The Forceout

When students first start learning to swing, we often tell them that they are beginning a journey that will last for the rest of their flying trapeze lives. Your swing will always have room to evolve and change…and, ideally, get better. Learning to force-out, for many flyers, is one of the more challenging and difficult to understand parts of learning to swing.

You hop off the board and sweep back. You pass through the bottom of the swing and begin to ‘go up the hill’. You hear the calls: ‘Force up and out!’ or ‘Toes up and extend!’ (or some variation of either of those two)…and lifting your legs and shooting your toes up in the air, bringing your hips and the rest of your body with you seems terribly difficult at first. And let’s be honest: it is difficult.

The forceout becomes easier to figure out when you remember that each element of the swing is intimately connected with—and depends upon—the part that came before it. So really, your swing starts with your body position at take-off. Your body should be tight, with your legs together and straight as you descend into your sweep under the board. It is at the full extent of your sweep—with your legs remaining together and straight—that your forceout begins.

Think of it as a bit of action/reaction: your sweep is the wind-up for your forceout. From the very back of your sweep, you can begin driving your toes (and legs) forward and then up. This will allow you to drive your toes higher and give you time to make the extension of your body smooth and controlled. Try this next time you swing. See what happens and let us know what you think.