Practice makes perfect – right? It’s important to get some practice hours in as a poler and most studios offer open practice hours so you can do just that. However this is one of those things that’s easier said then done. Distraction is rampant at this precious time; it’s super easy to start socializing instead of training. That precise reason is why many dancers practice at home or during off hours when they have the studio to themselves.
I also find as I’m advancing in pole and have become an instructor it’s even harder to stay focus, “newer students” often ask you for a spot; to break down something or to show them a new move. I say “newer students” because pretty quickly the regular students realize that open practice is precious to everyone, including the instructors!
I want to rewind for a second… I’m not saying don’t ever ask an instructor or an advance dancer for help during open practice just respect their time. If you ask them to spot you over and over for 30 mins and practice is an hour and a half… well you get my point. If you truly need help with something that will take a minute or so, go for it ask away, they will most likely be more than happy to help out. Another approach is to ask them at the beginning of practice would you have time today to work with me on “blah blah” for a little bit. The answer may be yes or may be no; it will probably depend on what that dancer had planned for the day. If they say no it’s not that they don’t want to help it’s probably that they have too much on the their plate that day.
Also many instructor and advance pole dancers offer private lessons. So if you really love their teaching or dancing style ask how much they would charge for a private and book one with them. Most dancers even if they don’t typically teach private would be honoured for you to have considered them for that possibility.
Now that my crazy rant is over here are some tricks to help you manage your time during open practice.
- Arrive a few minute early so you can use all the time available to you. During this time you can change and get your stuff ready.
- Do a quick warm up and stretch. I find jumping rope or running super effective. A plank also gets all the blood flowing in your body.
- Come with a plan as to what moves you are going to work on. Also try to lump up all the moves that will need a crash mat together. Same goes for all the moves that require the pole on spin versus static. This cuts down with prep time between each move you practice. (Please remember to be courteous and not keep the crash mat for the full practice, especially if your studio only has one.)
- To warm up your pole rapidly; try a freestyle before you start practicing. Make sure to travel your hands along most of the pole. Climbing is also a great way to do this but I’m partial to a freestyle as I can do it in my leggings to keep my body warm.
- To keep others from distracting you wear headphones and listen to your own music. Most people won’t talk to you when your headphones are on. I have an iPod shuffle that I often use. These are great as you can clip them on your sports bra. I used to just use my phone and tuck it in my bra until one day when it came crashing down to the grown as I was inverting at the top of the pole – never again I said.
- If you are going home immediatly after practice skip the super long cool down and do it at home. Instead do a quick cool down for 10 mins or so. Once at home do a proper stretch of your whole body (I can not stress how important this is!). This way you end up with more practice time for tricks.
- Remember to keep an eye on the clock. I set a timer on my phone that will go off 15 mins before practice time is over, that way if I have not started stretching yet I can.
If you are curious what an hour and half practice looks like for me…