I always want to look like a circus performer - perfectly executed tricks, no fumbles, impeccable timing and set to a killer song. Always.
Is this realistic? Um...of course not! High expectations for a perfect song or sequence of tricks is such a trap! And I totally know better - so I have come up with some tips that have helped me - and I hope they help you too!
Check in with myself - What am I doing here? What is my goal? A fun little play to a couple of songs? A drilling session on that trick I couldn't get last time? A workout for my core? My reverse direction? By getting clear with myself before I even start allows me to set clear expectations for what I hope to get out of my time in the hoop.
Make small goals - Perhaps you have heard the common strategy of SMART goals? Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (or some similar variation). What this strategy leaves out is the size of our goals! My goal is to be able to bend backwards and go from standing into a bridge. Great! How about we work on stretching first, perhaps do some yoga, look up a few back mobility tutorials? It all starts with one baby step and it's great to have a map of where to go next.
Make time to PLAY - It is great to be diligent and have a notebook to keep on track with what you want to accomplish in your hoop practice. Like, that is awesome and I wish I was that organized! What often happens when we go off the agenda and have a few play songs to really connect with just our dance or the song - not judging ourselves or checking to see how awesome we look in the mirror - to just dance and play for ourselves - that's when the magic happens! Making time to play as a part of your practice will allow new ideas to flow, new moves to be discovered (ahem...I have a tutorial for a new (to me) move I can't wait to share with you all!) and bliss achieved. And isn't bliss the complete opposite of feeling defeat and frustration?
Keep picking it up - Dropping is normal, it's learning, it's our body getting smarter and our brain developing new pathways. Reframe how you think about dropping the hoop! When it drops, use that as an opportunity to pick it up with flare! Get creative, use only your foot, try spinning when you pick it up, get groovy and bust out some awesome moves before you pick it up, as you pick it up and after you pick it up! We can't grow if we don't make mistakes and how we react to those mistakes can deeply affect how we see ourselves and our abilities. This goes for your hoop practice or for your career (yes, I'm a career counsellor too!).
Set it aside - Are you constantly missing that move that just won't click? Pissing you off to no end and then BAM you smack yourself on the bridge of your nose with your hoop? Oh yea...been there! Time to set that move aside and get back into that happy place - take a deep breath and re-centre. I have found that moves that just won't click after hours and weeks of trying to get it will magically happen with ease after letting it simmer for a little while. I think sometimes we want something so much it won't happen when we try so hard. Our mind and body need time to figure it out and by drilling and missing over and over we are programming the wrong muscle memory. So set that hard to get trick aside and come back to it after some time has passed and you will see how some simmer time can unlock a brilliant hoop move or two;)
I hope these tips help you in reaching a happier hoop practice, a healthier approach to those frustrating moments we all have inside our hoops.
I would love to hear your experiences with your practice and how you have saved yourself from the hoop - comment below, like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/revolutionhoopdance) and follow on Instagram (@carronhoops) and subscribe to The Hoop Loop - a monthly email with tips, tricks, updates and all the goings on!
Carron is passionate about all things HOOP, improving your hoop dance practice and creating a hoop dance community!