How to do a backflip

Trying to figure out how to impress the cute girl you met in the bar last night? Try casually busting out one of these laid-out backflips and you may just get laid yourself… The backflip is one of those timeless tricks that everyone should have in their arsenal but many are too scared to try. Most riders who can do them (Aimee Fuller included) will tell you that they’re actually fairly straightforward to get to grips with and that something like a much less scary frontside 360 is technically a harder trick. Here’s Elias Elhardt showing us how to get them dialled in the latest Relentless Energy Pro Tip.

We can’t promise that you’ll be chucking double ones like the one in Elias’ full part anytime soon but if you can muster up the courage to give these a try on a powder day, you may just surprise yourself. Our tip? Try it off a powder kicker first, not the iciest jump in the park.

1. With that caveat over and done with, this trick is totally in the mind. There is not a huge amount to learn in the way of technique, it is literally a ‘throw and see’ move. The best backflip jumps have a steep take off, and ideally you want a nice steep landing too.

2. On the run up, stay low as always, and the most important thing here is to relax. As you approach the kicker, imagine yourself simply leaning back and throwing your arms and head back, aiming to look back and over to where the tail of your board should be.

3. If you throw yourself too early then you will end up losing all the kick of the jump and doing a much smaller air than you had planned (which could be disastrous!) so time your spring with the end of the jump.

4. The single most important thing to remember when learning any kind of flip is that your body will follow where your eyes are looking, so a sudden change of heart at any moment will get you into big trouble. So, at the lip of the kicker you need to really commit to it – extending your legs to pop, throwing up your arms and leaning back. Keep looking over! Don’t turn your head left or right, just keep looking that way. You’ll be much safer if you continue through the rotation, so go with it.

5. As you start to take off you want to square your shoulders up to the jump. This means that your flip will be straight up and over – if you look to the side or dip either of your shoulders then you will rotate slightly off axis.

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6. The hardest part is done. You’ve committed to the flip and, just like a backside 360, you will be able to spot your landing from halfway round. This allows you the luxury of controlling the rotation speed: if you are over rotating then you can straighten your body out to slow yourself down, and if you are under rotating then you can tuck up and speed the rotation, simple as that.

7. Now set down the landing gear. If you’ve naturally squared your shoulders to the jump like this version, then you also need to re-align your board so it’s pointing straight downhill. Absorb the impact with your knees and keep riding straight until you’re back in control.

8. Phew! You’ve just stomped your first backflip, and the crowd are going wild…

Day 3: My First Back Flip Attempt

After the first two days focusing just on fundamentals to build up my understanding of the skill and boost my confidence, it’s time to try my first back flip without a spotter.

I warm up with some jumps and rolls, and feel pretty good about my understanding of the timing and how much of a jump I need to make the flip.

My coach spots me on a couple of flips on a higher surface (flipping onto a lower surface), and again it feels OK.

We then head over to the foam pit for me to try out my skills—and this is where it all goes wrong.

On my first attempt, I do OK. I didn’t jump as high as I needed to, but got enough rotation to make it around into the pit, not landing on my feet but not landing on my head either. The second attempt is worse. Despite knowing better, I jump even less, and somehow barely even make it around. Each attempt after that gets worse and worse, until I’m thoroughly spooked and feel like I’m going to hit my face on the edge of the track (which is actually kind of hard to do).

About five tries in, my coach tells me to call it a day, and I’m feeling frustrated and disappointed in myself. Why can’t I just do what I know I know how to do? Why is going backwards so hard for me? I know the biggest problem with my attempts was that I wasn’t fully committing to the jump.

If you jump high enough, it’s pretty likely you’ll make it over. But without the jump, there’s just no hope. The most frustrating thing to me was that I knew it wasn’t a lack of jumping strength that was holding me back—just my own irrational fear about jumping high enough and actually committing to the flip.

I try and keep positive, but I’m definitely discouraged. I eat some blueberry, almond, dark chocolate snack squares (new flavor this year! Yum!) to keep my moral up as I drive home. The real fruit and whole nuts in each square nestled in dark chocolate is just what I needed at at only 40 calories per square is a great post-workout snack.

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Day 4: Visualizing Success

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the power of visualization, so before I go into today’s lesson, I did the following:

  • I watched several videos on YouTube of people successfully doing back flips.
  • I closed my eyes and pictured myself doing a back flip just like the ones I saw in the videos.
  • I then tried to visualize and actually feel myself doing the back flip, from the jump to the rotation to the landing.

This helped a little with my confidence, but I was still a bit nervous going in to this lesson. My goal is to stay positive as much as possible though, so whenever fearful thoughts come into my head, I try not to focus on them and work on replacing them with non-fearful thoughts (aka “I’m going to land on my head” turns into “I know I can jump high enough to make the flip”).

As usual, this lesson started off with basic warm up skills (cartwheels, roundoffs, kicks, stuff like that), then I spend some time jumping up onto the mat like before. I specifically notice that any time I’m a little lazy jumping up I don’t make it, but anytime I actually jump and commit, I make it without any problem at all.

Those went pretty well, so next up my coach wants to go to the big trampoline. I feel a pang of nervousness but try and ignore it. The trampoline is huge and soft, I’m not going to hurt myself! Still, my anxiety level goes up a bit.

He goes up on the trampoline with me, and I start jumping. On three, he spots me as I do the flip. It feels ok. I do another, and notice that I’m not jumping nearly as high as I was when I was jumping onto the mat, which is why on the second try I don’t quite land on my feet. Still, it’s fun and I have a giant smile on my face. My anxiety level goes down a bit as I start to trust his spotting help more.

After a few successful attempts with him spotting less and less, he tells me to do it on my own this time. I want to freeze, to run off the trampoline, to say I’m not ready… but I don’t. I say OK and start jumping. He tells me to go on three. I jump, honestly not knowing if I will jump on three or if I’ll chicken out.

On three, I actually jump. I jumped! I tucked my legs up but didn’t quite jump high enough so landed on my knees rather than my feet. But I did it! And didn’t land on my head!

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At this point I’m pretty excited, and feel just a little more confident. I try again. I land on my feet this time! It may not have been the most beautiful back flip ever, but I did it. Not only that, I followed up with five or so more before he told me to take a break. I can’t seem to wipe the smile off my face.

For some people, a back flip on a trampoline is no big deal. But for me, this was a huge step forward. I know I have a while before I’ll be able to do a back flip on the floor (my ultimate goal), but getting my first trampoline flip is a huge confidence boost for me at this point in my back flip journey. Plus, every try is a step towards being your best. I’m feeling encouraged as I leave the gym almost bouncing off the walls.

I eat some mixed berry, almond, and dark chocolate goodnessknows (also new this year! Find them here) on my way home because hey, time to celebrate!

Day 6: Getting Closer

I’m a little tentative today but feeling determined. My coach is back and after a few jumps he spots me a couple of times. I soon feel pretty confident and keep doing a bunch even after he leaves to work with other students.

I fall a few times, but it’s no big deal and I leave once again with a big smile on my face.

Now it’s Your Turn!

I hope my struggles to overcome my fears and challenge myself to become a stronger person have inspired you guys to take on your own big fear and better yourself in 2017.

What do you want to accomplish? What big dreams or goals have been nagging you for some time now but seem just a little too far out of reach?

It doesn’t have to be something as big as a back flip—but if it feels just a little too impossible, that’s a good thing. If it scares you, that probably means it’s worth going after.

So along with goodnessknows we’re challenging you to try something new in 2017 and share your tries by leaving a comment on our Instagram post and tagging @gksnacksquares and #tryalittlegoodness for a chance to win awesome swag and goodnessknows! Giveaway begins now and ends January 31, 2016 at midnight EST. Winners will be selected at random and contacted via Instagram direct message. Must be 18+ and live in the U.S.

Dream big, athletes!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of goodnessknows. The opinions and text are all mine.

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