Saturday, December 3, 2011

Transitioning to indoor jam sessions, EARLY AM and daily.

The fall weather inspired me to lower my outdoor temperature threshold to 45f degrees. That is assuming low wind and lots of sun. Even with the lower threshold, the temperatures are frequently forcing me indoors. The problem is that my normal double-secret shred site is occupied by a bunch of burly construction workers building-out a new store in the mall. Tons of dust and not a friendly space. Since my workplace switched to a later schedule, I had to find a way to make all this work, and continue to shred everyday. Here is a recent video called PhobicFly, an innovative and tiny flier... (you may have to copy and paste that link in a browser, as I can't seem to figure out how to make it into a link)

I now get up at 4am, and by 5am I am shredding. The problem with early shreds are that A) they take place in my living room so there can be no filming, B) my living room is small so my string length is shortened and C) shredding early in the morning makes it more difficult to shred later in the evening, when most people play. So in addition to doing an hour and a half every morning, which is a 50% increase in time from my 'recess' shreds at skool, I now do a light jam session when possible at recess during the early afternoon, where I can film. On days where I do a double shred session, it will be over 2 hours of jam time those days, and helps me to stay used to kicking later in the day, so when people come to town I can jam in the evenings with them.

Whatever you do, play everyday!

See ya!

Shred notes: I've been innovating while moving indoors and early. I've hit Spinning Ducking X-Body Pincher many times. Also, Phobic Vortex on film and publishing today. And Nuclear Paradox Drifter and Nuclear DaDa. Still playing everyday, 2148 days in a row today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Playing at a Handicap

Given ideal circumstances, I can expect a certain level of play from myself on any given day. So when all the elements of a training session come together, and they usually do, I will generally achieve my goals, and when the stars are aligned, I'll hit new tricks and even innovate newer ones.

There are a lot of elements to a great session, so missing one or two of them isn't a critical fail, but can serve to throw my focus off. The most satisfying sessions have a time and a location, having a set of shred clothes (shorts, shirt, socks, shoes, Spenco insoles, unmentionables and a towel), a few good Footbags, music, speaker, batteries, water, lighting, weather, and a heaping helping of motivation.

When I play, I'll start with warm ups, then work on my personal goals. So if any of the physical aspects of the session are missing, they could have a negative effect on my outcome from that day, but I don't allow that to happen.

Today I forgot a few critical elements of my shred session, namely my Footbags and my kicking shorts. Luckily I carry around a few giveaway Footbags in case I run into kids who play, so I repurposed two of those Footbags into 'demo' Footbags. As for the missing shorts, it just so happens that I wear biz-casual shorts at work, which are longer, have pockets but are not an athletic cut. So I used some new Footbags and a non-athletic cut pair of shorts, and did I mention that Paul Blartt at my mall just told me NOT to kick in my standard double-secret location? So i was worried that I would be asked to leave at any moment. All kinds of things that I could have used as excuses... But I didn't.

Today, even though I was playing at a handicap, I hit all kinds of tight window tricks, like loco (like blurry drifter but the first dex is symposium) paradox drifter on both sides. also tons of eclipses including my first gyro eclipses on my flip side.

So don't get discouraged if things don't go just right. Stay focused and you'll have a great training session.

1799 days in a row shredding. So far.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Closing one door opens another!

I was skooling my Quantums during a recent session.  I found a great tutorial by Matt Cross on youtube and was able to really get an understanding of it.  But after two days of intense skool, I ended up tweaking my knee in a weird way.  Today I noticed that when I turn into a spin with my right leg as the plant, I felt a shooting pain from the knee.

In order to still complete my 1773rd day in a row of shredding, I needed to divert the focus of the playtime to something that wasn't painful, and wouldn't jeopardize my knee in the long term.  I decided to 'close the door' on spinning for a day.  Which actually turned out to be a little more of a challenge than was apparent at the moment.  If you've seen my videos, spinning is a big part of my game.

As it turns out, when I close the door to one thing, it often opens the door to another.  It was a bigger challenge than I thought to 'not' spin in my play-time.  For a while, I flailed miserably.  I would do a big string of tricks without spinning, then inevitably, I would spin.  And I would feel a slight pain in my right knee.  After a while I got frustrated with all the spinning just happening, seemingly on its own, certainly without my conscious intent.  So I put the clamps on.  Every time a spin almost happened, I caught the footbag.  It was creating shorter strings, but forced me to NOT spin.

And so it went.  I worked on some specific mini-strings.  Blur to LegBeater (atomic butterfly), and I eventually hit two continuous cycles on both sides, but not in the same string.  I did a lot of blurry whirl and paradox whirl and tomahawk sequences.  I hit Tomahawk to Blurry Whirl on both sides too.  The biggest thing I hit was Nuclear paradox reverse drifter on my left side (nuclear implies 'reverse drifter' to the initiated).

All in all, I was able to pull off a high-quality training session, hit some long-lost tricks.  I really sharpened my blades on LegBeater - Blur sequence on both sides and that felt great.  As usual, I had a blast playing today, as I do every day.

Thanks for all your support!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Athlete first, Street Performer second...

I have always struggled with the 'freestyle footbag as street performance' aspect of the game. I love playing in front of crowds, it somehow improves my string length, and it is a great experience to even be able to draw a crowd. But when people say, "You should put out a hat...!" I never had a great response until now.

I'm an Athlete first, and a Street performer second!  So in that sense I do not rely on income from footbag endeavors, and when I play in front of crowds, I usually play in a casual circle. So looking in from the outside, we are a group of people who each take successive turns and we always pass in the same direction. If you watch carefully, we give each other props for good strings, and there is a fairness to it all, in that we each get equal opportunity to do our best tricks. We play like athletes.  When we play in public, we organically draw crowds, people watch us play, but we are playing because we are all athletes trying to improve ourselves, not because we are asking for money.  There is an element of 'showing off', but from my personal standpoint, I am really just trying to put together long strings of guiltless tricks while jamming to the music.  I'm trying to better my overall game, while maybe getting some of the best of it on video.  It's always a great feeling when people give us money when we are not asking for it, they can see the value of passive entertainment.

I've seen my share of effective street performers, and they all have a process. They rile up a crowd. They build up the excitement by engaging passersby to stay for a few minutes for a big performance.  With street dancers, jugglers, gymnasts and musicians, they all draw a crowd and build up suspense for an upcoming show.  Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.  The whole point of getting people riled up is to get them to open up their wallets and give you money after your performance.  The Street Performers have a 'schtick', a short performance, planned which all builds up to a climactic ending and then they ask for money.  The street performers day is cyclical because they repeat this process for the next group of passersby.  They are organized around the goal of raising money.

I have great respect for Jugglers, Breakers and Gymnasts who can pull off these kind of shows.  They not only have the athletic talent it takes to pull off dynamic tricks, but the performance awareness to monetize on it.  I really wish I had 1/10th the natural performance ability of someone like Peter Irish or Tim Kelly.  They can pull off the hard tricks, with the music and smile looking good the whole time.

So when you see me shredding with my friends next time, please join our circle or watch us try our best tricks, but don't expect too much of an organized show, we're purely shredding for the enjoyment of it!  Not to mention that if we put a hat out, the police in Chicago would either give us a hella-expensive violation or they would kick us out, and we don't want either of those!

I'm an Athlete first, and a Street performer second!

Best regards,

Shred Notes: 7/31/11  - 1684 Days in a row shredding today.  Been skoolin' tons of juggles, seamless in and out.  osis, spinning osis and twirls into Stepping tricks like blurs, blizzards, blurry whirls and stepping same osis.  Still playing at Mammoth Springs Training Center in Oak Brook, IL mostly.  Vacation coming up.  Keep playing!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How Dragons (and outsider) led me to Heels and Refractions

Recently, Jonathon Schneider came to town and I spent weeks preparing my dragons. I suppose his openness to body rolls and alternative surfaces led me to reassess my heels and my Refractions.

Since he was here, I've hit an astonishing array of new tricks. Well, modified From tricks I've mastered, but tHis is the basis of my freestyle theory, that freestyle is component based. All my future tricks are the product of my past tricks.

Double leg over ending in heel
Whirl ending in heel
Gyro whirl ending in heel
Whirling refraction
Spinning butterfly refraction.
Stepping opp whirl ending in heel.

That is just the past 3 days.

Then I watched a video of David Clavens and my mind was blown. The guy is a god. Wow. Makes me wonder how. How. How? Wow.

See ya!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dragon Osis vs. Drag - A Freestyle footbag trick study

Dragon Osis vs. Drag - A Freestyle footbag trick study

Inspired by a visit by Jonathan Schneider in early June (This Week!), I'm moved to study Dragon tricks, of which Jonathan is the worlds foremost scholar.

What I have been calling Dragon Osis for the past 10 years or so is really a "Drag"... the opposite of Osis because it starts in x-body position and carries to regular position, where Osis starts in regular position and ends up in cross body position.

(Music: "Sweetest Little Feeling MIX" by Matt Cross)

From Youtube:
Traditional Dragon leads to Dragon Siso and then to Dragon Osis...
What I always thought was Dragon Osis is really the opposite. Osis starts in regular position and carries/turns *into* cross-body and I have always considered the 'Siso' tricks presented here as Dragon *Osis* trick prior. In this video I also show my first 'actual' Dragon Osis trick. Jonathan Schneider, the worlds leading scholar on Dragon tricks, thinks of *Siso* tricks as the equivalent of a rake, but I think they deserve their own classification.
This video contains:
Whiling Dragon Siso
Butterfly Dragon Siso
Ripwalk Dragon Siso
Fairy Butterfly Dragon Siso
Fairy Same Dragon Siso
Barfly Dragon Siso
Dragon Siso Juggle

Oh, and Blurry Reverse Whirl. What is unique about this is that I stumbled upon it trying to end in Siso. Just stumbled on it.

Music: "Sweetest Little Feeling MIX" by Matt Cross

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stimpy Concept - Freestyle Footbag evolves steadily...

Stimpy Concept.  New from Enlightener.

A Concept is something that applies to many possible tricks, making them unique.  Symposium, Paradox, Atomic and Nuclear are all Concepts.  The Stimpy Concept applies when the following conditions are met... When you Leap, Dex, Land AND Catch the footbag with the same foot.  So far I have hit 4 tricks that are Stimpy.  They are in the video below.  Mostly variations on Double Leg Over.


Shred Notes:  Have had a burst of creativity lately.  Hit what I think is Spinning Symposium Swiveling Osis?  I have near-hits on film.  Other strange tricks like: Nuclear inspinning mirage/torque, I have scratched the back of my leg up pretty good trying this one.  Took today off.  Gotta look at my camera and see if any of this stuff is worth publishing.  cant wait until spring weather, getting outdoors and in the sun and really start back into long strings.  Hallway shredding on polished concrete is getting old.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Footbag Unions - I miss ISUFU

Remember the ISUFU?

It was an official Footbag Club of the Illinois State University.  And it had the best t-shirts ever, because they always emphasize the FU part.

Every college student should create a club at their school called, for instance, MSUFU.  Where the school's call letters are followed by FU which is a double entendre for Footbag Union and/or Fuck You.  Which I think is just edgy and disrespectful enough for todays college footbag enthusiasts.  They don't even have to register their FU with the school, although that gives them some benefits, it also creates some paperwork.  In the case of ISUFU, Scott Cheno the President actually did make it an official club at the school, and he used those privileges to do philanthropic work.  I remember going to an all night kick-a-thon at ISU where we raised money for the AHA.  It was a blast to go to, and I was honored to be a part of it.

This club was active in the late 90's.  Lets get more Footbag Unions at colleges.  It makes for a great t-shirt too!

If anyone knows what happened to Scott Cheno, have him get in touch with me.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Check out my youtube playlists of freestyle footbag videos...

The reason for this post was to let you know that I have reorganized my 100 youtube videos into playlists, located at my channel:
and click on the Playlists option.
See videos in the following categories:
-Competition Videos (23)
-Contest Videos (8)
-Doubles Freestyle
-Footbag in the News 
-Lunch Shred Videos (46)
-Promo Videos (17)
-Youth Outreach
More categories forthcoming...

Happy St. Patricks Day!  I was shredding that day and made a quick little video on my phone, but when I published it to youtube, I selected 'private' and so no one saw my video.   Honestly, the phone app failed 5 times before it published, so I had to retype, on the phone, all of the details each time, even with copy and paste, it took forever.  Frustrating.  Now it is up, and ready to view...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Setting from Dragon tricks... how does he do it?

I have to wonder how Jonathan Schneider sets from Dragon tricks.  He keeps the footbag on the cross-body side, but every time I try it, the set doesn't go up so much as hits my body and uncontrollably falls to the ground.  No video today of the dragon work, but I'm skooling the hell out of them.  Except I tend to spin 'out' of the catch, so I wonder sometimes if my Dragon's aren't really just outside catches.  I'll do some filming next week.

Today I was going to take it easy, no high-impact, no big twists, as I did tweak my upper back and neck area from those Stomping Spyro Slalom tricks from yesterday.  But then it turned out that all I did was twisty tricks like Dragons.  Ironically, I thought I was innovating yesterday, but I had done that trick, and published it on youtube back in January.  So all it took was 2 months to forget a new trick.  Glad I ran into it again.  Check out my video from yesterday...

Now check out the one from a couple of months ago...

Friday, February 25, 2011

High Impact tricks are always high energy tricks...

I suppose this is pretty basic stuff, but I wanted to make a general rule of toe about this one.

HIGH IMPACT TRICKS ARE ALWAYS HIGH ENERGY TRICKS, but not necessarily the other way around.

When I think about high impact tricks, I go right to Symposium tricks.  These tricks are probably the classic example of high impact, just about every one of them, except the little ones.  They require one leg to be both the dexterity leg and the landing leg.  And honestly, I am still reprogramming my brain to look at atomic and nuclear tricks as medium impact tricks.  Why is this important? When I am training daily, I don't want to do 100% high impact tricks because of, well, the impact factor.  I know better than that.  I want to do plenty of high energy tricks to get the most out of my workouts, and I know that while high energy is a pre-requisite for high impact tricks, I need to keep a balance that keeps me at a high level of mastery of my high impact tricks, while still advancing on the many other high energy tricks.

I have started to notice that when I get to my frontside strings during warmup, that it jumpstarts my warmup period and gets me super warm, super fast.   Also, all this extra training of my frontside tricks has been providing the high energy usually associated with Dexterity tricks, and giving me a better cardio workout.

High energy tricks are not necessarily high impact, and the important thing to remember is to differentiate the tricks appropriately in your minds accounting of the tricks.  For example, in the context of Atomic tricks, it looks high impact, but is really high energy.

See ya!

Some High Impact examples:

Shred notes: First half of Feb. 2011... I'm at 1528 days in a row today.  Already shredded, but plan a 2nd session later.  I have hit Gyro Zulu Butterfly on both sides on film, and Gyro Zulu Whirl on both sides but try as I might, I haven't hit it on film yet.  I have gotten way more comfortable with Symposium (no plant) Blurry Torques.  Also Shooting DaDa's and Symposium Blurry Drifters.  Lots of film to go through.  I have been trying to film in vertical frame because it shows the whole body in the frame from closer up, yet I still struggle with framing and lighting.  It is weird, but when I stand in front of the camera when it is on its side, I have a harder time predicting the right place to stand.  The double secret location hallway has fluorescent lighting and I don't have the cash for the proper portable lighting system.  The Kodak ZX1 does great in good light, so I really should focus on getting some good lights to offset the fluorescents and see if that works.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Playing everyday is something everyone can do!

Whatever your favorite sports are, it is important to exercise every day.  There is a public awareness of the childhood obesity epidemic in America.  We are all responsible for our own health, yet so many are eating unhealthy diets with sedentary habits like TV and video games.

The CDC says: "Childhood Obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years."  They go on to say that Obese youth are more likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, at greater risk to bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, low self esteem and as adults are more at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer and osteoarthritis.  They conclude with, "Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases."

Maybe playing 'everyday' is overkill, but it has worked for me.  Please watch and comment on my new video, "No Excuses" on YouTube at  It is about my past 4 years (1500 days) of playing footbag freestyle every day in an effort to improve my skills in my 40's, which turns out to be a pretty healthy habit.

Thanks for all your support so far, the movie has had great reviews.  Please share the link on you facebook page if you like it.


Shred notes: 2/4/2011
This week I worked on longer strings, alternating with frontside moves.  Then on strings that contain frontside midstring.  Also tons of Atomic stuff.  Gotta get atom smasher to the point where I don't 'rake' it out, but freeze it in a toe delay which will make it easier to get to legbeater, which is necessary for my long term goal of rubberman.  I think I hit 'Inspinning Swivel' yesterday... haven't seen the tape yet.  I love this sport!  Never a dull session.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

1500 Days of Shred, 1.5 Million Tricks and Playing everyday!

Ever since I turned 40, I've been skooling my footbag freestyle game every single day!  It keeps the mind fresh and the body young.

This video features highlights with some of my thoughts as voiceovers.

Thanks to Theo 'DaMadGreek' Demeris for letting me use his audio tracks for background music!  Check his channel at:

"No excuses."

The dialog from the movie is posted below:

At this point, ive been playing footbag for over 27 years, but when I turned 40 in 2006, which at this point is1500 days ago,   I decided to start playing every day, this short film is really just a compilation of  clips from practic sessions that we call shreds, with voice overs that reflect my thoughts.  I hope you have as much fun viewing it as I had making it.

I'd like to thank the mad greek for providing the background music.

During this time I've been on such shows as America's got talent and local news like wgntv in chicago.

This is my son Alex in a consecutives contest at NYJ at holiday sports festival an annual event that we host.

This is just days after my 40th biryhday when I started playing every day.

My sessions last typically about an hour, sometimes I do 2 sessions a day... but not more than 2x a week.  But at a 1000 kicks per session, comes to about 1.5 million tricks over the past 4 years or so.

When I turned 40 back in 2006, I became obsessed with the concept of "Use it or Lose it," and looked at my errratic shred session schedule, and decided to put my obsession  where my mouth is, and play every day.  So while I have been practicing the craft for the past  23 years, I had undertaken a commitment that was a great personal challenge that would lead to introspecition and some basic truths.

I've come to some conclusions, things like those little pains that never go away, you've got to play through them.   They are just a trick that the body plays on the mind as it tries to get out of work.  Little pains go away a little after starting.  Injuries are different, but I'm fortunate not to suffer from any serious ones.

Sometimes just getting started was the hardest part.  The mental game was strong here.  I found that after I made it through my warm ups, that I no longer wanted to blow off my session.  What I gained from this is an ability to recognize and overcome the mental chatter that might otherwise  supply me with excuses to skip my session.  

I also couldn't let the lack of a location become an excuse.  I boldly walk into hotels and find a spot to play at, sometimes in a forgotten stairwell.  Mainly I play at Mammoth Springs with seclusion and wind protection, at the service entrance at my workplace, or in my living room.  Whenever possible I play at festivals, concerts and promote the sport.  

When I worked downtown, I'd go out in front of my store in full body running thermals, put chemical  hand warmers under my toes just to stay warm.   And when I'd end, I'd literally have steam coming off of me.  

Whenever possible have music to kick to , it really makes it better when kicking with music.

I pretty much always warm up with the same tricks every day, I call them "Warm up strings".  10 in a row, infinity osis, ripwalk, paradox whirl, spinning butterflies and blurs and blizzards. 

I always end with a worthy "Out" string, thats utilizes the things that I had been working on that day, along with my other tricks in a really long string that would be worthwhile to publish on like say, the internet.  

Speaking to the mental part of the game, I try to think of it as play time, or recess... not really a workout.  Work is hard, it's not work, it's fun, it's play, I have a great time doing it.  

Early on, back in 2007, my hip started to hurt.  But it was a blessing in disguise as it changed my focus in a new direction... I started working on my flipside which improved my game and gave my right hip the time it needed to heal. 

I also find, that when I have a goal, something to focus on, when I get into my workout, I get warm faster, it's a strong motivator for me, and when I achieve those goals, I feel a sense of success.

In order to get the most shred time out of a single recess , which most people call lunch... I wear my kicking shorts and shirt under my work clothes, and just shed layers to get started. 

I think an hour long lunch is better spent shredding, because a 15 minute break is really twice as long as it takes to eat.

We've kicked at theme parks, like disney world, at parades in Oak park, at the Daley Center and many venues.  We'be been kicked out of many places  too, by the security there.  We call it the 'Security Test" when the Security guard passes us up and keeps walking then we've passed the security test, if not then we have to deal with security and hope we don't get kicked out.

This is footage from Lollapalloza in 2009.  

Rob McCloskey inspired me back in the day, when I lost 50 lbs. playing footbag, that was back in 1992.  He said 'Kick 1000 Kicks a Day' and I said 'How about a 1000 Tricks a Day."  And I carried a counter with me, and after I did my strings, I clicked off how many tricks I did.  And I wouldn't stop until I reached a 1000 tricks, which took a little over a half hour to complete.   

I did have a lot of accomplishments in the past 4 years or so.  Including 2nd in the World with Keaton Halley in Doubles Footbag Team Freestyle.  And while we were training for that, we went to California and filmed for Americas Got Talent, but we didn't get on the air.

Here is some rare footage of me kicking in a field

And for the first time, in 2010, I got see the footage of me winning the World Championships in 1999.  Thanks to John Hentges for that.

During this time, we attended events such as New Years Jam,  Midwest Regional Championships, Windy City Open, several Funtastik events, Taste of Chicago, Blues Fest, USOpen Tennis Championships, several apperances on WGN-TV, WGN Health fairs, jockey underwear contest, America's Got Talent, Snicker kicker, mountain dew spec ads,  won a camera from a Cheerios contest and I plan to enter more contests!

It's sometimes hard to get started, always hard to stop.

Thanks for checking it out!
See ya!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Mental Game: Shifting my perception of difficulty makes tricks easier!

"Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical."
   -Attributed to Yogi Berra

I have written about this before, but I feel the need to repeat it from my experience today.  We all know that the mental game is important.  Personally, I need to periodically step back from my day-to-day routine and look at my game from the perspective of 'what might be', as opposed to 'what I believe I'm capable of.'

Today I was challenged by my facebook friends to work on Rubberman, along with some strings I would not have probably thought to attempt on my own.  All these tricks are based on Atomic sets, which have always been challenging for me, even though I have spent the past several years actively working on them.  So in my mind, I have built up an aura of difficulty in my mind around the notion of Atomic tricks.  I have physically worked them to the point that I can hit them 70% of the time, but I was finding myself only working them once a week due to my 'perception' that they were high impact.  I was recently skooling Paradox Symp Whirls (rainbows) and caused a compression related impact pain in my right lower back.  In my mind, the Atomic tricks were as high-impact as the PSWhirls.  In retrospect, after careful physical analysis, I have to say that while Atomic tricks are more taxing on the hamstrings and hip related dexterity, that the impact is minimal because the set foot touches down almost immediately.

Now that I have reset my perception of Atomic tricks, I have allowed myself to obsess on them.  I can't stop doing them.  I'm hitting Leg Beaters, EggPlant, and Atom Smashers.  I'm hitting Atomic tricks from all kinds of sets, and I'm hitting all kinds of tricks out of Leg Beaters now, thanks to my facebook friends challenging me.  It has caused some stress on other parts of my legs, but as long as I don't over do it, I should be okay.  I'll always rely on my cross body tricks to some extent, but it is nice to escape that.  I want to be able to throw atomic tricks in mid string confidently and from unexpected places.

Shred notes: 1/23/2011
I also skooled juggles, particularly Seamless-Legbeaters-out of juggles.  I'll keep skooling it and I'll publish a juggling video again soon.  Imagine juggle-juggle-juggle-legbeater-blur-juggle-juggle-juggle-legbeater-blur.  Working on that kind of stuff.  Seamless-in juggle, seamless-out juggle.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Trickle Up Shredology - The best tip ever!

This is the best tip ever.   Thanks to Steve Goldberg, Brat, the greatest benefactor to the sport of footbag.

This has come full circle.  I started by skooling the basics.  As I got better, I learned the "Economy of Motion" and got better at trimming time off of movement by finding and training more efficient paths.  Spending less effort to get more done.  Particularly when ending a trick, I have learned over time to catch the footbag with the minimum downward motion possible, which is one of many 'economy of motions.'  To make matters worse, I spent about week this summer focusing on 'rooted' tricks which are distinguished because the catching foot is the plant.

This reduction of downward motion in catching the footbag in order to complete my most difficult tricks is causing my form to suffer when doing the most basic versions of the tricks.  For instance, it is generally more efficient to complete a Paradox Torque by expending as little effort as possible on the catch, and doing it at the last moment.  On the other hand, the trick is more 'solid' when I am able to utilize 'economy of motion' during the dexterity part of the trick and spend more time on the 'catching' part of the trick.

One of the side effects of spending years of training to reduce the distance needed to catch a footbag at the end of advanced tricks, is when you do the basic component, it looks rushed and unpolished.

As a part of my daily training (1493 in a row today), I warm up using my 'basic' staple tricks.  For instance I don't want to spend too much time training tricks I have mastered, I use those to warm up with.  I do 10 osis, 10 infinity's, 10 ripwalks, I do 10 reps of my whirl/osis combo, ripwalks, blurs/blizzards and paradox whirls.  I am getting into the zone at this time and generally just gaining the proper focus I need for the rest of my jam session.  Thanks to this new tip, I am really gaining better basic form.

In the past few weeks focusing on the depth of my clipper catches and I can really feel a difference in my control and general ability to maintain long strings.  I am really happy that a friend like Steve took the time to mention this very basic observation to me at the New Years Jam this past December.  I have been working on it every day since then and am really feeling the difference!

Shred Notes: Jan 2011
In addition to working the solidness of my clipper tricks, I have spent a lot of time working on front side tricks.  I have particularly been recategorizing Atomic tricks into low-impact.  I have always thought of Atomic tricks as high-impact, but have recently discovered that they really aren't.  I hit both Atom Smashers in a single string, which was a big barrier for me, but might seem basic for you.  I also realized that I have been hitting LegBeaters on both sides (I've been calling them atomic butterflies), and then was challenged by Tuukka to do blur, LegBeater, Blurry Whirl, Blur, LegBeater Blurry whirl and hit all those components with an extra spinning butterfly before the 2nd blur.  Very happy.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

NYJ 2010 Thank You's!

Freestyle Footbag enthusiasts from around the world gathered from December 18-20 at the Hyatt McCormick Place to jam until their legs couldn't take it anymore!  We played all day and night for 3 days, and I met many new faces, and got to catch up with some old friends in the process.

This event could not have happened without the support of many people.  I wanted to put out thank you's to everyone and I hope I didn't leave anyone out...

Thanks to the players that showed up at 10am at the site so we could start teaching and make the site look alive.

Thanks to Chicago's Mayors Office of Special Events for providing the site, fencing, electricity, tables and chairs... and for the whole assemblage of excellent mini-events that make up this amazing event!  AWESOME!

Thanks to Kevin Cronk for coming down from Petosky Michigan with his family to join us, just like old times when I met Kevin back in 1990.  Two old skoolers, still playing.  Time flies when you're having fun.

Thanks to our new friends John and Sarah from Dragonfly Footbags who sponsored our event not only with enough footbags to give out to passersby who tried to play footbag, and for the great prizes... but also contributed cash prizes of $450 to make our players really go for it to win the cash!

We only handed out about 75 footbags this year to kids who took the time to try our sport.  Compared to 450 two years ago.  But the footbags were MUCH higher quality then the cheapo chinese footbags we were giving away, so that should be a better experience for all these kids who received a footbag from us.

Thanks to our players who jumped in and helped teach kids who wandered by, when I was busy doing other stuff.  Even when played casually, our sport offers a great opportunity for kids to socialize with their friends while they get their 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day.

Thanks to our past sponsors such as World Footbag Association and Freedom Footbags who would have sponsored us if I had asked.  Sorry I was lazy this year and didn't even ask for their support.

Thanks to Steve (Brat) Goldberg for hosting the Hospitality Suite again!  He sacrificed his room so we would all have a place to hang out together and enjoy the times between our shreds.  Brat also sponsored the Shred Room, and made that possible!  I apologize for leaving on Sunday without specifically thanking Steve for coming out again!  I had a great time getting to spend time around the Brat.  Always a pleasure, and Thanks again!

Thanks to CIC for drumming up interest, for housing our players from out of town, for raising money to have the extra room the extra Monday to continue to play at the Hyatt Site for a third day!  Specifically Tom Kotsakos, job well done.

Thanks to Modern Music of Lisle for providing affordable rental of sound systems.  I wish Cory Current would have been at the event, he is the one who told us about Modern Music.

Some missing faces: Scot Hansen, Eric Cokee, Ted Martin, Steve Smith, Jay Claffey, PJ Lareau, Hacky Sack Jack, Larry Doyle (well, he died, but we still miss him terribly)...

Thanks to Valeria and Alex who put up with my obsessive behavior when it comes to the sport of footbag.

Thanks to all the players who took their valuable vacation time and spent it with us in Chicago.  You are the reason these events are worth hosting year after year.  It is a treat for me to have all these shredders in-town, as it is extremely difficult for me to travel to events these days.  I hope I got to shred with everyone who was there, but I doubt it.  I had a blast and thanks for coming to Chicago for the 2010 New Years Jam.

We are planning to make it an even bigger event next year, so start planning now!

See ya next year!
Scott Davidson