Every dancer should and can learn what creates peak performance. Knowledge is power! Here are some great ways to supplement your training both inside and outside of dance class.
- Study The Way You Move
Sports-specific apps like Hudl Technique and Slowmo take the study of slow motion video to a new level. Play videos of your jigs and reels frame by frame to make sure you’re as pointed, turned out, and crossed as possible, and zoom in to make sure that foot is getting all the way up in the back. Far more advanced than the basic slow motion abilities already on your phone, these apps can compare multiple videos side-by-side, to highlight progress. You can even send your videos to your TCRG and they can draw and add voice commentary! For the dancer looking to make a big difference, analyzing your own dancing is a must.
- Fuel Your Body Properly
Use apps like Lifesum or MyFitnessPal to track the foods you’re eating throughout the day. Maintaining logs of your food helps make you accountable, and will keep you eating healthy during your preparation for majors. Lifesum indicates the quality of your meals with various smiley and frowny faces, and allows you to track your water intake during the day. Making nutritious choices not only makes you a stronger athlete, it influences your mood and energy levels as well, making for an all-around happier you.
- Compliment Your Training with Dance-Specific Programs
Over the years, dancing has increased dramatically in athleticism, and is now generally seen as a sport. In the past, cross-training, if dancers did any, was never created specifically to develop the skills of an Irish dancer. Today, however, you can make a choice from multiple programs, all designed expressly for ambitious and hard-working competitors. Target Training, the Reaching New Heights Academy, and Fitness Formula for Irish Dance are among the leading programs right now committed to making dancers more knowledgeable about their own bodies in order to create the strongest dancer possible. Decide which programs would work best for you, and really amp up your training outside of the dance studio.
- Work on Your Mental Strength
It’s easy to let the pressure get the best of you at major competitions. Creating a plan for combating nerves will make a huge difference in both your preparation and your performance on the day. Books like Mind Gym by Gary Mack and 10-Minute Toughness by Jason Selk explain common mistakes athletes make in their approach to mental training, and demonstrate how to transform yourself into a confident and mentally strong competitor. Though stepping on stage can be daunting, repeating even simple affirmations like “I can do it!” helps to banish doubts and fears.
- Motivate Yourself
Finding that drive to train and push yourself is a vital component to your success. Luckily, there is no shortage of motivational content to be found for dancers and athletes! In the long car rides to school or dance, listen to podcasts like AthleteOnFire and Rich Roll to learn about people who have triumphed despite enormous odds. Use apps like Habit Bull to track your daily progress and training, and Forest to keep you off your phone when you should be practicing. If you make motivating yourself a part of your daily life, there’s nothing you won’t be able to do!
Achieving your goals isn’t easy, but there is always a way for dancers who go the extra mile! We’ll be right alongside you, working hard.