We live in a world of technology. Were phone notifications constantly go off. Earbuds are always in when we’re alone (or with friends for that matter). And the T.V. is always on the background. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time sitting with our own thoughts. Consider this, when you’re in the car or walking to get the mail, do you have a need to turn on your favorite podcast? Or can you just walk and be still in your thoughts? I know I struggle sometimes. Lately, I found myself tempted to start wearing earbuds when I’m grocery shopping because I want something to stimulate my brain while I take care of a mundane task.
That’s the easy way out.
We have to learn to let our minds wander, and teach our dancers to do the same.
To let our minds wander and really consider what’s going on in our head is a lost art. I believe we all need to spend some time getting reacquainted with ourselves. But if you’re coaching high school or college dancers right now, chances are, they need more help than you do. They may need a complete intervention.
How Technology is Destroying Confidence
Many of today’s teenagers and young adults grew up with so much technology that they are uncomfortable in silence. They don’t know how to reflect on their own thoughts. They are uncomfortable if you ask them to close their eyes and think about a positive image for 5 minutes. Many of them get fidgety and struggle to stay focused. They are so uncomfortable listening to their own thoughts they avoid doing it. They are completely unaware of what they’re thinking and the control those thoughts can have over their lives.
Why does this matter as a dance coach?
Your dancers’ battle to stay focused and positive during competition has everything to do with being uncomfortable in their own heads and a lack of control over their own thoughts.
But there’s something you can do to help…
The good news is there is a very simple exercise to help your dancers begin to take control of their thoughts and learn to stay positive and focused during competition. All it takes, is a little confidence journal exercise.
The power of the written word
I fully support journaling as a regular practice, both as a coach and simply as a woman on my own journey of growth and achievement. Journaling has been used in therapy for years, and it’s become much more mainstream lately because it works, and in today’s technology burdened world we all need a little time to pause and reflect.
One of the great things about journaling is that you can use a journal prompt or question to get you started, and in your case Coach, to get your team focused on the right things leading into a competition.
I’ve put together 10 of my favorite journal prompts to use either the night before or day of a competition. Take 5-10 minutes to answer 2 of these questions before a competition and your team will see a boost in their self-confidence and focus during the event.
Spend time in your confidence journal for 10 minutes before you perform.
Have your dancers take out a notebook or even surprise them with small notepads (you can easily find some online for $1 a piece) and ask them to spend about 10 minutes reflecting on one or two of these prompts. It will set the tone for the whole competition and allow them to gain more control over their thoughts and emotions during a challenging day.
Want a few ideas? Try these…
- What is your greatest talent?
- When you want to feel more confident, what do you do?
- I feel proud of myself when…
- 5 things I am grateful for today
Download the free cheat sheet for my 10 best journal prompts for confidence.
Remember, journaling is a powerful tool that you can use all season long. To reflect on what went well in practice, why a technical skill is still challenging, how you’re coming along with goals this season, or what you want to remember most. I encourage you to expand on the idea of journaling and make it a regular, weekly event on your team. Just 10 minutes a week will go a long way to help your dancers learn to be aware of, and in control of, their thoughts and emotions.