Learn to Balance with
Still Having a Ball
This is written for the teacher more than the student.
Basic theory of using a peacock feather to learn balance.
Peacock feathers can be obtained in bulk online. Smaller numbers are available at some floral shops and in any China Town.
- There is a great transfer of skill from a feather balance to a more difficult balance.
- The balance is almost always lost by moving too fast - seldom too slowly.
- The fear of being hurt slows learning of challenging/dangerous balances.
- Fatigue also slows learning - there is little effort required improving balance with a feather.
- Unicycle or rola bola students taking a break, doing a bit of feather balance will show improvement in riding skills.
- Physical therapy for stroke/accident victims will achieve improvement with a similar break.
- Place a peacock feather on your hand .
- Look at the eye of the peacock feather.
- When you are teaching, demo by placing the feather on your hand and letting it fall away from you.
- Walk forwards to get it in balance.
- If you show the balance standing stock-still students assume that is the way it works.
- Fully a third of them will stand and watch the feather fall off their hand if you show it under control from the beginning.
- Remind them to look at the eye They tend to look to see if you are watching and lose the balance.
- Walk or run while maintaining the balance.
I find working brief periods (ten minutes or less) every few days or even weeks apart more productive than long, frequent sessions.
- Throw the feather and catch it on the other hand.
- Push the feather straight up; look down at your hand for the transfer and immediately back at the eye.
- Try various parts of the body as balance points.
- You must be able to see the top of the object to control the balance.
- Standing on one foot and balancing the feather on the other is particularly challenging.
- Move on to other long objects such as a 3-foot dowel (or a yardstick).
- Gradually work on shorter objects.
- A baseball cap balanced on the nose makes a nice looking trick.
- As soon as control is lost, lunge forward, dropping the hat on your head.
- It is less frustrating than dropping the hat on the floor plus it looks like that is what you intended.
- Go back to the peacock feather and learn to balance two or more at a time.
- Start with one on each hand, and then try one on the face and one on the hand.
- Next one object on each hand, one on the face, one on one foot, standing on a rola bola.
- Get an agent! (Oh, and post a video on YouTube :)
Heading a ball
- Balance a peacock feather on your forehead, knees bent, feet shoulder width apart.
- Tilt your head back until the forehead is nearly parallel to the floor.
- Now switch to a 6" ball firmly inflated - soft is erratic.
- Use low bounces and do not correct with your head - move your feet.
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