Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Drilling the Basics

     My whole life I have watched the years go by without paying much mind to making resolutions. I make goals for myself all year round and therefore making a goal at the end of one year or the beginning of the next seems a little redundant.

     That being said, 2015 was a hell of a year. It began with a break up, which put me on an internet dating site where I met my boyfriend Robert. He was the best part of 2015 and I predict he will also be at the top of 2016 too! (Stay tuned!) Perhaps the second best thing to happen to me in 2015 was finally going to acro classes and learning to flip around on someone's feet, or hands, or shoulders! I wrote about acro in April when boyfriend and I went to an acro class taught by my best friend and his fiance. That acro class was our second date and led to our first kiss. (Squeeeeeee!)

     I was lazy about acro until late this summer when I began going to acro Jams in Oakland. It was there I truly began to push myself to learn new things and challenge my body. My new friends have helped me so much. I learned so quickly I had the honor of making a video for Youtube with Vahid. In the process, I learned more about myself than I have in a long time. Now I am ready to make my first goal of 2016.
     This will seem strange but- I will not work on anything *new to me* for 30 days. It is back to basics for me! I can fumble my way through advanced poses and washing machines, but I am far from pretty when I do it. So my focus for the next 30 days will be to make perfect the most basic of moves. I am doing this for 3 reasons:
     1. To strengthen muscles I will need once I am ready to do more advanced moves.
     2. To create something not just cool, but beautiful.
     3. To be safe. This is the most important reason. I can be a bit fearless sometimes and lately I have found myself trying moves that put a lot of strain on my body. This is not safe. How could I possibly work on something with an advanced twist if I can't go smoothly between simple twists?

     I know drilling the basics is essential for any physically demanding sport. As you may know, playing soccer has been my life for 25 of 30 years. When I arrived on the pitch in high school, I was annoyed at how many hours we spent passing and dribbling the ball. Passing it to one another, off walls, through cones, around players. All I wanted to do as a forward was learn to do diving headers and shoot! When I began coaching at 19 I found an appreciation for drilling the basics. How could I possibly shoot the ball if I couldn't properly complete a pass? How could I expect my players to do a diving header when they had no idea how to head the ball in the first place- safely--- without diving!?
So at acro, how could I pop from Star to Bird if I can't get my body to twist and don't quite understand the dynamics of what I have to do?

     So, for the next 30 days, I will be asking my acro friends to do Ninja Star after Ninja Star, Tick Tock after Tick Tock, and Shoulder Stands in all variations. I will work on basic "L sits" and hand to hand practices on the floor. Most importantly, I will be focusing on my body, my safety and properly learning how to perform at a level that I can only achieve through knowing the most basic of moves.
I also will make it my goal to become a solid base for birds, bats and leaves to rest or hang on my feet. I believe the best bases are flyers too... and vice versa.

     I ask my acro friends to respect this decision. As fun as Whirly Gigs and pops from Star to Bird look, I have to protect my body. I hope you all choose or continue to do the same. Be safe.

     As a side note, I would like to take this opportunity to let all people new to acro know that I strongly recommend taking a few acro classes with certified teachers. TakeYoga in Allison Park has a great class taught by Becca Cutright and Darcy Lyle on Monday evenings. Yoga Love also has a class on Saturdays at 2:00 pm. Even if you think you know what you are doing, you don't.
I save my pennies and go to a class any chance I can. I really hope you choose to learn from people who really know what they are talking about.

Be safe, friends. See you at a Jam soon!


From my first acro jam in late July. (Poorly executed shoulder stand)
Photo by Robert Lee Bailey

Also from that first Jam
Photo by Robert Lee Bailey

My very first Star!
Photo by Robert Lee Bailey

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