Skater trainers are small, plastic blocks that you can attach to your skateboard’s wheels and work to make you feel comfortable as a beginner as they can help to prevent the skateboard from slipping out under you and causing an injury.
However, those who are curious or new to skateboarding might be wondering: do skater trainers work or are they just a waste of money?
In this article, we explore whether skater trainers help speed up progress, the positives and negatives that they can have, and whether they work or are simply a fad that you should skip and save your money.
So, let’s get started.
Will skater trainers help speed up my progress?
The short answer to this question is no, skater trainers are not a shortcut to learning how to skate more quickly. Unless your plan is to always skate stationary in one spot, the skater trainer will not speed up your progress.
In fact, you might even need to relearn tricks that you’ve spent time mastering when it comes to skating on the move.
The issue with skater trainers is that they can encourage skipping the essential steps that you need to take when it comes to learning how to skate. The first step to progressing in skateboarding is simply to skate a lot.
Beginners should take their time to familiarize themselves with the board and the motion of skateboarding before moving on to tricks. The worst thing you can do for your progress is to become impatient, learning to skate takes time, effort, and dedication!
Learning anything on a skate trainer can be wasted if you’re skipping these basic, yet essential steps of learning how to skateboard properly. Although they are often marketed as such, skater trainers are not a quick fix.
Is there an alternative to skater trainers?
The alternative to skater trainers that is best is to simply get comfortable on your board.
You need to learn how to push, turn, kick turn, tic tac and learn how to stop before mastering more complicated tricks. In short, you need to be comfortable enough skating that your board feels like an extension of your body.
Once you’re comfortable on your board, you should start to learn tricks while rolling. Begin by rolling slowly and increase your speed as you get more and more confident.
If you want to try a trick without rolling, you can always find a crack on the floor to position your wheels in. The crack will work to stabilize you, but will still provide the board with some motion during the trick.
Moving Vs. Stationary tricks
The age-old question comes down to whether or not it is better to learn tricks moving or stationary.
As we’ve just discussed, one of the worst things that you can do when you’re learning how to skate as a beginner is to become impatient and to skip the basic steps, and instead try starting on ollies and kickflips.
However, skipping these vital steps could make your life harder further down the road, and more importantly, could lead to you injuring yourself and subsequently putting yourself off skating before you’ve even got properly started.
There are pros and cons to learning tricks when you’re moving and stationary, so it essentially comes down to the preparation you’ve taken to learn the basics and your personal preference as a beginner.
Moving tricks - Contrary to popular belief, learning and landing a trick when you’re in motion can actually be easier than when you’re stationary.
This is because you actually have more control and there’s generally more time to react, not to mention when you have momentum it’s easier to roll when you fall. However, people tend to be more scared to try doing tricks when in motion, especially when you’re first starting out.
Stationary tricks - As a beginner, you might prefer to start out doing tricks when you’re stationary as it can feel less daunting.
Learning a trick whilst stationary might also help you commit the motion to muscle memory, as it is likely to be similar every time. However, it is worth mentioning that falling while doing a trick whilst stationary can be significantly worse than while in motion.
You’re more likely to injure yourself when stationary, such as rolling an ankle or hurting your shoulder, because you essentially have less control.
As we’ve mentioned, whether you choose to learn tricks moving or stationary, the duration it takes to learn will come down to the preparation you’ve taken to master the basics.
It really can’t be stressed enough that you need the foundation before complicating your life with tricks.
Benefits of skater trainers
As with any product, skater trainers obviously have their benefits. Namely, they will effectively prevent your skateboard from rolling and slipping out under you as you’re learning.
This will allow you to familiarize yourself and will allow you to rock your board without having to worry about falling over and hurting yourself, which leads to our next point.
Skating can be daunting, especially as one of the biggest challenges that you’ll face when learning to skate is the psychological fear of having a fall.
A huge benefit of investing in skater trainers is the psychological relief that they can provide. It's relieving to know that your chance of falling over and hurting yourself is much lower.
Also, if the board does slip away, it won't go nearly as far, so it can be easily retrieved. Skating trainers, therefore, can help to remove this fear and intimidation that you might feel.
Skater trainers can allow you to perform basic tricks, such as an ollie before you attempt to try one on the street. However, as we will discuss, this can also be a negative when it comes to balance.
Negatives of skater trainers
However, there are also negatives of skater trainers that you should consider carefully. Most importantly, skater trainers can lull you into a false sense of security.
Advanced skaters tend to see skater trainers as a crutch, particularly when it comes to balancing on a board, arguing that without learning to stabilize with unblocked wheels, you can be in greater danger of falling later.
It is worth noting that the feel of a board with and without trainers is very different, as they are essentially stabilizers. This can mean that what you gain in muscle memory when using skater trainers may be lost when you take them off.
This can not only set your progress back significantly but also renders the skater trainers somewhat redundant.
It might be obvious, but you should take into consideration that skateboard wheels are designed to spin.
Overusing skater trainers can actually damage the bearings, and you may need a repair or replace your board sooner than you had anticipated. This can become expensive and will also prevent you from getting the most out of your purchase.
The most important thing to remember when taking up a hobby like skating is that falls happen! Many argue that pandering to the fear of falling rather than overcoming it directly can hinder your progress in the long run.
So do skater trainers work or are they just a waste of money?
As we have discussed, skater trainers aren’t necessarily essential when it comes to learning how to skate and they can actually slow down your progress when it comes to learning tricks.
In our opinion, you’re better off learning to skate without skater trainers. Although they might be useful for some beginners that are scared to step onto the skateboard, in our opinion, they are a gimmick that you can learn to skateboard without.
This is because they can lull you into a false sense of security, and can potentially slow you down when it comes to taking them off. Committing tricks to muscle memory will only be beneficial to you if you practice the tricks without skater trainers.
This is because they make the board feel so different and tend to completely alter the balance of the board to make it easier for the skater, meaning you might as well get stuck into practicing without them on your board.
Like many other hobbies, there aren’t any shortcuts to skating, and skater trainers should not be treated as if they are. Skating can be a really fun and satisfying hobby to take up in your spare time.
However, if you’re serious about starting skating, it’s going to take a lot of time, effort, and dedication in order to master tricks. Depending on the individual, it could even take years of practice to master some of the harder tricks!
That being said, this shouldn’t deter you from trying, although you should go into the hobby with realistic expectations.
You don’t need skater trainers to become an awesome skater, and you’re ultimately better off in the long run without them, so save your money! After all, practice makes perfect.
Most importantly, have fun and stay safe!