Is it worth a beginner practicing either foot forward?

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I've been doing the trails basics for a few weeks and sometimes try with my lead foot backwards instead. On the one hand I think it might help diminish imbalances, on the other I suspect it's just make things more difficult and wasting a bit of time.

So when I do try I'm not exactly committed to the idea. Should I be or should I just not worry about that until I'm competent?


Edited by marg26

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It is a worthwhile endeavor to learn 'both ways,' but ultimately it will slow your progress and frustrate and confuse you at numerous times.  Most people will say they have a 'good' side, but it's more appropriate to think of it as your 'natural' side. It's really akin to trying to be proficient with your left hand if you're naturally right handed; of course you can do it, but you came pre-wired right handed.

Years ago I was a snowboard instructor and the 'official' training was to determine someones 'natural spin' and use that to determine which foot should be forward for that person and go from there. There was no mention of encouraging people to try going the other way just for the fun of it. I was a freestyler at heart and had taught myself to be proficient in both directions so I would encourage some students to try going 'backwards' because in the beginning it all feels awkward so why not give it a go. I have no idea how these students fared in the long run, but at least they could see that being able to go both ways would eventually be a good goal.

As a counter-point, my dad was a professional tennis player and did his fair share of coaching and it was basically unthinkable to him that someone should have two forehands. Everyone has a dominant hand that should be developed and the other is your backhand and should be developed as such. It would seem that having two forehands or another way, as having no backhand, would be an advantage, but his belief was that you will still have a dominant hand and nurturing the other arm would only take time away from furthering that natural dominance. 

Like I said in the beginning, it is definitely a worthwhile undertaking, but probably better to wait until you hit a plateau in your dominant side trials training before going back and trying things the other way round. I've taught myself to sidehop either way and I can pedal kick either way, but I still definitely have a dominant foot. I don't know how much the pros put into minimizing there 'weak' foot to be more well rounded, but they'll still have one side that's more proficient than the other.

Good luck!

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I'd agree with the above with the added notes that sometimes in competitions you're forced to swap feet if a section is taped the "wrong" a result I can do a few things either foot forwards which isn't that important when riding street but I will mention that it does help as a "get out of jail card" if you end up on a line wrong foot forwards or generally end up in a sketchy situation and being able to kick with your bad foot might rescue it.

It's not something I'd concentrate a lot of time on, maybe just the occasional challenge to see how many pedal kicks you can do etc, although being able to trackstand either foot forwards is very handy!


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