What is the best way to train for a competition? How much time do you need, and what should you focus on in order to complete your routine by competition time?
Here are 3 key points to keep in mind.
1. The Inspiration.
For many, the song is the key. Or perhaps you draw inspiration from a character or person: a clown? A hummingbird? Lucille Ball? Creating a routine comes much more naturally when you're connected to the story. Your inspiration may also determine your category. If you are interpreting the music through dance, register for Dramatic/Artistic. If you're portraying a character, go with Performance Theater/Entertainment. Timeline for selecting your inspiration: 4-6 months prior to comp.
2. The Technique.
Most competitions have a reference list of tricks to help determine your skill level (check out the MNPC Quick Guide HERE). Start by compiling a list of tricks that you want to include, and work on freestyling creative ways to string them together to your music. Don't include tricks you can't do! If it's not solid at the time you register, leave it out. Instead, focus on doing everything cleanly, with long lines and good form. A less difficult trick performed perfectly is worth more than an advanced trick executed poorly. Timeline to begin perfecting technique: 3-4 months prior to comp.
3. The Stamina.
Most competition pieces are 3-4 minutes long. Don't underestimate how exhausting it is to physically and emotionally give your all for 3-4 minutes! Preparing for comps should include some kind of regular cardio. If your routine is complete, practice it full-out whenever you are able. It's more difficult to do advanced skills towards the end of your routine, and if you're struggling for breath, it's not going to be as clean or as impressive. Timeline for stamina-building: 3-6 months prior to comp.
Keep these focus points in mind while you train. Always stay true to yourself, and when things feel like they are falling apart, don't be afraid to ask for advice from friends, instructors, or social media groups. Remember that we all share the same passion, and we all (that means YOU) deserve our moment to shine. Happy poling!
Article by Gina Bushey
Zero Gravity Alternative Fitness
Photos: Alyssa Kristine Photography at the Minnesota Pole Competitions; Gina Bushey, Claire Moon, Katie Rice, & Gina Bushey