A part of the swing that has the potential to contribute to the height of your swing (or take away from it, if not done well) is the seven. I’ve saved this one for last because it tends to be the most difficult one for people to figure out. As with absolutely everything in flying trapeze, good tight form makes a big difference. Good form in the seven means legs (and butt) tight and together and a tall overall posture. Think of what contributes to good posture when you’re standing: your head and neck are in neutral position, your chest is up, your shoulders are back and down, and your core is engaged.
The thing is, if you don’t have good form in your seven, you can’t correct it while you’re in your seven. You need to correct your form before you seven. This is why the sweep was listed first in this series: good body position in your sweep will lead you into a good seven. Having your head in a neutral position will lead to your shoulders and torso being where you want them when you seven.
“Hips forward!” You’ve probably heard this one before. The key to getting this tricky body position lies in keeping your butt and legs tight and snapping your toes forward as you seven. Note that I said to snap your toes forward–if your legs and butt are tight, your hips come forward as a natural consequence of this action. Trying to push your hips forward usually results in your feet trailing behind, making more of a one than a seven. In the beginning, it’s far more important for your feet to be in front of you when you seven than it is to have a straight seven shape. The more you practice keeping your body tight, the straighter your body will be when you seven.
If your form is solid in your sweep coming back to the board (head up, body tight), when you pop forward into your seven, your center of mass will move closer to the bar (‘short on the way up’), and, once again, you’ll go higher.
All of the elements we’ve discussed this summer will take your swing higher; putting them all together will take you higher and higher! This will only serve to make your tricks go higher as well–and higher tricks are always a good thing! In your next class, starting with your sweep, try working on your form and see what kind of effect it has on your height. Take note of how high you are when you take-off from the board (or riser) and the notice how high you are in your seven. Over time and with practice…maybe lots of practice…you’ll find yourself flying higher and higher!