Pole with a Purpose: Improve your physical performance by upping your mental game

Over the past several months, I have been researching dance theory and philosophy.

As anyone who has ever tried pole will tell you, it’s as much of a mental game as it is a physical one. Getting your mind and body to work together in synchronicity is no easy feat. But, like any other skill, it can be practiced and refined over time.

There is such a wealth of information to compile, that I have decided to develop a blog series about it to share with you.

In the meantime, I really wanted to get my first Celestial Bodies Pole post published—so I’ve outlined a couple unique tips you can implement to elevate your pole training. These topics will be further explained over the next few months.

Anywho, welcome to the blog! Nice to meet ya’ (I’d shake your hand, but mine are rough and scratchy with pole calluses 😉)

Alright Stop! Collaborate and Listen…

Remember this 90s classic from Vanilla Ice? I bet you’re finishing the lyric in your head right now! If you were anything like me, you played the song on repeat as a kid (ok, I know, I’m old), and memorized the lyrics so you could sing it on karaoke night at your local pub. You may have even heard it repeated so many times that you started to get sick of it, amirite?

The thing is, when we repeat something over and over, we memorize it. We master it. Mastery in pole is no different, it requires repetition.

When we consistently practice our skills, we build strength, confidence and muscle memory.

But is training the same move over and over the most efficient way to spend your training time?

While repetition is important…practicing the same skills over and over in the exact same way can cause muscle fatigue, strain, and quite frankly…it can be boring.

Instead, take your core skills and try practicing them in different ways. Before your next session, try choosing one core trick, and make a list of all of its potential entries, exits and transitions. Then, while practicing, see if you can come up with even more variations.

Challenge yourself to be creative and to think outside of the box. Not only will this improve your strength and fluidity, but it will also help you to develop your own personal style, build confidence, and expand your repertoire.

The single biggest idea that we tend to focus on when applying newly learned information — is that we need repetition to make it stick. But, what research tells us is that mastery really happens when we retrieve that knowledge from the brain and apply it in a variety of different ways.

We live in the age of information. With all the knowledge we are inundated with each day, we have to learn how to filter and retain the most valuable components.

In Peter C. Browns book, Make It Stick, Brown explains that to really ‘make new information stick’ in our brain and bodies, that we need to challenge ourselves to practice what we have learned, try it new ways, and expand upon it.

Take what you have learned, and expand upon it. Instead of a basic inverted thigh hold…try expanding on it, by playing with different shapes, entries or exits.

For further reading, check out the book “Make it Stick” by Peter C Brown. 

Train Subconsciously

Visualize your choreography routines

When learning a new combo, or a piece of choreography, visualize it!

When you imagine yourself doing the movements, the neuromuscular system is exercised and neurons in the brain fire to signal your muscles. This technique is called Guided Visualization or Sports Visualization.

Although it sounds complicated, it’s a technique that anyone can do. It involves purposely rehearsing your routine in your minds eye. Think of it as watching a recording of yourself. Experts suggest imagining every little detail. How does the pole feel? Are you pointing your feet? Is a baby crying in the background?

It may sound silly, but olympians and top athletes like Serena Williams and Michael Phelps have publicly praised this method, as an important part of their training success.

By rehearsing a detailed mental image of the desired outcome, athletes can improve physical performance in their sport.
Put those skills into practice

The Beginner Dancer Wants To Be Advanced. The Advanced Dancers Wants To Go Back And Master The Basics.

Pole is so much more than just tricks. It’s about community, creativity, and exploration.

When you focus on mastering the countless variations of core skills, you are building a solid foundation of strength in body and creativity in mind.

Expand upon this by layering different elements together, or manipulating old tricks into something fresh and new.

Collaborate with your pole friends and create a routine that really speaks to you. Maybe even challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone by performing at a studio showcase!

Enjoy the Process

Learning, growing and developing as an artist and athlete is a process. When we commit ourselves fully; mind, body and soul—the achievements throughout the journey are especially rewarding.

What’s your best unconventional training tip?

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