Mental Toughness Training

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Dealing with Pre-Performance Jitters

I am only a few days away from performing in Elevated Art. (Denver people, get your tickets) I’m getting really nervous, so I thought I’d put together a list of ways to deal with pre-performance jitters. Hopefully I can keep them all in mind.

  1. Prepare well for the performance (or competition). This one is super obvious, but it’s probably the most important thing you can do. Lock in your choreography early and focus on moves that you excel at instead of trying to learn new ones for your performance.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the rules (if applicable), venue, and anything else that will factor in on performance day.
  3. Leave lots of time to get ready and get to the venue so you aren’t stressed out about getting there.
  4. Bring headphones and some of your favorite music. Also bring your song, so that you can listen to it.
  5. While you are listening to your song, mentally rehearse doing your performance. Take the time to really feel your knees locking straight, your toes pointing, you holding your moves and not rushing through the performance.
  6. Take lots of deep breaths.
  7. Warm up. Moving your body is critical to your flexibility and safety, and it will also help your mind relax.
  8. Chat with the other performers. Camaraderie goes a long ways to alleviating nervousness. Cattiness does the opposite.
  9. Get the right attitude- you’ve worked really hard so that you can share a story with the audience, and they are excited to watch you perform. Stop focusing on the possibilities of messing up.
  10. Stretch and stand up tall.
  11. Smile.
  12. Go kill your routine.

Other Resources:

A Quick Roundup of Pole Competition Resources

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How Do I Compete in a Pole Competition?

I seem to be hearing this question a lot lately, from all sorts of different people. My disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, pole instructor, personal trainer, or even a person who has competed in pole (yet). So please, please, please, use common sense and do your own research so you can figure out what’s right for you. That being said, here are some ideas that are guiding me as I work my way up to competing:

  1. First, start training in pole. Find a studio, build up your strength, learn how to dance and how to do awesome pole moves, get comfortable in your body.
  2. Then read this awesome blog by Aerial Amy about deciding if competing is right for you.
  3. Choose a competition.
  4. Start making a game plan about how you are going to train. This should be based on your current level of fitness and the actual number of hours you’ll be able to dedicate.
  5. Make sure that your training plan provides adequate time for flexibility training, conditioning, and pole. I aim for about 60% pole, 30% conditioning, and 10% flexibility. Obviously, there are overlaps between all three. It’s just a guideline.
  6. Read through the competition guidelines so you can get a good idea about what to expect, and what the judging criteria is.
  7. Choreograph your routine well ahead of schedule so you can add your special touches. Coaching is really helpful here. I’ve heard suggestions that you get to where you are able to run the routine without grip aids, just so that you will be prepared for anything.
  8. Practice your choreography mentally all the time. Brushing your teeth, waiting for a bus or driving to work, in the shower… you will get so much more practice time if you are practicing mentally at all those odd moments.
  9. Get your costume in order! I always forget/ignore this part for showcases and then end up being really stressed out about it. Figure it out ahead of time.
  10. Read Natasha Wang’s tips for competitors.
  11. Don’t forget to actually submit a video!
  12. Good luck.
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