New riders often gravitate toward small jumps when learning, but in reality a jump with a shorter takeoff can be trickier to hit well than a jump with a longer takeoff. This is because a jump with a longer takeoff puts the rider in position as the compression the jump face builds through the legs.
With small jumps, the takeoff is often less than a bike length long, which can create ‘bucking’ of the back wheel as it encounters with jump when the front wheel has already left the lip.
In order to create a consistent outcome on jumps with short takeoffs, it’s essential we create preload into the legs and suspension just before the actual beginning of the jump. This will trick the bike and body into thinking they have been on the jump longer, and will put our body into the right position for a healthy flight arc.
To practice this, find a jump with a short takeoff which you are already comfortable on. As you approach, start to create pressure through your legs and suspension about 1-3 feet away from the beginning of the jump. Be sure to start your loading close enough to the jump so that you can hold the compression until the jumps natural compression kicks in. Once you have this mastered, you will feel increased stability and get more air off small jumps.