Part 1 covers buying the basic equipment, building myself an A-frame, getting set up for the first time and having my first go at standing on the slackline. It shows that slacklining doesn’t require a lot of kit or money, but it does challenge you when you step onto it for the first time.
Part 2 looks at standing on the slackline more consistently and beginning to link my first steps. This is a very frustrating phase but very satisfying once you start to get it. This article also covers changing my setup. It happened much sooner than expected but my DIY A-Frame didn’t last with the strain of the slackline.
This article (part 3), is going to cover how I tried to put some more structure into my sessions, moving from basic walking to adding turns, walking backwards and attempting some basic jumps.
The first thing I wanted to improve was my stability on the line. Up until now, I’ve been focused on making obvious gains, which has been about linking more and more steps together. So far it’s been a rather unorganised approach with no real thought other than to link more steps. Now that I could consistently walk forwards I wanted to efficiently improve my skills, which required more focus.
Below is the session structure I used for the next couple of sessions each lasting around 30-40 minutes.
- Warm Up
- Successfully balancing for 10 seconds on each foot, without moving, 3 times on each side.
- Forwards walking
- Completing 5 successful traverses walking forwards.
- 10 minutes of attempting to walk backwards.
- 10 minutes of attempting to complete a 180 degree turn in the middle of the slackline.
- The remaining time is attempting to link some of the individual skills together.
- Forwards traverse with a turn, building to the full length and back.
- Forwards traverse into a backwards traverse
My warm-up was focused on getting back on the slackline and re-finding my balance. It allowed me to feel the line beneath my feet and meant that when I moved on to forward walking I was successful more quickly. My right leg is also quite dominant over my left. Warming up with three 10-second static holds on each leg forced me to practice both feet which also helped with more stability when moving. Up until now, my walking has often had an imbalance with less time spent on my left leg as I rush to regain my balance on my right leg.
The key to the forwards walking section of the session is the requirement for them to be successful traverses. Part 2 was all about being successful for the first time and building some consistency, now I’m using that foundation to build my session around. This builds on the work that I’ve already done and makes sure I’m continuing to focus on the basics as I push more skills.
From here the sessions brought about new territory. Walking backwards is such a strange feeling and takes a lot of getting used to. The key difference I’ve found hard to get used to is stepping into your toes, rather than a flat foot. That may seem silly but it makes it much harder to shift your weight onto the foot behind you. At the moment, I’m still really struggling with it and so I limited the amount of time I spent on it to 10 minutes so that I don’t get totally stuck on it for the rest of the session.
Turning is my next skill so that I can link multiple traverses together. This is the first more dynamic skill I am trying which brings an additional challenge to my balance. To begin, I just focused on the turn itself. Balancing in the middle of the slackline without traversing, aiming to successfully turn from forwards to backwards. I’ve been trying to do this with a bit of speed, so making the turn quite quickly. That’s because when experimenting with slower turns I kept getting stuck facing sideways across the slack line which becomes a lot harder to balance.
I spent the remainder of my time which was generally between 5 and 10 minutes, working on combinations of the above. This pushed my abilities and means my success rate was pretty low. However, it forced me to not just focus on the current skill and begin to prepare ahead of time. These combinations at the moment always begin with a forwards traverse as that is where I feel most stable. This gives me the best chance of attempting as many combinations as possible in the time. Eventually, I’ll be able to combine all of these together in any order, but I’m not there just yet.
Unfortunately, I had some more equipment failure. The first A-frame broke as it was made with parts we had available around the farm. The more robust boxes were an improvement, however, a lapse of concentration meant I set up with the box widthways, rather than lengthways. This vastly reduces the strength of the box and the result is shown below. The box got destroyed by the tension on the slackline. This was combined with the fact that once I had completed the session above I decided to have one go at bouncing on the line. This is going to be the next skill I incorporate into my sessions and will be the first skill-specific step towards my end goal of doing a backflip. So far, everything else is basic slacklining skills to increase my base skillset before looking into the specific skill development of the backflip.
So Part 3 looks at how I put more structure into my next sessions, building the foundations that will stand me in good stead as I work towards my goal. Thanks for reading if you made it this far and look out for Part 4.