If you are a beginner in the world of slacklining and want to get some tips, don’t worry… here’s some help.
Fortunately, slacklining is an activity with lots of versatility, and due to its recent introduction as a sport, there are still a lot of tricks to be created. Oddly enough, the slacklining learning curve is very quick and after only a couple of sessions you will notice a lot of progress. Indeed, it looks more difficult than it really is! If you are new to slacklining, here you will find a few slacklining tips that will help you progress quickly in the art of slacklining:
- Start by jumping and shaking your arms, legs and the whole body for a minute or so. You can also stretch your body or do some yoga before you start slacklining. That relaxes you and warms you up.
- Locate the slackline at about 30 – 50 cm from the ground or below your waist. As you progress you can set it at a higher level depending on the nature of your practice. Starting at a low level allows you to get on the line easily while you get the “feeling” of it as well as serving as a psychological aid for building confidence. If you fall, you won’t hurt yourself that much.
- Start by putting most of your weight on the leg that is on the line, while the leg that is on the ground supports approximately 30% of your body weight. Take a deep breath, relax and look forward (not at your shoes or the ground), then just get up on the line. After a few tries you will be able to do it with ease. You can then try the same with the other leg.
- Once on the slackline, practice staying on the same spot and do not walk until you find your balance. Then, stand with one leg for a few seconds while the other leg helps you to find balance and then do the same with your other leg.
- Use your arms and play with them. Ideally, your arms level with your head. By moving and playing with them you relax and at the same time that allows you to find your balance easily. Don’t forget to move one of the legs as well to help balance the whole body.
- Slacklining is easier with a partner who can provide you with her/his arm or shoulder so that you can relax and start walking and getting the feeling of slacklining. Your arms should have enough space to be extended widely so tell your partner not to approach you too much. Don’t get too used to your partner’s assistance. After a few tries and as you get more comfortable on the slack line, continue on your own.
- Probably the most important thing in slacklining is to find one (and only one) spot in front of you, perhaps the tree in front of you, the other end of the slackline, a banner, flag, etc. It is not recommended to look at the slackline or your feet, but if that makes you feel better or safer, try looking some meters ahead of the slackline and keep that distance as you walk.
- Once you have some balance you are ready to start walking. Start with short steps and go slowly at first. Don’t let yourself be overcome by emotions and the rush of getting to the other side as soon as possible. As in everything else, patience and perseverance will further you to your goals in a more effective way instead of rushing things. Slacklining can be regarded as a meditation in movement so don’t slackline as a drunkard ;).
- Once you are able to walk a few steps in a steady manner, try using other muscles of your body. Move your trunk, bend your knees a bit, move as if you were going to jump, get the feeling of floating. The idea is to be relaxed on the slackline and walk like a feline would, that is to say, in a graceful and relaxed way.
- Don’t forget to breathe! Breathing deeply while slacklining helps a lot, just like yoga. Make it a meditative practice and take a deep breath, walk a few steps, then exhale completely. However, don’t get tense trying to hold the air in your lungs. It should feel natural and relaxed.
- Take breaks from time to time. Slacklining uses muscles that most people don’t use. Once your legs and arms get tired, take a break and then start again. You may also feel some kind of mental exhaustion after you try slacklining for a couple of hours. That is due to exerting concentration for long periods of time so don’t worry and take a break.
- If you are one of those people who sweat a lot don’t forget to drink water frequently and perhaps eat a snack when you have a break.
- If after a few sessions you still find it difficult to relax on the slackline, don’t get discouraged. It is all about patience, relaxation and concentration. Practice as often as possible and you will see quick results.