When I was around 15 years old (around the same time I started smoking pot on a daily basis), I started to, like many potheads, start to play hackysack.
If you know me though, you know that I take everything I do to the next level. I can’t just play hackysck, no, I have to be the best. Do tricks that other people can’t do. Buy hackysacks with all sorts of styles and designs. Spend all day watching videos online.
…and that’s exactly what I did 🙂
I became the hackysack master at my high school (Probably a big reason why I didn’t have many girls in my life at that point in time, but that’s for another time…).
Around this time as I began to dive deeper into the sport, I came across the sport of “footbag”. Rather than the hippie stoner kick a sack around at a music festival, those who play footbag treat it as a legitimate sport. Something they train for day in and day out. That they have worldwide competitions for.
While in hackysack you kick around a bean bag, In footbag the intention is to “stall” the bag on your foot and bring it to a complete stop. Then, once you get good at stalling, you can do what is called a “dex”, short for dexterity, which is circling your foot around the back in an in>out or out>in motion.
Not only is it a sport, but theres an entire community around it as well. A massive worldwide movement of footbaggers who live and breathe the sport, who travel the world to kick with other people, who stitch bags, who modify shoes to improve them for stalling, etc.
Most importantly, and the reason why I’m writing about footbag today, is that in this sport there is a rule or philosophy of how to properly learn tricks – A philosophy known as “Beesauce”.
Beesauce is a nickname for the acronym B.S.O.S, or “both sides one string”. In the world of footbag, the trick doesn’t count unless you hit it on BOTH feet. It’s too easy just to focus on your dominant foot, so there is an emphasis on being able to hit everything that you do with BOTH feet. If you can’t hit it with both feet, you’re looked at as “one sided” and you’re not really training properly.
This was the first time that I had heard of this concept, let alone trained in it. I liked it. An emphasis on training your weak side. A priority in fact, as it doesn’t really count if you only hit it on one side.
If you think about it, in every other sport we’re always encouraged to use our dominant hand exclusively.
In baseball we catch with one hand and throw with the other. The hand you throw with is usually the dominant hand.
Same in football (American football that is), a quarterback only throws with one hand.
Basketball? Most children can only dribble well with their dominant hand, and drive to one side. Dribbling/driving on their weak side is a rarity. if you remember the days of youth basketball, the goal was always to see which side the guy was dominant on, and force him to his weak side.
Same in soccer. I almost always kicked and scored goals with my dominant side. While I could score with my left, if I wanted to boot it and aim for a corner, there was no chance that would happen on my left side.
For the most part, across all sports I was taught to focus on my dominant hand/side. Coaches always tell you to work the weak side, but it’s not emphasised as a point of training. It’s made as more of a passing comment/suggestion.
Then here comes this rare unknown sport of footbag with a concept like Beesauce. Not only are you encouraged to work both sides, but it’s actively frowned upon if you DONT.
So, when I began to learn how to play footbag, I always drilled both sides. More importantly, I drilled the fuck out of my weak side. Every time I learned/trained in a new trick, I would try it three to five times on my left before I tried it on my right. I made my right side a luxury I could only use after I had already hit it on my left.
Every trick, every training session, the emphasis was on drilling my weak side. Both-sidedness was the goal. Being able to hit everything consistently on both sides.
It got to the point where for many tricks, my left side actually became stronger than my right. My left side became something I could lean on when I was in need of a bail (easy trick). To this day I am still better at a trick called the “clipper” with my left foot than I am with my right foot.
This philosophy of BSOS or bee sauce is something that has stuck with me for all of my life. Despite not playing footbag for the last 10+ years or so, bee sauce is still something that I think about every day, in all areas of life.
When I started to learn how to juggle for example, my primary training consisted of learning how to juggle two balls with only my left hand.
When I work out at the gym I make sure to train both sides of my body individually. I isolate the weak side and throw some extra reps in to compensate for the fact that in most lifts my left side is significantly weaker. I also noticed that I was very upper body heavy, so now I train more legs.
When I learned the Slackline, I practiced everything on both feet. I learned how to stand up from both feet. Spin in both directions. Stand sideways in both directions. Walk sideways in both directions. Walk forwards and backwards. Bounce forwards and backwards.
But this doesn’t apply to just physical activities, no. This also applies to the way that we learn anything. This philosophy has made me constantly have the mentality of “train my weak side”.
Back to the example of exercise, not only training my weak side, but training in forms of exercise that I don’t like. For example I’ve always hated running. So now, because I hate to run, I run a few times a week to train my weak side.
For a long time although I loved to write, I wasn’t consistent. Start for a few months, write something here or there, and then drop off. So to train my weak side, nearly three years ago I said to myself I’m going to dive deep into my writing and since then I’ve written nearly 300 articles.
(As I write this I realize that my weak side is writing fiction. I’m not training that side, I’m only focusing on my dominant side, which is more philosophical writings. To practice what I preach, be on the lookout for some fiction from yours truly coming your way 😉 ).
In relationships I’ve always been a shitty listener and lacked presence. So for the last few years I’ve consciously trained to be a better listener through practices like meditation to maintain presence, and learning foreign languages to force me to listen to what others say more closely.
Dieting too – what is my weak side in the way that I eat? GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES! Once I realized that this is the weakest part of my diet, it became the emphasis instead.
Overall work/life balance as well. For a long time I only emphasized working on projects that I’m passionate about, and for that reason I spent most of my 20’s with no money. Then it all caught up to me, I had a great life but I couldn’t sustain it because I didn’t have enough money. So what did I do? I took a shitty sales job and saved up a bunch of money until I could have my freedom again.
Even meditation, what I’m really doing is training myself to do nothing (a huge weakness of mine!). I’ve always been so fast paced, so go go go, so “need to do something!”, that I never learned how to just sit still and breathe.
On that note, BREATHING too! I’m an asthmatic who relied on my inhaler for years. So what did I do? Breathing exercises! I trained in meditation, pranayama, box breathing and more so that I could get better at controlling my breath. I started to run and do more cardio as well.
The long meandering point here is not to give myself a pat on the back for all of these instances where I trained my weak side, no. The point is that In all of these examples it’s not just that I am training the weak side, it’s that the weak side is EMPHASIZED! The weak side is the focus. It’s what I’m training.
The reality is that we often don’t have to try nearly as hard on our dominant side. It comes easily to us. Naturally. Fluidly. The dominant side doesn’t need nearly as much training.
It’s the weak side that needs work. It’s the weak side that is often neglected and ignored. It’s the weak side that will be our downfall.
Therefore much of life is observing your weaknesses and training them. Training them to the point where they can (almost) be as good as your strengths.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m also a big believer in doubling down on your strengths, getting better at the things you’re already naturally gifted in, but I’m also a bigger believer in balance. I believe that you’ll always be able to cultivate strengths that come naturally because you will naturally gravitate to them. But we will naturally avoid our weaknesses, which is why we need to train them.
So the real key in life, the real way to train, is to aways work on your weak side. To focus on both sides one string. To emphasise discovering and attacking your weaknesses, and training them to the point where they feel comfortable, reliable, trustworthy.
Thank you to the beautiful sport of footbag, and this philosophy of bee sauce, for shaping the way that I think about life and train myself to become the best version of myself that I can be.
Life is always throwing us lessons if we’re paying attention. Happy I was paying attention to this one, and I hope that it helps you in your journey as well! 🙂