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Instructional "How-to" Videos - The low-down on learning to skate from your TV set

Worth noting:
Most instructional or "how-to" videos are useless, will NOT teach you "how to skate" and should only be purchased (or viewed) for entertainment value.

If you're considering the purchase of an instructional skateboard video or DVD, chances are you are just beginning to learn to skate or are in the early stages of mastering the basic tricks.

novice skater

The best way to learn how to do something is to go do it. Some things are best eased into - like hang gliding - rather than diving right in. This theory applies to skateboarding. Start slow, but don't start by parking your butt in front of the TV. There's a reason they call it an idiot-box.

If you're new to skateboarding, go outside and stand on your board - even if you have to do so on the grass to maintain your balance. The key to learning anything new is practice. From skateboarding to guitar playing or anything, the more you practice the better you'll become at it. Of course you have to know what to practice.

If you just stand on your board, you won't learn too much. Experiment. Try new things. Most importantly, hang out with other skaters (preferably ones who are better at it than you). As a beginner it's natural to need insight and motivation to get to the next level. There are some elements to more intricate tricks like timing and foot placement that might elude you for a long time. A knowledgeable friend can help here and so can an instructional DVD.

Once you reach a certain proficiency - and you'll get there by practicing - you won't be the least bit interested in instructional videos. They won't give you what you need - which is board time.

Should I buy an instructional skateboard video?

  • If you've never stepped on a skateboard, YES you should buy an instructional DVD.
  • If you've just mastered the basics (balance, pushing, tic-tacs), YES you should buy an instructional DVD.
  • If you can ollie and you're looking to expand your tricks, you might benefit from an instructional DVD.
  • If you're an experienced skater (you can do all the flippy tricks on flat-ground), don't waste your money.

Types of Instructional Skateboard Videos and DVDs

I see 2 main types of instructional skateboard videos.

  • Seriously intentioned DVDs
  • Entertainment oriented DVDs

Some of the instructional DVDs take the teaching task a bit too seriously. Skateboarding is about having fun. The more you know, trick-wise, the more fun you'll have. Learning to skate shouldn't feel like being in school. Others take a more entertaining approach.

I like the Tony Hawk Tip Trick series because they have interesting pros demonstrate tricks, but they also inject their personalities and have fun with the whole thing. Hawk knows how to entertain.

The Low-down on Instructional Titles for Skateboarding

Click the titles to read our specific reviews. In alphabetical order...

Boom Boom Sabotage

Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Sabotage - DVD Four Stars

This animated feature from Tony Hawk (based on the Boom Boom Huck Jam event) isn't an instructional DVD, but it has a great feature that lets you display the name of the trick being performed at the bottom of the screen. A cool feature for those just starting out - it's a fun flick and clues you in to the names of the tricks as you watch them on screen.


Greatest Extreme Tricks

Greatest Extreme Tricks DVD One Stars

Falling into the piece-of-crap category Greatest Extreme Tricks isn't even an instructional video. It's simply a conglomeration of extreme sports wipe-outs... not very tricky. Beware the ambiguously titled DVDs.


Learn To Ride A Skateboard

Learn To Ride A Skateboard DVD Five Stars

Female pro skater Holly Lyons offers up an awesome instructional video for beginning skaters. From parts and assembly, to analyzing terrain and skating it, she presents a ton of info in this smart and fun DVD. Oh yeah, this DVD is free!


Show Me the Way

Transworld's Show Me The Way - DVD Five Stars

This is easily the best instructional DVD I've ever seen. A different pro breaks down each trick with insightful detail and commentary. You can actually learn a lot of useful things with this one.


Skateboarding 101

Thrasher Magazine - Skateboarding 101 and Ramp Plans DVD Three Stars

Thrasher tries to blend the "school" approach while still being entertaining. They get a pro to demonstrate each trick, but the try to inject comedy in the form of a mock schoolroom with a nutty teacher who is far more annoying than funny. Still a pretty good video (and it comes with another flick, Ramp Plans).


Skateboarding Explained

Lake Owen's Skateboarding Explained - DVD Two Stars

This DVD, designed to highlight the Lake Owen Sk8 Camp, gets into so much detail that it gets confusing. Mentality pro, Dan MacFarlane's monotone delivery of his instruction will also enrage the average skater. He does offer a lot of good info, but the format and delivery makes it hard to watch.


Skateboarding Motion

Skateboarding Motion Vol. 1 - DVD Two Stars

Billed as a high-tech approach to learning tricks, this one falls short in a number of ways. Their "trick tip analyzer" computer and synthesized voice gets annoying at the intro to EVERY trick. They do offer multiple angles in slow motion which can be very useful, but the overall feel is juvenile (in a bad way).


Tony Hawks Trick Tips Vol. 1

Tony Hawks Trick Tips Vol. 1 DVD Four Stars

Following a pretty standard formula for demonstrating tricks and injecting some humor, Tony, Kris Markovich and Brian Sumner demonstrate how each trick works.


Tony Hawks Trick Tips Vol. 2

Tony Hawks Trick Tips Vol. 2 DVD Four Stars

Broken down into two categories Tony along with Eric Koston on street and Colin McKay on ramps demonstrate a bunch of tricks. Additionally, "Stylin' with Colin" lets McKay show some off-skate style with some tricks you can do with your board (as opposed to standing on it).


Tony Hawks Trick Tips Vol. 3

Tony Hawks Trick Tips Vol. 3 DVD Five Stars

The first 2 in the Hawk series kind of followed in progression from one DVD to the next. This one is a departure from that featuring Mike Vallely, Bucky Lasek and Tony walking us through the tricks. They all break for Hot Dogs on a Stick.


Choosing the right instructional DVD for you (assuming you require such a thing) isn't easy and many of them suck. Check out the individual reviews to see which ones suck less and feature the tricks you're interested in.


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