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Five steps every Irish dancer should take the week before a competition.


It's the week before a big competition and you want to do everything you can to prepare. Here are five steps you shouldn't miss when planning out your last week.


Meeting with your Person

Nerves are flying high the last week, especially the day of. When we're nervous, it is more challenging to make decisions and problem solve. Let's control our controllables and plan a meeting with "your person" to go over both the last few days leading up to the competition and the entire competition day. "Your person" is the one who is with you throughout that day, many times a parent or guardian.


We want to make sure both parties, the dancer and their "person", are on the same page. Your meeting should include every little detail. If your competition time starts at 8am, what time are you leaving your room? What time are you eating? Who is getting the food? Getting hair and makeup done? Packing your bags (and who is doing what)? Get as detailed as possible so the days before and day of can run as smoothly as possible.


Visualization

When you have a big test at school, you study. Same goes for your dancing. Visualization is a mental rehearsal that builds upon your strengths and helps eliminates your weaknesses. Studies have show that a regular visualization practice will

  • reduce anxiety

  • build and maintain confidence and focus

  • develop coping strategies

  • maintain existing skills without adding stress to your body and avoid irritating existing injuries.


We need to study your dances, where to make certain corrections, how it feels to dance on an elevate stage, with music, etc. Studying every little detail. Reach more about developing your visualization practice HERE.


Sleep Train

Not getting enough has a huge effect on your stress level as it can effect your memory, judgement and mood. Getting enough sleep is a critical for every Irish dancer. Sleep studies have shown that getting enough sleep is beneficial to reaching peak athletic performance through

  • increased speed,

  • improved accuracy,

  • fewer mental errors,

  • reduced injury rates,

  • improved reaction times.


For many dancer, you are waking up earlier than usual on a competition day (hello, 5am hair appointments!). To ensure you get sufficient enough sleep the night before the competition, we need to begin sleep training days/weeks before then. This would include incrementally going to bed earlier in the days leading up to the competition and waking up incrementally earlier.


Read more about specific sleep training schedules HERE.


Practice the "What Ifs"

"What if I dance first?"

"What if I dance with the World Champion?"

"What if I fall?"


There is probably a list of "what ifs" running through your head in the days/weeks leading up to a competition. One of the best ways to address them, is to practice them. What would happen if you dance first? Visualize it. What would that feel like? How would you fight through those nerves to dance your best on stage? Practice it before hand so if it were to happen, you're ready.


Gratitude

Gratitude goes a long way for both you and the people who support you. Take a moment to thank those who have been supportive and instrumental in your training journey. This could included teachers, family members, friends, classmates, etc. It doesn't need a to be a huge gesture. A simple, thank you with what you're thankful for does the trick.


Happy Training!


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