Efficiency. God, why must I always define obvious terms to the audience? Ok, efficiency is a skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort. What can efficient tricking do for you? You will likely be able to answer that question at the end of this write up, unless you are reading it while your mother is griping at you about not doing the dishes and how you need to start cleaning up after yourself... Or unless I'm trying to write it when my mother is griping at me about not doing the dishes and how I need to start cleaning up after myself! CRAP!
Ok I'm back. I will simply present this article in set topic tips; Think, cover of a physical culture magazine: 9 exercises that will make your biceps explode!, cept maybe in tricking terms: 9 tips that will make you explode while tricking!
Don't do giant, ugly, ad-hoc combos or repeat said kind of combo many times.
Don't give into hyper energy spurts, tricking until you fall into a heap of gasping flesh.
Ok. Some people will laugh at the above suggestions, some people will think it is subjective preference. Others will not be biased in any way or subject to any predictable emotion because they are too novice to really understand what I'm getting at, let alone have enough skills to create a giant, sloppy combo (ketchup.) This is what I'm getting at: Giant, improvised combos are a training waste!
Here comes a wave of incessant banter, 1)
Juji, the only way you'll get better at something is to practice it!, 2)
But endless combos are what make tricking what it is supposed to be!, 3)
But Juji, long combos are good for increasing your endurance! - My response:
ALL WRONG! 1) The only way you'll get better at something is to practice FOR IT. 2) Endless, boring combos do not make tricking what it is supposed to be; Interesting combos THAT END WELL make tricking what it's supposed to be. 3) Tricking is not an endurance sport! It's far on the anaerobic end of the aerobic-anaerobic continuum. You're all boobs, now shutup! Let's take a look at a ridiculously long (boring) and simple combo as an example:
B-twist / hook / 540 kick / hook / B-twist / hook / 540 kick / hook / B-twist / hook / 540 kick / hook / B-twist _SWING GAINER_
Ok. By the end of this combo you will be winded, doubled over gasping for air. Wait. No, you'll probably crash somewhere from fatigue in the middle of the whole thing. But let's just say you can get near the end of this sequence. Let's say you can make it to the swing gainer out of the b-twist part, but fail the swing-through; It ends up just being a hopeless crash or bail. Okay... You've never done a gainer out of a b-twist before (if you have, play along) / And let's say you end up crashing it here, ok? Well what was lost? What's the harm?
Now think about this situation just for a moment. If you didn't get the point here it is: YOU HAVE NEVER DONE A SWING GAINER OUT OF A B-TWIST BEFORE! You just shot your efficiency to nil by doing something you had no stock in while fatigued! If you want to be able to land the above combo, then what sense does it make practicing the whole thing over and over again crashing the last move every time? Wouldn't it make sense to practice your b-twist swing gainer? Ah! Of course, but what if you just felt like throwing it. Come on, what about that inter-combo window of opportunity that allows yourself to just chuck whatever?
If you are one to think outside the box you've already considered this type of problem and the ramifications of it. If not a light bulb has just popped above your head.
Here is the solution for the rest of you guys. ONE) If you can't finish an extended chain combo, read into the segments. If you are failing it over and over again, the combo is either too fatiguing for you (too long), or you just suck at a specific part of it. TWO) Long, improvised combos with no goal can be enjoyable, but are both a waste of precious energy and almost always ugly. Have a goal in mind! Oh my god it is so fun to do two dozen aerials in a row and top it off with an aerial switch, but in a training context it's USELESS unless I am specifically TRAINING to do two dozen aerials in a row with an a-switch cherry on top. So that spark of energy you get in a session that has you doing twenty four progressively uglier aerials in a row may be fun in the most primal way, but if you wish to actually improve something (like, actually improving your tricking) then stop this fucking shit!
Don't trick into the fatigued state.
Don't trick when you are not afap (as fresh as possible)
Antoine always believed there was a magic time limit for tricking. Beyond that point, he surmised, resulted in injury or burn out. I feel I have come to the conclusion he is right. Here are two quick breakdowns of the parts that would comprise a tricking session, each one provided to cater to the differing ways people might view the training:
General warmup, specific warmup, first tier of tricking, second (best) tier of tricking, third tier of tricking, end.
Cold tricks, hot tricks, fatigued tricks, quit.
Both views are pretty much the same thing. Cold tricks and the first tier of tricking are the same thing. Hot tricks and when you get in high gear (second tier) are the same. And third tier and the fatigued tricks are the same thing. So how do you make your tricking more efficient here? It's so easy: Take out the third tier (fatigued tricks) and call it a day! Gods, what simple advice. Rationale? Simple, what good are you doing tricking when you are fatigued? You think you are gonna rep that shit into the ground and the next time you come out to play you'll be elite? Let me save you wasted time and possibly an injury, while making your tricking more efficient: DON'T DO THAT SHIT! Whatever you rep in tricking is what you keep. If you rep a shitty 540, you keep a shitty 540. If you keep bailing a backtuck, your body will grow into that nervous-groove and you're fucked! Repeat good efforts, and when you notice declined ability whenever that may be, get out immediately.
Hint for the clueless: HIT IT HARD AND GET OUT FAST! Got the message bro? Good.
Don't waste energy trying to practice EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME.
Almost every trick has carryover to several others. While I won't be writing much into detail on this today (save that for another day), I will simply provide some examples and the rationale behind NOT trying to do it all. Ok, for example: A b-twist and a 720 kick. Hmmmm.... Ok well what do they have in common? They both spin of course. If you do them both on the same side they spin on the same side. Even though the two skills require a vastly different approach, they can both benefit from practicing the other because of the spin (dig, wrap, release). Another example: Aerial based tricks and tumbling combinations. This is an easier one to grasp, as almost all tumbling combinations are initiated with a roundoff or contain one. You know that an aerial or brandy are related to the roundoff because they are all the same base movement. DUH! As I can tell by the look in your eyes (yes I can see you) that you don't require many examples here, I will now explain the final rationale of said efficiency tip.
Want to know how most tricksters train? Well I can guarantee the norm is probably something along this line: Go somewhere, start tricking, and then *BING* interest peaks in some sort of trick or genre. Maybe doublelegs are working really well? Maybe someone just landed their very first backflip! Now tell me this, what kind of sick mind would decide immediately after landing his/her very first backflip that it is time to balance things out and train butterfly twists, and finish up with kicks and try some aerials? I don't ever want to meet that person if they actually exist. When someone lands their first backflip, they want to do it again - and again - and again - and again! That's the way things work! That's the way they should! Something is always gonna work better, and that will eventually have nice carryover. Why ditch what's working well?! Don't waste your energy trying to practice EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME; The balance will be achieved by giving your full attention to what is most receptive to it at any given time. And if your goals are not set in something natural to you, meaning your inter-training feeling will never be aligned with your goals, then you'll just have to tough it out. Ok, while this is starting to tickle the surface of the highly effective training method of cycling tricks, I'm gonna leave this here and let your mind fill in any blanks if any are left to exist.
Eat for what you do. Don't do for what you eat.
Don't waste energy with other activities (aerobic in nature)
If you are really fuckin' fat - I'd recommend aerobic energy system work. I'd recommend taking it further and doing fasted cardio. Go read my 2P weaponizing tactics article and overhaul your diet. I'd recommend getting thin by using all means possible, cause let's face it, fat tricking is about as low on the efficiency scale as we can go. But how about those people who are at a good weight or just need to lose a couple pounds of fat? It's going to be different, and you might have to read it twice to get the right message.
Read: Doing excessive cardiovascular activity (aerobic energy system work) or doing it especially in the 70-90% heart rate zone will do some nasty harm to your tricking. Why? For one, you are wasting valuable energy that your body could be using to trick - recover - or anything else conducive to your tricking goal (like strength or flexibility training). Ok, blood flow work is good to aid recovery; But I think it's best to just take a second look at your day and figure
Hey, I walk here and there - I am on my feet at my job and I walk a mile or two on campus at college during the week. And there yah go, why do anymore? For two, when you do too much repetitive, aerobic junk, the body starts getting the fast twitch muscle fibers to do the slow twitch task. No, fast twitch fibers don't convert to slow twitch fibers (that's impossible), but they lose some of their ZING which is essential for tricking. This is also when recovery becomes impaired by too much of a useless thing. So tricksters need to minimize aerobic energy system work to almost none except what is already present in your daily life. A simple ten or twenty minute walk could do you good if you seriously don't move much otherwise in your day. But overall it's better to just lay off, include some dynamic flexibility exercises or a light recovery weight training circuit to keep your zap!
Now back to the fatties in the crowd for a moment. Look, let's make a deal
and get that fat off, you're embarrassing yourself. Do you really always want
to carry the offense safeguard of being
good for a fat trickster? Come
on, what's really being said is if you weren't fat your skills would most likely
be pretty run-of-the-mill. There isn't any reason for you to deal with it. Lose
it and reach your full unadulterated potential, but man... You are totally hacking
your efficiency by allowing yourself to carry on with the burden. I know this
sounds mean but it's the damned truth and should be said in the name of efficiency!
Now back to everyone: Eat for what you do, Don't do for what you eat. Say it aloud, it makes a lot of sense. Say it again. When you start putting my previous recommendations considering aerobic training and energy preservation while tricking to use you'll find your energy needs not exactly towering. Tricking isn't a metabolic activity, you burn little energy doing it; Unless you are doing shitty, long drawn out combos over and over again and panting like a son-of-a-bitch, you will not need a heavy caloric intake with tricking alone. We already discussed why you shouldn't be doing that kind of bullshit in your training, so you got that covered.
Barely any aerobic energy system work, not wasting any valuable training time with terrible combos that put you into oxygen debt, and not tricking in the fatigued state. Wow, we really aren't very metabolic creatures anymore are we? NO SIR! And that's the way it should be. We are like dynamite, not fuel burning machines. So when we boil down to the very core message, people who are serious about tricking don't need to be eating like body builders. If you do resistance strength training (which you should) then that will definitely up your caloric needs but not as much as hypertrophy work (building muscle). But before you get any crazy ideas, starvation is not the key! I'm just saying that by taking your body size and how many calories are going to be used during any efficient training system, you'll end up reconsidering gorging. If you are eating more than you need, we all know what happens at that point... MORE WORK! MORE WORK TO KEEP THE FAT OFF AND STAY FIT! MORE WORK THAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER PUT INTO RECOVERY - TRICKING - STRENGTH TRAINING! HOORAY! I've made it back, the cyclic message has been completed!
Don't trick through injuries, trick around them.
Prehabilitate injuries so you don't have to rehabilitate them.
Ok, I'm sure bad assumptions are already springing up from the
injuries statement. I'll put them to rest: If you have pain when tricking,
stop! But, if you have pain or an injury that is avoidable by abstaining from
certain tricks or wearing a support, by all means do it; ONLY AS LONG AS THE
RISK IS COMPLETELY RESOLVED AND A PROACTIVE PROCESS OF REHABILITATION IS UNDERWAY!
I'll provide some real life examples as usual:
My thumb was broken in 2005. I crashed a trick and came down on it the wrong way. I had surgery and was casted for six weeks. Having one arm weigh an extra pound or so was certainly strange, but I was able to trick around it successfully and continue training. Funny thing, I actually had more trouble playing frisbee than tricking with that thumb. Hahaha! But I was able to successfully trick around that problem.
Fast forward 2006. I had a terrible pain in my knee. After figuring out it
was something called
patellar tendinosis I figured out what I needed
to do. I had to avoid the moves that aggravated it (aerial switch and butterfly
twist irritated the hell out of it), I also decided to wear a support strap
on the actual tendon. I was able to continue tricking albeit having some bad
pains. I had this problem and was wearing my knee strap tightly under my red
pants in the R.O.D. sampler. So I was able to manage it. After the summer's
events and gatherings I took some time off and began pro-active rehabilitation.
It's much better now. But let me just mention that my progress, for the most
part of those five months of knee problems was frozen. In other words, I was
able to continue tricking at the level I had achieved to some degree, but making
gains was nearly out of the question because anything beyond the usual was either
_SURPRISE-PAIN_ or just a little too difficult for what the knee was capable
of withstanding in its weakened state. So in line with this article's theme,
how efficient do you think my training really was?
Injuries are efficiency killers, plain and simple. So besides tricking around them and fixing them what can we do? We can prevent them of course! While trauma injuries are more of a role of the dice scenario, overuse injuries can be dealt with before they happen. While thorough injury prevention modalities is way beyond the scope of this article you can do what I did to learn about how to do it and prevent specific conditions: GOOGLE IT! Also, I have written a small write up on injuries back in early 2004 titled Injuries, your wake up call! It doesn't address the scientific components on handling injuries, rather, it suggests and encourages a positive outlook and some psychological strategies to coping with injuries.
Train in the optimum environment.
I think this one will come as a shock to some people. The picture says it all really, but some people will misinterpret the message. Let me clarify. Training on plyometric flooring is safer, and more productive than training on any other surface (grass included); Oh my god, I can see a flaming on the horizon. Please, just be patient. The keyword in my statements is TRAINING. I didn't say plyo is better than grass. That's a broad statement. For example, grass looks better on video - being outside can be a whole lot more fun than being inside. Grass, and the outer realms as a whole, have a lot more personality and emotion than indoor training facilities. There are also birds outside. But for TRAINING purposes plyometric flooring is safer, and more productive than training on any other surface (do I hear an echo?) Here is why:
Those three reasons should suffice. I'm sure there will be some people with
a classic rebuttal or two. Such as,
But the trick doesn't count until you can
do it on grass! Which has absolutely nothing to do with my suggestions.
Here's a question for you: Why try learning a new move on a hardcore surface
when you can do it in a softer environment and then take it to the hardzone?
Here's your answer: There is no good reason! If soft is available, use it! If
it's not, make it available or improvise the best you can. Jan genuinely doesn't
have access to plyo floor, but damned if he doesn't go to some school gymnasium
with puzzle mats to trick a few times a week. And what? That's bad? He lives
in Norway! Do you think he's going to bundle up and train outside in fifteen
pounds of clothing? For fun maybe, but to actually put in some training time?
Do you see my point? And for the clincher: Do you really think all moves are a pain in the ass to translate from plyometric flooring to grass? Do you think it is always hard going from plyometric to the hardzone? The answer is no. Stop punishing yourself, save hard for when you have trained your objective.
So let's wrap this cute little article up. I have some key takeaways as always, but I'm going to present them in two ways. The messages in both groups here are the same, but depending on what kind of person you are the message might come through better if read in the opposite way. These keys are simply restatements of the tip titles themselves, and the ending of this write up. Enjoy: