skater trainers: they will help beginners learn how to ollie faster | Photo: SkaterTrainer

Training Tricks Safely

Can you ride with skater trainers? No. They were made to prevent the wheels from rolling across the ground.

An experienced sidewalk surfer will feel more difficult to step on a skateboard with skater trainers on because he or she is used to wheels rolling freely across the ground.

Nevertheless, they could be useful for practicing and improving complex and advanced tricks that require a lot of stability and quality landings.

Eventually, beginners will take skateboard trainers off and learn how to ollie and kickflip without them.

Are skater trainers worth it? And do they work? Yes. They are definitely recommended.

They're cheap, easy to install, and will save you a lot of time practicing and learning new tricks and maneuvers.

Most skateboard instructors encourage people learning for the first time to use skater trainers.

They keep the optimal pop you get from concrete and allow you to spin/flip the skateboard in any direction.

Are there any downsides associated with skater trainers? Not many.

One of the things that can happen is that sometimes the wheels will land slightly crooked making the skateboard wiggle back and forth.

But that isn't a valid reason for not trying them out.

How expensive are skate trainers? They cost around $26.

How To Install Skater Trainers

How do you put skate trainers on? It's extremely easy to insert them on and take them off the wheels.

The first thing you need to do is stretch them out. Don't worry - they won't break. Then, pop them on all four wheels.

Once your training session is over, you can take them off in a few seconds. Unless your skateboard wheels are huge, these stoppers will always fit.

Here's how to install and remove the skateboard wheel stoppers:

1. Set the skateboard on your lap with the wheels facing up;

2. Grab the outside of the skater trainers and stretch them out;

3. Pull them over the wheels;

To remove skater trainers, all you need to do is pull hard until they come out.

Skater trainers: easy to put on and take off | Photo: SkaterTrainer

Skater Trainers versus Tennis Balls

There are several cheap alternatives to skater trainers. One of the most popular substitutes is the tennis ball.

All you have to do is cut two tennis balls in half and slip them over the skateboard's wheels.

The first thing that you'll notice is that the wheel will still roll when you're pushing the board. However, while stationary, you will be able to ollie, and the wheels won't move back and forth too much.

So, in the end, tennis balls mimic the skater trainers' work and could be a cheap alternative, but are not as good as the plastic wheel stoppers.