Have you been told to soften your feet in acro?
And have you had no idea how to do that, or what they even meant?
Maybe you went home and started moisturizing your feet, haha!
Well I'm here to share about this incredibly important basing tip and how you can unlock it too...
What 'soft feet' really means in acro is to try and make your feet more comfortable to fly on.
Most beginners will have 'hard feet' and will feel uncomfortable and even a bit painful to fly on in certain moves.
This is very common and normal when starting out as a base so don't worry if this is you, I used to have it too.
And it's also totally fixable and changeable.
The reason I thought about this topic is actually when training with Laura recently I flew some moves on her, and I was asking her to soften her feet.
She actually learned quite quickly to soften them which was really nice and just felt like an instant improvement.
So I wanted to share some tips with you that you can either give to your base if your a flyer, or use yourself when basing...
The first main thing to understand is that softening your feet is about relaxing your feet.
When we start basing we often work so hard to balance with our toes and our feet that we tend to make them very engaged and active which makes them hard and uncomfortable.
Just by consciously trying to relax your feet you will already be halfway to having nice soft basing feet.
You can think of other muscles in your body as examples to help with this.
Like how when you tense your muscles you can really squeeze and activate them hard and make them extra engaged, or you can also squeeze and activate in a more relaxed way and the muscle will feel engaged but not as hard.
The next point, that goes in hand with the first one, is that you should balance from your whole leg and foot.
This means when you're basing something like bird, you should use your legs and your hips, your ankles and the whole foot to balance out the flyer.
Rather than using just your toes or trying to control all the balance from your feet.
This in turn allows you to relax the muscles in your feet more, because they are just the connection point and foundation for the flyer.
And the rest of your legs, hips, and ankles are helping control the balance and movements as well as a little bit from the foot.
I think this gets confused early on for beginners as we always say "point your toes" more when basing bird for the first time.
This is still valid, because a lot of beginners need to understand how to point and flex their feet and toes in general and this is the easiest quickest cue to give.
But maybe a better way of teaching it would be to say "relax your foot, and gently tip the whole of your foot up to give more support and lift to the flyer".
This is really the key to soft feet in a lot of movements, keep the foot soft and relaxed, but tip the whole foot in the way you want to give more support.
The last point I will give relating to soft feet is about really finding the balance point.
When the flyer and base are really finding the correct balance point the foot can be very relaxed and soft.
Because you don't need strong engagement from the foot to hold them in place.
This means that if you are practicing a pose and it's a lot of work for your feet as a base, and the flyer is saying the feet feel hard and uncomfortable.
Then you probably are not on the balance point, and so you should adjust until you find it.
Good example poses for this are side star and star, people often don't find the actual balance points for these poses but maintain a position where they require some engagement to hold it.
So you can go test yourself out with these poses, and see are you relaxed and on the balance point, and therefore your feet should feel nice and soft.
I hope these tips do help, and I guarantee if you can have nice soft feeling feet as a base in acro, your flyers will be super happy to play with you! :)
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