The nuts and bolts of tricking
If you want to maintain your tricking without tricking, then maintain these things:
- Technically grooviness
- Connective tissue resilience
Lifting weights explosively is not enough to maintain explosiveness for tricking. If you want to minimize losses keep jumping during your time off so you can jump back into tricking later. That's what's missing from our lives when we take time off from tricking: jumping. Here's a simple hack:
- If lifting weights, superset submaximal squats or deadlifts with sets of 5 maximal jumps.
- Jump for 5 sets of 5 super high jumps everyday. Do all your sets together, don't spread them throughout the day.
Sounds simple, but few people will probably do this because if they really are jumping as high as they possibly can, they'll find it exhausting.
Unfortunately this one is not feasible for someone taking time off from tricking to bulk. For everyone else, just watch what you eat and do some physical activity when you have the opportunity. Stay as light as you can and your tricking will thank you when you return to it. Check out this page for some extra fat loss tricks.
The best ways to maintain your mobility for tricking is to do some dynamic stretches everyday. Do 4 sets of 5 front lifts and back lifts with each leg. Rest minutes between sets, don't do them all back to back.
Every now and then, do some stretching and mobility movements like you would when you warm up to trick, but don't trick. Take every opportunity during the day to get into stretched positions or flex your "mobility" muscles.
Maintaining technical grooviness
When we take time off of tricking, technical practice is no longer constant or consistent, it's abandoned entirely. However, technical degradation from lack of practice can be minimized substantially by doing one thing: daily visualization. Visualize yourself practicing tricks, visualize how your body feels, try to feel the movement. Watch tricking videos and make observations. If you do this during your tricking sabbatical, it will go a very long way in maintaining your tricks.
I also strongly recommend day dreaming about yourself doing these moves, day dream to music, see yourself doing awesome moves in a video you picture in your head. I do this every time I drive to work and I've gotten so good at it over the years I get chill bumps all over my body like I took some illicit stimulant. Doing this helps me feel the speed of the tricks during inactivity.
Maintaining connective tissue integrity
With a moderate training frequency, tricking builds connective tissue integrity. If you take time off of tricking and return to it you're gonna feel some pain, and be at greater danger of injuring yourself. Even if you're strength training: strength training doesn't build the connective tissues in the same way that tricking requires, you must trick to proof your body for tricking. But since we're talking about maintenance mode, we need something different. Since we've already covered jumping, you should do three more things.
- Dot drills.
- Lateral barrier hops.
- Jump rope.
Two plyometric speed drills that require no equipment, and almost no space but will give you huge muther-fucking return on your time for connective tissue integrity (and zap!) are dot drills and low side to side barrier hops.
I recommend doing these with only one foot at a time. As for Jump rope, it's a low bounding exercise that fortifies your connective tissues in a safe, fun, stylish way. Jump rope has been one of the most therapeutic things I've found for tricking. I just wish I had been doing it earlier!
My tricking buddy Pat Chu made a statement in regards to confidence when we were talking about trick maintenance,
"One of the first things to go when you take time off tricking are swing throughs. Swing throughs are a mental thing and if you aren't doing them regularly you can be scared of them when you start tricking again."
For my readers who don't know what a swing through is, it just literally means swinging your free leg out of one trick into another.
If you aren't regularly working on moves that demand confidence you will lose confidence! And so you can lose certain moves entirely because the fear returns! The best remedy for a loss of confidence, for me, has actually been maintaining my physical training. You would think that maintaining confidence (something psychological) would best be done with psychological strategies like visualization or meditation. I'm not discouraging those activities, but I'd be cautious in attributing them credit as the sole means to maintaining your confidence. No strategy for maintaining confidence in doing scary moves is going to work unless you stay in awesome shape for your activity. If you've maintained everything else on this page so far, then visualization and meditation are the icing on your cake. Just don't put them first.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE LOSS OF INTEREST
Don't stop reading this page yet, this isn't some bullshit way to wrap up this blog post. Now imagine this: you lose both your legs. How interested in tricking are you going to be when you have no legs? How interested in tricking are you going to be when you haven't had legs for 8 years? Do you really think you'll still be super interested and inspired by tricking shit if you lost your legs 8 years ago? Give me a fucking break!
Yet this is exactly what happens when you take time off of tricking. It's like you've given up your legs! You'll lose interest a little more each day when you're not doing it. Maintaining interest during time off is like holding your breath under water, it gets worse as more time passes. Eventually you can't hold it anymore and it's over. No matter how many tricking friends online you have, no matter how much you think you love talking about tricking, no matter how many tricking videos you watch, none of it is going to help you maintain interest if you're not tricking. There is actually nothing you can do to maintain interest unless you're actively participating. The only thing you can do when you take time off of tricking is this:
Be very, very, very aware of your level of interest in tricking as more time passes during your time off. Keep an eye on it like you would be keeping an eye on your gas tank while driving through the Yukon. If you string it out too long, there will come a point of no return. A certain threshold that if you cross, with too much time off, you'll never really get back into tricking again. I've watched more of my peers over the years quit tricking because of this reason more than any other. It wasn't their aches, pains, and whatever the fuck else was going on in their life that made them quit. It was a loss of interest. They took too much time off. Everybody has a different amount of time they can last during off times before they lose interest. I've never made it past 6 months myself.
So you can't maintain interest when you take time off tricking. It's impossible. Just be cognizant of your dropping interest levels, and if it drops too low, you gotta change everything you're doing and start tricking again hard if you can imagine a future for yourself in it. No matter if you're injured, in the middle of a bulk, or too busy at work. Work around your injury, stop eating like a pig, stop spending so much time in the weight room, change your fucking work hours and stop being a pussy employee, end the maintenance period and just force yourself back into it before you lose it all.