The turning problem #2

Last updated: 2023/06/17

Why does my Ollie turn?

Either popping wrong or closing shoulders midair could turn your Ollie.

You are popping down straight downward and sliding your front foot straight forward. But your board turns in the air. Why?

In general, we say our board turns because we open our shoulders. But couldn't that be the other way around? I mean, what if it's because you kick the ground in a certain way that your shoulders open, especially when you are not intentionally opening your shoulders and don't know why that's happening?


Why does an Ollie turn?

It's either because you are opening your shoulders and giving your board horizontal rotation or closing your shoulders midair and letting your legs rotate in the other direction.

What to do?

Lift your body straight up. You don't even have to pop the tail while practicing this. Have your shoulder angle fixed at an angle where you feel comfortable (it doesn't have to be parallel to your board) and jump straight up.


Hit the icon to initiate 3D simulation. **If you can't see a blue arrow, please zoom out a little and you'd see it.

X Axis

Y Axis

New: Convert your video into 3D
Loading page... 0


Is it really because of shoulders?

When I started practicing Ollies, I used to question the causality between the angle of shoulders and this "turning problem" I thought, "is it really because I'm turning my shoulders that my board turns?" "Or is there something I'm missing that turns my shoulders and my board?" Let's think about that scientifically.

Although popping and sliding ARE essential in Ollies, you might forget another important aspect in Olles by focusing on them too much: the weight distribution.

How weight distribution could turn your board

In the previous video, we saw how your front foot could turn your board when you lean back.

As you do so, your body has to bring your front foot under it to support its weight, bringing the nose of your board with it and eventually turning your board.

Case study

When an Ollie turns without leaning back

Then one of my fellow skaters sent me this video, pointing out his board turns even when he's not leaning back.

It seems his body's center of gravity stays over his board. But as his Ollie comes to its end, his board mysteriously starts turning.

It's especially his back foot: it seems it pushes the tail forward and turns his board.

Opening shoulders turns your board

Why is this happening? As you might have realized, ultimately, it's because of his shoulders.

If you open your shoulders when you jump up, it gives a horizontal rotation to your body and board.

But I'm sure he is NOT intentionally turning his shoulders. There must be something that's making him turn his shoulders.

Closing shoulders turns your board, too!

Before talking about what makes him turn his shoulders, let's think about another factor: action and reaction.

Your board may turn when you close your shoulders mid-air due to the conservation of rotational energy. When you spin your upper body in one direction in the air, your body tries to maintain the total amount of energy by turning your legs in the other direction. In his case, I think he's doing a little bit of both.

Summary of cause

In either case, opening your shoulders is a cause of the problem. So what do you do? Should you just try to fix your shoulders' angle and commit as hard as possible?

Let's not say that and analyze what makes you open your shoulders so we can find a way to deal with this problem effectively.

Why do your shoulders open?

Reason #1 Due to instinctive reaction

The simplest reason is that it is how we jump in general. When we jump and land, it is much more comfortable when we are facing forward.

Your body may open up spontaneously due to this reason.

Reason #2 Because your body weight shifts back and forth

As you crouch, your body axis generally leans forward. Jumping from that position might unintentionally cause a sort of "screw effect."

As you raise your body's axis and kick down the ground simultaneously, you horizontally push the ground. Since your back foot cannot move the earth, your body needs to find a way to disperse the horizontal energy you just generated. Therefore, the energy travels through your body and eventually turns your shoulders.

So, in this case, opening your shoulders is not a cause of the problem; it is more like an effect of swinging your body axis back and forth.

Plus, whether your body's center of mass is on the heel side or not does not necessarily have to do with this symptom. As long as you swing your body axis, this symptom persists.

Reason #3 Focusing too much on the slide

As you practice Ollies, the slide of your front foot is the part that stands out the most. But you might practice it with your shoulders open to see how your front foot moves clearly.

If you get over-accustomed to this feeling, you might wind up opening your shoulders when you slide up your front foot in the air.

What to do

Lift your body straight up

You can avoid all these problems by doing one thing: try lifting your body straight up. You don't even have to pop the tail while practicing this. Make sure to have your shoulders fixed at an angle where you feel comfortable and lift your body as is. By doing this, you can deal with all the problems at once.

Effect on "Reason #1 Due to instinctive reaction"

You can find and memorize a posture suitable for your body structure. Without leaving your board, you can do it more safely and efficiently.

Effect on "Reason #2 Because of the "screw effect" due to weight distribution"

You can practice raising your body while keeping your body's center of gravity directly over your board. Make sure to avoid swinging out your body axis and try to crouch and jump up over your board.

Effect on "Reason #3 Focusing too much on the slide"

You can avoid opening your shoulders due to the same reason.


With that said, you may think you can't slide your front foot effectively with your front shoulder blocking your sight. But think about it this way: Sliding of your front foot is a by-product of your body going up. Your front foot will follow your body and go up with it.

What's important is to avoid letting your front foot blocks the nose from going up. If you successfully allow your body to go up, your front foot follows it, and it will be able to push the nose forward when it reaches the top of the parabola.

Once again, lift your body straight up and pop after that. It will NOT ONLY help you pop the tail more effectively BUT ALSO help you avoid turning your board.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *