Have you ever been in movement limbo?
It's where you learn something new and even though you are excited you got it, can only seem to perform it in isolation. I am in movement limbo with chest/back rolls. I can usually do them but can never seem to gracefully transition into them during a practice session.
Looks like it's time for some drills and sequences, my favorite for breaking out of this zone.
Now, you gotta practice if you want to learn. This seems obvious, but sometimes the flowy, happy, vibes of our lovely hoop world make it seem like if you are just in a clear enough frame of mind, you will be able to perform whatever magic is inside you. Sadly, no. Your body needs to learn the movements and timing.
Drills are when I practice only one move for 5 to 10 minutes at a time while recording myself. Then I check the video and compare it with an online performance. What's different? What's the same? I will usually do drills of one move for several days in a row, up to an hour at a time, separate from my regular hoop session. It's hard, and not always fun, but it works.
Sequences: Okay, so I've done a bunch of drills and I have the move, maybe 70% of the time. My next step would be to watch tutorials and performances and see what people do next. How do I get in to the move and out of it? Where is the hoop in space when the action begins? I break it down in my head and then perform the entire sequence in a new series of drills.
I'll do just the sequence once or twice, then go into some comfortable moves, and switch back to the sequence another few times. A good cue is to create a playlist and try and start each song with the sequence.
I think drills and sequences are important to highlight because hooping is just like anything else - not all parts of it will be fun. Struggling with something hard can be extremely frustrating, but it's important to know that it happens to everyone. Do you have to do these things? No. For most of my hoop life I was just having fun, learning what I did when I did. But carving out specific time in your hoop practice to learn something new with intention and passion is very rewarding. You learn faster, build confidence and the extra work will really shine through.
Remember to bring intensity and intention into each thing you learn and you'll be flowing through new moves in no time. Now, time to start my chest and back drills...