Learning How to Slackline
What is Slacklining?
For a beginner, slacklining can be very intimidating. Can one really balance on a line of rope? Why yes, it is quite possible and easy to pick up. Slacklining has even become a sport to some. The sport takes skill and even gives a sense of excitement. If you don’t have the skill it takes to slackline yet, you can learn and pick it up quickly. But first, lets learn what slacklining really is.
Webbing that is 1-2 inches wide is stretched between two anchors and is used to balance and walk across. Two trees seem to be the more popular thing to use for anchors (Check the gear section of this blog for more anchor options). Trees allow you to have control over how high your slackline is. For beginners, start with the slackline below your hip. As you advance you can increase the height giving you a greater challenge.
Learning How to Slackline
The biggest mistake one can make while learning how to slackline is to slowly put weight down on the line. This causes the line to shake back and forth quickly making it difficult to stand up without falling immediately. You need to have a solid base to stand on. Instead of making this mistake, put your arms up then place one foot on the line. When you feel like you are ready, quickly transfer your weight to the leg on the line. You will be able to stay up on the line while using your free leg and arms as counter balance. Start by balancing on one leg at a time and count to 50 or until you feel comfortable with your balance. As you figure out how to get on and balance on your dominant leg, switch legs and practice balancing on the other. Once you have mastered getting up and staying up, you'll be able to practice walking across and even jumping.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You might be the one to only fall 10-15 times before mastering the challenge of getting up and staying up, CONGRATULATIONS! But if you are more like me, it might take close to falling off 100 times before having the confidence and feeling comfortable on a slackline. And THAT'S OK! Mastering a skill that requires balance on something that moves beneath you isn't supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be challenging. If you love to challenge yourself, slacklining is for you.
The best part of challenging yourself and mastering slacklining is feeling accomplished. Some take it further than just walking across the slackline. There are tricks you can master as well, including but not limited to; jumping and front/back flips. If you get to the point of trying some of these tricks make sure you keep the slackline low and mats beneath you in case of falling off. Safety first my friends!
Chances are you’ve been using someone else’s slack line to learn and practice on. So now that you have mastered slacklining, you’ll want your own gear.
This is your slackline. To start you might just get a cheap one, but just like anything else, consider getting one a little better quality to last you a longer amount of time. The quality of the slackline could be the difference between being able to master walking across sooner. There are different kinds and sizes of webbing that can be used for different things so make sure you do your research to find the best kind of webbing to fit your preferences.
A ratchet is one of the options to use for creating your tension. It is not the preferred method to use because it can be quite difficult to use, and you’ll need a lot of strength to get the right tension with your webbing. Most of the time you will need help from a buddy to use these. This method is used by a lot of beginners because it is the cheaper option.
This is the preferred option for creating that perfect tension with your webbing. A pulley can be used to create the perfect tension by a single person quite easily. It is far more expensive that a ratchet, but the quality and ease make up for it.
- Tree Protector
If you are using Trees as your anchors you NEED something to protect the tree. If you don’t use anything, you could damage the bark and even cause the tree to die. Sure, if it’s a one time use for a short amount of time, the trees might be fine without any protectors. However, you can never be overprepared. You can use card board boxes to protect the tree or purchase actual Tree Protectors online. After all, our mission as a company is to create more trees, not to damage existing ones!
- A Frames
If you don’t have any trees around suitable to hold a slackline, you might consider an A Frame. These can even be home made if you don’t want to purchase one.
- Slackline Rack
You can really use a slackline rack anywhere, but it is typically meant for inside use. The size of a common slackline rack is 3-4 meters. It is the perfect fit for inside your home gym or even a bedroom. The slackline rack is equipped with everything you need so you typically don’t need to purchase other gear. This also means that you don’t need to find or create anchors for the webbing to be stretched from to create tension.
- Soft Release
A soft release is used to slowly release the tension in your slackline. This piece of equipment is required so you don’t injure yourself or cause any damage or breakage to your gear. Be careful while you release the tension from your webbing to reduce the risk of anything snapping and hurting yourself.
Now that you have the gear suited to your situation and preference, invite everyone you know and teach them the art of slacklining. Being able to share your new sport with family and friends creates a great activity that brings everyone together.