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3 Habits Every Irish Dancer Needs to Break

Updated: Feb 16, 2023


Are you up all night before a competition worrying about the next day? Or busy throughout the week with school, dance, clubs, work and sports and the one way to fit it all in is to cut into your bedtime? If this sounds like you, this is one habit you need to BREAK!

Research shows that an athlete’s performance suffers when they do not get an optimal amount of sleep. This includes important components of an Irish dancer’s performance such as a decrease in speed, accuracy, reaction time and emotional state.1

Irish dance strength and conditioning, mindset for Irish dance, Irish dance training

The Mayo Clinic recommends children 6-11 get 9-13 hours of sleep, 14-17 year olds 8-10 hours of sleep, and adults 7-9 hours of sleep.2

Target Training Tip

  • If you have to get up early before major competitions, train yourself in the weeks leading up to the competition to adjust to the time you have to wake up. Gradually getting up earlier (and going to sleep earlier!) to match the time you need to wake for the competition.


Do you walk around with your feet turned out hoping it’ll improve your turnout? If this sounds like you, this is a habit you need to BREAK!

When you walk around with your feet turned out, your knee and ankle joints are not aligned. Your body weight falls on the unaligned joints causing additional force to be put on them and your feet, specifically your arch. Poor control of the muscles in your feet (intrinsic foot muscles) can lead to foot pain and cause the muscles in your lower leg (extrinsic foot muscles) to become overused. This can lead to injuries in the feet and lower legs such as plantar fasciitis and sesamoiditis.

Target Training Tip

  • When walking around, remind yourself to walk with a neutral foot alignment where your foot and ankle maintain a straight line and weight is evenly distributed across your heel and foot.


Are you sitting at a feis stretching out before you compete? Or when your teacher asks you to warm up, you proceed to stretch out? If this sounds like you, this is a habit you need to BREAK!

Research has shown that static stretching leads to a decrease in strength, power, endurance, balance and explosive performance - all integral elements to an Irish dancers performance.3 Static stretching should be saved for AFTER class when your goal is to increase your flexibility.

Target Training Tip


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  1. Mah CD, Mah KE, Kezirian EJ, Dement WC. The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. J. Sleep Res. 2011; 34(7): 943-950

  2. Olson EJ. How many hours of sleep are enough for good health? Retrieved on: Sept. 4, 2016. Retrieved from:

  3. Simic L, Sarabon N, Markovic G. Does pre-exercise static stretching inhibit maximal muscular performance? A meta-analytical review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013;23(2):131-48.

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