Champions are NOT built in the weeks leading up to a major competition…they are built in the off-season!
We are about to start one of the absolute BEST seasons of Irish Dancing to improve performance! August through October are three of the most critical months when it comes to improved Irish dancing because it is one of the rare gaps in Majors where we can implement basic strength training, injury prevention for the upcoming Oireachtas prep season, and create healthier habits overall. Here are 3 things you can do to set yourself up for success during this “off-season!”
1. Build Strength!!! Strength training takes time and consistency. In most sports, there are “competition/game“ seasons and “off-seasons.” Athletes have strength and conditioning programs that are setup to make them stronger in the off-season so then when they start their competitive season, they can be at peak conditioning. With the intense schedules during competitive seasons, the intensity in strength and conditioning sessions is usually decreased proportionally so an athlete stays healthy and is not over-training. The main goal is for an athlete to go into a competition or game feeling 110%.
Irish Dance is a unique sport because unlike other sports, there is not a full off-season…instead there are intermittent gaps of time in-between Majors that must be utilized effectively to recover, build strength, then transition that strength into power, more specifically power in dancing (I refer this time to the “Irish Dancing Off-Season”). This is not only important in building STRENGTH, but preventing INJURY as well! If strength is built when dance practices are less intense, then as Oireachtas dance classes increase in intensity, the body will be able to meet the demands without getting injured, and utilize strength built earlier to create powerful dancing.
2. Take time for technique! Pull out the dance drills you use in class, one’s you’ve learned at Feis Fit, dance camps, or create your own. This time of year is awesome for perfecting your technique because you have plenty of time to do it. Not sure exactly what dance techniques you need to improve the most? Record yourself dancing and watch it! Pretend like you are the judge and write down comments for things to improve. Then work on them until you get them consistently correct!
3. Practice good nutrition habits! I cannot emphasize this element in dancing, or life, enough! You ARE what you EAT! Focus on putting good fuel into your body including vegetables, fruits, protein, healthy fats, and unprocessed grains. If you fill your body with useful energy, it will be able to use it and help you become a stronger better dancer. The closer to nature a food is, the better. Avoid eating processed junk food on a regular basis. Also…get rid of the soda and drink water instead (if you are regular soda drinker). Remember that in order to build muscle, you must eat A LOT. If you are not eating enough, or filling up on junk foods alone, your body will not have the resources to build the muscle you need for dancing.
4. Set A Competition Goal and Write It Down! It’s easy to feel focused and ready to roll right after a major, but one month in when you are re-drilling your steps for the 12th time, it’s even easier to lose motivation. Set a challenging dance goal that truly excites you and write it down, hang it up, and plan out HOW you are going to make it happen.
If you are reading this and are ready to add in a strength and conditioning routine but not sure how to do it, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to become a Feis Fit Athlete! Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, and Appleton classes/workshops have open enrollment and August Feis Fit Online Applications will be opening soon!!!