Being rather new to trials myself, the first thing I really tried to learn how to do was to hop around. I think everybody learns differently though, because certain people just feel really comfortable doing moves that other people just can't get the right feel for.
Example: I can hop backwards kinda far, but my buddy who can school me in everything else can't hop back for ****e.
I've heard there are some instructional videos out there, maybe check out one of those.
Work on control, trackstanding, moving front or backside to side. The big back wheel moves are cool but control is the key ( I may say this because I can ride over anything but stink it up on big moves, I'm 37 and don't like to break my parts.)
Get videos, DVDs if you can, and use the frame by frame feature to see exactly what they are doing. This helped me a bunch.
Get a load of testicular fortitude. I can gap more than five feet forwards or backwards as long as I am on the ground. Put me three feet up on a ledge and I can't even get the front wheel up.
Don't think you'll have to give up Freeride, you can always switch back and forth. Now, that being said, get a bike that can perform how you want it too. I personally love downhill, but I also ride singletrack as a way of working out. So, I ride a Santa Cruz Bronson because I can easily switch back and forth. Hope this helps. Peace!