21-year old Abbas Farid is currently one of the top freestylers in the UK. Abbas finished first (from 30,000 entries) in the 2003 Nike Freestyle competition and has performed at a plethora of events across Europe and Asia including the “Masters of the game” in Amsterdam, World peace competition in Italy and more. He’s also been featured in commercials, music videos and other TV spots. Photo courtesy of abbasfarid.com.
How did you get into freestyling?
I started freestyling in 1998 during the France World Cup, I became very inspired by watching Brazil play, after that event I wanted to learn better skills to become like them.
What makes you different from other freestylers?
I would have to say my experience and style is what makes me different, however every freestyler is different in their own way. For example, height can effect a persons style of juggling. Although it’s the same movement involved, it still looks different and that’s just one example.
Tell us about your practice routine – how do you decide what to work on and how do you set your training goals?
Funny enough I have no set structure in my practice, I just tend to do things in whatever mood I’m in. I try to enjoy my training as much as possible. My training goal is always to improve my consistency or style, sometimes I even aim to make up a new trick. When I perform, although it looks like I have a routine, it’s more of a habit.
How can someone inexperienced learn to freestyle? What is a good starting point?
Practice the ‘Around The World’ trick or any other simple trick. Rushing to do the difficult stuff never helps, always go one step at a time.
What does it take to be a great freestyler?
Practice, hard work, commitment, practice, hard work and practice. No matter how good you become at freestyling, never get big headed!
What’s the most complicated trick that you’ve ever pulled off?
That’s always a difficult, yet a popular question. The new tricks that I’m working on are difficult for me because I can rarely pull them off. However, in terms of the ones I’m comfortable with, I would have to say is where I kick the ball over my head, then back heel the ball back over my head (without looking) at the same time do a forward roll and resume juggling while sitting down.
For you, personally, what is the most satisfying/fun aspect of freestyling?
Pulling the tricks off smoothly is very satisfying, but putting a smile on peoples faces really makes freestyling fun and satisfying for me.