I was in a great mood – it was my birthday, I was with friends and I got to do my favourite thing in the world, flying trapeze. Things were looking up from last week's sluggish class. And, with my injured ankle cased in what looked like armour, I was ready to smash a few tricks.
This week I decided to get everything filmed. I like to do it every few weeks to measure my progress and it's always so useful to be able to watch yourself back. Sometimes it's hard to know what you need to do to improve on a trick. Watching yourself back, you can pick out the great and the bad and know exactly what to work on next week. Unfortunately the videos aren't great and the movement is a little vomit inducing, but I've put one on here anyway so you can have a little look.
Each class always begins with a straight swing and dismount to warm up. B.I. (before injury), I was able to do this without the lunge (harness) and get quite a nice high dismount. At the moment I can't land on my ankle, so I've been back on the lunge for this swing and am lowered down for a far from graceful landing on my arse. Despite this, my swing felt strong. I got a descent jump from the platform and remembered to beat back straight away, which powers you up. From the video, I noticed I need to stretch out more at the end of my swing which will help even more with momentum and give me more air time for tricks.
I did three different tricks this week. None of which were perfect, but I can definitely see an improvement. There are points on the videos where I can see I would have made a return, for instance, but bailed out in worry for my ankle – a few commitment issues. Or where a tighter core would have helped me hold a position better. Although I didn't complete as many tricks as two weeks ago, I think they were probably technically better so I'm happy with that. In the video below, a tighter core would definitely help – I turned around too early and cheated my legs over the platform on the swing after turning. I also need to hold my hips a bit higher over the platform and hold my swing just a little longer before landing my feet back on the platform.
Next week is the last class of term. So that means I have a week to train, armed with all the information from the videos, ready to nail these tricks. I started last night with a core conditioning class (anything circus is all about the core). I can feel an improvement in these supporting classes, too – I even have a little 4-pack emerging. One of the exercises was like doing a lying down handstand – you tighten everything (abs legs, arms, etc) then two people lift you up so you're standing on your hands. If anyone remembers the film 'The Craft', it's a little bit "tight as a feather stiff as a board"...anyone? Only much tougher on the muscles and you actually move. I heard one of the girls lifting me say "she's all muscle!" – yeah I am! But I still need to improve strength in my lower core, I find this area really hard to engage.
This week will also give me a chance to visualise and focus on what I want to do in the air. Whilst flying, there's not a massive amount of time to think. If you hesitate, you mess up the timing and then a trick won't happen. I find that thinking methodically through each trick helps the movements seep into my brain, so it comes a bit more naturally when I'm performing them...And thinking about trapeze all day makes for pretty incredible dreams!