Learn How to Drop In on a Skateboard

Teenage boy on ramp at skateboard park
Hero Images/Getty Images

Learning to drop in at the skatepark or on a ramp is one of the hardest things to master in skateboarding. Not because it takes so much skill, but because it takes a lot of will and guts. However, if you are going to learn to ride at the skatepark or on a ramp, you will need to learn to get comfortable dropping in on your skateboard

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Step 1 - Setup

Pierre-Luc Gagnon Dropping In at Slam City Jam. Photographer: Jamie O'Clock

What is Dropping In? - Dropping in on a skateboard is how most skateboarders will enter bowls, skateparks, and vert ramps. At the top edge of skateboard ramps and along the edges of bowls there is a rounded raised lip called the "coping". Being able to drop in allows skateboarders to go from standing on the edge of the coping, straight into skateboarding with a lot of speed down the ramp.

If you are brand new to skateboarding, you'll first need to get comfortable with skateboarding around the park, along with the ground, and over the transition. You don't need to know any tricks before learning how to drop in on a skateboard, but you will need to know how to ride your skateboard. This is because once you drop in, you will be riding very fast, and you'll need to feel comfortable with riding and guiding your skateboard. If you are brand new to skateboarding, read Just Starting Out Skateboarding and take some time to get comfortable with your skateboard.

Make sure you read all of these instructions before you head to the skatepark to drop in. Once you are familiar with them, go for it!

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Step 2 - Check Out the Ramp

When you first get to the skatepark, try skateboarding around the bottom of the ramp. Push around the park a little bit, getting a feel for the transition (ramps). Also, make sure you are wearing a helmet before you try this. Messing up while dropping in is a great way to smack your brain case on the ground, and end up never skateboarding again. Wear a helmet.

If you aren't used to skateboarding on the material that this ramp or park is made from, this step is very important. The feel of concrete, wood, and metal are all very different when skateboarding. Certain skateboard wheels will work better for park or on other transition than others - if you are planning to mainly skateboard at the skatepark or on skate ramps, you might want to get some park formula wheels. However, if you want to skate both park and street, that is great too. Learning what kind of terrain you want to ride on will help you better decide on your skateboard setup.

Once you have a good feel for what it is like to skateboard around the bottom of the ramp or park, and a little of what the transition feels like, head to the top of the ramp.

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Step 3 - Set a Line

Photographer: Michael Andrus

While standing at the top of the ramp, take a look at where this ramp goes. Does it end in a large flat area? Or does it go directly up into another ramp? Think about where you want to head, once you get to the bottom of the ramp. For your first time dropping in, I recommend finding an area with a large flat area at the bottom of the ramp, but you don't need to worry too much about this. Mainly, you want to be aware of what you'll be skateboarding towards, once you get to the bottom.

You also want to be aware of other skateboarders! Don't get so focused that you block out everyone else at the skatepark, and smack into someone when you drop in on your skateboard.

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Step 4 - Set Your Tail

Photographer: Michael Andrus

Put the tail of your skateboard on the coping (the rounded edge or pipe that runs along the top edge of the ramp, where the ramp and platform meet). You want your back wheel hanging down over the edge of the ramp. Hold your skateboard there with your back foot, putting your foot straight across the tail of your skateboard.

Your front wheels will be out hanging in the air, and your board will be cocked up slightly. Your front foot can be on the ground next to you, while you wait for your turn to drop in on your skateboard.

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Step 5 - Place Your Front Foot

Photographer: Michael Andrus

When you are ready, put your front foot over the front trucks of your skateboard.

I recommend blurring this step with the next one, and not putting your foot there and waiting. But take a look at the picture above to get an idea of where your front foot should go.

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Step 6 - Stomp and Lean

Photographer: Michael Andrus

When you put your front foot on the board, stomp it down with all your weight until your front wheels hit the ramp, and lean into it. Put all of yourself into the ramp - you can't hold anything back.

It can be scary to stomp down and lean into the open air. There is no turning back once you've started the stomp, and I would say at least 80% of the problems people have when dropping in is not being committed enough to this part. You have to trust that you and your skateboard will make this work. You have to invest in dropping in 100%. It's all or nothing. Be committed to the drop in. Once you do it, it will get easier and easier every time.

Here's a secret about skateboarding - skill is very important, but even more important than skill is self-confidence. It's all in your head. This is what separates something like skateboarding from other "sports". Your strongest opponent is yourself. So when you face something like dropping in, and you do it, you are taking a huge step toward self-control.

That was a little deep, but it's true. The point is if you are going to try and learn to drop in, then just do it. It's like Yoda says, "Do or do not, there is no try." Yeah, I just quoted Yoda. But he would agree - when you get to the top of that ramp, and you are ready to drop in, just put your foot over those front trucks, stomp it down, and LEAN IN!

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Step 7 - Ride Away

Photographer: Michael Andrus

That's it. Hopefully, you have a good idea of where you are heading once you hit the bottom of the ramp, so skate off! You'll have some speed, so keep relaxed, knees bent, and just ride it out.

The higher the ramp or transition you rode down, the faster you should be going. Dropping in like this can be perfect for getting enough speed to ride around the park, or to skate up another ramp and do a trick. It's all up to you.

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Step 8 - Troubleshooting

Photographer: Michael Andrus

Commitment

- I'm not a big fan of commitment in relationships, but in skateboarding it's vital. The largest problem skaters face when learning to drop in is not pushing that front foot down fast enough. The moment you put some of your weight forward, you will be rolling down the ramp. That means that until you get those front wheels down, you will be rolling only on the back two wheels. This can make you slip backward and fall very easily.

Chickenfoot

This is where you take one foot off of the board and catch yourself. When I was learning to drop in, I would always pull my back foot off the board right away and catch myself half way down the ramp. It was a weird problem. The key was in trusting myself and having self-confidence. It also helped to go practice when no one else was around watching me.

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Your Citation
Cave, Steve. "Learn How to Drop In on a Skateboard." ThoughtCo, Oct. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/how-to-drop-in-on-skateboard-3002972. Cave, Steve. (2017, October 27). Learn How to Drop In on a Skateboard. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-drop-in-on-skateboard-3002972 Cave, Steve. "Learn How to Drop In on a Skateboard." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-drop-in-on-skateboard-3002972 (accessed November 22, 2017).