Fall Fun – Training Techniques for Falling Safely
This article has nothing to do with seasons per se, but it does relate directly to falling, which unfortunately does occur at all seasons for various accidental reasons.
Speaking of the weather, everybody talks about it, but hardly anybody does anything about it. Falling, like the weather, is experienced by everybody and not many people do anything about it either. Hardly anyone practices how to do it better. Martial arts practitioners come close with judo, and Hollywood stuntmen and women make a profession of it.
Falling, alas, does seem inevitable. No one escapes forever, and it’s usually much shorter than that. It does appear then, that we ought to train for it in order to do it better when our time comes when we cannot resist the likely, painful attraction of gravity.
The meaning of “better” in this context, is softer, or without causing too much bodily damage (i.e., assorted fractures, sprains, strains, and contusions), or preferably, none at all. “Good grief!” you might very well say at this juncture. “How can I train to fall softer? “I’m glad you asked.” I might say, because, I was just about to start you on the training session. Get ready and stay alert. Or better yet–stay alert and relaxed.
The Training Session
I want to encourage you, so I’m going to start with the easy stuff. Later, we’ll move on the the more serious gravitational attractions. Okay, now, don’t worry about a thing. The ground will always break your fall. We will strive to avoid breakage of other things.
I said that for a little humor to loosen you up. This reminds me of a good example. A wet noodle will fall to the floor without breaking. Before it’s cooked, the same fall will fracture the noodle into many pieces. Remember this principle in your fall training. Tell your body to relax.
Simple escape protection here. Tuck ‘n roll. Now before we proceed, I probably should make mention of a proper training surface. Concrete is not the most ideal. Something more in keeping with gymnasium tumbling mats will be more comfortable.
Keep in mind that you may be compelled to fall on the more undesirable concrete-like surface some day. That won’t be your choice, but you will be ready for it. Back to the tuck ‘n roll. As you start your forward fall, ball up, look at your belly, place your palms on the mat and roll over. Be a ball. No lumps and you’ll take up the impact of the forward roll like a shock absorber.
Jump off a chair and do a forward roll.
- From standing, have a training partner push you from behind.
- Do a gentle push at first, working up to more vigorous pushes as you roll smoothly.
Now you’re ready to fall in emergencies. Hope that you won’t fall backwards, but be prepared for it too, just in case.
This is more scary than falling forward, but you may as well train for this one too. Back roll by balling up again. Still look at your belly. Look where you’re going and your head hits. Hands along your ears with the palms up. When you get a little braver, try it from a standing position. More brave? Try sitting in a chair. Preferably, have a training partner lower your chair slowly backward. If you’re on a nice soft surface, you should be able to work up to doing it by yourself.
Banana peels and other slippery surfaces, holes, bumps, and other surprises.
Suddenly, air-borne with no chance to roll either forward or backward! Not much to do here for practice. When it comes, hope for the best. Relax and pray, brief as it may be.
Fall softly, otherwise it’s not much fun..
Last Parting Words
Please do not do any of the training procedures unless you have been taught how to roll forwards and backwards by a good gymnastics coach.
Dr. Lawrence P. Bestmann is a distance learning faculty member for the United States Sports Academy.