Landing a backflip is one of my ski season goals. And just attempting a backflip on a trampoline was also just a life goal.
So where did this journey start?
I’ve always been athletic. From team and individual sports to outdoor recreation and some things in between. But going upside down has never been something I was comfortable doing.
When I was around 8 or 9, I distinctly remember trying a backflip on a trampoline and completely scraping my nose with a nice tramp burn… and I didn’t have the courage to attempt another one until the end of 2019.
And this is where my progression ramps up.
One of the biggest tips is learning how to backflip on a trampoline. I’m not quite sure if the average person knows how to backflip, but I sure didn’t… (seriously, I tried to research the percentage of people who know how to backflip and nothing came up… this is something I would love to know if anyone has insight).
And honestly all it took was two hours at a trampoline park and a partner who has some gymnastics knowledge…. and don’t forget courage and commitment, but let’s chat about the physical things first.
Some things that helped me land the backflip on the trampoline included:
Throwing the head back
Tucking in the knees
Spotting the landing as I come around.
First, I practiced jumping off the trampoline backflipping into the foam pit, then moved my way to jumping off a ledge into the foam pit, and finally, I attempted the trick just jumping on the trampoline. These progression steps were what worked best with me, because I was most scared of the trampoline fabric and scraping my face again.
While I was looking forward to attempting backflips on skis during the 2019/2020 season, unfortunately, it was cut short due to COVID, and the next backflip I did was on a trampoline at a house during the summer of 2020. I mostly just tried one or two to make sure I didn’t lose the feeling.
Then fast-forward to a couple months later to Nic and I’s anniversary shred at Snowbird. I didn’t wake up that day and think to myself… “You know what? Ya girl is gonna try a backflip today”. Nope… that’s not what happened at all. What did happen is we got a fairly good storm with nice soft snow. And we found a fairly good jump with a solid landing. And Nic just said that I should try it.
And honestly one of the biggest reasons I decided to go for it was thanks to a couple of teenage boys. One of them asked if they should do a 360 or a backflip… and I jokingly said backflip to show me how it was done. And they actually did it. So it was a little bit of the good type of peer pressure, and it helped more than you think.
So I went for it. I tried my hardest to commit to a trick I hadn’t practiced but had only visualized 5 minutes before.
And it was a solid attempt.
Luckily, the snow was soft and I was only a little sore the next day.
From this attempt, I learned that I needed to follow through at the end. From watching the footage, I saw that I pulled around my knees quickly at the beginning, and then just sort of flopped before my skis were parallel the the ground. So I took this and knew that I needed to apply it to my next try.
From my second attempt, I learned that speed and a poppier jump can become your best friends. If I couldn’t quickly bring it around, then maybe if I get a tad more speed, I can get more air time to fully rotate? Not sure if this is the advice I’d give everyone, but I’d say this attempt was closer than my first one. Getting higher in the air helped get me a little more time to think about what I was doing and spotting my landing.
I still didn’t land it and had a pretty gnarly-looking crash right below the lift (I appreciate everyone being so concerned on social media, but I really am fine…. just a little soreness in my shoulders).
Again, from this attempt, I want to takeaway that I need to throw my head back at the beginning to spot my landing from the start (not just as I come around) and lifting up my core as I go upside down. I still felt really good about the attempt, and I was mostly just excited that I sent it.
And that’s the segue into what I really want to talk about… the mental part.
I had gone almost 16 years of my life not attempting another backflip because of my own mental restrictions. But once I told myself that I could do it, and once I took the time to jump around and practice, I saw that I was completely capable of doing something that scared the living hell out of me. Before, I was afraid to get hurt again…..I was afraid to fail.
But realizing that failure is a part of the process was one of the biggest lessons that has helped me learn how to progress.
And not thinking about it too much has helped too. If I take the time to think about it, my mind just immediately goes to the worst case scenario, and it starts to taint my positive thoughts.
Instead, I have started to tell myself is to visualize it, not think about it. I need to just visualize my rotation and ONLY focus on this. Don’t think about what comes after. Don’t think about what could go wrong. Don’t think about anything else except committing and crushing.
While I want to think about all the little steps and little tweaks I could use to land the attempt, I also need to realize that the physical aspects of the attempt don’t mean anything unless I am in the right headspace to fully send.
Another huge tip is to have someone video your progression. I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but things happen so much faster when you are in the air. It’s a blur and I swear I temporarily black/brown out, so it’s nice to have a video you can look at to analyze what you can work on. Plus, it’s nice to be able to post to social media and get some advice.
Lastly, here are some mantras I like to use before trying new things:
You are beautiful. You are strong. You are capable.
Visualize it. Don’t think about it.
Your nacforadventurer and gal that still hasn’t landed it,