Finger Skills for Freestyle – Part 1

Freestyle is versatile and embodies the dancing of BailongBall. Flowing, circular, swinging, dynamic movements, full of rhythm. Movements that flow through the whole body – spreading all the way to the fingers. There, the racket continues the movements of the body, often in the form of circles.
In our series “Freestyle Elements”, you got a little insight into what is possible when the racket “is spun”. In parts 1, 2 and 3 you could see how Irina combines variations of racket spinning, with different body movements and sequences.
Maybe you wonder how the racket can spin so elegantly, so smoothly and yet quickly, and still not lose contact with the ball? How do you practice something like that? For example, how does Irina manage to “wrap” the racquet around the ball so elegantly (the so-called “scroll”) as in the video of the third part of the “Freestyle Elements” series?
In our small two-part series on “Finger Skills for Freestyle”, we would like to show you a few exercises that help developing the necessary finger skills. In this first part we will practice with the small racquet, the Bailo. In the second part we will switch to the larger racquet.
It is important to use all fingers in a coordinated way when turning the racket. Only if all fingers are engaged, will your racket turn completely and elegantly. And to get all fingers “involved”, we first focus on those that usually initiate a rotation – the index finger, middle finger, ring finger and little finger. So we’ll give the thumb a little break for now:

Now hold your “ball-free” forearm in front of your body and place the ball on it. Then move the ball with the four fingers around the free forearm:

In the next step, the “ball arm” remains on the free forearm. Now move the ball around the free forearm again with the four fingers:

To train a coordinated sequence of finger movement, in the next exercise we move the ball from finger to finger – from thumb / pointer finger to ring finger / little finger and back again:

After these finger exercises with the ball, we now add the racket. The point is to turn the racquet outward and to perform a complete rotation of the racquet around its own axis. Hold the racquet horizontally in front of your body at navel level. When you move the racquet upwards, you rotate your wrist around the racquet handle so that the thumb, which was initially on top, can switch to the underside of the handle. To make this happen, the other four fingers continuously rotate the racquet in succession:

And now add the ball. The goal is to roll the racquet around the ball as follows:

Next you combine the upward swing, with the movement of all your fingers to roll the racquet (outward) around the ball, into a “scroll”:

This is followed by the rotation of the racket to the inside:

And again with ball, to a paper roll to the inside. This time you turn your hand accordingly in the opposite direction:

Once you have managed the inward and outward scroll, try to combine them:

And finally, the scroll to the side, starting with a U-swing. As in the exercises before, you rotate your hand around the racket handle so that you can perform a full rotation of the racket:

With this you have expanded your freestyle with the necessary dexterity for the scroll. In the last part of this small series, we will show more exercises covering finger skills and use the big racket.

Scroll on ­čÖé

Mike Ritz
BailongBall Trainer

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