It’s become somewhat of a buzz word: INTENTION. There are lots of influencers and psychologists alike who talk about setting your intention and all the benefits it can have in your life. But what about setting an intention for dance team practice? Does it help?
When you set your intention, you can think of it as setting a goal, or more like a guiding principle, both types of intention are helpful. If you’re setting an intention for the whole year, it may be a value or attitude that you want to focus on the year. For example, my business intention for 2020 was “community.” It guides how I spend my time in my business, what I focus on, and how I make decisions.
The Power of Daily Intentions
It’s not just about a focus or goal for the year. You can also set intentions on a more micro level, like setting your intention for the day. That type of intention gives you a focus point or goal to structure your day around. And if you set an intention for practice within your team, you can achieve just that: more focus and structure in your practice.
Setting your intention is more than just your goal for the day. It’s about the value or personal focus you intend for the day. Your intention as a coach may be different than the intentions of your captains or any other dancer on your team. It’s about finding focus for the practice, and that focus will ultimately make you more productive with the tangible things like cleaning your routine or working on turn technique.
Here are some examples of practice intentions:
I intend to…
- lead by example
- encourage my teammates
- stop taking corrections personally
- spread positivity
- see the good around me
- be kind even when under pressure
Set an Intention to Increase Your Focus at Practice
Setting an intention means keeping yourself focused on one specific value for the day (or practice) and is shown to be much more effective than a broader approach. If your captain sets the intention to encourage her teammates all practice, the idea is that she will, in fact, be better at encouraging her teammates while they go across-the-floor or practice a new trick. Without that singular aim, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If the intention is “be a good leader” that’s too much to think about. What does that mean? How can he do that effectively all practice? It’s not specific, and it’s a lot to think about!
Your captain is now worried about being positive, being a good role model, working hard, remembering choreography etc. Instead, it’s helpful to choose one specific area of intention or focus for the day and put your energy there.
Finding more mental focus at practice helps you as a coach and your dancers focus on one specific principle for the day and you are all much more likely to see a change with that type of intense attention to one goal.
Warm-up Your Mind Before You Warm-up Your Body
Imagine a practice where you took a minute to reign in the focus at the beginning of practice. Take a few deep breaths, say a positive affirmation or two, then everyone sets their own intention (in the privacy of their own thoughts). Only THEN do you start warm-up.
I have done this kind of mental warmup with teams during a consultation or workshop and it’s amazing how just 3 minutes of mental focus and setting intentions before warmup cuts back on the chatter while they should be stretching, increases their focus and drive when we set clear dance-related goals for the practice, and ultimately makes everything more efficient. And who doesn’t want a more efficient practice?!?
Coach’s Intention Challenge:
Start with yourself. Set a daily focus or a specific practice intention for yourself before you tell everyone to get started for the day. See how just a small mental focus exercise can change your whole practice. After a few days, you’ll be hooked, and you can help your dancers learn the same skill. Your intention may even be the same for days and that’s ok. The idea is you set an intention that will help you TODAY. It may not be easy at first. You’re likely to lose sight of your objective partway through the practice. But the more you do it, the better you will be at holding that focus and staying on track. Like anything else, mental focus training takes time, but the payback is incredible.
Setting a daily practice intention will instantly increase your growth and focus for the day. Give it a shot!