Skateboarder vs GRIT

I’m a bit GRITTY but I could be GRITTIER!

Grit is the skateboarders enemy and if you’ve ever ‘died’ because of a tiny wee bit of it you’ll know what I mean! The most recent piece of grit, that pitched me off my board in spectacular fashion, got me thinking about my approach to the board, my approach to learning new skills and by extension to living life.

In my grown up life, as a primary school teacher, I started each September with a class chat where I told my class that I want them to be gritty. They laughed and then we’d explore the idea. We’d talk about teamwork, resilience and good relationships and then try to solve a problem that can only be solved by using those gritty skills. Sounds great right? And in some ways it was, but I’m not sure that you can actually give someone grit or even teach it. It is only by demonstrating grit that we inspire it in others.

Grit was defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” by psychologist Angela Duckworth and colleagues, who extensively studied grit as a personality trait. They observed that individuals high in grit were able to maintain their determination and motivation over long periods despite experiences with failure and adversity.


If you skate you have to have bucketloads of grit otherwise you skate for a little while and when it gets tough (which it will really quickly) the board goes in the garage or under a bed and you move onto something else.


If you’ve ever learned to ollie then you have passion and perseverance – that drive, determination, motivation to succeed day after day – facing adversity and failure and still getting on that board – spending almost every second thinking and visualising that pop, jump, slide. Dreaming about it and waking up ready to have ‘just a quick practice’. Without realising it – you’ve become just a bit more gritty.


These are the qualities I believe a gritty skater is made of:

G = goodness/generosity/greatness/goals 

Grit generates goodness/positivity. Gritty skaters are on a mission to achieve our own personal greatness by setting smart goals and they are full of generosity, especially within the skate community, but this naturally spills out into the wider community too.

R = rich/real/resilience/reflective/risk/repetition 

Gritty skaters are immersed in rich experiences and problems that are real world. They constantly experience calculated risk. Gritty skaters have experiences that involve goals/outcomes that are achieveable by using resilience, repetition and reflection.

I = integrity/intelligence/imaginative/inventive/inclusive

Skating is imaginative, inventive and inclusive – it was born out of the imaginations of surfers and it is constantly evolving and re-inventing and pushing the posibilities.

There is an intrinsic value in creating something for the sake of creating it.

Rodney Mullen

Grit goes hand in hand with integrity:

  1. Keeping your word.
  2. Keeping your commitments.
  3. Paying attention to your environment.
  4. Staying focused.
  5. Surrounding yourself with honest/positive people.
  6. Taking responsibility.
  7. Respect.

TT = teaching/targets/thoughtful/tenacious/trusting/tolerant

Gritty skaters teach each other, set themselves and each other targets for progress and work together to create a dynamic community. Gritty skaters are tenacious. We also develop trust in our instincts but also trust in each other which feeds into a tolerant community.

Y = yes/young at heart/you

Grit teaches you to say yes to experiences, be open to new ideas and to take risks. It makes you reach inside yourself and find the real you and find a focus for your own self-development. I would definitely say that gritty skaters are forever young at heart.

Vanilla Milkshake

I’ve come to realise that this gritty attutude applies to any skill that I have ever learned or ever will learn. It strikes me that there are few things that cannot be accomplished if you apply that GRITTY attitude. With every ‘get back up and try again’ grit is being passed on to everyone around you, you are immersing them in your grit whilst working on your own. It grows and grows; knowing that each day you can be a little more gritty than the day before.

So here I stand, quite proudly immersed in grit, knowing that I am part of a quiet revolution of GRITTY SKATERS.