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this stuff is HARD!
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cush


Apr 23, 2009, 1:13 PM
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this stuff is HARD!
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i bought a slackline kit about a month or two ago and i have made almost zero progress. the farthest i've gotten was about 3 shaky, uneasy steps onto the line before falling off. friends of mine that started after me are walking the line, turning around, and walking back with ease in half the time.

maybe some people were just not meant to do this stuff?


bandycoot


Apr 23, 2009, 1:42 PM
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Re: [cush] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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Ask them what their tricks are. Bent legs, or straight legs. What point do they focus on, visually? Anything. I still haven't walked one completely, but I've improved. Slow progress for me, but I don't try often. I find it always helps to talk about what works when trying something new with friends.

Josh


IsayAutumn


Apr 23, 2009, 1:43 PM
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Re: [cush] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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I'm nothing special on a slackline by any means, but I was able to learn the basics (walking without falling, standing up, turning around) in 5-7 separate times on a slackline.

What helped me was to spend some time just balancing on the line while standing still. At first don't try to take any steps. You will get the feel for what the "neutral" balance position is. Then, once you can stand on the line for a while, start bouncing on it. Bouncing helped give me a feel for how far I could push the "neutral" position while remaining on the line. Once you can start bouncing on it, try standing on one foot.

Overall, I would recommend spending time in one place while on the line. This seemed to help me, but again, I'm definitely a NOOB when it comes to slacklining (but not slacking in general).


Viktor123


Apr 24, 2009, 8:21 PM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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I pretty much learned by myself without any help from others, how to walk a decent cross-walk on a 40 foot line. After doing slackline for some months; I got my friends interested - and their skill-level just exploded (in comaprison with mine). I learned a lot from this, where they focus, how they stand with their feet, how they walk, which leg they start with etc.

This is my advice: Get your friends together, try, fail, talk, cry, bring juggeling balls, laugh of each other, take a swim, have fun, set up a barbeque, bring a frisbee, and last but not least; do it as much as you can. (This is pretty much how I did it)

Well, here is some things to consider/try out:
- Do you feel more comfortable with shoes (if yes, thight or loose[?]) or barefoot?
- Do you put your weight on your whole foot, only in front, only heel?
- Put your one leg up on the line, which one feels more comfortable to start with? Use this leg to stand on alone in the middle of the line. After gaining control, swich leg.
- Pick a spot to focus on. I sometimes watch the end of the line, sometimes a spot on the trees, sometimes sidewards, sometimes on my toe, sometimes as far away as I can.
- Have a cute friend to walk next to you when you have control enough on both legs (just standing up), so that you can tap/grab his/hers shoulder when you get off balance.
- Don't run! This will only make you cheat yourself; it does not improve your balance.
- Don't look down/sidewards when you are about to fall off. Try to keep your body up there, and KEEP FOCUSING ON THE SAME SPOT until you gain control again. Turning your head will force your body to go with it.

Well, after saying this, I have to say that there is no right or wrong way to do slacklining. But consider what I said, because that is what I've experienced through my slackline carieer.

Hope this helped:)
And btw; I am no slackline-ninja, but I would concider myself as a pretty slack slacker:)

EDIT: grammar...


(This post was edited by Viktor123 on Apr 24, 2009, 8:29 PM)


rhythm164


Apr 24, 2009, 9:01 PM
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Re: [cush] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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once you find your balance, ass-clown tight rope is not as hard as you think it is.


wzrdgandalf


Apr 24, 2009, 10:30 PM
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Re: [cush] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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I have been slacking for two years now and I can walk comfortably, turn, walk backwards, neal, and surf the line. It took two or three months before i could take one complete step that i felt good about. One of my friends decided to count how many times he had to try before he could take a decent step. We all told him that he shouldn't because he would get discouraged. After 200+ he gave up. Slacklining is just like climbing, the challenge is what makes it fun. Some of the most helpful hints have already been shared, but I will tell you the three that helped me.
1. keep looking forward!
2. learn to step up and balance with only one foot on the line, you can use your other leg to balance. when you are comfy, bend your knee while trying to keep your butt over your foot and slowly place your other foot onto the line.
3. bouncing up and down will cancel out side to side motion. when i feel like i am leaning to far to one side i will usually pump my legs so that i bounce and transfer my energy from horizontal to vertical.


porkmanvi


Apr 25, 2009, 6:37 PM
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Re: [cush] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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Find someone that knows what their doing to be with you to help out.
A friend of mine pulled out his line with 5 of us that had never done any slacklining or climbing and after a couple of hours all of us could take at least a few steps.


durangotang


Apr 26, 2009, 4:02 PM
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be able to stand on one foot for a long time before you even try to walk - bent knees helps me - conciously thinking about my feet on the line also helps me - I stare really hare at the carabiner while i'm on the line - do it A LOT! I was talking to this sports trainer one time while slacklining and he said a lot of people just have weak stabilizer muscles in their ankles and for them it takes a lot more time to get good at it. My main sport is skiing and I have very little need for ankle stabilization so I fell into that category. Took me two months to even take a few steps and then I excelled really fast after that.


cleethree


Feb 3, 2010, 6:26 AM
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Re: [durangotang] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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durangotang wrote:
be able to stand on one foot for a long time before you even try to walk - bent knees helps me - conciously thinking about my feet on the line also helps me - I stare really hare at the carabiner while i'm on the line - do it A LOT! I was talking to this sports trainer one time while slacklining and he said a lot of people just have weak stabilizer muscles in their ankles and for them it takes a lot more time to get good at it. My main sport is skiing and I have very little need for ankle stabilization so I fell into that category. Took me two months to even take a few steps and then I excelled really fast after that.

where are your stabilzer muscles located?


Partner slacklinejoe


Feb 3, 2010, 7:31 AM
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Re: [cush] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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Shamelessly copied from my website: Slackline Tips from Slackline Express
Keep in mind, what works for some, won't work for everyone. I teach classes and these are tips that seem to work for most folks.


Learn How to Slackline

Here is a short collection of tips to help beginners start slacklining. Remember, these aren't hard and fast rules or anything, just maybe a hint at what might work for you. Printer friendly version


The Recommended Beginners Setup
Find trees or anchors 15-25 feet apart.
Set the tree slings about upper thigh to hip level.
Set the tension so you have six to twelve inches of sag with you on the line in the middle.


Learning to Walk
#1 Tip - Donít watch the your feet or the webbing, focus your eyes on something eye level near the end of the webbing and let your balance tell you where to put your feet. If you are going to watch the ground make sure it is at least 15 feet in front of you.



#2 Tip - Relax. Shake out your shoulders, arms and legs before you begin. It actually helps.

#3 Tip - Don't lock your knees. Keep them at least partially bent and keep your arms out. Keep your head up and lean your torso back a little while taking steps.



#4 Tip Ė To really improve plan on twenty minutes as a bare minimum time for a slack session.

#5 Tip - HAVE FUN. Don't concentrate too hard or get frustrated. Just keep trying and have fun.

At first, just trying to stand up on the line can be daunting enough. Sometimes itís wise to have a bit of help during that very first little bit. Ideally, two spotters, one on each side, holding their hands or shoulders is best. Avoid using sticks to help prop you up, we've found this actually slows your learning curve.



Being barefoot helps, or at least wear tight fitting shoes that wonít let your feet slip side to side. If you do wear shoes, make sure they are tightly laced and won't wobble side to side. Thin soled shoes give you the most feedback and avoid aggressive tread that can catch and trip you. Climbing shoes work ok for some, so do various thin soled shoes (skate shoes are best). You may find shoes let you spin easier for turns and jump with less pain, but barefoot lets you grip better since your foot will contour around the line and provides better feedback.



Youíll notice if you slowly stand up the webbing will try to shake violently; so when mounting, place one foot on the line and put very little weight on it, put your other thigh against the line to stabilize the line, and hop with your other foot so that your other foot is at least a foot off the ground before your weight shifts back onto the foot on the line. For a more stable start, try and sink straight down on the line, trying not to jump in at an angle. It takes practice but youíll get a much smoother mount.



Find a slacking partner for best results. It helps keep you dedicated, focused and you can use them to observe your stance and recommend adjustments.



Fashion be damned. Lots of people try to walk slacklines with long baggy pants and insist that the pants don't get in their way. Reality is that if you are walking on your pant cuffs you are losing a lot of traction and feel for the line. If you wear long pants make sure youíre not walking on your cuffs. A simple rubber band around your pant cuffs works wonders.

Foot position will make a difference in stability. The most commonly used positions are what we call the Forward Foot Position and the Sideways Foot Position. Some tricks rely on using the two together. When walking we normally recommend the Forward Foot Position which places the line in the soft area between the big toe and the 2nd toe with the line going under the heel. When walking with shoes or doing moves that need sideways momentum the Sideways Foot Position is useful. The Sideways Foot Position places the line diagonally in the arch with the line resting to the outside of the big toe.



For shorter or younger folk you may find you need to drop the line temporarily for them to get on. The quick and dirty suggestion is to have someone sit on the end of the line behind them when they start. This allows them to get stable with someone else's weight on the line which seems to assist them getting started. Once they make it to the middle it often helps to slowly remove the extra person from the line.



When doing tricks the lower and farther spread across the sides of the line the easier it will be to stay stable. Stay low and keep those arms out. Instead of just bending your knees try bending them outwards to stay low.



Remember that most of the movements are in the hip and leg; so don't be afraid to loosen up those hips and legs. Your center of gravity will be in your hips, so donít stiffen up your torso Ė it needs to stay fluid as you move.

Keeping a rhythm can make a drastic difference in your ability to move smoothly. Listening to music, keeping a beat or making Tai Chi like movements make for amazingly smooth movements on the line.

Bouncing up and down a little removes much of the side to side sways in the line. Useful if youíre having trouble handling side to side motions as you can create vertical bounces which are easier to control to eliminate the side to side sways not to mention, bouncing is just plain fun.

Try to practice in different parts of the line, the ends are much more firm and tend to move faster but much less movement adjustment is needed while the center is slower to respond but can swing much further off center. When in the middle, you need to slow your motions and don't overreact. Smaller moves are more precise.

Try different tensioning of the slackline, different heights and different starting points. Most people think tighter is easier (to a point) and more slack is more challenging while others find the opposite true. In reality what it changes is the speed at which you need to react and the amount of correction. If you have move slow on the line, a loose line will be easier. If you are twitchy and overreacting a tighter line will be easier to get started on. That said, I strongly recommend that you try to master all types of tension, from super loose to really tight.

Certain tricks are easier on tight lines while others are easier on looser lines. Tricks that rely on the bounce of the line or need a firmness to get the proper stance will need a tighter line than those than use the natural sway of the line. For instance jumping is easier on tight lines while surfing sideways is easier on loose lines.

One good way of sharpening your ability to walk is to first learn to balance on one foot, then the other. If you can balance on either foot and move your other foot out to the side, walking is simplified greatly. Take it to the next level by balancing on one foot while moving the other far out to the side. Once you can do this with either foot you will have a significant advantage when you need to recapture your balance.

Don't get discouraged, realize that each session you will spend some time getting warmed up and getting the feel for the line, spend time having fun, spend a little serious time making progress and then reach a point where your not going to get any better that session due to muscle fatigue and natural learning plateaus.

Young kids have a natural advantage. Here is my feeble attempt to add to this using details from my biology courses. During new muscular and nervous workouts your brain essentially redevelops nerve paths that it wasn't using much before and gives them a kind of tune up by remapping what those ends do in your brain. Each time you start working a new group your brain relearns controlling that group a little better until it reaches full potential. It only works a little at a time and only up to a point. That is, in part, why people often have sudden bursts at gaining strength and control during a new sport then reach a plateau where improving is harder. Kids haven't "forgotten" these nerves yet and the brain is still developing it's necessary pathways.

Want to practice the basics without actually being on a slackline? Maybe youíre having a very difficult time learning the sport or maybe you want a safe way of teaching others the basic movements before putting them on a line. Or possibly your just rained or snowed in and incredibly bored. For whatever reason, if you just want to experience some of the postures and motions of the sport try this: walk a line of tape or webbing on the ground. The requirements, heels can not touch the ground and should stay at least 2 to 3 inches off the ground and steps should be taken that swing the whole body out to the side curving at the hip. It seems to help some beginners we've recommended it to and got their confidence up before stepping on the line.




durangotang


Feb 3, 2010, 7:33 AM
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Re: [cleethree] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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where are your stabilzer muscles located?
ummmmmm.... all over your body but the ones important to slacklining are around the ankle and foot


Partner slacklinejoe


Feb 3, 2010, 8:03 AM
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Re: [durangotang] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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I usually thing of stabilizing muscles as the small ones that don't do the heavy lifting in the body. Of course, the big muscles stabilize the body position too so perhaps that's just oversimplification.

The muscles I tend to think I use most when slacklining are:
Flexing and contorting toes and feet to cup the line
Angling ankles to adjust for pivots and sway of the line
Support muscles in the knee that keep things in place while you compensate for bounce and steps
Hips get a lot of use as you pivot your legs/knees and twisting motions
The small muscles in your back that curve your spine for optimal positioning - this pretty much include all of your core muscles I believe
Your neck and shoulders are included too since that is used for getting your body in correct body positioning and all the subtle controls and counterbalances.

Disclaimer: I'm certainly not officially trained in Kinematics or physiology.


aerili


Feb 3, 2010, 10:14 AM
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Re: [cush] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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I think some of us were born missing the climber slacklining gene, ha ha. (I'm one of em.)

But seriously, I've only made progress once I found someone who is good at teaching the mechanics of the balance, can spot you initially, and has an instinct for giving you good initial exercises that breakdown the skill into components.

My self-selected "mentor" is the only person who ever really helped me in a way that rocketed my progress in just a few hours in just a couple sessions. (I still suck, btw, but I couldn't even stand up on the line before.)


Partner slacklinejoe


Feb 4, 2010, 7:15 AM
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Re: [aerili] this stuff is HARD! [In reply to]
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aerili wrote:
But seriously, I've only made progress once I found someone who is good at teaching the mechanics of the balance, can spot you initially, and has an instinct for giving you good initial exercises that breakdown the skill into components.

Actually that's not uncommon. While on a line you feel like your not leaning forward, you feel like you aren't looking at your toes and you feel like your keeping a relaxed pose and keeping your knees bent, but an attentive observer can readily correct you.

To address the issue, we (my company) is putting together a loosely affiliated slackline trainers network which consists mostly of slackline enthusiasts who don't mine teaching newbies. Most of the classes are free as it's completely up to the trainer if they charge for their time or not.

Despite only having a few registered trainers out there, it's already made a huge difference for those who don't start off smoothly on their own.


(This post was edited by slacklinejoe on Feb 4, 2010, 7:16 AM)


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