How do skateboarders execute an ollie?

Scholars of skateboarding are intrigued by the technique involved in executing an ollie. Skateboarders perform this fundamental skill by using a combination of physical strength and precise timing. By leveraging the concave shape of the skateboard, the skateboarder is able to pop the tail down while simultaneously sliding the front foot up the board, causing the board to levitate momentarily before landing back on the ground. This advanced move requires practice, balance, and a thorough understanding of the mechanics involved in the execution of an ollie.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pop the tail: Skateboarders initiate the ollie by using their back foot to pop the tail of the board against the ground.
  • Slide the front foot: After popping the tail, the skater slides their front foot towards the nose of the board, leveling it out in the air.
  • Jump and lift: Simultaneously with the sliding motion, the skater jumps and lifts their knees to bring the board with them into the air.
  • Tuck and extend: To give the illusion of hovering in the air longer, skateboarders tuck their legs in while the board reaches its peak, then extend their legs to land smoothly.
  • Practice and patience: Perfecting the ollie technique takes time and practice, as well as a good understanding of weight distribution and timing.

Understanding the Ollie

While the ollie may look like a simple trick, executing it correctly requires skill, practice, and an understanding of the physics behind the movement. The ollie is a fundamental skateboarding maneuver that serves as the foundation for many other tricks and aerial maneuvers. Understanding the mechanics of the ollie is essential for skaters looking to improve their skills and expand their trick repertoire.

Definition and Origins

The ollie was pioneered by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand in the late 1970s, hence the name. It involves the skateboarder using their back foot to push down on the tail of the board, causing the nose to rise off the ground. The skater then slides their front foot forward to level out the board in mid-air, landing smoothly back on all four wheels. This innovative maneuver revolutionized the world of skateboarding and remains a fundamental skill for skaters today.

Physics Behind an Ollie

The ollie may seem like a simple jump, but the mechanics behind it are quite complex. The skater must generate enough force to pop the tail of the board off the ground while simultaneously sliding their front foot forward to level out the board. This requires a precise understanding of timing, weight distribution, and muscle control. The ollie is a perfect example of the principle of action and reaction in physics. When the skater pops the tail of the board down, the reaction force propels the skateboard into the air. The skater then uses their front foot to level out the board, demonstrating an understanding of Newton’s third law of motion. Mastering the physics behind the ollie is crucial for executing the trick with precision and consistency.

Preparing for the Ollie

Some crucial elements are involved in preparing for an ollie, and they can significantly impact a skater’s ability to execute the maneuver successfully. These elements include the skateboard setup, rider stance, and posture. Proper preparation is essential for a skater to perform an ollie safely and effectively.

Skateboard Setup

Skateboard setup plays a crucial role in a skateboarder’s ability to execute an ollie. They need to ensure that their skateboard is in good condition, with no cracks or damaged components that could compromise their safety during the trick. Additionally, the skateboard should have a good quality grip tape to provide sufficient friction for the skater’s feet during the maneuver. The trucks and wheels should also be in good condition, as they are integral to the stability and control of the skateboard during the ollie.

Rider Stance and Posture

When preparing for an ollie, the rider’s stance and posture are of utmost importance. They should stand with their feet shoulder-width apart on the skateboard, ensuring a stable and balanced stance. The front foot should be placed just behind the front bolts, while the back foot should be positioned on the tail of the skateboard. Keeping the knees bent and the back straight is crucial for maintaining balance and stability during the ollie maneuver, and it also enables the skater to absorb the impact upon landing.

Executing the Ollie

Despite its seeming simplicity, the ollie is a complex trick that requires a combination of precise movements and timing. Executing the ollie involves a series of coordinated actions that allow the skateboarder to lift both the skateboard and themselves off the ground, creating the illusion of flight. Mastering this fundamental maneuver is crucial for any aspiring skateboarder.

The Pop and Jump

When executing an ollie, the skateboarder begins by crouching down and applying pressure to the tail of the skateboard with their back foot. This action, known as the “pop,” creates the initial lift-off for the board. At the same time, the skateboarder jumps into the air, using their front foot to level the board out and bring it up towards their feet. This quick and explosive movement is essential to achieving the height and control necessary for a successful ollie.

Flight and Board Control

As the skateboarder and the board reach the peak of their ascent, they enter into the “flight” phase of the ollie. During this brief moment, the skateboarder’s body is suspended in the air while they maintain control of the board with their feet. It is crucial to keep the board level and parallel to the ground, using subtle adjustments in foot positioning to ensure stability and readiness for the landing. This phase of the ollie requires a high degree of focus and precise muscle control.

Landing the Ollie

Upon descending back towards the ground, the skateboarder must anticipate the upcoming landing and prepare for impact. As the wheels make contact with the ground, the skateboarder absorbs the force by bending their knees and maintaining a low center of gravity. Proper balance and timing are crucial for a smooth and controlled landing. The successful execution of the ollie relies heavily on the skateboarder’s ability to confidently and consistently stick the landing, a skill that requires practice and experience to master.

Advanced Ollie Techniques

After mastering the basic ollie, skateboarders can move on to more advanced techniques to improve their skills. Here are some advanced ollie techniques that can take your skateboarding to the next level:

  1. Height and Distance
  2. Variations and Tricks

Height and Distance

When executing an ollie, skateboarders can improve their technique to achieve greater height and distance. By perfecting the timing and strength of the pop and slide, they can launch themselves higher into the air and cover more ground. It requires precise coordination and practice, but the ability to ollie higher and farther opens up new possibilities for tricks and aerial maneuvers.

Variations and Tricks

Skateboarders who have mastered the ollie can explore a wide range of variations and tricks to showcase their skills. From the kickflip to the 360 flip, there are countless ways to incorporate the ollie into more complex maneuvers. These variations allow skateboarders to express their creativity and showcase their expertise, but they also come with added challenges and risks. It’s important for skaters to approach these tricks with caution and gradually progress as they build confidence and skill.


From above, it is evident that skateboarders execute an ollie by combining a series of movements that involve popping the tail of the skateboard, sliding the front foot up the board, and leveling out the board in mid-air. These coordinated actions require precise timing and practice in order to achieve the desired height and control. By understanding the mechanics of an ollie, skateboarders can improve their technique and execution of this fundamental trick.


Q: What is an ollie in skateboarding?

A: An ollie is a fundamental skateboarding trick that involves popping the tail of the skateboard while simultaneously sliding the front foot forward to level the board in the air.

Q: How do skateboarders pop the tail to execute an ollie?

A: Skateboarders pop the tail of the board by applying pressure with their back foot and then quickly releasing it, causing the board to snap against the ground and propel the board into the air.

Q: What role does the front foot play in executing an ollie?

A: The front foot is responsible for sliding forward on the board right after the pop, leveling the board in the air and bringing the skater along with it.

Q: Are there any specific body movements skateboarders should keep in mind while performing an ollie?

A: Yes, skateboarders should crouch down before popping the tail, and then jump and elevate their body off the ground as the board rises underneath them.

Q: How can skateboarders improve their ollie technique?

A: To improve their ollie technique, skateboarders can practice proper foot placement, timing, and the necessary movements with persistence and patience. Additionally, watching and learning from experienced skateboarders can be beneficial in refining one’s technique.

About the author

Spencer Whitney is a passionate e-scooter enthusiast and outdoor adventurer. With a strong background in outdoor activities and a love for running, Spencer combines his expertise to provide valuable information to e-scooter lovers, encouraging responsible and enjoyable rides. Join him on his journey to explore the world of e-scooters from a fresh and diverse standpoint.

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