Preparation for competition is a complex thing, I personally would always go into something like this with a plan, we all know that saying “failure to plan is planning to fail” – to face an unknown without an idea is pretty much not going to set you off to a good start and, would possibly and probably end badly: I guess with a whole lot of luck, self-belief and an incredible about of natural ability you could do it without a plan but with a plan you would still be in a better position. Plans are usually simple steps that could be made in order to best prepare you for your situation.
Every dancer, competition and competitor are completely different so our plans have to be made specifically for who we are, where we are, what we are doing and who we’ll be facing.
Here’s a very simple list of things I would question/complete to ensure I have a better chance compared to not doing them at all:
Research the location.
Prepare for the dance floor - the type of flooring you will be dancing on, not being prepared could lead to a slip or the opposite getting stuck with in movement in which could both be costly.
If possible, train for some time on the most similar floor type available to you.
Plan your journey, if it’s long: alter your training to include a rest before so or even add a travel day the day before, to ensure the travel aspect will not affect your performance.
Research the DJ, have a look at what style they have used in the past, be prepared for this style, of course it’s going to be a random selection in the moment but DJs have styles, go to's - favourites even; and it’s best to be prepared for possibilities than caught off guard.
Understand the judging line up.
If possible, watch previous competitions they have judges, try to understand what it is that each of the judges seem to have scored higher or lower; this wouldn't be an exact science but it’s an idea to know what to include or exclude in your rounds.
It’s even a good idea to watch their own dancing as there’s a chance, they love styles/moves they choose to learn themselves - simply because they wouldn't have chosen to do anything they wouldn’t have love for. - Of course, don’t copy their style/styles but include movements if possible. This could trigger their own attachment to those movements which could possibly score you higher.
Understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Put focus on your strengths whilst hiding your weakness'. Know that no one is perfect and even your favourite dancers have their weakness' they are just great at highlighting their strengths.
Understand your potential opponents (sometimes there's a pre-event signup, use it to your advantage), learn their strengths and weaknesses, and prepare for them.
Plan to always push the competition towards your strengths.
Once your oppositions weaknesses are identified plan a strategy to expose them with a readied counter for them - work out how you could potentially expose their weakness - of course the moment would tell but a plan would be good. This would not only give you a visual edge if the plan went perfectly but it could also act as a psychological defeat to your opponent which has a chance to deplete them of energy and confidence.
As per you will need to have a plan if it happens to you! You should know your weaknesses: on the road to the competition, you have time to turn them into strengths before you even reach the stage. And if the weakness is still there, know not to let yourself fall into the trap of exposing it.
This one is difficult but, try to hide yourself from your opponents for as long as possible in preparation for battle, this kind of unexpected would be in your favour: acting as shock factor to a judge, opponent or crowd even, this all plays a huge part in the big picture of competition – as sometimes it isn’t the best dancers that are victorious but the perceived best dancer wins in the moment.
Simulation is a powerful tool; simulate the competition in preparation for it. - this is your sparring, if possible, hold training sessions in which you will face others similar to your opponent's level and skill tyle, making everything as close to competition format as possible.
Train your stamina - train as if it were your competitive rounds and then go better: exceed what will be required to ensure it is there on the day.
Fuel your body in preparation – There's nothing worse than running out of energy in a moment that counts, telling yourself “But if I wasn’t” is a bad feeling, that moment is once, think about it beforehand: prepare to live those moments best! This doesn’t mean to fill yourself up because that can also be a downfall. Understand your body, eat well when it’s best for you - even eating a little extra the day before if like me you have to fast on performance day can give you that little boost!
Be peaceful and present once prepared, as you can only be so ready for the future. Know that you have done all that you can and it is then down to the moment to have fun with and enjoy the experience. Try not to take it too seriously, I know sometimes in competition we can get carried away with the moment but we love this thing we are do, right?! So, love it and don't let competition take away from that love. The good days happen to all of us, as well as those bad - there will always be more competitions, they are all nothing but single moments, be happy in your moments and overall; it will be a long and wonderful dance journey!
I hope this blog has helped!
About the Writer:
Tommy Boost is a Professional Breakdancer, Executive Dance Coach and Dance Industry Consultant from Wales, UK. He wrote the book 'Dancing with purpose - a guide to finding purpose through dance' that will be releasing early 2022.
If you would like to support more of these blogs, please donate to: paypal.me/Tommyboost