Snowboard training, Safety, tricks, JJ Thomas, Big Air, Halfpipe, Slopestyle


How to progress and stay safe at the same time

People always ask 'How do they learn the big tricks without killing themselves?' That's a loaded question but a very valid one. The truth is there's a few correct answers to this question.

„The first step to staying safe while still progressing in the park and pipe is being prepared. That means having the right equipment. Your board, boots and bindings need to be up to par and you have to be feeling very comfortable in them. Very few people have successfully learned a new move the first day in brand new boots. Having them broken in and being really comfortable in your set up improves your odds of safely learning new tricks by a long shot.

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You also want to have the right safety equipment such as impact pads – Burton makes good ones –, a helmet and even a mouthguard. Having all of these things will help to give you the confidence and the protection you need. We are all human and even the best mess up now and then. I’ve seen it first hand how having on crash pads and helmets, when things go bad, can really reduce the amount of injury in a huge way. So, buckle up and don’t be afraid to put on pads when its go time.


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Space suit testing went well today! The pipe is A+ plus too ?????#Olympics #Teamusa

Ein Beitrag geteilt von jjthomas (@jjthomas_) am

    Jarret John „JJ“ Thomas coached Shaun White at 2018 Winter Olympics. The US-Duo won gold in Halfpipe. JJ himself competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics and took bronze in the men’s halfpipe competition. Today he is running his own coaching company. We are more than proud to have him on our MBM Crew.

Landing in powder is one thing, but dealing with hard packed snow which is basically frozen ice is a whole new ball game. That being said, don’t worry what your friends say when you put in your mouth guard.

Now that you have all your gear and safety equipment dialed in. The next thing is your body! This is the most important piece to the puzzle. You want to be feeling good mentally and physically. If your body isn’t cooperating with you or if you feel weak that day then hold off!“

JJ Thomas, Shaun White, Halfpipe, Training, Safety, How to
Shaun White practicing in a halfpipe few years ago. JJ coached Shaun to his third Olympic gold. Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

„There are times when you need to push through the pain and throw down. In my opinion though, when it comes to learning new tricks, this is not the time to push it. The stakes are too high these days, so don’t rush it. Patience pays off and you need to remember this when it comes to learning new moves on the snow.

The third and final piece to this puzzle is the On-Hill Preparation. If you’re lucky enough to get yourself into an airbag, then that is ideal. I like to see my athletes really take advantage of airbags when we have them. They give you the chance to master the motion without all the consequences. Stakes are still high into airbags and you can still get hurt. It’s no comparison to the danger level you’ll face when the time comes to throw them on snow. Quantity is key with airbags and new tricks. I don’t give my athletes the green light to try new stuff on snow until I see them consistently land on their feet in the bag every time with new tricks. I like to see them land at least on their butts even when they mess up on new tricks. The only way to get there is by getting in the reps. If you can show up to an airbag session and stomp or get close to landing 10 out of 10 of your new tricks your most likely good to go on snow.“

Air bag, Safety, Training, JJ Thomas, How to, Tricks, tips
„I like to see my athletes really take advantage of air bags when we have them.“

„If you’re not one of the lucky ones, who gets access to airbags, don’t worry! There’s still plenty of ways to improve and learn new stuff without a bag. One of the best to ever do it, Mark McMorris still hasn’t hit an airbag to date (I think!). I could be wrong, but for the most part the guy doesn’t touch them. So how does he do it? Step by step! It’s that simple. If you go skipping moves and try to jump way ahead, your chances of getting broken off go sky high. For instance, if you want to learn a backside 720 tail grab you should be able to do back side 5 tails in your sleep. You don’t want to go from 360’s to 720’s if you don’t have to. If you check the boxes and work with a coach or friend who’s been watching you and helping, you can achieve almost anything you can think of in your mind! Patience pays so take your time and check all the boxes you can, before you throw down and become a superstar.

The final thing on the list is choosing your time. Now you have everything ready to go. Your gear is on point, your helmet is on and its a perfect blue bird day. When you get the pipe, you notice that the wall you want to throw down on today hasn’t been cut and its laid back (meaning if you do anything besides straight airs your likely to end up on the deck). It takes real maturity to step back and stop yourself. It’s a bummer and no one likes to be held back by things out of their control but like I said, Patience Pays. So, simmer down and find something else to work on that day. Hopefully tomorrow the pipe or park groomer won’t be hungover and he’ll put a great groom on your feature so you can throw down and make the move you’ve been preparing for all winter!“

JJ Thomas, Safety, Safe, Halfpipe, Training, Tips, Tricks, How to
„It’s a bummer and no one likes to be held back by things out of their control but like I said, Patience Pays.“ Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

„As a coach this is the most challenging part of my job. There have been countless situations when my athletes are beyond frothing and ready to throw down. The pipe though, just isn’t up to par in my mind and that’s when the coach or your riding partners need to step in and speak their minds. Even though we know, you don’t want to hear it. Timing is crucial in everything and that’s especially true when it comes to learning new tricks on hard pack. You need all the elements in your favor to increase your odds of success and most importantly staying safe.


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Avoiding park rails like they’re the bubonic plague ??‍♂️??‍♂️ #goprohero7 #dadbod

Ein Beitrag geteilt von jjthomas (@jjthomas_) am

Have fun and feel free to comment or reach out if you have any questions!“


Header photo: Red Bull Content Pool


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