Aerial Tricks are techniques introduced in Mario Kart Wii. As the name implies, they are stunts that characters can perform during jump animations. After the kart takes to the air off a ramp or other incline, the player can shake the Wiimote (or press the D-pad on the GCN controller) to make the character do some form of stunt in the air. The higher the jump, the more intricate the stunt is, although the direction that the Wiimote is shaken in is also a factor in the stunt performed.
As well as their aesthetic value, aerial tricks are crucial to posting good times and ratings. Upon landing an aerial trick, the racer gets a boost comparable to a Mini-Turbo. These can be gained on even the smallest of inclines, including the shifting terrain in Bowser's Castle. This allows the player to attain much greater speeds than if s/he simply rode through the course without performing aerial tricks. Additionally, the more aerial tricks that a player performs during a Grand Prix, the better his/her chance of receiving a one star or higher rating. This is in addition to the time gained by performing aerial tricks; if two players posted the same times (assuming both got 60 points), the one who performed more aerial tricks would receive the higher rating for the cup.