Using Proper Foot Positioning to Your Advantage

    A concept I've recently came to know about within the past couple months is that of proper leg positioning and how it can affect your tricks for the better or for the worse.
    This is mostly applicable for moves done from a "standing", and mostly off of one foot. Some two-footed techniques can apply, but this is mainly going to focus on the one-footed techniques just to explain the principle.
    The concept of proper foot positioning is often confused with blocking. While it is good that people want you to "block", thus putting your foot into the proper position, it usually is not blocking, since blocking is a part of gaining extra height and proper foot positioning is a part of good technique.

The Effect of Foot Positioning on Tricks
Take for example, the two 540's in this video, labeled A and B.

Note the different amount of travel between each of these, along with the difference in height of each of them. And usually 540's that travel less (same with many, many one footed moves) are more visually appealing.

There may be times when you want to travel more than you want to go up. For example, you may want to do a trick over another object, in this case the principle that I'm going to talk about here should be reversed, so you travel more instead of staying in almost the same spot and going higher more.

Now look at the following diagrams. They show the position of the foot relative to the position of the hips, along with the direction in which they are aligned, followed by a diagram of where each 540 goes to after a couple frames:

If you notice, the angle on the first one was much more diagonal than the angle on the second one. Thus, when I jumped I was pushed in the angle from my foot to my leg. Why? Well remember, you jump by extending many muscles in one or both of your legs in your lower body. Thus, if you extend everything at an angle, you will travel in that angle.

POINT: To that end, for most moves in which traveling too much will be detrimental, you want to try to position your foot under you so that when you end up jumping, your foot extends as straight upwards as possible, rather than at an angle. Watch the angle between your foot and your hips. This is the angle your leg extends at, and subsequently the angle at which the force of your jump will be directed..

This principle can be applied to almost any move done off one foot, and certain ones done off two feet. Things like 540s, Sideswipes, Butterfly Twists, Corkscrews (yes, positioning your foot where you won’t jump at an angle is VERY important in this one), blah blah, all kinds of stuff. Check it out. Peace.