Slacklining is a great sport for anyone to get involved in, whether as your primary sport or to supplement other sporting endeavours. It involves balancing on a 1 to 2 inch wide piece of material, anywhere from 30cm off the floor to 20m+ in the air. It helps to build strength, balance and discipline as you grow your skills. The sport has been growing since the 1980’s and is now loved across the globe. The top slackline athletes can perform flips and tricks, as well as walk over long distances (50m+).
There are 10 reasons people have fallen in love with slacklining and why you should get involved.
- It’s fun
- Improves balance
- Adrenaline kick
- Skill development
It’s fun! Slacklining is great fun. Whether learning the basics or a high-level athlete performing tricks, slacklining will put a smile on your face. It’s often done outdoors meaning you get fresh air and it can be set up in some of the most picturesque environments due to the small equipment list.
Slacklining is fun, but it’s also a challenge and because of that it’s rewarding. You have to persevere and continue practising to build your skill level. As with most sports, there is an initial hurdle to get over before your learning accelerates and you progress rapidly. That doesn’t mean it will be easy though. I am still very much learning and you can follow my progress through my Journey to a Backflip series of blogs.
Learning to walk, bounce and turn on a 2″ piece of webbing is sure to help improve your balance. It improves your body awareness in order to control how you move on the slackline. That increased body control will help in whatever other sports you enjoy, or just in day to day life.
Whilst you won’t be able to run a marathon after slackline training, with consistency it will build your core and leg strength. From a core perspective, it will work your obliques (side of your abs) as you use those muscles to help balance. Those muscles help give you a “V” around your abs. That’s not to say slacklining will guarantee a six-pack, but it won’t hurt your chances. It will also work your quads and hamstrings as you balance and walk on a slightly bent knee. These muscles are heavily used in other sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Which means slacklining is a great option to stay fit whilst having fun during the off season.
Using my Garmin watch I have compared the difference between slacklining and other sports with regard to how many calories you burn. As well as focusing on the strength benefits slacklining provides and how that strength could be transferred to other sports.
As the title of the site would suggest, this sport also gives an adrenaline kick. It can be scary to do something for the first time. Getting off the floor and just standing on the slack line will get the heart racing the first time as the whole thing wobbles beneath you. As your skill level improves you can keep that adrenaline rush coming back by learning new tricks or transferring your skills to a new discipline. For example, learning to slackline at a distance of c. 5m could be increased to 10 or 15m which would step the difficulty up. For the really daring individuals out there you can take slacklining up into the sky and try highlining 5m+ above the ground (seek professional help and guidance before trying this as it requires additional safety equipment). Or learn to complete tricks on the line, combining flips and twists in more and more complicated series.
To learn more about the sport of slacklining I’ve written an article all about it and the different disciplines it offers.
Slacklining can provide an escape from the mental pressures of day-to-day life, giving you time for your brain to take a break. As I’ve mentioned above, slacklining isn’t easy, it does provide a challenge to learn and improve. It requires mental focus and concentration as even a slight lapse can cause you to come off. However, that focus means that to achieve success, especially in the early stages you have to focus solely on the task in front of you. It can help to block out other thoughts in your mind and provide a sense of inner peace.
Slacklining provides a space to develop your body awareness, how it moves, how it reacts and how to control it. To begin with, you’ll feel like Bambi the first few times you get up as the line will be wobbling underfoot. However, quite quickly you’ll start to control that, keeping the pressure down on the line and holding your core strong. This will develop into swapping feet and then onto connecting steps. These are all basic skills that are the foundations for any bigger tricks, and the sky is literally the limit with regard to tricks. In my Journey to a Backflip series, I am blogging about my journey from complete newbie and buying my first slackline right through to (hopefully) successfully doing a backflip on a slackline.
Check out this video from the World Slackline Masters in 2019, they combine flips with twists and from a variety of take-off and landing positions. These are professional slackliners and so isn’t something to aim for as a hobby but just shows how much scope there is to grow in the sport.
The final one is all about community. The sport has continued to grow since the 1980’s and is now a sport in its own right and with it, the community has grown. There are active groups worldwide who arrange social gatherings as well as a packed competition season for a great spectacle and an opportunity to meet like-minded people. Check out SlackGuide for detail on up coming events.
If you’re looking for slackline clubs globally then the International Slackline Association (ISA) has a world map of registered clubs. There are over 1300 clubs globally so have a look and find like-minded people near you.
A little more locally, it’s also a very social sport wherever you decide to set up. Most people don’t have the facilities at home to set up a slackline in their garden so will head to a local park. Now even though the sport is over 40 years old it’s still a niche sport and so lots of people won’t have seen it before. This means you can get inquisitive people (kids), asking what the sport is and some may even have a go.