We could all use a little extra dose of inspiration sometimes. Whether it’s a typical season and you’re in the grind of daily cleaning practices, or you’re in quarantine 2020 and struggling to motivate the team… coaches often need to think outside of the box for some extra inspiration. These are my top 5 ways to bring a spark of encouragement to the team. And the best part? You can do each of these in-person or virtually!
Practice with a “sister school”
It’s a tradition in our program to have one long practice at a local studio with another school in our area we lovingly called our “sister school”. The programs are similar in values and goals, but we don’t compete in the same category (not essential, but it helps). We would each have our own practice time, then do a show and tell for feedback, and then swap coaches for the second half to polish the routines a little more. It’s always hard to perform your best when no one is watching and performing in front of another team who understands and cheers in all the right places is priceless. Plus, we all know our dancers listen better to other coaches, even if they are saying the same thing you’ve been saying for months (wink wink) so when we swap coaches it’s a blast for everyone!
Even if you’re virtual, learning a combo from the captains of another team, or doing a workshop together with a guest teacher can bring a little dose of inspiration into your practice life. Contact a coach in your area (or anywhere if you’re virtual!) and set up a sister school practice to inspire both teams.
Watch an inspirational sport movie together
Whether we are together, in small groups, or virtual, we always need a break from the grind at some point. Watching an inspirational movie can be the perfect treat. Take it a step further and ask your dancers to share their favorite quote, or ask them what they want to remember and take with them into practice next week. Get them talking about it and spread the inspiration around the team! Here are a few of the classics:
- Remember the Titans
- Coach Carter
- We are Marshall
- Mighty Ducks
- When the Game Stands Tall
- Apollo 13 (not sports but a great movie about teamwork and perseverance!)
Watch your old videos from your program
Along the idea of movies, show them some of your team’s old videos. It can be so much fun to walk down memory lane together. It’s inspiring to remember the reward that comes after all the hard work. It may even remind them that they wanted more and wish they hadn’t given up at practice. It gives you an opportunity to talk about team values and traditions, so the newer dancers understand more about your team culture. You can bring everyone together or do it via zoom, but either way, it can generate great conversation among the team and give them a spark to keep fighting through the hard practices or extended quarantines.
Watch other team’s competition videos
One more movie idea… watch inspirational videos of other teams. Make sure you debrief along with these to really get the most out of it. Share what exactly is inspiring about it. Did they like their facials? Where the transitions cool? Did they love the music? Getting them to dig in and talk about WHY they like the routine can help inspire them to achieve their goals and be the team who inspires others.
Bring in trusted alumni
One great way to boost a team shortly before competition or when you’re feeling down is to ask a few alumni to come visit. In person, they can offer feedback about a routine, cheer them on during practice and generally provide an encouraging atmosphere at practice. Online, they could talk to the team about their favorite memories, what they love about the program, and why they are proud to be an alumna. It can be a great reminder to the current team if they are feeling a little deflated, that this team is bigger than just them. It’s a great conversation to inspire your dancers to consider the legacy they want to leave.
You know the mood on your team, and you know when they may need a little extra dose of inspiration. Think outside the box, and whether you are in-person or virtual, I hope these ideas help you lift the team’s spirits when they need it most!