When studying the literature on motor sports, the idea of this article was born. I will begin with a paradoxical statement. The dancer does not think during the tournament! Any professional is distinguished from the amateur by his ability to act at the subconscious level. You will agree with me that it is difficult to imagine that a world-class tennis player is thinking how to place his racquet to subtract a blow with more force and accuracy. On the contrary, when you stop thinking about it, you become a true teacher.
An example of auto-sports: At the Grand Prix of Monaco in 1988 Ayrton Senna was, as many thought, above human capabilities, he was almost making a miracle. When his distance from the first pursuer reached almost a minute, from the pits they demanded that he lower his speed, but Senna did not react. In the end the magician from Brazil was forced to obey, and only one lap later hit a bumper. The race was over for him. What happened then?
Later, Senna explained it this way: he was getting the most out of his driving potential at the subconscious level. And everything was going great, driving the car alone with its reflections was demonstrating the unlimited capabilities of the human mind. From outside it seemed that Senna’s car did not obey gravity laws – he was literally using every inch of track width, and his car seemed to fly without touching the track with tires. By obeying the order Senna forced himself out of that state, slowed down and tried to go consciously. But his brain was not programmed to drive like that. Saying it in computer language, there was an error in the program.
In races we can often see that the leader does not go on the track in the same way as the others. Take the curves smoothly, as on rails, as if there were no drifts for him. While their pursuers fight with their cars, they take the curves at high speed and, despite this, they lose more and more. Alain Pros said it this way: «When I seem to be fast from the outside, it means that I do not drive smooth enough. When I seem slow from the outside, then I do everything gently and that means I’m going very, very fast. » Driving a race car like this is only possible at the subconscious level or, simplifying, «on autopilot».
Then, the dance, like the handling of a race car, must automatically come out. But for this the movements of the dancer must be programmed. It is important that the program is correct and complete, which is achieved with well-organized training. The dancer whose psychomotor reactions are handled by a well-programmed mind will be invincible. It will become much more technical and interesting than anybody who thinks about their movements, even a little bit, thanks to a simple reason – that the transmission of information directly is always faster. A great dancer differs from a simply good one by the capacity of his mind to collect and process a great amount of dynamic information, that is, constantly changing, WITHOUT INVOLVING CONSCIOUSNESS. And that ability can develop.
How to introduce a correct program in the mind of the dancer? For that there are trainings. It is not a secret that many people consider the talent for dancing as something given, something intrinsic. Either you have it, or you do not have it. When the coach and the dancer understand each other and know what they want, and a psychologist assists them in their work, the result often exceeds any expectations. That is what the English saying refers to: «Only perfect practice makes perfect». What we can translate as: «Use the brain in your workouts, and you will achieve perfection.» A training in which you simply fix errors monotonously, will only get your internal computer loaded with the wrong information. Do not repeat the same mistakes The objective of the trainings is to try different options, select the most successful and technically correct, and program them, and what does not work, incorrect programs, must be discarded, remember that the trainings are your programming, and That way, the dance will come out on its own, based on what was previously programmed, by the way, that is precisely why you can not be in a training session at 90 percent thinking that you will be one hundred percent in the tournament. with the same motivation and the same mentality that you will have in the tournament.
You can start with simple things, for example by developing visual memory. Where does a beginner dancer have to be during the warm-up and the tournament? As soon as you leave the competition track you should not stop for a long time in the locker room. The dancer must pay close attention to how the leaders of their category and the others dance, and remember it. Even watching the competitions on TV we can learn a lot. You have to study and soak up the dance style of the best by imagining yourself in your place. Of course you have to try to watch the recordings of any competition, whenever possible.
Often the coach tells the dancer before the tournament, or the dancer himself mentally repeats the teacher’s words: «try to dance without mistakes, try to show clear lines». The error here is that the mind does not understand the meaning of the word «try», it does not fit into any program. Our brain understands concepts «do this», «do not do that», only those commands can be easily programmed, introduced into the subconscious memory. The secret of the work of a trainer-psychologist is precisely to correctly program the dancer first so that his mind turns on, and then when the program is introduced and it is time to enter the tournament track, have the dancer deactivate the brain and dance at the subconscious level.
So, what should the dancer think about during the dance so that everything comes out automatically? Imagine that you have been asked not to think of a pink hippopotamus. What are you doing now? Sure, you’re thinking about how not to think about a pink hippopotamus. The human mind is organized in such a way that it is difficult for it not to think about anything. The solution is simple. You have to schedule some thought in advance so that you can activate it at any time and think about it. It can be for example a pleasant thought of how much you like a technically correct and emotional dance. As soon as the idea of the possibility of an error appears in your head or someone calls you a bad dancer, turn on the prepared thought and repeat it without stopping.
Another trick is to think only positively about positive things consciously, that way the dancer programs his mind in a certain way to do the same at the subconscious level. Instead of saying to yourself «I’m always wrong in that figure» or «I have no balance in that figure», try to translate that constructive criticism into positive phrases. It would be something like this: «here I will do it the right way» or «here I will keep the balance». Instead of asking yourself, why do I lose balance here? It’s better to ask yourself what should I do to maintain balance? You have to concentrate on the ways of solving the problem, and not on the problem itself. The secret is to fix the attention on what we want, not on what we do not want. Remember that the brain can not think of nothing. If we give the order not to think about the problem, the brain will not stop thinking about it. And thinking of an error, we commit it. What can we change? The only method is to fix our thoughts on something else, for example on well-marked lines, and not on error.
Suppose you manage to use one hundred percent of your expertise in a tournament. But even so the result leaves much to be desired, you get the third place, or the fifth, or the tenth. Does that mean you have done wrong? Absolutely! Because what matters is not the result, but the complete realization of the possibilities of oneself. If today your preparation allows you to act at the level of fifth place, there is no point trying to do the impossible and win. Most likely, it will not end well.
The famous pilot Ayrton Senna said: «Sometimes I caught myself trying to overcome the results of others, but with time I came to the conclusion that who I have to overcome is myself». And that is another very useful trick. You have to concentrate only on your own performance without looking at the results of the rivals. In general you should not work «for the result». The best result is achieved when the dancer concentrates on his performance and not on the result. Many will not agree. But keep in mind that when the mind of the athlete is «disconnected» from the thoughts of results, that greatly reduces the level of stress before the tournament, allows you to feel good and fully concentrated. If you succeed, the excellent result will come alone. At the end of the day the result not only depends on you to one hundred percent, also influence other circumstances. While your performance only depends on you.
«You must always believe that you will be the best, but you must never believe that you already are.» The main task of every dancer is to constantly improve their achievements, their technique and their plasticity. But many times the dancers show the best results without waiting for it, and the other way around – when a dancer thinks constantly about the first place, everything goes wrong. This is explained by the constant concern for the results achieved. That thought distracts much more than anything else. Concentrate on the dance, try to dance freely, without thinking about the results, enjoy it. Then the good results will not wait.
It is very important to remove the internal tension. But there is also external pressure. Many times the level of real possibilities of a dancer is limited by their fear of possible failure. He concentrates only on not making mistakes in front of the coaches, his club mates, his parents, the expectators. And often that is precisely what happens. The tension is felt if you start to doubt what you are doing and can not overcome it. Do not worry about possible contingencies, do not think about «and if this or that happens». There is only one solution – never to think of failures and their consequences, to think only of the positive and the performance itself, not the result. Then the chances of winning the tournament will increase.
Yuzhno-Rossiiskiy Humanitarian Institute, Faculty of Practical Psychology, the city of Rostov-on-Don.
The materials of the following books have been used:
Gorbunov G.D., Gogunov E.N., Psychology of physical education and sport, Moscow, 2009
Gorbachev M.G., Extreme driving. The secrets of racing.
Do You Know How Many Hours Should You Practice?
In this article, you’ll discover what to consider when planning your practice hours, taking your skill level and goals into consideration.
Practice What You Learn
As with any sport, your time spent practicing is as important as the information you receive from your teachers. It’s unreasonable to expect great results if you neglect training with a coach, but you can neither expect to reach the top position in a competition if you don’t practice further on your own.
This, though, is the only generalized statement I can make on the subject; the following advice is personalized.
Recreational or Competitive
First things first: define your approach to dancing.
Do you dance only for the fun of it? Perhaps you like to attend a few classes per week just as a recreational hobby. If that is the case, then the program you find at your local dance school is perfect for you. With a couple of lessons per week, you’ll receive basic notions that will introduce you to different dances at your own pace. You can enjoy time away from your everyday routine.
If you’ve moved further and have begun more regular practice, maybe you’re thinking of participating in competitions in the future… If dancesport is your primary activity, keep reading!
Different Levels, Different Needs
Let’s outline what I mean by the four following competitive stages:
- The beginner is a dancer who—no matter the age group—is at the starting point of their competitive career.
- Intermediate is the stage when you’ve danced in several competitions and have started to receive good results. You practice regularly.
- An advanced dancer dedicates all their time to dancesport, apart from school or work. They’re aiming for very high results.
- Pro dancers have made dancesport their life—it’s as simple as that.
For the beginner dancer, it’s very important to avoid overload. The body and the mind are not yet ready for a huge amount of technical information or physical hours on the dance floor. Keep it simple and work gradually.
At first, you mostly need to develop your coordination and learn the basic principles of each dance. Thus, just a couple of hours of dance per day, 3 or 4 times a week is a good starting point.
Estimation: 6-8 hours per week
The intermediate dancer must surely practice more than a beginner. At this stage, your confidence on the floor makes the biggest impact on your performance. By now, you should have the correct technique, physical endurance, good floor craft, and a relatively good connection with your partner.
You can only achieve these skills through many hours of practice, including stamina training and specific group lessons intended to make your skills more competitive.
Estimation: 8-12 hours per week
For the advanced dancer, there is nothing else but dancing. Of course, you attend school or to work, but otherwise, your focus is on the development of your dance career.
It’s difficult to estimate how much time you should spend practicing if you’re at this stage; it looks different for everyone. Nevertheless, I can say that you should practice every day, with only one day off per week—ideally about 3-4 hours per day.
Your program should include:
- private lessons
- practice sessions
- stamina practice
- group lessons
How you use this time and how effective it will be for you is up to you and your coaches. Ask for suggestions and try to find which kind of practice gives you the best results.
Estimation: 15-24 hours per week
The pro dancer really needs no suggestions. If dancesport is your life, you basically eat, sleep, and breathe dancing. Everything rotates around it; the schedule of your lessons is the schedule of your day. You eat when you have a break and you sleep when you aren’t in the dance studio.
At this point, what matters most is the effectiveness of the training. Choosing the right kind of practice, working out the correct concepts, and establishing the perfect relationship with your partner are much more crucial than the clocked time.
Estimation: ∞ hours per life
Every dancer has different habits and different needs. Take the time to find what works best for you!
THE TRAINER OF YOUR DREAMS
The choice of a coach for a dancer is one of the most important issues. A lot of articles on the subject have already been written, you can also find a lot of material in magazines, digital media, dance forums.
Some say that the coach should also be a professional dancer and that the rest is secondary. Others think that the most important thing is the talent of pedagogue, which does not have anyone.
Ilya Danilov (Latin)
Everyone exposes their point of view. But that does not help to have more promising couples or more champions. And we are in a vicious circle …
Speaking of the work of the coach, we think first of all of his ability to present the information correctly, make it reach the recipient and control the result.
The more details and details explained by the coach, the better. However, observing «from within» the work of most of the coaches I want to say that 80% of them or more lack an extremely important and even essential capacity from my point of view, which is the ability to motivate their students .
Yes, in today’s world there is a lot of information about what motivation is. On the internet we can find many workshops from different organizations on «How to motivate employees correctly» / «5 steps to successful motivation», etc.
So why is this topic almost untreated in the world of sports dancing? Why do not they talk about it in professional seminars or conferences? Coaches are limited to two-three sentences about the need to encourage students.
Mauricio Vescovo (Latin)
Is it that we ourselves, the people involved in the world of sports dancing, are simply not interested in the success and development of that sport?
I have observed the work of many coaches of all levels and couples with whom they work. And I can say with certainty that none of them had the idea of approaching the learning process from another point, that is, SIMPLY UNDERSTAND THE MOTIVATION of the people they teach.
It is not a secret that each of us is unique, and we need different treatment.
Fabio Selmi (Standard)
So why those professors who proclaim to the four winds that they are very talented pedagogues, who aspire to create champions, why do not they apply such effective methods in their work? This question obviously remains rhetorical at the moment.
Being a coach and working with different types of people in matters of the construction of their professional career, of personal effectiveness, the achievement of life goals, I mean that a person, when he is aware of his objectives, and only for that reason, motivates to reach them.
And the coach only has one easy task in that sense – which is to constantly maintain those goals in his students. What are the teacher’s ways to achieve it?
The answer is surprisingly easy – we must preserve in the person the assurance that he is progressing well towards his goal (even if it is slower than the coach would like).
Dirk Heidemann (Latin)
It is also very important to assess the positive achievements of the student, their successes, and fix their attention on it. But of course, this refers to the people for whom achieving success and the coach’s attention are motivating factors.
Hence, any coach who takes his work seriously and wants to achieve success, must be interested in addressing the question of motivation in the right way. (On the types of motivation and ways of motivating, he had written the article called «Motivation in the world of dance: how to create a champion»).
Based on my own experience, I can safely say that positive motivation, ie a detailed evaluation of all the intermediate results, and the emphasis on the achievements on the way to the goal, are motivating factors for more than 90% of dancers. Even for those who do not like to be praised.
Siscu Pérez (Latin)
I will tell you about my observations, giving as an example two situations, the evaluation of the work of two high level coaches.
Ivan (not his real name – aut.) Trains a couple of initial level, both dancers are already adults, have finished their university careers and recently began in the world of dance.
The girl had previously taken individual classes with another teacher and for several motives decided to try another coach, higher level. In the first class the new teacher asks what he wants to get from his classes. You will agree with me that it is a good question and you can see that the coach is really a professional.
And the girl lets go of what she really thinks: «I want to be the champion of Russia.»
Karina Rubio (Latin)
And the girl lets go of what she really thinks: «I want to be the champion of Russia.»
Do you think he is too ambitious? Sure, some might laugh and say it’s impossible. I will not argue, there may be some reason for that. But I want to talk about something else. The coach’s reaction was to shut up and start with the steps and the explanation of figures.
This detail at first glance could be overlooked and forgotten. But if we think about the situation well, what did the professor do? He showed his student that he does not believe in the real possibility of fulfilling his dream, and in that way the demotiva to see him as a real coach and may even have taken away the desire to grow in his dance.
Alexey Silde (Latin)
Of course it is not a fact that that girl can be Russian champion, although who knows. Because it is also said that «by the laws of physics bees can not fly. But they do not know it and that’s why they fly. »
Observing the work of that coach later on (over several classes) my suspicions became certainties: he did not do any form of evaluation of the results of his students, he did not communicate his results, his changes in the dance.
Viktor Nikovski (Latin)
As expected, the students soon stopped taking classes with that teacher, perhaps without realizing the reason for their own dissatisfaction.
I wonder how a coach can create a successful partner without believing himself in his future. And if we examine that situation even in more detail we will see that first of all the coach does not believe in his own success as a teacher.
Pietro Braga (Standard)
The skeptics will surely not agree with me and say that you can not build a sandcastle and believe in the success of people who almost certainly can not achieve good results.
Well, I do not agree with that. Read stories of the lives and careers of people who really reached unthinkable peaks in their fields. Most of them were told at some point that it would be impossible. But they ignored, BELIEVED IN THEMSELVES AND IN SUCCESS, they just kept doing what they did approaching their goal.
To finish I’ll tell you another example. A couple, also adult people, have been training with a teacher for about a year. Their results are rather regular. I went to his classes and what did I see?
That the teacher himself, without a doubt a dancer of a very-very high level, moved around the track in an enviable way. But throughout the whole class (and they were more than one) he did not once say anything positive to any of the dancers. However I write down all your mistakes and failures, putting a lot of emphasis on those negative details.
Lasse Odegaard (Standard)
Of course, already for half of the class, the faces of the boys no longer reflected any desire to move forward, develop and grow. Of course the teacher explained exquisitely the technique of hip movement in rumba bolero, the dissociation of the torso, but for some reason the work was slow and tense.
Surely then the teacher did not know, and will still not know, that motivating his students well for the execution of the dance, you can «turn on» the natural movement of the body so that it moves to the beat of the music, just as it should be done. according to all the technical standards of the execution of the Rumba bolero dance steps.
Alexander Melnikov (Standard)
Because the inhabitants of the country where that lyrical dance was born, when dancing it, surely they did not think of someone who was next to them with a stick and criticizing their steps, but simply moved according to the indications of their souls, trying to express their feelings …
Because they did have His Majesty’s Motivation – to like your partner, to have dozens of other people choose him.
COMPETITION – HOW TO FACE THE PSYCHOLOGICAL STATE?
Usually in October the biggest tournament organized in Russia take place. That event has helped to choose the theme for this article. Crowd of spectators, a large number of participants, a demanding graphic of the competition, all this has created the atmosphere of a very important competition and great responsibility.
With this, from the professional point of view attracted a special attention the way in which the dancers, both small and old, prepare to enter the track. The topic of preparation for the competition is very broad, so in today’s article only part of the topic will be discussed. That in which recommendations will be given to encourage and support the athletes depending on their mood before the tournament or between rounds.
In the tournaments we can see tears of young dancers, apathy, nervous tremors that prevent concentrating and dancing, aggressiveness towards everyone else, paralyzing fear and even hysteria.
The reaction of most parents, partners and coaches is one: stop, be an athlete, concentrate, etc. That strategy in most of the time does not lead anywhere. The task is to adequately assess the state of mind and depending on this provide the necessary support.
Aggression or agressivity can be caused by several causes – by the character of the dancer, by its defense mechanism, etc. The important thing is not to look for the reason (this can be left to us, the psychologists), but to choose the appropriate way to react. First of all, you must avoid the accumulation of people. You have to let the dancer «let go of the rage». Saying everything that goes through your mind, dancing a tango or a double step is also a good option. Try to show good intentions. It is not worth entering into discussions with accusations and criticism, even if you do not agree. A good solution is to describe the emotions and try to relax the environment. For example – «you are angry, you feel anger, you feel like releasing everything you think or destroying everything around. We will try to find a solution. » Aggression can also be stifled by the threat of punishment.
Apathy is a state of indifference in which all interests, emotional reactions, are reduced or lost. It translates into inappetence, indifference towards oneself and others, towards what happens around, in a lack of interest and desire. In two words, it is a lack of emotion. The most likely is that you see that state long before the tournament, and during it will reach its peak. How can you help? It is best not to leave that person alone. Take her to a quiet place, help her get comfortable, take off her shoes. It is advisable that you can sleep a little. In the event that there is no possibility of resting, take him by the hand, speak, ask something to which he has to answer in detail, involve him in a joint activity, be close in the breaks between the dances. Pay attention to your breathing: you have to breathe with passive inspiration and active expiration.
Crying is a normal state, which is seen very often, but can considerably lower the level of dance performance. It is important to be next to that person, you can hold her hand, pat her head or pat her on the shoulder. He has to avoid the desire to reassure the deportee. In that situation it is better to listen to him, to give him the opportunity to speak. And while, agree with the head, show understanding, you can repeat some of their sentences. You can give advice or ask questions only if they ask you. Remember that crying makes worries more bearable.
Fear is an inner state that is caused by a future misfortune, real or imagined. We are all afraid The difference is that some know how to control it and others succumb to it. I will tell you more about the fears of the dancers in one of the following articles. From the point of view of the help to mitigate the effect of fear, I can highlight the following: put the dancer’s hands on your wrists, feel your pulse calm. Pay attention to the athlete’s breathing – it is important that you take the calm and regular rhythm. It would be nice to massage his tense muscles. With all your attitude you must show your understanding and the desire to hear and help him. To control your own fear, you have to normalize your breathing – inspire and expire deeply and then return to normal rhythm.
Psychological tremor from a psychological point of view can be a reflection of different states. The tremor is shown in different degrees in various parts of the body: in the hands, feet, fingers, etc. The first thing that most people want to do in that situation is to hug that person, but just that it must be avoided. The most effective is to make the tremor stronger so that it happens sooner. If you yourself set the tremor, you must also intensify it. The tremor will pass and you will be able to enter the track completely prepared.
Hysteria reflects an uncontrollable external emotional state, which is accompanied by crying, nervous tremors, laughter, etc. Hysteria in an athlete can be a reaction to failure, a symptom of fear, or a desire to draw attention to their concerns, etc. Hysteria belongs to the group of states that most negatively affects the result. What are the psychological recommendations in those cases? A quiet place, relaxed atmosphere, that is to say that it is important to «eliminate the spectators» in order not to provoke the increase of that state. And do not give in to the wishes of the affected person. Speak to him in a firm way, with short, imperative phrases, such as «wash your face», «drink a little water», etc. Or change the focus of your attention with an unexpected action – drop something, splash it with water, yell something suddenly and things like that.
If you often find yourself with those moods in yourselves as dancers or in your son in the tournaments, I recommend that you consult a psychologist to find ways to help and solve that problem.
Only you yourselves direct your state,