Most of you have been to at least one routine competition this year or you are heading into one, so I thought it was perfect timing to talk about what do you with your routine choreography following a competition. The theme is letting go.
It’s my opinion that most of us coaches become too attached to our routines. We fall in love with some parts and we cannot see the flaws in them. Other times there are sections others love, but it’s not striking a cord with us so we ignore their advice and keep it.
When we should let go, we don’t and when we should hold on, we don’t.
It is really simple. The coach identifies personally with the routine. Instead of appreciating movements and the goal of the routine the coach becomes obsessed by their own feeling about the routine versus the facts. That is why it can be so hard to hear bad things about your routine.
Remember that you are not your routine, so anything said about your routine is not about you.
In my first several years of coaching I was guilty of re-choreographing too much after competitions and ignoring advice I was given. I lost sight of the team goals and became obsessed with perfection in choreography. (Which I don’t think really exists.) I have not met too many coaches (or any yet) that have loved everything about their routine.
We can all take a lesson from the movie industry. If you ever watch the extras after movies you’ll hear many stories about scenes being deleted or you have watched alternate endings. My favourite example is from the team working on the “Lion King”. They worked on ONE scene for more than FIVE years and they had to scrap it because it was not fitting in with the rest of the movie. Could you imagine letting go of that?
I suggest that after each competition you consider if your changes in choreography are going to help you getting closer to your goals. Or are you making changes so that you like a part more. Rather than changing choreography, sometimes a better strategy is to nitpick and work on what you have so your team is awarded higher execution scores. I think is easier to get credit for execution of movements than the creativity of movements. (I’ll have to get a judge to comment on this for us)
If you are desperate to make some changes consider the following:
- Will taking some of the choreography away make the section cleaner?
- Will changing the counts make a section better?
- Will changing a pattern change make the section better?
- Will a cleaner entry of ending help?
- Will doing kicks instead of eggbeater help?
- Is the team doing something in the underwater work that is causing issues?
- What is the priority based on your goals and the judges feedback?
- What is your deadline to stop changes and work on execution?
- Plan exactly what you are going to have your team try so that you do not waste time.
- Sometimes simple is better.
Before a competition do you already have a big list of changes you want to make? Too many times I have went to a judges meeting thinking to myself all the sections I wanted to change instead of hearing what I could do to make the team better without making massive changes. Most of the time the judges are not even suggesting massive changes. They just want to see what you have, executed better. If you are going to make changes try making it less complex to get those execution scores higher.
When you get home after your competition get out of the thinking that we’ll take the whole week to make changes and then start training back up.
If you would like more post competition tips check out this post.
Yours in Synchro,