The winter days are slowly coming to an end and that means (pole) competition season has started! This is my first year not competing since 2015 and perhaps it’s the nostalgia of training with my pole sisters around this time that has led me to write this little post.
Are you a newbie dipping into the world of competition? Here are our top 10 tips for pole competitions.
1. Never too early to start training.
The first thought that comes to mind whenever I’m competition training is, “Man I wish I started earlier” because then I wouldn’t be stressing as much as I am now. If you want to compete you can start now! Trust me you’ll feel that much more confident about your piece if you have more time to work on it.
2. Find a song you really love.
You will be listening to your song over and over again so make sure you really love it enough to endure months of listening to it. After competition is over you’ll probably be so sick of the song that it will disgust you to have to listen to it.
3. Choose moves you are almost capable of.
This is my own personal advice based on my experience I have training for competition. It’s great to challenge yourself and want to throw in dream moves into your piece. But having tricks is only a small percent of what goes into the piece. You have the stamina to pole and dance for 3 minutes on top of being in character and getting your musical timing. Will you have enough time to get a move if it’s completely new to you? It’s always good to have a back up option in case you can’t get the move you’ve put in. If 3-4 weeks before competition and you still can’t nail a move, it’s best to find a plan b move that you confident in. Although I didn’t really take my own advice with my Janiero journey, I’d rather have stressed less during that whole training time.
4. Practice on poles that the competition will have.
If you can and it’s accessible try to practice on the same poles the competition will have. Remember that different sizes of poles can make things easier or harder depending on the move. The material of the pole can also change your grippiness as well.
5. Cleaner pieces tend to score better than crazy tricks that are unclean.
This may vary from competition to competition but overall I’ve noticed that cleaner pieces with “easier” moves tend to score better than unclean pieces with “harder” moves. If your motivation for competing is to place you might want to examine how well you are executing your more complicated moves.
6. Test out your costume.
Nip slips? Fabric getting caught? Rhinestones falling off? Make sure you you test out your costume before getting on stage. If you are DIYing your own costume, know which areas are going to be in contact with the pole and avoid putting anything crazy in that area.
7. Run through as much as you can…
Stamina, stamina, stamina! Doing a pole combo vs. performing a 3-4 minute routine are two entirely different things. When you are competing you are moving and doing some rather physically intense things non-stop. The best way to train this is to run through your piece over and over. Start running through as soon as you finish your piece. I’d say give yourself at a least a month before competition to start running through although earlier is always better!
8. But also know your body.
Just like when you know when to bail out of a move because your body knows it’s not safe, the same body awareness applies with your competition training. It’s easy to get into a habit of over training and not letting your body heal which can lead to long term damages. I’ve known many girls with injured hamstrings, shoulders and what not due to over training.
9. Remember why you are competing.
Most importantly remember why you are competing in the first place! For a lot of us it’s a personal challenge and we just want to do our best – not necessarily there to vie for first.
10. Don’t forget to have fun!
It’s hard when you’re tired and sore, but it makes the training so much easier.
Pole dance is a difficult hobby to maintain. We won’t always be at the top of our game. We can’t always think of new ways to transition into familiar tricks. We don’t always feel strong or sexy or bendy. Sometimes we hit a wall. And when that happens, it’s frustrating.