My Nemesis Trick
We all have our nemesis trick or combo. You may not be strong enough or bendy enough to do it. You may KNOW that you are both bendy and strong enough but the stupid (*&#$(*# trick just won’t give in. And that is immensely frustrating—and can remind you that sometimes it is just a tiny nuance of placement or the direction of force that makes the difference between nailing something and failing something.
There are two options in dealing with the nemesis: Shelve it. Save it for later, when you know you are ready. That may be pretty far off, depending on how much work you need to do. The other strategy is: Beat it into submission. Kill it with practice. Wear away at it with determination and perseverance until you have won. For personal sanity, you may have to do a combination of the two.
My nemesis trick, for the longest time, was the shoulder mount. In all honesty, kicking into it scared me, and I didn’t think I’d ever be strong enough to do it as a lift. I’d get in position, and my hips just wouldn’t go anywhere. They wouldn’t move. Nothing happened. It was like my brain was trying to fire off commands to a phone line that had gone dead. Or never been built. I didn’t really even understand how to engage the right muscles because I’d never really used them. So, to deal with this, I decided that I hated the trick. That it was ugly, and not graceful, and that I didn’t need to learn it, and that I just plain didn’t like it. I fooled myself into believing that for years. I acted like I wasn’t even interested in it. Sort of like back when you were little and you acted like the boy you crushed on was stupid and stinky and said “ewwww” whenever his name came up.
When I first started exploring other pole studios in mid-2009, the first thing I noticed was that the warmup we were doing in different classes awakened new soreness in my body the next day. And a different curriculum meant more time on the pole actually working on tricks. I went from going to class once a week, with about 15 minutes of shared pole time, to two or three times a week, with a total of maybe one hour of shared pole time. I started getting stronger much more quickly than I thought possible, and things suddenly became much easier for me. A few months in, I was riding a serious high and decided one day in class: why not try the shoulder mount again? Just for fun? Maybe I’ll be able to get up a little bit. And to my complete shock: I lifted into a completely controlled shoulder mount for the first time in my life. This was a move that I had literally completely shelved. It was a goal that I didn’t think I’d ever reach.
The picture up there was taken just a month or two after I had made the shoulder mount mine. I started doing it all the time, because I was just so in love with the power of it. Soon after that, I nailed the aerial shoulder mount. It was like learning how to do a basic invert all over again: the strength that you feel in your body, the “yeah I’m a badass” energy that courses through your veins. I realized that I had set limitations on myself that were maybe a little bit more pessimistic than they should have been.
Getting the shoulder mount, for me, was one of my biggest pole accomplishments, just because I really had never thought that I would ever be capable of doing that trick. As a teacher, now, I see more then ever how important it is to help people continue to have little victories every time they come to class so that they don’t get discouraged and give up when they are in a tricks rut. I work my students hard in warmup, because I know I am responsible for helping them have the strength they need to achieve their goals. I see the importance of teaching students the building blocks and baby steps toward the bigger picture, to create confidence and body awareness and understanding of mechanics. I don’t want any of my students to ever give up on themselves, or their nemesis trick.
This blog entry marks the beginning of a new weekly feature that I’m hoping will be helpful and interesting: Tuesday tips. Every week, I’ll post about a particular trick, and the little tidbits of info that I’ve picked up in the past few years that has helped me, and helped others, to beat the trick. It may be the preparation and strengthening that I found most helpful, or common mistakes and misconceptions, or the one little tweak that stands between you and (hopefully) success. I’d like to welcome everyone to post in comments if they have additional suggestions or helpful information—hopefully the power of many brains will help some people out there! If there’s a particular move that you’ve been having a lot of trouble with, please feel free to let me know and I’ll feature it sooner rather than later.
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Tomorrow’s post: Sharing Music…