How to Ollie on a Skateboard

01
of 09

Ollie Setup

Young woman doing an ollie at skatepark
Tony Anderson/Getty Images

The Ollie is the first trick that most skateboarders learn. Learning to ollie makes sense – the ollie is the foundation of almost all flatland and park skateboarding tricks. Once you learn how to ollie, you’ll be able to move on to learning all kinds of other skateboarding tricks ​or inventing your own.

The rolling ollie was invented by Alan "Ollie" Gelfand in 1977.

If you are brand new to skateboarding, you may want to take some time getting used to riding your skateboard (read our beginner's guide to skateboarding) before learning to ollie. Of course, it is totally up to you: if you are aggressive and want to learn to ollie on your skateboard before learning how to actually ride, then go for it!

Make sure you read all of these instructions before you try to ollie. Once you feel ready, jump on your board and ollie!

02
of 09

Stance

How to Ollie
Michael Andrus

To ollie, place your back foot so that the ball of your foot is on the tail of your skateboard. Place your front foot between the middle and front trucks of your skateboard. That’s where you want your feet to be right before ollying. If you find that it works better for you to have your feet shifted to other places on your skateboard, that’s fine.

You can learn to ollie while standing stationary, or while your skateboard is rolling. Ollying while standing still works the same way as while rolling, but I think rolling ollies are easier than stationary ollies. If you would like to learn to ollie with your skateboard stationary, you can place your skateboard on some carpet or grass to keep it from rolling. If you prefer to learn to ollie while your skateboard is rolling, don’t go very fast at the start. Whichever way you learn to ollie, once you feel comfortable you should try to ollie the other way as well.

But, a quick warning! If you learn to ollie while standing still, you can develop some bad habits. Some skaters end up turning in the air a little, and not landing straight. You might not even notice until you try to ollie while rolling. So, if you practice while standing still, I highly recommend also practicing while rolling. Maybe only practice in one spot for a few days - maybe a week or two - and then give the rolling ollie a shot. That way, if you are developing bad habits, you can shake them off before they really mess you up.

03
of 09

The Pop

The pop
Michael Andrus

When you are ready to ollie, bend your knees deeply. The more you bend your knees, the higher you will go.

Slam your back foot down on the tail of your skateboard as hard as you can. At that moment, you want to also jump into the air, off of your back foot. This part is key and takes practice. The trick is in getting your timing right. You want to slap the skateboard’s tail down, and as it hits the ground, jump off of that foot into the air. Make sure to pull that back foot high into the air. It's a quick, snapping motion.

04
of 09

The Front Foot

Front foot
Michael Andrus

As you jump into the air, your front foot needs to roll slightly inward, and with the outside of your foot, you want to guide the skateboard as it flies into the air. Some people describe this as dragging the side of your front foot up the skateboard – that’s more or less what is happening, but what you are doing is using your shoe and the grip tape on the board to pull the skateboard higher into the air with you, and guiding the skateboard to where you want it.

This can be tricky to figure out, so just take your time and relax. The first few times you try and ollie, it helps to not worry about this part. You will end up doing a sort of half-ollie, popping just a little in the air. Or, you might fall! But, don't worry, this is all part of learning. If you want though, you can certainly start with rolling your ankle when you try and ollie - whatever works for you! Eventually, you will need to roll and drag, and you'll figure it out. Just take your time!

05
of 09

Level Out

Level out
Micheal Andrus

When you jump, pull your knees as high as you can. Try to hit your chest with your knees. The deeper you crouch down before the ollie, and the higher you pull your feet, the higher your ollie will be.

All during the ollie, try and keep your shoulders and body level, as in don't lean toward the tail or nose of your skateboard too much. This will make the whole ollie easier, and it will make it easier to land on your skateboard after the ollie.

At the apex (top) of your jump, when you are as high in the air as you will go, you want to flatten out the skateboard underneath you. Make both feet level on the top of the skateboard.

06
of 09

Land and Roll Away

Land and roll away
Michael Andrus

Next, as you fall back toward the ground and land, bend your knees again. This part is vital! Bending your knees will help absorb the shock of landing on your skateboard, it will keep your knees from getting hurt from the impact, and keep you in control of your skateboard.

Finally, just roll away. If this sounds simple, then great – get out there and practice! If this sounds too complicated, don’t worry. Just go slow, and take your time. There is no time limit to learn how to ollie – some people learn in a day, and I know one guy that took over a year to learn how to ollie on his skateboard. Also, like with most things in skateboarding, your body is learning how to ollie more than your mind is. So, with practice, you’ll eventually get it.

07
of 09

Practice

Practice
Aaron Albert

Here are a few tricks to help you out, if you are having a hard time learning how to ollie on your skateboard:

Ollie Next to a Curb

This is how I learned how to ollie. Place your skateboard next to a curb, right up against it. This will help keep your board from rolling. Next, do everything that I just described, but don’t worry about what your board does. Just do it, and land up on top of the curb, on the sidewalk. Don’t stress about whether the skateboard will be there, or if you will get hurt – just go through the motions of ollying up the curb. If you do it right, the skateboard will be there. If you do it wrong, you’ll probably just land on your feet on the sidewalk. Here’s the key – just do it and expect it to work. Your body understands what you are trying to do, and the less you stress, the more it can kick in and fill in the blanks.

Ollie on the Carpet or in Grass

This will keep your board from rolling. Most people think that ollying while standing still is a lot harder than while rolling, but practicing like this can help your body learn how to do it. And, if you are worried about the skateboard shooting out from under you, practicing on the carpet or grass should make you feel safer.

Buy Some Practice Trucks

There are several types of practice skateboard trucks out there, for example, Softrucks and Ollie Blocks. Both of these are great tools to practice with. Read reviews of these practice skateboard trucks to find out more.

08
of 09

Troubleshooting

Ollie fails
Michael Andrus

Here are some common problems people have when trying to ollie, and some ideas that might help you:

Chickenfoot: This is where you pop up into the air, but when you land, for some reason one of your feet always seems to land on the ground. Get help with Chickenfoot.

Spinning: When you ollie, you turn in the air, sometimes all the way to the side. This can result in some nasty wipeouts if you're rolling! Get help with spinning when you ollie.

Moving ollie: A lot of skaters have a hard time with ollying while rolling. Read the How do I ollie while rolling or moving? FAQ for help.

Low ollies: This can happen for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that you are not crouching low enough before your ollie, and not pulling your feet high enough after you jump. When you crouch down, try and touch the ground. When you jump, try to hit yourself in the chest with your knees. ​Both knees. Don’t worry about falling. That will happen sometimes – that’s just part of skateboarding! For more help, read the How Can I Make My Ollies Higher? FAQ

Losing your board in mid-air: Sometimes skaters lose their boards in mid-air while ollying. If this happens to you, you may be kicking the board away while in the air, or taking your feet off of your board. Try and make sure to keep yourself and your feet above the skateboard.

09
of 09

Where to Go From Here

360 Flip - Bryce Kanights / ESPN Images
Bryce Kanights / ESPN Images

Once you've learned how to ollie, here are some ways to use or improve it:

  • Make your ollies higher: Once you've learned how to ollie, this is usually the first thing most skaters want - to ollie higher! Well, there are a few things you can do to help - read this FAQ to find out more.
  • Learn how to ollie down stairs: Not many tricks look as awesome as when a skater hurls himself down a flight of stairs. You should learn how to ollie off of curbs first, but stairs are the next level. When you're ready, read this step-by-step on how to ollie down stairs.
  • Learn how to ollie 180: Ollie up and give yourself a spin. If you can ollie, then you can probably learn to ollie 180 fairly quickly. And after you get that dialed in, there's the backside 180 ollie, the 360, etc.
  • Learn how to ollie off of a ramp: Ramps are a LOT of fun to ollie off of, but they are also a great way to break something if you don't know what you're doing! I have a cousin who almost lost his arm because of how nastily he broke it while ollying off a ramp. But don't let that scare you - if you know what you're doing, ollying off ramps is great!

Once you've learned how to ollie, the whole world of technical skate tricks opens up to you! Kickflips, heelflips, tre-flips, the works.