Let’s be very clear about some terminology and all get on the same page for the sake of this article.
‘Trick/s’ - Cascade is a trick. Pitch to RF2H is a trick. Tricks are the endgame, the final result. They’re the thing you want.
‘Skill/s’- Skill/s are the component parts of a trick. Handstand would be a skill component of Hand to Hand. RF2H would be a skill component of Pitch to RF2H At an advanced level, some tricks become skills. A back somersault is a trick in-and-of-itself, but at some point it becomes a skill component of tricks. Back Tuck to Baby for example.
‘Global Acrobatic Skill’ – This is your physical understanding of the discipline of acrobatics on a wider level. It’s made up of your understanding of, and ability to perform, skills. Skills like: Do you know how to roll? How to somersault? How to maintain body tension? Can you press to handstand? How strong are you in relation to those skills? The more of these skill components you have, the higher your ‘global acrobatic skill level’ is.
When I say; ‘Being shown a trick’ I’m describing performing a trick you already had the skills to do, but didn’t know how to. Someone showed you how it worked, and you could do it. You were using skills you already had, in a new way.
When I say; ‘Learning a trick’ I’m describing increasing your ‘global acrobatic skill’ by acquiring new skills, and getting to a point where you can perform the trick successfully. You had to learn a wide variety of other skills (that you didn’t already have), that are necessary to know in order perform the trick itself.
Alright. Now that’s out the way. Let’s delve a little deeper.
Hitting A Wall
Let’s look at a real life example: our Inlocate workshop.
We’ve taught this workshop probably 20+ times to hundreds of people. The majority of the room will be able to Inlocate to shoulders by the end of the two hour workshop. When we arrive at that point we say the same thing, every time:
‘Some of you will hit a wall, and not be able to progress anymore in this class’
It’s not that we don’t want you to progress. It’s not that you don’t want to progress. It’s just that you’ve reached a point where you can no longer get any better. Why is that? You’re trying so hard, you’re following the instructions and doing everything right to the best of your ability. What is stopping you?
One, or more, of these three things:
- Your conceptual understanding of the technique. Do you understand what’s meant to be happening and how you’re meant to do it?
- Your physical understanding of the correct technique. Does your body understand what’s meant to be happening and how to do it?
- Your actual physical ability to perform the trick. Do you have the requisite strength and mobility to perform the correct technique?
All it takes is for one of those elements to not be there for you to not be able to do the trick. This is why it’s so much harder to learn higher level tricks, Inlocate to Hand to Hand in this example. As those tricks are made up of many, many smaller skills that, unless you already know them, we would be unable to teach you in the space of a two hour workshop.
Typically, those skills are learnt through many hours of dedicated, focused practice. Unless the skills needed are so below your level that they’re rudimentary, you’re unlikely to pick them up quickly.
Workshops are not great for improving your ‘global acrobatic skill level’ as the focus is on ‘using your existing skills in a new way’. They are, however, the perfect place to be shown things that are appropriate to your ‘global acrobatic skill level’ but they won’t necessarily help you become a better acrobat overall.
But unless you have the necessary skills for the trick, you won’t be able to perform the trick.
Bold For Emphasis
And that’s just it. What makes or breaks your ability to perform a trick is whether or not you have the component skills.
Because at some point your ability catches up with your level of understanding, and that of those around you. In order to keep progressing to the next level, you need someone who can identify what skills you’re missing and what you need to work on to get those skills.
From teaching and engaging with people at workshops, what we’re hearing is that there are people who want to work on higher level tricks but are struggling to achieve them because they lack the necessary competency with the component skills. And it’s not for lack of trying, these people are highly motivated and passionate about acrobatics (as I imagine you are if you’re still reading).
Typically, these component skills are not fun, flashy or exciting. They are holding handstands against the wall, they are holding your basing positions for time or they are working on various tempo exercises. But how do you know what you need to work on? There are a thousand exercises and it’s difficult to pick the right ones to ensure you’re still progressing.
Until now. We have been quietly developing a system to help motivated, hardworking people learn those sneaky skills that they need in order to achieve higher level tricks. We’re calling it the S.A.S.S: “The Standing Acrobatics Super Squad”.
It’s our new online coaching programme where you’ll receive personalized individual and partnership training plans. These training plans will be built from acrobatic exercises & drills, as well as mobility & strength exercises.
The plans are custom designed for you and your partner to help address your weaknesses, and to teach you the skills you need in order to keep making progress. We’ll update these plans regularly to make sure you’re still being challenged and able to improve!
As well as that, you’ll receive up to 50 feedback videos every week. You’ll send us videos of you performing the exercises in your training plan, we’ll take a look and send back detailed feedback videos for each individual exercise. These feedback videos will feature annotations and instruction to let you know what you’re doing right (or wrong!), as well as advice for next time.
You’ll also receive our weekly in-depth tutorial videos for absolutely free, as well as get access to a private Facebook group where you can ask questions, receive feedback and share your successes!
Due to the highly personalized instruction and attention we want to give each pair, we’re limiting the programme to only 10 pairs.
This programmeme is designed for people who are working in a dedicated partnership, training two or more times a week, are highly motivated and passionate about acrobatics and about achieving higher level skills. The programme is only effective as you make it. If you perform it exactly as we write it, you will see your ability skyrocket.