As we come out of mandatory closures and restrictions and we begin to grow our aerial programs again we need to pay special attention to our expectations of our students. Students may have been off the equipment for long periods and they will not have the strength that they left with, even if they have been doing other training during the down time. There is nothing quite like pulling your own body weight!
We want to ensure students get back to it in a safe manner and that keeps them injury free. Don’t skip out on a thorough and proper warm up, including your injury prevention elements like the 10’s. We are all excited to get up on that equipment and to maximize our time in the air, but remember that longevity comes from preparation!
Students may be frustrated that they are not ‘as good’ as they used to be. We can mitigate that by starting with review weeks that start at the beginning of the material. A refresh of the foundations will help them regain confidence and help you identify where their skill level is today. We should never be ‘too good’ to go back to the start, that’s where the magic lies.
I love to do this as a game. I put the elements I want them to work on each on an individual slip of paper and put them in a jar or bowl. They each get to come and pull a paper. What they get is what they work on. Once they complete, the all put the slips back in the jar, I give it a shake, and we do it again. They may get ‘1-handed angel’ 3 times in a row. Instead of complaining about doing it 3 times they laugh at how funny it is and secretly hope they get it 4 times….because that would be hilarious.
Be sure also not to skip the conditioning and stretching at the end of class. At the beginning of the pandemic we all became super stretchers, but even I waned. Stretching gets boring when you are a kid and all you really want is to be on the equipment. When you aren’t aloud to do a split roll in the fabric, the reason to bother stretching your split everyday starts to fade. Why bother, becomes the mental mantra.
These kids lost a lot over the last 2 years. The teenage population really took a kicking mentally and they are struggling to get excited about anything. They are on guard against disappointment in case one more thing gets pulled out from under them. Be kind. Be supportive. Be encouraging. Don’t judge them for not doing the work at home or compare ones who did to ones who did not. This was a tough journey and they all handled it the best way they knew how. Let’s love them back into their training routines.
Safety first, physical and emotional, is always our Mantra at Spectacle Blue!