… or, maybe you are. But one of the keys to mastering any apparatus? Having an accurate estimation of your abilities. Without that, you may think you’re more of a badass than you actually are, OR you may be way too hard on yourself without reason. Knowing “where you are” allows you to direct your training by:
- understanding whether you’re ready to attempt moves or train by yourself
- gaining a sense of which tricks you’re ready to tackle
- playing to your strengths (strong shoulders, flexy back, etc.)
The Process of Learning Circus
Learning a single move goes something like this:
“I’m excited to learn this! I don’t know what the f*ck I’m doing yet (and OOOWWWW!!!!), but this is cool!
“OK – it’s not pretty, but I’m getting through it without dying! I still need a spot or eyes on me though.”
“I can do this on my own! I’m comfortable with how this goes, but my knees/feet/wrists, etc are ugly. Needs cleaning.”
“I don’t hate this on video! My lines are clean, and I’m super comfy.”
“This feels like part of me. I can trouble shoot it easily, and I want to play. Time to dance it and make it my own!”
Learning an apparatus follows a really similar arc.
“This is amazing! I am so bad! But I love it, so I don’t care.”
“Look at meeeeeeee! I can do stuff! I still suck, but I’m seeing some progress!”
“Ugh. This is hard. I am seeing no progress. I should be BETTER than this by now! I must be the worst at this. Ever.”
“HEY!!!! I GOT IT I GOT IT! That thing that I’ve been working on for 25 weeks! I got it! Maybe I don’t suck?”
“Seeing some progress! I’m not the best, but I’m surely not the worst!”
“OK! I’m working comfortably. I have a lot of vocab under my belt, my instructor doesn’t have to tell me to straighten my arm/leg/etc.”
“I’m pretty good at this! Time to create an act.”
Self Efficacy in Circus
Seems pretty straight forward, right? BUT, what happens when you get hung up in an “I suck” loop? Or, you go right from “I pointed my toes today in class!” to “I’m a pre-professional student!” Both mental states suggest that you may have an inaccurate understanding of where you fall in the learning arc. That inaccurate understanding can lead to injuries, feelings of intense defeat, and/or wildly inefficient training.
The best way to keep yourself “real”? Check in with your (professional) coaches, and talk to them about the training arc in your discipline. Video yourself. Watch the best performers you can on YouTube. Ask for feedback. Be aware of how you talk to yourself. Research your industry. Train train train. And put on your listening ears.
Here’s a fantastic article by the NY Times about how self efficacy affects training in regards to injury (you have to make an acct, but it’s quick, easy, free, and WORTH IT).
Love and pull-ups, Laura
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