It’s only 48 hours before our first competition and we haven’t even done a full out routine!
When I put it that way it sounds pretty scary doesn’t it? But I’m not freaking out just yet because we have a system that I trust for preparing our athletes, teams, coaches and families for competition season.
To be fair, that 48 hours isn’t 2 days. It is spread out over 12 weeks and 24 practices. That being said, we still have time but we stay on track by following a few simple, proven steps. Staying the course helps us eliminate being frantic when we actually get down to the wire.
Step 1 – MAKE A PLAN!
Right after tryouts, sit down with your coaching staff and create a list of what each team need to be ready – stunt sections, choreography, eight count sheets, music, etc. And a realistic timeline for completion of each.
Step 2 – GET VISUAL!
Once you get routines set, give everyone a visual representation of a countdown to competition. I’ve found a breakdown by days, week, practices and hours we have left is the most effective for the teams i work with. It creates a sense of urgency without causing a panic. It’s a good idea to incorporate caution for families against having tardies and absences – and should make them think twice about frivolously missing practice.We also visually track missed practice time to show how it adds up. Numbers don’t lie! It helps to make a digital countdown clock to share online, have a poster with set timeline goals to keep by the floor or have a large wall calendar that everyone can see in the lobby of the practice area. This serves as a visual reminder that you’re on a deadline and every minute counts.
Step 3 – TRACKING & ACCOUNTABILITY!
Have weekly assessment check & balance for each team to see where they are and if they’re on track. Little things add up and can get away from you quickly, so stay on top of their progress and hold everyone accountable!
Step 4 – SHOW THE WORK!
Once you’ve nailed down your timeline for routines and implemented your reminder and assessment systems, it’s time to prepare for the rest of the competition season necessities. A showcase is a great way to get your kids in front of an audience before the first event. From a low-key friends and family only show off, to a highly publicized, everyone’s invited extravaganza, showcases are an excellent dress rehearsal for the athletes, coaches and parents.
August: 90% of choreography is set. Teams are hard marking full routines and working micro sections full out. Some pyramids and dances are still not completed yet. 8 count sheets are completed.
September: Routines are being run half out (tumbling only/stunts only/full out micro sections only). 8 count sheets are updated and submitted to music producers.
October: Dances and pyramids are finished and the updates are submitted to music producers. Larger sections of the routine are being run full out to music. Any major changes to sequences/formations/etc have been made.
November: Routines are being run full out. Voice overs have been added to mixes. This is an optimal showcase time.
December: competition season is here! Routines are being polished. Muscle memory is set. Everything is ready to go! All there is left to do is have your “oh s***” plan in place for last minute substitutions (that will inevitably happen!).
Here’s to wishing you all a safe and exciting 2015-2016 season. May every tumbling pass stick and stand, every stunt be a HIT and every stage be raised so you don’t have to coach on your knees. Good luck and God bless!