Competition & Sportsmanship

Do you have a pre-competition routine?

Not a dance routine, but a series of things you do to get in the zone before you hit the stage.

Some dancers stick in their ear buds and listen to music. Some have a special warm up or a specific order in which they put on their makeup. Some spend time mentally rehearsing their number, while others include little rituals like kissing a good luck charm.

Every dancer’s ritual is unique— just ask any one of the Rockettes. Having one increases your chances of performing well. But, why?

Well, the things you do before a competition help you manage nerves and prepare your mind and body for the dance ahead. They can keep you from being overwhelmed with pressure. But, no matter how practical or superstitious, these pre-performance tasks serve another useful purpose if you do them every time. They tell your mind, “Hey, it’s time to kick things into gear and bring it!”

If you haven’t got your own routine down yet, here are some tips on how to find one that will channel your energy into your very best performance.

Start by thinking back to your best competitions ever and how these days usually unfold for you.

What things did you do to prepare physically early in the day? Maybe you stretched or did a warm-up series, rehearsed your dances, ate a healthy breakfast, or woke up early to do some laps in the hotel pool.

What did you do to prepare your body right before you went on stage? Perhaps you warmed-up certain body parts, marked trouble spots in your dance, or did jumps or leg swings in the wings.

Then, ask yourself how you prepared mentally for the competition early in the day and right before your entrances. What do you tell yourself? What calms you? What gets you pumped up?

You’ll probably notice that you did your best when you took the time to first focus on yourself in a general way. After that, you probably worked on getting your body ready to perform, and finally, zeroed in on the certain skills, energy, or mental boosts you needed for a particular dance before going on to compete it. This wide-to-narrow pattern seems to keep most star athletes and performers at the top of their game— including us!

Once you have an idea of the things that have worked for you in the past, the last step is simple. Make sure you follow the same routine every time and watch your scores and your confidence go up.