How To: Stance & Balance

Snowboard Coach Photo
Mark Godwin

Oh ooh, a stance and balance tip?! “Lame” you may be shouting. Chances are you’ve heard this before, it is the one piece of advice that instructors keep repeating to their students and is backed up by more experienced riders yelling “bend your knees” from chairlifts. While this advice is all well and good most people don’t really know why! In this tutorial Ninja Academy head coach Mark Godwin shows you how to achieve a solid stance and perfect balance on your board. As a result you will become more mobile while riding and all of your turns, jibs and airs will explode as your balance improves. One of the best things about this tutorial is you can practice easily during pre-season at home and snow domes so you’re ready to smash the mountains.


Body Position

Have your weight evenly distributed between both feet. This is achieved by having the hips centred between the bindings. This is the ‘sweet spot’ and being here will make you stable whilst moving.Flex your knees and ankles.  This will allow your centre of mass to drop for greater stability whilst improving your balance and allowing you to adapt to changing terrain (such as bumps, jumps and powder). Keep your back straight, hands relaxed by your side and your eyes up toward the direction of travel.Keeping your hips and shoulders aligned with your board, shift your centre of mass over the front foot. This applies pressure to the front of the snowboard and we will use this movement to begin a nose press or nollie. Often newbie riders will feel like the board runs away on them, this is usually because they are on the back foot too much. Move your body forward toward the nose of your board, this will make it easier to start those turns.Now try shifting your centre of mass over the back foot to apply pressure to the back of the board. This is the movement we will use when performing a tail press or an ollie but it is also beneficial to help us ride in powder as it lifts the nose out of the snow. Combine fore & aft movement to help you adapt to varying terrain.We want to be able to move with the snowboard as we turn. Start by turning your head over your leading shoulder, rotate through your body down through your knees. This is super helpful as your body now wants to travel with your board as it turns or spins.Now turn your head away from your leading shoulder and rotating down through your body and knees. You get the same benefit but this time on the opposite edge or when spinning in the air.


Your Style...No Robots!

If you can move like this it means you are mobile and your balance will improve greatly because you can adapt your position to maintain it. Think about where these points might be beneficial, think about making turns, pressing your board or spinning in the air.The more you practice stance & balance in your snowboarding you will start to develop your own style of riding. It is important to apply these fundamentals to your own style and not try to copy someone else’s, riding should be expressive and fun. A good instructor or coach will get you working on your own style and will hopefully avoid the dreaded ‘Wide Knee Instructor Robot’ stance.These may seem like points that only beginners may need but even more advanced riders will develop some bad habits at times.  Our snowboard camps aim to help you understand the fundamentals of stance and balance but we majorly encourage you to develop your own riding style.

Improve your riding on a Ninja Academy snowboard improvement package holiday!