In 2003, I discovered the flying trapeze. Since then, it’s been my sport, hobby, source of deep play, a vehicle for personal development, and sometimes a vehicle for frustration.
Recently, someone asked me, how do you improve at flying trapeze?
There’s only one way: practice. Just like anything else.
To improve your mechanics on the flying trapeze, you must fly. Consistently, and with good coaching feedback.
I had a friend and coach who used to say,
Twice a week for maintenance, three times a week for improvement. That’s fairly accurate.
Of course, there are other things I do off the trapeze rig to supplement my training.
Trampoline practice to work on aerial awareness and control. Pilates. Yoga. Swimming has helped me in times when we had no trapeze rig over the winter. Weight lifting. Flexibility work.
All of these are great supplements, but they are not substitutes. Very little of what I do in the gym carries over onto the trapeze rig.
I recently returned after a six-month break, and it’s been an adjustment to get back some of my skills. Even though I spent the past six months working daily with a movement coach, completing a yoga teacher training, and practicing yoga daily, even though in training I simulated some moves that I do on the trapeze, it’s not the same. There’s no way to simulate the actions of flying trapeze in another arena.
The principle here is that all training is specific.
Want to improve your swimming? You’ve got to get into the pool and swim.
Want to run faster? You’ve got to run.
Whatever sport you play, if you want to improve, you must practice it specifically.
That’s not to say that the other things you do to supplement don’t have benefits. At the very least, engaging in different physical activities helps you use your body in all the different ways the body was meant to move.
General strength is good, but if you want to improve in a specific skill, you must train that skill.
All training is specific.