We know that safety is a top priority at Aerial Dance. There are blogs written about it (my favorite one so far is “Is That Drop Safe Bro?”), and we hear about the hours instructors spend training. What we don’t always hear about is the science and thoughtfulness that goes into how instructors spot us on our tricks.
Instructor training has really opened my eyes when it comes to spotting.
As you advance in your pole/aerial journey, spotting becomes a normal part of the class. In a pole class, you get one-on-one time with your instructor where you work on an awesome trick and they try to make sure you are safe while doing it. But pole is hard…and being upside down doing crazy, fun things doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us. Many of my initial attempts at a new invert are unsuccessful, and how my instructor spots me not only impacts my safety, but also the excitement I have to try again.
Sometimes my attempt is just a major miss that can’t be saved. Instructors go through training and learn to look at how our bodies are positioned and use physics and body mechanics to keep our heads from hitting the ground. During instructor training, the real instructors help us practice this by carefully sabotaging their tricks so we can see where students most often struggle and we can quickly react to a trick going awry.
There are other times where I am so close, but I don’t have the body awareness to successfully complete the trick. If both the student and instructor are safe, the instructor can use it as a learning opportunity to help the student be more successful on their next attempt. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been upside-down and the instructor coached me to move a specific hand or leg and I moved the opposite one. While still holding me, they advise the correction that is needed and I fix it and we move forward. When I make my second attempt, I have a much better understanding of where all of my parts need to be, and have a better chance at being successful. And guess what…instructors practice that too! I had no idea that they practiced and shared all of their hot tips with eachother so we could be more successful. (Did you know that when you are excited about making progress on a trick, they are truly excited for you too?…We have the best instructors!!)
So as you wait your turn for that one-on-one opportunity, know that your instructor is rooting for you every single time, and has discussed and practiced the most effective ways of helping you be successful and safe at the same time.