Aerial Hoop Students

7 Tips for making the most of your circus class (and your coach will love you for it)

By on September 8, 2015

So you’ve signed up for a circus class! Perhaps you’ve been attending for a while now? You might even be circussing several times a week. Now that you are investing a chunk of time and money into your acrobatic development, how do you get the most from it?

note – although I’ve written this post with adults in mind, much of this post can also apply to younger circus students!

(1) Turn up to class on time

Even better, show up 5 or 10 minutes early and take a moment to shift gears away from real world mode and into the head space you need to train. The first part of the class is the warm up, so if you turn up 5 minutes late, you’ll miss a crucial part of the class. Speaking of the warm up…

(2) Warm ups are serious business (seriously…)

Without an appropriate warm up, your body won’t be prepared for what you are about to put it through (no matter how tough you are, you still need to warm up). Think of your warm up as essential injury prevention insurance. Additionally, the warm up will often include conditioning, which will help build the specific strength you will need to learn harder skills (yep, conditioning drills do get snuck into the warm up).

(3) Give everything a red hot go

That’s what you’re here for! Jump on in, get out of your comfort zone and you’ll reap the rewards. Not only will you get fitter and stronger, by jumping in you are giving your bravery muscle a work out. You’ll be rewarded with endorphins by the gallon by doing so. Us coaches aren’t sadists (well maybe just a little), but we certainly wouldn’t ask you to try if it wasn’t going to give you a ton of benefit.

(4) Be prepared to actively learn

Most coaches will use a combination of demonstrations and verbal explanations. Use the demo’s to visualise yourself executing the trick, and try to repeat the explanation in your head, this will help you recall what you need to do later on.

It may be obvious, but both the demo and explanation requires your full attention – you won’t be able to absorb the information properly if you are distracted. So, pause what you are doing, stand still, and observe silently (you can continue that conversation with your classmate afterwards). In most cases, if you do this you should have enough understanding to attempt the skill.

Don’t ask your coach to repeat the explanation if you haven’t put in the effort to absorb and understand in the first place!

Even worse, don’t be the numpty who’s realised you can’t remember what your teacher explained when you are hanging upside down, running out of grip strength, trying to figure out how to wrap the tissu around your leg.

(5) Ask for help (after you’ve tried to process the information first)

Ok ok, we’re not monsters, if you are still unsure after your coaches explanation, ask them to clarify what you are uncertain about. And of course, if you feel unsafe or that the skill is too challenging for you, ask for a spot or a simpler variation on what you are working on.

(6) Smile! Circus is fun! (come with a great attitude)

Lets be honest. Circus is hard, there’s no question about it, training can be challenging emotionally as well as physically. But getting through the hard stuff, leads to the fun stuff.

From time to time your coach may ask you to run a long routine one more time, or repeat a drill that you’ve done several times already. Resist the urge to sulk about it, whinging will make it harder for you to get through the class, and no one likes being in a class with a misery guts. Your attitude is contagious, and we’d sooner contract the ‘keen bean’ virus, instead of the ‘rather sit on my arse’ disease. So, smile for those chin ups and dish holds!

(7) Lastly, show up to class!

Yeah, we all know that feeling… it’s cold, work sucked today, there’s too much good stuff on Netflix. Skipping out on your circus class is only going to make it harder next week. We all have good days and not so great ones. But even if you only feel 50%, come along anyway and give the class 100% of the 50% that you’ve got left.

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The driving force behind The Circus Spot’s aerial program, Free is undoubtedly a walking encyclopaedia of aerial skills. Her keen eye for technique has given her a reputation as the most demanding coach at The Circus Spot, so if you are in her class, prepare to be challenged! Listing the circus acts she’s performed is much like listing the acts in an entire circus show and includes tissu (aerial silks), aerial hoop, double trapeze, acrobalance, and even gumboot dancing. One of her performing highlights is performing for the Queen of Malaysia and alongside Kelly Rowland.