Start with a short slackline. The shorter the distance between the two anchor points, the more stable the slackline. As the slackline gets longer, a few things happen:
- The tension in the line increases, making dismounts more dangerous due to the extra force;
- The height of the line off the ground increases to allow for greater sag when weighted;
- It requires more force to tighten it, which can be difficult with some tightening systems.
Place one foot lengthwise in the middle of the slackline.
- Starting barefoot is a good idea. Using bare feet will allow you to feel the line better and find your balance more quickly.
- Step on the line so that it runs from between your big toe and second toe back to the middle of the heel. As you improve, practice turning your feet and standing sideways, with your shoulders parallel to the line.
- Once you improve (or if the landing is not safe for bare feet), you may want to switch to shoes since they provide greater protection when attempting tricks and landing.
You can mount the slackline at any point, but starting in the middle is generally safer, since it is usually away from obstacles you might hit when falling. The line is also lower to the ground in the middle once weighted, reducing the height of the falls.
- Practice from the same place each time since the slackline oscillates differently at different distances from the anchors. The wobbles are faster and smaller near the anchors and slower and larger near the middle.
- But wherever you start, it is going to wobble a lot. This is natural; everyone wobbles the first time.
Take a couple deep breaths and settle yourself. If you are relaxed, your foot will be less shaky on the line.
Focus intently on a single point, such as the anchor. This will help you find and keep your balance. Resist the temptation to look straight down at your feet on the line. Looking down at the wobbling line will simply make you wobble as well. Look ahead instead of down at the line.
Center your weight directly over the foot on the line. With one smooth, balanced motion stand up on that leg.
Balance on one foot, while using your arms and other leg to help maintain your balance.
Bend the leg that is on the slackline. Bending your leg lowers your center of gravity slightly, and allows you to more easily find your balance and absorb the movements of the line.
Continue to wave your free arms and legs around to help you balance. Sometimes you will twist and turn your body into all sorts of positions to keep your balance.
- Once you have caught your balance slowly move your body back to center with your arms up and out, knee(s) bent, head up, and eyes focused on a single point.
Repeat these steps until you can balance for at least 15 seconds.
Practice with the other foot. Once you can keep your balance, attempt taking a step.
Once you’ve successfully taken your first step, keep practicing!
Think you’ve got the basics figured out. Check out the sample skill progression for beginners.
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