DO’s and DON’Ts as a pole student!

The only thing I like more than instructing pole is being a student

 

Learning new things and sharing knowledge is the best part of being human. I make sure to regularly attend classes wherever I am. It keeps the mind fresh.

 

Here are my tips on how you can be the perfect pole student:

 

DO

show your enthusiasm! I was always very interested and impressed with all the things we were learning in class. I would laugh in awe of the trick the instructor was demonstrating, sometimes shaking my head in disbelief over their confidence that I could also do it. Then I tried, and maybe I could do it after all! It was a confidence boost, and made me look forward to attending each class. Allow yourself to be interested, happy, scared or anything else you are feeling. Let the teacher show you are thankful for being in the class. Perhaps you  inspire others, and the air will instantly feel warmer.

 

DO

Believe in yourself! Don’t dismiss something the teacher is demonstrating with “I can’t do that”. You don’t know that, you have never tried! You might surprise yourself. Even if you can’t do certain things yet, there is only ONE proven way to be able to do them later, that is: practice, practice, practice. Rome wasn’t built in one day. It takes persistence and dedication, trying over and over and over again. Your instructor didn’t just wake up awesome at pole, they worked their ass off practicing to get to where they are. With the same effort, you will too! Everything is possible if you work for it!

 

DO

Encourage your fellow students! I was very intimidated when in my first class. Wearing shorts in front of other people was scary. I didn’t know anyone. Soon, I realized how welcoming the teachers were. The other students made me feel wonderful. Other students would encourage and compliment me. I was flattered and impressed with how caring and supporting this setting was, so I started encouraging others. Pay it forward!

DON’T

Be late! Repeatedly showing up late for class disrupts whatever is going on in class at that moment. This adds stress to yourself, other students and instructor. None of us need more stress in our lives, we got enough of that! It’s hard being an instructor, planning a warm-up and then half of the class shows up late. It’s not fair to anyone if the instructor always needs to spend a few minutes helping you get started while the others wait. Showing up late is simply disrespectful of everyone’s time, and time is the most precious thing we have.

 

DON’T

Chat with your friends while the instructor is demonstrating or explaining. Sometimes people have loud conversations and the instructor can’t hear themselves, let alone teach. Extremely rude. We are all grown up. The instructor’s job is there to instruct, not shuss you like you are still in 3rd grade. The instructor shouldn’t have to raise their voice very loudly for people to hear them over your talking, and they should not have to repeat their explanations because the class didn’t hear. You are in pole class now, be there. Listen when the instructor is talking, then chat quietly with your friends after instruction. If you can’t wait, have your friend come with you outside the classroom and finish your discussion. We all want to be listened to, especially if we are there to instruct.

 

DON’T

Do something other than the instructor is teaching! I You learned something cool in another class or instagram and want to show it off. Nothing wrong with that, in the right setting. For example in an open pole class, where there is no specific instruction. I can’t think of anything more rude. The instructor is teaching a butterfly, you do an ayesha. Your instructor has put thought into the class and is teaching it this way for a reason (to teach correct muscle engagement and show the appropriate progressions). Doing something else can diminish the motivational levels of others. Class is trying to do butterfly and you do ayesha? Some of them might feel intimidated. Others might actually believe they are supposed to do this trick, then try to do it!! Extremely dangerous! The students have not gotten instruction and they might not be advanced enough to even think about trying it! Students can also become annoyed and complain. “Why are we learning the butterfly and she is doing this supercool trick?!” So much easily avoided stress. When I go take classes, I zip my mouth and follow the instructors lead from A to Z. I am there as a student to learn in a class setting.

 

DON’T

Interrupt the teacher. Your instructor very likely has a background in exercise science. Most instructors have invested a lot of time in this sport and know what they are doing. Never disrespect an instructor by interrupting what they are saying during teaching and don’t add stuff to whatever they are saying! This especially applies to you if you are an instructor. You might know a lot what you are talking – but at that moment, you are a STUDENT. That means you are going to study. Not teach. You are there to learn from this particular instructor. Being an instructor is hard, you have the spotlight on you, demonstrating hard tricks upside down while talking people through how to do them – sometimes instructors forget something. I’s not your place to add to what they are saying. Maybe they will realize in a minute they forgot something – then they will add that. Don’t you worry, you’re not the instructor, anyway!
Last, but not least, ENJOY your pole journey 🙂

DO’s and DON’Ts as a pole instructor!

Teaching pole is the best job in the world. Helping people discover their own strengths is so fulfilling!

As much as being a teacher, I love being a student. I’ve been studying training methods and coaching in the Sports Academy and am finishing master’s studies in sport- and exercise psychology. For a year, I have been a pole instructor. I am very interested in effective coaching practices. I spend a lot of my time reading about training, coaching and motivational practices related to exercise.

Here are a few tips I have for anyone wanting to become a pole instructor:

DO

Be inviting. A person coming to your class for the first time is very likely self-conscious. It’s new, they might feel uncomfortable wearing shorts in front of others, they might have a hard time looking at themselves in the mirror because they have not yet learned to love what they see. Make them feel welcome and accepted. Greet everyone with a smile, make sure to learn names and chat. Perhaps people are coming to class to de-stress after a hard day at work. You’re the calming force.

 

DO

Compliment and encourage your students! Acknowledge the things they are doing are tremendously hard, and their efforts are great. If your student is working on a trick they still have not managed, be their biggest cheerleader. Tell them they can, with consistent practice and a determination. Emphasize that pole is hard, but they are stronger. Eventually they will nail something they never imagined they could. You’ll be at their side, clapping the loudest. We are a big family, and that means we all support each other.

 

 

DO

Joke around to lighten the mood! Sometimes, the mood in class can get a little serious, since people often are self-conscious or so determined to not miss anything. I don’t like to take myself too seriously. I am human, I sometimes forget what I was saying mid-way through my explanations (you know, gathering your thoughts, explaining the correct muscle engagement and movement while hanging upside down isn’t quite as simple as it sounds!), get my tongue tied into a big word salad. Those times I laugh it off with everyone. Pole class is a stress-free, judgement-free zone! I want everyone to leave my class smiling.

 

DO

Know muscle, bone anatomy and dynamics of movement. You have people’s bodies and health in your hands You need to be able to ensure their safety.. Be vocal about correct muscle engagement during tricks. Most people are not so well tuned with their body to begin with, it’s your job to help them learn to engage the muscles correctly. With this, I’m not saying you should get all technical like “Engage your trapezius…” most people don’t know the names of muscles, that’s perfectly fine – as long as you know them, and as long as you know how to cue people. Take for example a pull up, you could use cues such as “draw your shoulders down, away from the ears and imagine you are trying to pull a big, thick rope down. Keep your core tight by drawing your navel in”. You should know how to break tricks down into more manageable parts. If your student has trouble doing something, then you need to show them less advanced version.The same goes for those who are advanced enough, show them how to improve even further. If you want to become a pole instructor, study sports science, personal training, anatomy and/or kinesiology. A bonus is to attend a legitimate pole fitness instruction program. It’s a great way to continue your education and add to your knowledge.That way, you can consistently offer your students the best instruction.

 

DO

Make effective warm-ups! It’s the key to the overall success of the class. If a warm-up is good, the person will feel energized and their muscles are ready. I can’t find a more demotivating way to start a class than when a teacher obviously has nothing special planned for warm-up. It needs to be targeted at the specific muscles or movements we are going to work on. We need dynamic movements and active stretching techniques rather than passive stretching, as passive stretching directly before exercise can decrease strength (123). Plan the warm-ups beforehand, try them yourself and keep them variable!

 

DO

Talk to your students! Keep them updated. I start a new class by introducing myself, telling the students we all come from different backgrounds, some from dance, others from gymnastics, some people have not practiced anything before pole or were in something completely different. I emphasize that some of us have been training pole for a few months, some of us are coming to class for the first time. I tell people to remember, we all have different journeys, we are all here to focus only on ourselves.

Ask if anyone has an injury that might affect them in the class and make sure to modify the exercises to fit them. Ask how they are doing a few weeks later.

Let students know about is that you might have to assist them in some tricks. Ask them to let you know if they are uncomfortable with that, so you won’t invade their personal space.

If possible, inform students if something unexpected comes up and you get substitute teacher to take your class.

DON’T

Use class as your personal training time! Class is the time they have paid to have you guide them.This is their moment! You are there to lead, spot and help. It’s not your time to practice something yourself! Students will perceive you as not interested in them. The same goes with checking your phone during class or scrolling through facebook. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, just don’t do it. You have people’s well-being in your hands. Give your students your undivided attention.

DON’T

Just show off your own skills. Your students are not there to see how awesome at pole you are (even though you are!), they are there to get proper guidance. They are there to learn from your expertise. A great instructor can do more than cool tricks: he/she can instruct. They can explain how to execute tricks in simple, easily understandable ways. They can cue people to engage the right muscle groups.

DON’T

Show up unprepared! If you are unprepared, your students will soon notice. This will decrease their spirits. Being unprepared is also stressful for you! We all know the feeling of entering a test without having studied. Showing up unprepared to teach a class is worse as you have a group of people counting on you and following everything you say.

DON’T

Exclude anyone! You might have a full class, many people want your attention. Try to help everyone, don’t let any one person hog all your time. Never shy away from helping anyone. All of your students deserve excellent care and encouragement, no matter their background, age, health status, sex and so on.

DON’T

Forget the music! Music is a great way to set the mood, increase motivation and keep the fun going. I have been in classes where the music was barely audible and it definitely affects the class. It’s a lot harder to keep going if there is no music and I can clearly hear what the instructor is discussing with another student at the other end of the room. I automatically start to mooch about. The same goes if you are playing music that students have heard thousand times before. Boring. Make sure to check out new, fun music to play in your classes and keep a few playlists you can alternate between.

6 Reasons to Walk on Stage: thoughts on pole dance performance and competition

Everyone should dip their toes in the performance pool at least once. Here are 6 reasons to stop putting it off and step in to the spotlight…

By Dylan Mayer

Pole is amazing – it brings together people from all walks of life, connected by the profound love of making pretty shapes on a metal bar. For anyone with a background in creative arts, performing might seem natural, however for the lawyer or electrician on the pole next to you, the idea of entering a competition may be seriously outlandish!

Whether you’re 15 or 50, a ballerina or paramedic, a serious competitor or just in it for experience, that 3 minutes on stage has so much to offer you.

Reason 1: It will make you fitter and improve your technique. Putting together a routine requires so much dedication, practice and stamina it pushes you much further than in normal practice. It will force you into good habits (e.g. pointing your toes!) and get you fitter than you have ever been! After your show make sure you look back at early run-throughs and acknowledge your hard work.

Reason 2: You will make friends. So many friends! There is nothing like adrenaline, fear, no sleep and 6 energy drinks to help make lifelong friends. Especially if you train at home, entering competitions will connect you to the pole community like nothing else! It’s like one big family reunion, even if you’ve never met anyone. Nearly all of my closest pole friends have been made backstage.

Reason 3: You’re never going to feel ‘good enough’. I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard people put off showcases, competitions or even sending in a video audition because they wanted to wait until they are ‘better’. News flash: you are never going to feel ‘good enough’. Not implying you are literally not good enough, but that most people are their own worst critic. Realise that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and when you watch a competition it’s a display of each artist’s strengths. Don’t forget that there are performance opportunities for every level!

Reason 4: You will become a better performer. You will learn to harness nervous energy and control the ‘this was a terrible decision I don’t belong here’ voice. You will grow every single time you step on stage, and learn to love the sea of nameless faces, bright lights and swelling anticipation. The less you focus on failing, the more you can connect with your music and the audience. There won’t ever be a time where you don’t wish you could run out of the theatre and get back into bed, but you’ll learn to make peace with the raging butterflies in your stomach. Make sure someone films your routine, especially if you are a chronic self-doubter. Trust me, you will have done better than you think.

Reason 5: Your skin will get thicker. Especially if you are getting serious about competing, you need advice. Copious amounts of good advice. And you’ll also find that the best advice can sometimes come in the harshest, hardest-to-swallow packages. If you can, find a good coach and trust him/her with your life. Good routines are only half talent – the other half is learning to make good choices about utilizing that talent. Your coach’s job is to help make those decisions easy.

Reason 6: You will inspire someone. Regardless of your age, gender, weight, pole prowess or style there will be someone in the audience who will go home and register for a competition or showcase because they saw you perform. Someone will try out a move they saw you smash on stage. Someone will decide to try their very first pole class. Performing is a gift for you and your audience.

One of my favourite things about pole is it gives adults who have never had the chance to step onto the stage the opportunity to do so. Pole fosters a wonderful culture where anyone, of any level of experience has the chance to get up and be a total star.

So next time your instructor tells you about a showcase or competition don’t rule yourself out. Ask ‘do I want this?’ and if the answer is ‘yes’, start now, it will only lead to good things! 

Dylan is the newest blogger to join the indi pole wear team! Dylan has been pole dancing since 2012. She is part of the Australian Pole Championships & Australian Pole Training Expo management team, and can be found with her pole family at Aerial Pole Academy in Canberra. Her ultimate nemesis move is the Twisted Grip Handspring (2.5 years trying… and counting) and her favourite tricks include the Sneaky V and the Janeiro! Outside of pole, she studies a mix of science and humanities, eats as much marzipan as is humanly possible and works breeding Showjumping Horses.

How being a poler makes you better at life!

By Sveindís Þórhallsdóttir, Iceland

Pole dancing is such a great sport! It is a totally new and different way for you to exercise and get healthier. Pole dancing for fitness has been becoming increasingly popular in the last 10 years and it definitely is a fresh breeze in the fitness world, offering us  diverse ways of keeping ourselves healthy and staying in shape. Because of that, pole is a wonderful sport to be embraced and celebrated.

BUT apart from that, I like to tell my non-poling friends these simple reasons why they should take up pole dancing. Because it makes you better at life!

Reason 1: It blows your confidence out of the roof!

Unfortunately women are everyday bombarded with information on how they should look, dress, do their hair and make-up, behave and breathe, to be the “ideal woman”.

Ridiculous beauty standards established in photoshopped ads and magazines all over the world also do not help build women’s confidence. Many of us constantly tear ourselves down, criticize ourselves and our bodies just because they are not somehow different from how they actually are. In addition, society has imprinted in women that showing their bodies is wrong and that covering up is being a “good girl”.
 This is why pole dancing is so wonderful. You are required to wear short shorts and a top as a safety precaution; otherwise you don’t have enough grip on the pole. It can be tough for a beginner because we are not used to it, and we feel we are breaking the unwritten good girl rule of society.

I for one felt awkward the first time I walked into my pole class and had to wear clothes that left me feeling almost naked in front of a large group of total strangers, and then they even expected me to do some graceful (not quite) maneuvers around a pole, at the same time I was busy being self-conscious!! Luckily I was brave enough (and pole was too interesting) to quit and I kept going – with each class I was forced to look at my body for longer, while constantly developing and increasing my skills. As a result, watching my body more and more actually helped me to appreciate it more. After all, it’s just a body, everyone has it. And it’s the only body I have. What standards should my body fulfill but my own? Why waste my life on hating it for what it isn’t, instead of loving it for what it is? Pole helped me realize that, and for that I will forever be grateful. And you’re anyways WAY to busy trying to actually do a trick, spin or combo without falling off the pole to spend your precious pole time worrying about how you look. Instant success!

My body might not be like the ones in the magazines…But it’s mine, and it’s strong, and it’s beautiful.

Reason 2: It broadens your perspective

Pole dancing increases your positivity towards others.

I love this aspect of pole and I think it is a huge one. When you go into your class, join a group of people who are of all shapes and sizes, all ages and both sexes, all on the same quest to mastering pole tricks; be that climbing the pole, managing to sit it for longer than 2 seconds without gritting your teeth with the pain (a HUGE accomplishment right there!) or learning how to invert, you realize how great and unique we all are and you become more accepting towards others. When you get the pole bug and join all pole groups there are to find on social media (it will happen, I promise you!) you appreciate watching other people from all over the world accomplishing astonishing things on the pole. You even start giving compliments to total strangers, even though this is totally unlike how you used to be; now it is normal to you because you share a special bond with the person; he/she is not a stranger anymore – you two are connected through pole.

Being involved in the pole world and hearing other polers stories also opens your mind to different cultures and different ways of thinking from your own. Maybe your culture is not big on pole dancing in heels (such as mine); you still love to watch the talented polers who do wear them swing around the pole in an effortless way and you respect them deeply because you can only imagine how hard it is! 
It is clear that sending out more positivity and being more open minded towards others only gives you back a hundred times; as we all know – karma is a real thing!

We come in all shapes and sizes, we support, encourage and appreciate each other!

Reason 3: It increases your happiness

Studies have shown that the biggest motivator to beginning exercise, and better yet, keeping exercise as a lifestyle habit, is in fact our happiness.

Poling makes us feel so happy!  It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Finding the motivation to start physical activity is very hard, but getting your tush off the couch and out for a run can be an unbearable chore when you actually kind of don’t like running … at all.

This makes pole dancing the ideal exercise for us – because we inherently enjoy the time we spend in the studio or at home, working towards our goals, whether they are to learn to do the splits, master the invert or jump into a hardcore spatchcock! There are always goals to work towards, always something new we want to be able to do, which constantly keeps our interest, motivation and enjoyment high. The workout stops being a chore you need to check off of today’s to-do list, instead becoming something you look forward to do, something you very much enjoy. You fall in love with exercise. And all the while you are staying in shape, getting healthier and happier! Life is a lot easier when you are happy. As they say, smile towards the world and the world will smile back at you. Karma guys, it works!

No more words needed.

Reason 4: It makes you st-st-st-stronger!

New polers immediately discover this amazing by-product of beginning their pole journey.

Pole power! The body weight exercises required in pole dancing instantly make you stronger and more stronger! All of a sudden you need to use muscles you had no clue existed before (heck, your muscles even have muscles since you started pole!) you discover how super strong and awesome your body really is and how it is capable of much more than you ever dreamed of. And let’s just mention a few extra benefits this offers for daily life; you no longer need help carrying heavy items long distances (now it’s something you do for fun), you can now lift your kids or little siblings (possibly even your husband) high up in the air without breaking a sweat (much to their joy) and you can even climb lampposts (which will be very handy if a zombie apocalypse ever breaks out!).

Woo! Awesome party trick! (and also useful if you ever need to hide from someone).

There you have it, lovely reader; I could probably go on for many more pages, but I think we’ve established how wonderful and amazing pole is, and better yet, how our sport makes us better at life! We are more confident, healthier, happier, stronger, more open minded and friendlier. All thanks to pole. And we sure pay it forward!

How to find motivation after time off the pole…

By Sveindís

No matter how much you love pole dancing, how big a part it is of your life and identity, there will still be times in your life where you can’t make it to practices as much as you did before. We all know this. Sometimes life gets in the way. You might be moving between apartments, cities, even countries, you might have A LOT to study for finals, work can be hectic, your family needs you, you could have a temporary or even a chronic injury that limits you, or you might suffer from a disease that sometimes slows you down a little.

Of course, losing your workout rhythm can be demotivating and limiting. The negative voice we all seem to have in the back of our heads sometimes jumps up and gets very loud, and unfortunately sometimes it does get the best of us. We start to believe it, even though the message it usually offers us is negative and untrue. I, same as everyone else, am guilty of sometimes falling into the trap of listening to the negative voice and for criticizing myself beyond what I deserve. Therefore I feel it’s important that we know a few ways to shut the negative voice down when it starts! Here are a few ways I use:

#1 – Go over your past successes

Yes, you might have a long way to go still. But do you remember where you started? When I’m feeling down, lacking motivation to continue, thinking that I haven’t progressed much and letting the negative voice in my head take over, I go over my past successes. I try to remind myself of everything I’ve already accomplished, and how great I have done so far. Remember how hard it was to learn to climb the pole? Touch your toes? Do a backbend? Go to your first class? Wear booty shorts in front of strangers? All this I have (and many of you wonderful readers) accomplished already. We’ve already done so, so much. We challenge ourselves every day, we are constantly learning and trying new things and we’ve awoken our bodies from a deep sleep. We’ve learned to enjoy movement, and that is the greatest gift we can give our bodies. We need to think about everything we’ve already done, instead of focus only on what we still want to accomplish. There is enough time for that later. Be proud of what you have already achieved!

Be proud of yourself, you deserve it

#2 – Find new inspiration and new ways to work out

I get it, repetition can end up being soooo boring. For example, we all know we need to stretch or work out to progress, but even though we know it, actually doing it every day can be very repetitive and sometimes you just don’t feel like it tonight…or the next night .. or the one after that… and oops all of a sudden it’s been 2 months and you haven’t stretched or gone to practices very often. I know. I’ve definitely been there, and criticized myself for it afterwards.

When you feel you’re stuck in a rut and have lost motivation to continue – try to mix it up! I like to go on Instagram, Youtube or search the internet for motivation, new spins and tricks, new combos or dance routines. I also like to use social media and the internet to help me find new ways to exercise, new stretches, new warm-up routines and so on, the possibilities are endless! Sometimes I get bored with designing my own workouts, so then it can be very helpful to find online workout videos to follow. Aa added plus is that you can do them in the comfort of your own home! You can even try to get family members or friends to join you so that you can help each other, exercise together, have a laugh and motivate each other!

The internet is an endless source of workout inspiration! Use it to your advantage!

#3 – Go back to the basics

I know how it is – of course we all want to master the cool tricks as soon as yesterday … we all want to be able to jump into a handspring, whip it into an ayesha and then nail an iron x, all the while smiling! We all want to be super strong, flexible as cats and to have the skills to combine the two into flowing lyrical dance routines. Of course developing skills in all these areas takes patience, practice, persistence and above all – some time. It can get a little frustrating when you feel you are not progressing as fast as you would like, or when you start comparing yourself to someone else and start to feel down or hopeless because you think they are better than you (don’t focus on things like that by the way! Always focus on yourself and your own journey, that’s what matters).

Some good advice I can give you: when you feel those thoughts creeping up on you, slow down a bit, breathe deeply, and take a step back. Stop frustrating yourself trying to smash something that might not be in your reach just yet, and focus more on the things you already know. There is always something you can work on to make it even better – try spending some time practicing your freestyle, on improving your spins, think about how you can make a beautiful entry and exit in and out of spins or combos you know, work on your invert (perhaps go from bent legs to straight legs, or aerial!), try to make your combos more flowing and natural, and so on. There are so many things you CAN do, focus on those instead of what you can’t (just yet). Use your time to perfect what you already know, and at the same time you are conditioning your body so it will be better prepared for when you move on to something more advanced.

Spend a little time focusing on perfecting tricks you already know well

#4 – Take some time off

I’ve been there and I’m sure you have too. Sometimes life sneaks up on you and you just don’t have the time for practice. Other times you just feel tired, unmotivated and lazy and as a result you skip a few practices – over a few days, weeks, even months. It’s completely natural and healthy. Instead of scolding yourself for missing practices or not working out – try to embrace it and accept it. Sometimes it can be good for the body to have a little rest from practices and we come even stronger back after a break. The important thing to remember is to get going again when you feel ready, not falling into the habit of not moving at all for extensive periods – you can of course always use tips #1 to #3 to help you get going again!

Sometimes all you need is a little rest 🙂 take cats as a great example, they are experts at relaxing!