During the month of February, I only practiced a few times, but I’m already seeing a noticeable improvement in skill. I missed a couple days due to other work I needed to do, but now I’m back on track. Most recently I practiced on Thursday February 12th. I took pictures of the slackline to show how I set it up, so it’s easier to explain.
The image above shows how the line is attached to the metal poles on both sides. Simply, there is a loop at each end of the slackline and the other end is threaded through it to create an adjustable tie around an object (in this case the metal pole). The slackline itself is tightened with a ratchet that is usually attached to one end (or both sometimes). There is no specific level of slack needed in the line, but less slack makes it easier when starting out.
The improvement I made is evident in the video I compiled together. Compared to last time, I’m able to walk a few steps across the slackline and I even tried to a spin (this was an accident the first time though). This time I set the slackline a little too low, so when I walked too far the slackline hit the ground, but it wasn’t a huge issue. Standing up on the line was significantly easier in the most recent practice session, but that may have to do with overall practice rather than equipment setup.
Here’s the short video of progress from the past two weeks:
By the end of the video you can see me comfortably taking controlled steps across the line. This is a significant improvement from the last post and even the start of this video. I’m very happy with my progress so far and I hope to be able to work on tricks soon.
During meeting with my mentor, I did the following:
Found and made connections that link matters together and generate interest
During my meeting, I discussed with my mentor the history of slacklining and how it related back to climbers. My mentor said that, “Climbers used slacklining as a way to work on balancing and foot placement” and that “it eventually separated from climbing to become its own skill.” At the time I hadn’t realized that it was really based around rock climbing initially. I also connected it back to circus because many activities are generally related to climbing. Many climbers I know came from the circus because it uses a lot of similar muscles and requires the same flexibility for most skills within it.
Explored, elaborated, and pulled interest out of the matter
When I mentioned juggling to my mentor, he brought up cirque like I mentioned before. Apparently one of the setters (someone who sets climbs for the gym) used to be in Cirque Du Soleil a few years ago. Because he mentioned this, I went to talk to that setter and found out a bit more about related techniques that I could use on the slackline. He said that if I stand up on the slackline slowly “it will help [me] maintain that balance at different heights” and creates “muscle memory for each position” balanced in. This is especially important in slab climbing as well because many movements require bending one leg down to rotate or shift weight onto.
Asked for clarification when I was in doubt about something
When I asked about how tall I should set the slackline up, my mentor said to set it “at around your upper thigh or hip height” to ensure that “it doesn’t hit the ground when walking.” I made this mistake a couple weeks ago when I setup the slackline just below my knees and I hit the ground when I stood up on it! There is significantly more slack in the middle of the slackline than the sides, so it makes it more difficult to walk on closer to the centre.
Supported a point my mentor made
At the beginning of the meeting, my mentor pointed out that I “wasn’t setting the slackline high enough” and I strongly agreed after I accidentally made contact with the grass below me. I’ve now learned to setup the slackline higher and also to check the ratchet properly before use.
Thanks for reading my In-Depth progress! If you want to see more, make sure to check in here every month to see how much I’ve progressed!