Training for competitions is never an easy feat. For some, the hunger for the win is what drives them, others it’s curiosity of what lies beyond the here and now, or the personal challenge competitions present. Whatever the case may be, competitions provide the foundation upon which our art forms expand; they are a place where we bear all, experience our most vulnerable moments, and for some share the greatest development and education in our field because we are pushed to the brink of exhaustion, emotional fatigue, and break boundaries through creativity.
Pole Pressure hosts an annual Regional Mr./Miss Pole Pressure competition and a Championship, at which the winners of the Regional competition come together in a final “face-off” if you will. This year, I had the distinct honor in winning the 2014 Mr./Miss Pole Competition for Capitol Hill in the Instructor division. Throughout my journey in preparation for Regionals my training regimen was lackadaisical and what felt like less than adequate. And coming up a week before, I realized that I had done myself an incredible injustice by procrastinating and not preparing a mental and physical regimen that would properly set me up for victory. Instead, as a last-ditch effort, I threw together overly ambitious combinations of tricks, sloppy transitions, and absolutely zero floor work; which to those of you who do compete already know that is an absolute detriment to any routine, to not have floor work. But she won you may be asking yourself. Yes, that may be so, but not without tremendous stress and trauma placed on my body. So I say all of that to say this, as an athlete you have a duty and responsibility to take care of your body, to listen to it, feed it, hydrate it, and rest it as necessary.
A properly prepared routine leads to personal success because it allows your body to strengthen itself and recover in the proper amount of time. So what are some ways to properly prepare a routine? One way, is to start with critique. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses; typically we gravitate towards our strengths because they make us feel more powerful and successful, right? Wrong. What we should be doing is focusing on our weaknesses, creating an understanding of our failures so that we may turn them into successes. It takes hard work and dedication to build any routine and carry it into fruition, but it takes emotional strength and stability to handle the necessary critique in order to fix potential weaknesses. One way to do this is take progress videos and pictures throughout your training. Freestyle your movements, and challenge yourself to move to different music. You may have one perspective of your own weakness but when it is played back, you may see something completely different.
Above all, be patient with yourself. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your routine. It takes time, consistency, practice and patience to build the up necessary endurance to perform a three and a half to four minute routine. Everyone constructs routines differently, some start with free-styling to a song, some plan out trick combinations and practice them, others dance through the music to find the right momentum that propels them through the rhythm and music; whatever your method may be, make sure to start well in advance and give yourself time to hit mini-goals along the way. By creating smaller attainable goals rather than one huge one, it forces you to get in the habit of building towards successful behaviors. And whether you take home the Championship or not, you’ve already won, because by focusing on what you do and doing that well, you have succeeded in challenging your own personal goals and further developing as an artist.