Published on June 26th, 2021 |
by Daniel Boyle
Footbag Interview – Hackying The System
The guys from Hackying The System are using footbag and barefoot balance activities as a tool to help with foot health.
1) Tell us a bit about “Hackying The System” – what’s it all about?
We see Hackying the System as a path to gaining movement freedom and confidence through enhancing mobility, balance, coordination, strength and resilience to injury all while having fun. Whether you’re an elite athlete or someone with no sporting background, we want to develop a culture that encourages people of all ages and experiences to connect through barefoot play.
2) How long have you guys been kicking for? Was the something you already did, or did you develop it as part of this?
We are group of current and former soccer players who have all suffered injuries though our careers. Some were very serious and most were preventable with the right preparation but the problem we identified is that kids simply aren’t being taught how to get their bodies ready for the rigours of all sports. We had also been mucking around with hacky sacks for the last year or so and then realised it could be the perfect tool to help kids work on their balance, strength and mobility – crucial to preventing injuries – while having fun. The best injury prevention program after all is the one that actually gets done and we believe play is the way to make that happen.
3) You do a lot of work with balance and barefeet – what are some of the best exercises to improve these areas?
We have developed an online injury prevention program that combines hacky sack, balance and movement training all while barefoot. The course teaches people of all levels how to get started and progressively build their skills. By the end of the course we are confident they will be able to play a game we call Hackminton – similar to footbag net but barefoot with a hacky sack.
There really are no ‘best’ exercise. We believe any kind of movement activity barefoot is great for the body, the more time you spend out of your shoes the stronger your feet will become and that’s really important because they’re our foundation!
4) I have seen you have many workshops for different ages – who seems to be getting the most benefit from your programs?
We have been targeting the courses towards children aged 8 and up to teenagers who are just starting to get into more specialised/competitive sporting environments. We believe if we can help kids build healthy, barefoot habits early they will carry them through the rest of their lives. That being said, people of any age can see benefit from playing barefoot with a hacky sack. We have had people in their 60s and 70s come to workshops run by our parent company The Foot Collectice and give it a go.
5) You guys have a professional background in this area – how have you crafted something around Hacky Sack/Footbag?
Two of our team members are physiotherapists who have a deep understanding of the health benefits for this kind of training while our two head coaches both suffered ACL tears as teenagers while playing soccer so know first hand the traumatic physical and mental impacts injuries can have on young players.
6) What’s your advice for people who would like to run similar programs around the world?
Get in touch! We would love to see this spread all over the world. We already have a network of health practitioners globally but need help from passionate people who believe in our mission to help as many people prevent injury through play as possible
7) Have you had any criticisms of your program? I imagine saying “we’re based around hacky sack” might not be accepted by all professionals.
It definitely does raise a few eye brows but when we explain that the hacky sack is really just a simple tool to get kids playing with movement and balance they realise that if it can actually help prevent injuries then it’s not so silly after all.
8) Tell us a bit more about “Hackminton” – it looks like a bit of a cross between footbag net and your general hack circle
You’re exactly right! It’s just a fun way to combine all of the skills you learn while playing in a hacky circle into a more competitive game. It really is a good work out and super addictive! We believe it could one day be an Olympic sport… so stay tuned..
9) What’s the end goal for “Hackying The System”?
Our overall mission is to have a society where people of all ages are connecting through barefoot play and staying fit and healthy in the process. If we can achieve that we believe we really have Hacked The System.
To find out more, visit the Hackying the System website or Instagram page.
Tags: balance, fitness, Footbag, interviews
About the Author
Daniel Boyle Founder of @sportslashlife. Australian living in Chile. Freestyle footbag player and passionate sports fan.