AnzBlog

Keep a diary of what you're hitting, what's frustrating you, and your goals.
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Anz
Anssi Sundberg
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Re: AnzBlog

Post by Anz » 23 Jan 2014 08:41

Three Cornerstones To Develop Shred

I'll write something of how I see a player can advance in footbag in theory. Leaving out all the small details - like working on stalling technique, landing or style in general - basic shred can be said the consist of single tricks, links and combos. A player first learns individual tricks, then different links with these tricks, and this leads to combos or strings of tricks, which modern freestyle footbag is pretty much all about. All of this should be pretty obvious, but I want to raise a couple points, that some players might want to think about when practicing.


Single tricks

It all starts with learning single tricks. What's important when starting to learn a new trick, is that you don't cut corners to hit it. Ideally you want to learn a new trick so that you can hit any trick out of it - or into it. You want to learn it properly then. This means you set like you would for other similar tricks, and catch the stall where you would normally catch. And what's the most important is that you try to learn the trick so that it's more or less the same every time you do it. The set direction and height, dex patterns and motions and stall spot are the same every time you do it. This is important when you start linking it with other tricks.

Links

In an ideal world you've learned a trick so well that it's not a problem to link it with other tricks. In reality this usually isn't true. Everytime you hit a trick, it's not 100% the same, which sometimes makes it harder to play out of. It's good to start by practicing mere links with new trick(s), or to get more consistent in these kind of links. It's a more controlled way to practice, than just trying to start doing the trick randomly more often. Being able to link tricks also shows that you're not cutting corners.

Combos

With links you always have the best means to execute the first trick, so the second trick has a good baseline too. But for combos you need to learn to compensate and have tolerance to play out of flawed executions. A sloppy trick might affect the next three or four tricks even, because the chances are low for hitting a perfect trick out of a sloppy trick. This is where bailing comes into the picture as well. Everyone has intuition, and can make instant judgments in the blink of an eye on how well the current trick is going to land, and decide what to do next. It doesn't need to be a planned out combo, but usually everyone has some sort of plan in their mind what's the next trick going to be. If it feels like the current trick is going to land so badly you have to bail - usually into Osis or Butterfly - it's for the reason that you can recover and then play out of the well executed bail trick. But learning to compensate and to be able to play with a well executed trick out of a sloppier trick is something you don't learn by just practicing links.

Example

Let's take Blurry Whirl as an example. It's a mediocre trick in difficulty, that can be done back-to-back, so you can do it even as a combo.
Not much needs to be said for the single trick. It must be assumed that one already knows Whirl and Ripwalk, and if they start learning Blurry Whirl both sides from Butterfly/Infinity, they can't cut many corners.
Linking Blurry Whirl b2b (back-to-back) is something else then, than just learning the trick both sides. One needs to practice (Pdx) Whirl > Stepping, which usually is harder at first than plain Butterfly > Stepping. It's a good example of how a sloppy execution of the first trick makes the second trick so much harder. For the examples sake let's say one can hit good side Blurry Whirl 6 out of 10 tries and flipside 4 out of 10. Mathematically this would mean that they would hit the trick b2b on (roughly) every fourth try - but it doesn't work like that in real life. Worse execution of the first trick makes it much harder to land the second trick, thus lowering the probability. But practicing the link is good for learning tolerance for the Whirl > Stepping link.
When doing Blurry Whirl b2b becomes easier one can move on to doing more of them in a row, which makes it a combo (even though in this example it's just one trick over and over). Let's say Blurry Whirl *10 (ten in a row). Practicing just the link both sides isn't the most efficient way to aim for ten, as your intuition might say. Trying to get as many in a row as possible makes one work on recovering from bad set or stall etc. Eventually one can hit the ten Blurry Whirls in a row, and most probably they all aren't alike, but the player got better at the trick and has learned to be able to play out of flawed tricks and recover, so they were able to pull it off.

In summary, you learn to do close-to-perfection single tricks, and learn to play out of them with close-to-perfection tricks. So when you freestyle you can link the well executed tricks together. But eventually there's a flaw, and if you're able to save it without dropping (or bailing completely), and continue like nothing happened, you've developed some tolerance, and that's good.

All this should shed some light on why I do my training programs how I do them: consisting of single tricks, links and combos.



Bailing to Near Butterfly versus Osis

Not in the subject of this entry entirely, but just now there was some discussion in the some (social media) about bailing. More precisely bailing to Near Butterfly (from Clipper). I find this habit more notable on players who strongly favour their strongside Clipper. Bailing from strong side Clipper back to the same surface is easy with Osis > Infinity, but Osis is sometimes a risky bail, because it needs turning your body. From the point where the Clipper is already landed far to the side or more to the backside of the body, Osis is the easiest bail, since you're already turning a little. But if the Clipper is done with good posture and stance, where you can set the footbag up without having to shift your balance sideways, Near Butterfly is a very good option for just quickly correcting any issues that originally needed the bailing, for example the previous trick had a low set, which needed a hasty footwork and a low catch.
Near Butterfly is quite a rare trick as it is. Far Butterfly (Infinity) is more common as a trick one might "decide" to do, as opposed to bail to. There's no statistics, but it's obvious that Osis is a more common bail than Near Butterfly. Mostly because players learn Osis as a habit, and do it "by heart" in the flow of the string.
But there's also one point in bailing to Near Butterfly that I don't think many people take into account, when they wonder why other players in videos use it. Many players play for the camera when they make a video. Obviously, because it wouldn't be nice to show footage just of your backside, even if it was your better looking side, as it often is with men. Doing Osis > Infinity turns the way your facing, but Near Butterfly doesn't. So for someone that's playing for the camera and is aware which direction they're facing, it's a more natural to favour the bails that don't make you turn away from the camera.
Personally I've intentionally learned to do Near Butterfly, and grown a habit to try to favour it instead of Osis. In the flow of the run I start to do Osis more, when I get tired (after 20 contacts). I find Near Butterfly just easier to play out of with the trick of my choice, than Osis > Infinity. And it's one contacts less, so it's faster too. And I have personal issues against Osis (I hate that move). And I drop Osis on an unacceptable ratio when I bail to it from a big move (it's a hate-hate relationship).

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Re: AnzBlog

Post by C-Fan » 23 Jan 2014 09:30

I'm so happy you decided to start blogging again. I've been playing a long time, but I still feel like I learn a lot from your posts. Also, it makes me giggle when your blog is next to mine in the list.

Request: more video posts.

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Re: Old and new videos

Post by h0ag3yb3atZ » 23 Jan 2014 11:51

Anz wrote:
Diving > Ducking Drifter drill (which I still haven't seen anyone else hit).
Nathan hit this in front of me a few years ago and stepped out of the last drifter I believe as well. crazy stuff.

superfly>whirr>ripstein drill is amazing props.

I started a training program recently inspired by you although I have no time to play so it's pretty sporadic. How do you feel about taking one concept from a training program and integrating it into the next? like say your blurry drifter>sunil combo carries over into your next training program? I was thinking about doing that just to put a little extra time into a few links.

thankz anz
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Re: AnzBlog

Post by F[uns]tylin' Eclectic » 24 Jan 2014 01:55

Hey Anssi, thanks for really tackling the question of "Why Near Butterfly?" bail. I was the one who brought that up, so it's nice to be able to read a full and well-thought-out answer to my question. I understand what you mean about the fact that Near Butterfly is more reliable that Osis> Infinity. That never crossed my mind. I'm going to reanalyze my game a bit and start forcing myself to bail to Near Butterfly from now on. Thanks for this good answer, as opposed to the "It doesn't matter.." answers on Facebook.
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Anssi Sundberg
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Circle Competition

Post by Anz » 31 Jan 2014 12:15

Circle Competition

I don't consider Circle Competition as my strong point competition-wise, but having judged one USO, two Euros and four Worlds (more than anyone else?) Circle Finals, I do have a grasp on it on an international level.

Before the competition you need to have a good idea what are your strong tricks at the moment. It's a good idea to have some possibilities for starting tricks or links, for at least Variety phase, planned in advance. But you can't do it a month earlier, but based on how you feel on the day of the competition.


Variety

The first round of the Variety phase is important for confidence. And naturally it's also the round where your the freshest, so it's an opportunity to go all-in and do a massive run. So many times I've done my longest run on the first round, and then not being able to steady my breathing, until the longer break between the phases - so the rest of the Variety doesn't go as well as it could. Hand catching the bag to end the first run is a pretty good idea, when you start feeling repetitive and getting very tired. That is a way to conserve energy for the rest of the round and the next phase.

I personally think that on Variety phase the judging is a little trickier than Density. This can be exploited as a competitor. Variety as a term outside of the Circle competition can refer to a lot of things, but in competition it's defined pretty accurately. In Circle competition variety means being bothsided, doing unique tricks and links, and doing different tricks than others. As a judge it's hard to keep track of what tricks the player did that they didn't do last round, or what they didn't do on that side yet, or what others didn't do. String starters are easy to take a mental note of, but after that it gets hard. Many judges seem to go by their intuition, and so the player who did the most contacts often gets the 10, regardless of the actual variety.

In the Variety phase bailing (even Guilting) shouldn't be feared or avoided. The longer the string is, the more likely it is to have more variety, and regardless of it the more likely it's to be liked by the audience and judges. Bails or whatever that is "bread and butter" are a good way to clear the head too, for some new ideas of how to continue the run.

What comes to the actual competition situation of the Circle competition in Variety phase, it's up to the competitors personal strategy how to approach it. Playing out of your comfort zone is risky, as it has a high probability to result in dropping - but it can be the only way to win the pool, depending on the circle. Paying attention to what tricks other players do, and either copy the same concepts, and/or try to do concepts that haven't been done yet, is also up to the personal strategy. A good ground rule is to start each round on the comfort zone, and starting to take more risks when the contact count has risen to a satisfying level. Personally I tend to play my own game, and not pay much detailed attention to what others in the circle do. I might not even watch others play, which I'd consider rude outside of competition. But it helps gathering my thoughts on what I done on the last round and what I should start on on the next round.


Density

Density is more straight forward, and there's not as much to say about.

On Density phase it's only harmful to start off easy or not to give your all on all three rounds. Again starting off with something special on every round is important, and the pass-back rule should be used to try some riskier trick or links. Strong, consistent and dense game takes the 10, so both consistency and stamina are imporant. Luckily it's easier to go all-in, because you don't need to conserve energy for another phase, so whatever is left from Variety can all be consumed to worshipping Dexio.

Repetition is not a bad thing, and it can be a good thing. Blurry Whirl *10 is as repetitive as it gets, but it's also quite dense and difficult. I also have respect for repeat combos, or anything where the tricks of the combo can be even vaguely anticipated - Tripless or Fearless for example. It shows that the players do what they want - are in total control of the bag. Bailing on Density has a more negative effect on the score, than it does on Variety, so being able to do the tricks you're expected to do and cope with the pressure is that much better. Of course variety is a plus, as long as it's dense. But even repeating the same (dense) combo of tricks from preview round over again - when in Variety it should have no benefit - is still worth something because the player shows the first time wasn't just a fluke and they have mastered the tricks.

The fatiguing nature of shredding it up, and doing tons of dexes, make high contact numbers hard. It's a good strategy to go from dense to having more easy tricks between big tricks, after reaching a certain limit at each round. This should increase the average contact count, while keeping some level of difficulty in the run. Many players seem to do this naturally, which isn't surprising. But it's also common to try to just increase the overall contact count by just going easier from the beginning. It's all about who's judging at that point, but personally I don't like seeing Ducking Clipper > Ducking Clipper > Spinning Clipper five contacts in at the Worlds Finals. After 40 contacts I can tolerate it, if the player is trying to recover from vertigo (not a pun) due to the lack of oxygen.

The actual competition situation in Density phase is more forgiving that Variety, as the player can play their own game more freely, and not pay attention to what others do. But again playing out of your comfort zone - from the first contact - pays off. And dexes! Dexes pay off handsomely.


The sad fact is that Circle is a competition for the big boys. Only a player with good trick selection and techical abilities (read: BAP or close to) can compete in Circle as it's ment to be competed in. But it's good entertainment for the audience when there's four players that fit this category. Even better if all four are having a good day - which is quite rare though.

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Re: AnzBlog

Post by boyle » 01 Feb 2014 18:00

Good post this one. You are right though, the only way that circle really works is if the players are all high level. If it's even a group of "medium" level players, the variety and density dries up pretty quickly, and particularly the drops that come at the unexpected moment, when you're going for a trick you know you can hit. I think that's a great advice to hit the tricks that you're really feeling on the day, that's going to give you a better chance to not drop at a stupid moment.

What sort of training do you recommend for competing in circle? Particularly if you don't play in a circle regularly...

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Anssi Sundberg
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10th Anniversary

Post by Anz » 07 Feb 2014 10:10

Today is my 10th anniversary on Modified (meaning I created my account ten years ago). Time well spent! I hope the forum stays up for another decade at least, it's a good unofficial base for the community.

I haven't played much recently, as my shin is still acting up, and I want to heal it completely before going on to the next training program. I did play freestyle football last Saturday and did Legover > ATW i-o > ATW o-i > rpt > Legover > Legover for the first time with a size five ball (normal football) I've only done it before with a size one ball (technique ball) that I have myself.


Time to answer some questions.


Training for circle:

I think that's it's hard to train for Circle alone, because you need to get your freestyle instincts geared up, to tear it up in the competition. I always find it terribly difficult to do runs on the first couple days of Worlds, but by the end of the week I feel good about my game. So sparring is the best way to train.

But if one has to train alone the methods can vary: Demo routines (improvising to a routine song), planned combos, plain single tricks --


Carrying concepts over to another training program:

I think it's ok to keep a concept in two consecutive training programs. I do it myself too. As long as it's just one or two concepts, it really helps getting better at those, while getting to work on something else than in the previous training program too.


More videos:

No.

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Re: AnzBlog

Post by EllenFrancis » 12 Feb 2014 18:00

Image

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Anssi Sundberg
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Exhibition

Post by Anz » 13 Mar 2014 04:06

Thanks Ellen. I'll take your suggestion into consideration when planning my next mustache style.


I still have problems with my feet, so I haven't practiced footbag at all since my last post. I have had a few shred sessions, where I have or have not tried to avoid big impact moves. Now I'm just trying to take it easy before going on the tour, so I could actually play without any restrains and pain.

The Fearless25 challenge is at the worst possible time of the year, and for me at a bad time injury-wise. I had been thinking of pushing to 30 Fearless, which I might start doing after full recovery.


Footbag at Sports Exhibition

Last week I spent a few days in Helsinki at a sports fair. The Finnish Footbag Association had a stand there, just as on a couple previous years. People could come to try kicking or golf style putting. And if someone was interested in freestyle we'd teach them ATW and Jester. We also sold our own Footbag Finland branded footbags, some t-shirts etc., and managed to cover the exhibition fee by sells alone.

Image

During the weekend we did a few stage shows at the fair, which all had a decent amount of people watching. But personally I don't think stage shows are very effective for attracting crowd to your stage at a fair.

What I thought was the best attraction at our stand was the possibility to win your own Footbag Finland promobag by putting (kicking) the footbag in the center of a target area on the ground. It doesn't require the skills to be able to keep the footbag in the air, all it does is to drop the bag from your hand and kick it. Everybody got a few tries, and those who really wanted got infinite tries. The people (small children) who didn't have the coordination to kick the footbag in the air could just put it on their shoe and flick it from there. Everybody who tried it seemed to like it, and it totally was a positive experience. With kicking there's the thing that most people just plain stink at it, so it can be really frustrating.
I recommend the footbag putting challenge for anybody who wants to introduce the sport to the big audience, so that anybody can try kicking. Putting to a target is a long way from freestyle, but it's a start for kicking to your friend, who can then kick it back to you - which is usually easier than just kicking the bag up to yourself. And it's more fun to kick it to somebody else, because of the social factor too. It's kind of like introducing kids to ice hockey by letting them slam pucks towards to goal - versus just putting all the possible gear on them and making them play a real match.
How I usually presented the chance of winning a free footbag, was first letting them try putting with three bags, then I said something like "If you want to try again, and hit the center, you'll get your own footbag," which usually gets the 10-15 year old boys all fired up.
Then there's the selling side, which is usually good to target on the parents. While the kids are trying to kicks you can hint the parents that "If you want to continue practicing at home, we sell these footbags here." It works quite often.
It's also important to point out a website (footbag.fi in this case) where people can go to check out videos, events or buy a footbag. That way if some of the people get interested in freestyle (or net) later on, they know how to get in touch with the community or how to practice on their own.

Footbag Finland is pretty advanced on an international scale. We're organised enough to set up a representative stand at a fair. I was just talking with somebody, that there aren't that many footbag organisations in the world that could pull it off. Putting some money in banners and (playable) promotional footbags costs, but it's worth it when you want to make everything look professional. I hope this encourages any local clubs or national associations to give it a try. PM me for any questions.

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Re: AnzBlog

Post by C-Fan » 13 Mar 2014 05:33

It really did look very professional. Great work on the expo and promotion!

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Re: AnzBlog

Post by Asmus » 13 Mar 2014 06:57

I like the putting idea. I think we are gonna steal that idea in FootbagDenmark.
Putting some money in banners and (playable) promotional footbags costs, but it's worth it when you want to make everything look professional.
Yes, it does cost some money. But it is not a fortune. And if the club doesn't have money to do it on their own they could contact a local business and ask if they wanna pay the cost in exchange for getting their logo on the promotional items as well. Local businesses sponsor amateur organized sport teams all the time. Getting them to sponsor something cool like footbag shouldn't be hard. I have even been contacted a couple of times by people wanting to do this.

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Practicing and Learning in Footbag Math

Post by Anz » 21 Mar 2014 05:17

Practicing and Learning in Footbag Math

!! This blog post contains graphs to support the text. These graphs are not accurate models of the procedural learning process, as it is impossible to picture accurately. The graphs are sketched merely to aid the reader understand the text of this blog post. !!


To get better at footbag you must practice. But practicing solely isn't enough - you must also learn. What truly makes footbag a tough sport to keep on getting better at is the constant learning process that one must endure.

Let's take a look at the learning process in footbag and how it can be approached using mathematics. First off: I'm not mathematician, just an engineer, but it would be impossible to create accurate functions of the process of learning anyway, so numbers are obsolete here. A little bit of knowledge of the cognitive behaviour of the brain and some common sense takes me far enough with this. This doesn't mean that all the claims in this post are right. I've studied a little bit of psychology and the cognitive behavioural of humans, but it's been a while and some of the terms I use can also be just wrong. Take everything with a grain of salt. The actual purpose of this post is to make the reader to think about their attitude towards practicing. If you don't understand any of this, but think about it on your next session, I will consider it a success. I'm not going to start arguing or explaining anything any further, as it's better that everybody does their own research, if they want to learn more about the subject.


The actual process of learning a footbag move has quite a lot of resemblance to a baby learning to walk.
The baby falls down over and over again trying to gain balance on their two feet. Their brains make the needed neural connections for the fine motoric skills of moving many muscles at the same time to take a step.
You drop the footbag over an over again trying to gain balance on one feet after doing a Spin or a Dex etc. Your brains make the needed neural connections for the fine motoric skills of moving many muscles at the seame time to make a Dex.
It takes months to learn to walk. Years to learn to run fast and jump high.
Thinking about motorics, footbag moves consist of (only) a handful of movements, so when you learn all the basics the only thing left is to combine all the movements to make new tricks.


What it all comes down to in the end, is repetition. Martial artists say that it takes one thousand (1 000) reps to learn a move and ten thousand (10 000) to master it.

Brains can't take in an infinite amount of information in one session. So doing a thousand repetitions of a move in one session won't be as efficient as doing them over a few days. The same learning process goes for learning at school, for example. You get homework, so that you'd repeat the taught subject, and enhanced the learning process.

Learning a new trick in footbag is efficient to do over many sessions. Even if you hit the trick once, you should still come back to it with the same learning intent on the next session, and the next - and the next. Here's where a graph will demonstrate my point better than a thousand words:

The benefit of trick attempts compared to the usage of time. Naturally with no time used and no attempts made the benefit is zero. Once you start doing the repetitions the benefit rises logarithmically, as each new repetition enhances the "memory trail" more and more.

Image
Graph 1: The benefit of trick attempts vs the usage of time.

At some point the short term memory capacity closes in on it's maximum capacity (if it can be called that), and the benefir of new attempts starts to get lower and lower. The graph closes in on zero, never reaching it, as it could be said the doing more and more reps is never completely in vain - just close to it. Coming back to the concept the next day will have refreshed the brain, and restored the cognitive capabilities.
In a nutshell: When trying to learn a new trick, get back to it on every session, and it'll come to you. I must also warm that this garph work on the negative side too, if you trying to learn the trick the wrong way. In reality you can be doing some parts of the trick from (ie Theing a dex), and you enhance the negative by doing it. Then it might be harder to learn to do it the right way.


Actual figures are impossible to give out for the learning process, as everyones skills are different, and people aren't on the same line when starting to learn a footbag move, depending on what kind of motoric skills you have as a foundation.

The benefit of a trick attempt compared to the previous attempt. Some figures are possible to be deduced, as they are the same for everyone. If you don't try it, you can't learn it. Zero attempts means zero progress. But one try is infite more than zero. Two tries is twice as much as one. But the gap narrows: the differential benefit of 99 and 100 tries is very small.

Image
Graph 2: Benefit of repetition vs the number of attempts.

Mathematically one is infinite more than zero, but two is just twice as much as one, so my graph peaks at one and steadily lowers from there, as each new rep is has smaller benefit than the last in comparison. It can be argued if two attempts is actually more beneficial than one. Sometimes it takes a couple attempts at the move to dig the movements out of the far reaches of your memory, so the couple first tries can be a but shaky compared to the rest. Sometimes.
In a nutshell: There's one perfect number of repetitions, before the benefit gets so low that it's futile to keep on practicing the move that day. That number can vary, but I can say for sure that it's less than a hundered. From my personal experience I think that 10 repetitions is a good number (partly for the reason I'm getting into next).


Then there's the overall game. Without that a footbag player is nothing. There are not many one trick wonders in the scene, which is a good thing. What makes a one trick wonder is the neglectance of the overall game, and the concentration to single moves. When you're practicing a concept you're neglecting all the other concepts.

The benefit of using time on one concept compared to the progress of overall game. When you're practicing a concept it has a positive effect on your overall game, as you're enhancing the footbag related neural links and motoric skills.

Image
Graph 3: Benefit vs time spent on a concept.

Practicing the same concept so much that there's not much time for the rest can turn the overall progress into negative. You might be getting better at that one trick, but the other concepts are taking a dive. Some players might have advantages in these, as if their overall game is on a solid foundation, bringing the other concepts back to their original level after intensly training a single concept might only take a couple sessions.
In a nutshells: Don't neglect your overall game in order to practice just one concept. Personally I've found my overall game coming back in a week from serious rust, when I've been intensly training a small group of concepts. For example now that I'm practicing Symp Fissioning set. Ironically practicing the set has left me with serious shin splints, which has led to not being able to play at all for some time.


So the main points of this post are:
-Session time management
-Repetitions
-Division of learning
-Variety of session
Just keeping these in mind is a lot.


Naturally real life learning takes much more than these simple things. Concentration in what you're doing is important - you can just shut of your brain and start trying Montage over and over again. Brains learn to learn when you succeed - dopamine is the chemical that activates the learning center of your brain, and it's released when you reward yourself with the feeling of success. Rest time is as important as reps - sleep is when the brain goes through learnt things and some neural paths are enhanced, some discarded.

Read more about the basics of the learning process on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procedural_memory

I hope this makes you think how you use your session time, and how you practice tricks. But please, don't make any futile questions. I won't comment on anything related to the psycho-physical side of cognitive processes - or my graphs.

Graphs sketched by Ellen.

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Re: AnzBlog

Post by anhkhoashevakt » 25 Mar 2014 11:39

Dear Annsi,

Recently I have been following your method of 10 "good attempts" for one concept in one session. However, instead of repeating 10 "good attempts" of this same concept the next day, I did 10 good tries of a different concept. And in the day after that returning to the previous concept, and continuing that. Do you think this will have any bad impact on the learning of these concepts? Thanks!

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Re: AnzBlog

Post by C-Fan » 06 Jun 2014 07:17

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the overall experience of the tour, Anz.

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Filming footbag solo sessions

Post by Anz » 29 Jun 2014 04:01

Filming footbag solo sessions

As cheap camcorders and phones with video filming capabilities have come available to more people the amount of solo footage from footbag sessions has sky-rocketed. Ten years ago It was still very rare to see someone posting solo footage online. Now Facebook and Modified (less though) seem to be filling with short videos and clips. Then there's the Modified Online Competitions, which don't happen as organised nowadays, as they once did, but they still exist.

Having the camera out and recording changes the way one plays at their solo sessions. It's very tempting to start trying harder moves and ignore actual practice. The camera is a good tool to see for yourself how a trick or combo looks, but if you struggle to hit it just once in the first place it's hard to say anything about how it really looks. For some people it's also hard to concentrate well in front of the camera, because it's creating pressure. Then comes the "show-off" element, if one plans on releasing the footage. A single combo or trick is hunted for a long time until it's hit. Attempting tricks way above ones level may also be harmful for progress if it enhances the negative, ie. bad form, technique, style...


The last videos online competition on Modified were released just recently. Traditionally it's been a feast of over-trying and sloppy executions, and this time wasn't any different.


Spring 2014 Sick1 and Sick3 Online Competition

Sick1
Fairy Mobius - Fairy completely the
Pixie ss Osis - OK
Pixie Eggbeater - OK
Blurry Whirl - OK
Toe ss Refraction - Not a clear Refraction, more like something between a Butterfly and Wrap
Reverse Mullet - Trick is clean, but execution with a bad form
Stepping Ducking Motion - Not a clear Motion, more like Illusioning Symple Butterfly (Reverse Dada Curve)
Plasma - OK
Whirlygig - Thin Whirl
Void Rake - Rake not cross-body
Gyro Locomotion - Surging completely pulled, not a clear Motion (same thing as the previous Refraction and Motion)
Tomahawk Swirl - Thin Whirl
Nebula - OK
Surging Blender - Surging completely pulled
Full Symp Slapping Torque - Osis pulled
Atomic Gyro Symp Blink - OK
Quantum Merlin - Last dex the
Atomic Ducking Dyno - OK
Swirling Spinning Ducking Mirage - Swirl thin (Toe-y)

OK: 7/19 (37 %)


Sick3
Surging Osis > Zooming Zulu Osis > PS Whirl - pulled > frigid set > OK (bad form)
Dragonfly > Dicing Mirage > Blender - OK > OK > OK
Maelstrom > Blurry Torque > Mind bender - OK > The Torque > OK
Fog > Alpine Dimmiest > Mullet - OK > The Double Down > thin Whirl
Beta Bedwetter > Plasma > Nemesis - OK > OK > OK
SS Mirage > Mirage > Symp Mirage - OK > OK > OK
Parkwalk > Blur > Ducking Symp Butterfly - OK > OK > thin Duck
Juantomic Butterfly > Pdx Chainsaw > Mofly - Symp Quatum thin/the > Flail The > Symp Double Down the
Sidewalk > Crispy Torque > Torque - OK > OK > OK
Gyro Barrage > Smoke > Far Symp Rev Swirl - The > OK > OK
Illusion > Mirage > Legover - OK > OK > OK
Calf-roll Inside > Osis > Pdx Mirage - OK > OK > OK
Parkwalk > Ripwalk > Rev PS Whirl - OK > OK > OK
Alpha Toe Blur > Blink > Merlin - OK > thin > The first dex (Pickup), second dex hard to see
Symple Pickup > SS Mirage > Symp Mirage - OK > OK > OK
Blurry Whirl > Locomotion > Pdx Blender - OK > not a Motion > OK
Blur > Pixie Dada Curve > Pdx Eggbeater - OK > OK > OK

OK: 9/17 (53 %)


Not very flattering statistics. Sick3 looks better because of the novice entries, but still it's pretty sad. Watching these I'm thinking to myself "Don't these people see or care that they're not actually doing the tricks right?" Of couse I understand that if it takes 30 minutes to try a Sick3 before hitting it, one is happy when they can do the hand catch, without thinking about the cleanliness. But wouldn't you watch the clip at home at least like ten times before submitting it anyway, so you should see if it was clean. There's definitions for tricks and cleanliness for the reason that then we can talk about the same things. Everyone knows what they are, and everyone is on the same line with the definitions of clean tricks. You either do the trick or you miss it.

It looks as if Motion is the hardest trick to do properly: the trend seems to be to start bringing the bag to Clipper under oneself, rather than behind. The only footbag trick that I can think of where the bag set path is supposed to go more or less under you is Wauxpin. Refraction and Motion are supposed to go behind you: Osis.

I wonder how the scene would be now if they would have introduced an "anti-prop" in the 90's", where after a run the previous player in the circle could (gently) punch a player to the shoulder who does a The trick in their run. Probably would have made the current generation pay much more attention to their style and execution, but I don't think it would have had any other positive effects, and probably some negative too. Just a thought.

I think the biggest problem here is the need to push oneself in a show-off sense. The easiest solutions I see are more honest replies to videos on facebook, and better moderation for online competitions. Somebody just wrote on Freestyle footbaggers on facebook, that footbaggers are too grim and self-critics - this made me laugh out loud. All I see are positive comments with nothing constructive - which is not bad in itself, but also doesn't help anyone, and feeds the show-off side of filming. I don't think things are going to change in general, but I hope some individuals who care about progressing will start thinking about this, and act accordingly. I don't see anybody making BAP this year, as the level is supposed to be ascending, and no-one is showing any promise. I wonder why no new good players are emerging? I might write about that next.



Regarding my current footbag condition - I haven't played at all for over a month now, the shin is still swollen up even if I don't strain it, and it still hurts sometimes even when climbing stairs. Euros are coming up, and I sadly don't see anything positive about it, since I can't play footbag for at least the rest of the summer anyway.

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Asmus
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Re: AnzBlog

Post by Asmus » 29 Jun 2014 06:17

I was wondering earlier today why you hadn't updated your footblog recently. Happy to see you are back and with such an awesome and much needed post. Props buddy!

Hope the ankle heals up sooner than expected! Looking forward to hang out with you on your home turf soon even if you are not able to play.

At least you can still drink!

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Anz
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Important tricks to learn and practice

Post by Anz » 23 Aug 2014 07:47

Important tricks to learn and practice

I asked on Facebook for people to list three to ten tricks they'd think everyone should practice. A good amount of replies, although I'm afraid some people understood the question more like "what tricks would you like to see people do more," even though I ment it more like "what would you recommend people to train". Anyway, here's some lists the people made:

-ATW, LIMP, Clipper, Spinning Clipper, Ducking Clipper, Osis
-Swirl, Rake, Gyro Toe
-Xbody Rake, Blender, Dyno, Pdx DLO, Gyro Pickup
-LIMP (Legover, Illusion, Mirage, Pickup)
-Pixie ss Clipper, Stepping Clipper, Atomsmasher, Fairy Butterfly, Nuclear ss Clipper, Slap
-Whirr, Drifter(s), Swirl(s)
-Whirl(s), Osis, Bubba, Symposium Mirage, Ducking Symposium Mirage, Pixie Pickup, ss Butterfly, Barrage, Terrage, DOD, DDD
-Pdx Whirl, Stepping Clipper, Frigidosis, Infinity, Osis, Pdx Mirage, Pdx Illusion, Reverse Swirl, Ducking Clipper, Spinning Butterfly
-Whirl, LIMP, Osis
-Spinning, Ducking, Drifter, Whirl, Swirl, Torque
-Pickup, Stepping Clipper, Gyro Clipper, "some sort of" 3dex.

As I said, some of the tricks on the lists baffle me. I don't think some of them were very well thought out, but just the first things that came to mind, or my point wasn't understood. Then again even those lists that were thought out raised some points in my mind.
If I start to make a list, first I think to myself "I wonder what Vasek practiced?" Then of course the first tricks that come to mind are PS Whirl, Spinning Whirl and Mobius. They're all pretty good tricks to practice, and you can get good by practicing them alot. Tthen I think "What else should Vasek have practiced?"
I wanted to make a more general list that would work on most players and cover as many concepts as possible.


This is my list:
-ATW: simply the best basic trick to practice Toe set, dexing and muted footwork/magic hop
-Eggbeater: it has both Illusion (hardest of LIMP), and Symple Legover
-Spinning muted Clipper: Spinning is important, and consecutive muted tricks are good for set precision and balance
-Infinity: simply the best trick to practice Clipper set and Clipper balance
-Ripwalk: Stepping set, basic shuffle
-Osis: base for many big tricks like Blenders and Torques, also an important bail for Guiltless (which I hate to admit)
-Swirl: consecutives good for Clipper fine control and balance
-Symposium Whirl: balance, set control, Symposium
-Whirr: great for Clipper set, footwork and double dexes


I don't have LIMP on my list because of Eggbeater. I don't consider practicing consecutive Legover, Pickup or Mirage worth the time, as they are such basic fundamental tricks. Illusion is the most important of the four tricks, as it needs a more complex motion for the dex. Symple Legover is an important trick, as it helps for other Symple and Symposium moves as well. Thus I ended up putting Eggbeater on the list.
No Ducking on the list, because the concept is so loose that it doesn't actually benefit any other concepts. Ducking doesn't require precise set. Some harder Ducking tricks require good footwork, but practically the same as Blurry tricks. For beginners Ducking is important to strenghten Clipper set height, but after being able to set neck height easily, it's not important to actively practice Ducking anymore.
I almost put Spinning Butterfly instead of Spinning Muted Clipper, but the latter won. I don't recommend practicing plain Spinning Clipper, as the trick is so forgiving, and you can do consecutives with really bad form and sets. Spinning Butterfly needs more control. But then Spinning Muted Clipper has more benefits, as it's more challenging for balance and set precision.
The only Symposium trick on the list is Symposium Whirl. Definetly a good trick that can never be practiced enough. If one can do 20 consecutive Symp Whirls, their Clipper control is very good. One Symposium trick that barely didn't make the cut is Flail, it's a totally downtime Symposium dex, which needs power more than Symp Whirl (more of a meantime dex).
Whirr is the lonely double dex on the list. If there was another, it would be Barfly, but it's so similar to Infinity, I didn't include it. Toe Barrage is also pretty good double dex practice, but it doesn't serve wide trick selection. Whirr because it has an uptime element, and it needs good control. It's the hardest trick on the list for sure, but it definetly earns it spot.
Only trick with a set on the list is Ripwalk. I almost didn't include any compound tricks, but Ripwalk is a must. So good practice for shuffle and Clipper. Other good compound tricks are Smear, Atomsmasher and Blizzard, but they're hard to choose from. Then again, consecutive Blurriests is pretty good practice too...
No Drifter, Torque or Blender on the list. Tricks like Pdx Drifter and Pdx Torque are pretty good training, but for me they're just not in the core of usefullness.

Anyway, that's my list. It's most probably not perfect, but it covers almost everything pretty well. Basically if you're not good at something on the list - practice it, and your game will improve. If you are good at everything, keep practicing them a little on every session, and your touch will stay good.

If I could only name two tricks to recommend, they would be Around The World and Butterfly. Two most fundamental tricks.

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brianbear
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Re: AnzBlog

Post by brianbear » 23 Aug 2014 09:58

i like this list, i need to work on eggbeaters i guess haha.
yeah, i got good at spinning by practicing muted spins a BUNCH.

a couple of questions/comments:
I would replace atw with datw.
why swirl instead of reverse swirl? because you can do it uptime and downtime?
and I don't see whirr as very important although it is a super cool trick. What tricks would you say whirr helps with, as I can see all of the others on the list helping out with learning a few different tricks. I would simply replace whirr with something like double down or paradon then i agree 100% with the list.
brian "bear" sherrill
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Re: AnzBlog

Post by Add Block » 23 Aug 2014 10:20

I like the list, though I would replace Ripwalk with Blur/Blizzard. Ripwalks looks easy, are easy, are overdone by people and look ridiculous. With Blur, you practice Mirage and Pdx Mirage, which you need for DLOs, Drifters, Torques, Da Da Curves etc.

I do like the rest, it is well balanced. There's too many tricks to choose from, so I kind of prefer something like 'top 10 drills to get better', the video you've done with Jay is great for improvement.
I hate bad form and I'm a hypocrite.

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AlekseyV
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Re: AnzBlog

Post by AlekseyV » 23 Aug 2014 23:40

Dex of rev swirl is more understandable than dex of swirl, that's why swirl dex is more harder then rev swirl and that's why swirl could be improve your balance more then rev swirl. But it's just for me.

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