Circus is a challenging, humbling activity. Sometimes you have good weeks, sometimes when you show up you’re just physically, mentally or emotionally not there. Everyone has those bad weeks, and while there’s unfortunately no magic cure, there are a few things you can do to make sure they don’t derail your progress.
Notice contributing factors. All sorts of things can affect your training, including weather, clothing, hormones, your emotional state, the amount of sleep you’ve been getting, diet etc. Try to be aware of any factors that have a particular impact on you, and take steps to reduce them where possible. Also remember to be forgiving of yourself, and try not to take it too personally – there’s a lot going on when you train and it’s not always a reflection of the effort you put in.
Set goals, based on something that is meaningful to you. If you want to perform, talk to your trainer about student showcase nights. If your goal is fitness, try to set a few specific mini goals, rather than just “overall get fitter” On the weeks when things aren’t working, see if you can contribute to your goal in another way, for example picking out a routine song or checking in with your trainer about your fitness routine.
Keep a training diary, in whatever form suits you. For some it’s stick figures, photos, videos, journal entries… Whatever your preferred method is, have some way of recording what you’ve learned. For me it’s a notebook, with a list of all my tricks. On bad days I can go back to the start of the list and work through the tricks that used to be hard and are now easy.
Find yourself a buddy, from your class or another walk of life who shares your goals. That gives you a double whammy of someone to train with as well as a support person who will cheer you on and hold you accountable. If you don’t have a buddy, see if your training space offers open sessions where you can keep working on the skills you’ve started in class.
Use social media for inspiration. Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube are all full of amazing people sharing their skills and when you’re in a rut, looking at some of the cool tricks out there can help kickstart your enthusiasm. Just don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, and please, don’t be tempted to throw tricks you see on the internet without a trainer!
Break tricks down and ask for homework if you feel like you aren’t achieving as much in class as you’d like to. There may be exercises you can work on in your own time or different variations to build your skills and help you achieve more consistent results.
If all else fails, take a break. Your brain and body need time to rest and recharge, and if there’s a specific move that just hasn’t been working you might just need some distance to see what’s wrong. In the meantime, see if you can cross train to maintain your fitness levels so you come back full of motivation and raring to go!