We’ve been lucky enough to have had a young designer called Michael Hindle work with us recently. He is in his third year at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and was on work placement with us for three months.
It’s funny what you find out in the pub. We were chatting over a pint one day (hey, it was Friday and sunny) and it turns out Michael is one of the best Football Freestylers in the country, but decidedly humble about the fact.
For those who don’t know, Freestyle Football is a ball-based gymnastic artform – it’s about performing insane tricks with a football with all parts of your body. It needs immense dedication, incredible dexterity and a highly creative mind.
We were so interested about his hobby (which almost became his job), we got him to write a blog about it.
“I started Football Freestyle in 2008 when John Farnworth (the current world champion) came into my school to run a 10-week workshop. I thought I would brave it and give it a go – and I’m so grateful I did. John was an inspiring person and teacher, so much so I began to practice every single night in my back garden.
From then on I became part of this amazing family that Football Freestyle is. I would meet up regularly with local freestylers and also would travel and meet others abroad.
I would have been happy simply to improve my skills in the garden, but one day I was approached by an agency telling me they would pay me to perform my skills, which totally blew my mind.
Since then I have performed on ITV, Soccer AM, Sky Sports, at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and many, many more big events.
I also began competing every two years in RedBull StreetStyle. I trained hard for these prestigious competitions, and did well. By taking part, I got up to being ranked 2nd and 3rd in the whole of the UK.
It’s interesting that I’ve ended up in design. I remember being at school and sitting down with my tutor, who told me my options weren’t academic enough. But I knew I had a creative mind (as well as freestyling, I was playing guitar, drums and skateboarding). But I really believe that experiencing all the different cultures and lifestyles I’ve been lucky enough to see through freestyling have had a huge influence on the way I think and the paths I’ve followed.
Design seemed like a natural career choice for me. Freestyle is all about being unique – I have to create my own tricks and develop my own flow and style. Design is similar. I need to be individual and express myself differently. And one of the most valuable things I’ve taken from freestyle is the confidence it’s given me – something else that’s so important when presenting design ideas.
I’ve always believed it’s important to be passionate about other activities beyond design. It’s my chance to escape reality and I often find that during freestyle practice my best ideas pop into my head.
I didn’t want freestyle to become more of a job than a hobby so in the past two years I took a huge step back from performing and now enjoy it for the art it is. Besides, I’m now as passionate about design as I am about freestyling.”