November 01, 2004
Slacklining (slacking) is borrowed from the climbing population, where it’s often prescribed as active recovery after a hard day of mountaineering. A slackline is a lead of nylon webbing strung between two fixed objects. Upon looking at a slackline setup most people think “tightrope walking”. Actually it is quite the opposite. While a tightrope does not sway or move, a slackline does. Known to recoil, sway madly and bounce with every step or transition – it has been likened to surfing. These characteristics focus on movement, not musculature. Bringing focus to stabilization in the most destabilized environments. Think hula-hoop on crack. This simple device can help to improve coordination, agility, accuracy, concentration, and balance. I have personally seen a slackline humble the freakiest balance junkies.
Potency can be adjusted for all skill levels. Tension on the webbing can be varied to manipulate line response time – the looser the line the slower the feedback. We employed ski poles, human shoulders, and crash mats to get even the most balanced-challenged on the line. Baby steps are important. It is amazing to witness the smile on someone’s face when they discover that the line responds with bounce and recoil against weight transfer. They just keep coming back!