Are you a dance or drill coach? Need help with parent support groups? A lot of information has been written on this topic. American Dance/Drill however has gone the extra mile to help would be Drill coaches work with teams and parents.
One article off their website, as well as a number of parent support links at the bottom of the page. If you are going to hear this – you should hear it from the pro’s. If you haven’t bookmarked their website yet – you should!
How to Win With Drill Team Parents
By Erin Venable Green
Parent support groups
Life is not always fair
Cope W/Parent’s Clubs
A Threat to Drill Team
Positive Parent Support
When Children Play
Where to look in Utah for Policies and Procedures. Here you will have access to the same information any drill coach would have. You learn how to be certified as a coach or a
Coping in stressful times.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve listened to a young dancer complain about how someone else treated them, or others. It’s not a new phenomenon, rather part of the business of dance, and being open enough to listen to what your students have to say. I have seen students treated so poorly that they opted out of dance just to escape the cynicism, or the perception of cynicism from others.
Some students just have better coping skills than others.
Some students are forced into stressful situations by adults, or peer pressure, or simply fall into a situation due to lack of knowledge of what they were really getting into. It is very important that if you are thinking about an advanced level of studies that you fully understand what is expected of you before you sign up. If you will do some basic research first-you might save yourself some grief.
Researching everything you decide to do is important, especially if it isn’t a beginner level class. You might think you are advanced, but I’d still suggest you at least go to a class and check it out first.
What is really stressful for students is inconsistency. Inconsistency in teaching styles, lack of professionalism, and/or verbal inadequacies in actual instruction. You have to be clear in what it is you are teaching. It’s crucial that you be able to demonstrate the proper technique, and be able to verbally get your message across to your students.
I want to address a number of questions, and I will present my take on them below.
Why wouldn’t a director allow an officer to put together choreography for the team?
This point is often hard for younger students (high school level) to understand. Most students feel that as an officer that it is a right to put together the choreography and teach it too. Unfortunately, if you are not able to perform technique necessary for a dance, and catch your own mistakes, I too wouldn’t allow you to teach a dance to students, let alone choreograph it.
Some students can cope with being told no. Others cannot. It’s all in how good their coping skills are. When they reach this level it is important to have someone there in authority that understands what their students are anticipating, and be prepared to let them down gently. Have something else just as meaningful prepared in advance.
Some instructors by nature are just “hit with a stupid stick”. They will put anyone in control of a squad or team. Their own kid, their kids friends, their favorite, non-professionals, etc. They just really don’t understand the dynamics of team building and how important it is to have someone teaching who actually knows what they are doing. In this case it’s all about popularity, and parental meandering – it’s evil. Not very many students will have the coping skills necessary to deal with this type of stupid. The best you can do is “finish on top”.
How do I cope?
That is the question that is only answered through time. You have to learn the skills necessary to deal with a multitude of stressful situations. One way to help yourself is to NOT sign up for a level that is over your head. Avoid situations that you already know have problems.
Seek out levels and instructors who have an even temper and unruffled demeanor. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. Instructors will raise their voices a lot. You need to not take it personally when they do. If you can’t handle constructive criticism, you have no business, in the business. You are there to learn. You aren’t there to teach or take over. Coping doesn’t mean you react to every situation that happens; you have to be able to let things go, or learn from a skill.
There will be those around you who have zero coping skills. Everything is about them, for them, and their little world. They will bring their worst to the table. Coping with personalities is something we all have to deal with.
Don’t let it be your personality that others have to deal with
It is fair to talk to your instructors and ask for guidance?.
Sometimes instructors really don’t know what their students are going through. They don’t sit in the classrooms with you and see all that is happening in your world. If you are having a real problem with someone – it is up to you to let the coach/ instructor know. Never state it out loud in front of the team. That only stirs up animosity and resentment. Let your coach help you deal with some of the issues. They can’t take on all the load for you – but maybe they can at least help in their class. But you have to let them know there is an issue.
How do I help others to cope, I think they are going to parties to escape?
First off, remember you aren’t a professional. If the situation is drug related or abusive, you have a moral obligation to help that person. By helping, that might mean reporting the behavior to someone in authority. You aren’t the police, and you shouldn’t attempt to be. Allow those in authority to deal with the issue. The student might get mad at you – but you force them to deal with the issues and hopefully get help. It’s called tough love.
Being there for newer students or older ones – who for some reason others have decided to pick on – they need you. There is really no excuse for bullying. Helping someone to overcome the stigma of being a newbie is important. Remember when it was you?
It’s okay to make mistakes. You just practice until you get it right. Sometimes coping does mean helping others to move on. Letting them know it is okay to do something different. Letting someone down gracefully rather than rudely matters. Your ability to help others cope is a reflection of your own humanity and caring skills.
There will be problems that will be way above you. Stay away from situations that you know will cause drama and make matters worse. Keep your cool and you keep sanity.
The ability to overcome in times of distress.
If all else fails “there’s still chocolate”…..
Feeling burned and getting your feelings hurt are not the best way to start a day. But, we all experience those feelings at some point in time. It is how you deal with the discomfort that will mold you and make you a stronger individual. Sometimes the situation will look hopeless, but the difference between the impossible and possible lies in not giving up.
Bill Gates said it best “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure” . You have to learn from those moments and events that don’t work out your way.
You have to shine through the troubles and give out of your own need. Strive to become the person that does good for others whether or not you get paid back or not.
It’s easy to want to slam or demean the situation and/or individual. That’s easy. What’s hard is rising above that type of sour and/or bitter attitude of defeat. You have to NOT let failure be what molds you. You have to learn from those situations and grow. There are no guarantees that disappointment won’t happen again. More than likely it will, maybe not in the same area – but something totally different. But hopefully you will be stronger from your knowledge of the past; having already dealt with a situation that wasn’t comfortable for you.
When we have successes, it is important to celebrate. It is also important to show humility in the face of others. In the dance world, when you line up in the winners circle – where you rank becomes personal. But, if you don’t rank, and you aren’t one of the dancers standing in the circle, how are you supposed to feel? Are you hurt, let down, frustrated, embarrassed, feeling robbed, or left out? You might feel all of these. The main thing to remember is “humility”. You are probably thinking “you want me to feel humility – I just lost”. Yes, you need to be humble, not sour. Walk up to your competition and shake their hand. Congratulate them; it’s the basics of sportsmanship.
What you gain from that hand shake or those congratulatory words is redemptive for you. It is much better to offer praise than stew in a sour pot. Move on. Rise above the moment.
Self pity is different than being cheated out of something. I do understand that competitions don’t always seem fair. But most are. The judges at competition really aren’t cheating you out of anything- they don’t even know you. I see much more politics in the studio setting, than I do in the Judging arena.
Stupid Judges, it’s all “their” fault
Go back to your choreography and your own technical skills. Examine your score sheets. What did the judges say? Do they say the same thing every time? Then that is what you need to focus on. With your score sheet, don’t focus on the positive scores, look at the negative ones. The negative numbers and comments are the ones that “you” need to work on. If you will work on those, maybe the next time you will be where you want to be, in the winner circle. If you choose to ignore those critiques – then you can only blame yourself.
Judges don’t always judge on the merits that you think they will. Judges come with their own ideologies and diverse dance backgrounds. They also have a set of standards that they must uphold. Did you know that they may even grade each other after competitions? Some do, and it’s a good training tool.
When I was a kid, I always wondered why judges left the competitions early. But…since having been a judge myself, I know why. It’s not what you are thinking either. Their job is simply done. That’s all. Some do choose to watch the awards, but many don’t. There is an emotional aspect that is in play too. I’ve seen that, and felt it. That is the down side of judging. They do have compassion, and a great deal of respect for you. But, you went to competition to be judged. They did their job. The tool that you need to use to be successful in future dances is the score sheet.
In my experience, I know that I judged the best that I could, based on my own ideologies and background training. I ranked alongside the other judges the same. That felt good.
I remember as a young dancer burying my head into my solo instructor’s chest and crying like a baby because I didn’t place. I was very young, and I had no idea what to expect at competition. But, with compassion and a sense of humor, my instructor (Mindy Arthur) was there to explain the score sheets afterwards. I felt that – I let her down. But, she wasn’t upset with me at all. The situation actually gave her the ability to get me to see what I needed to do. The next year as a third grader, I took my first national championship. She made me a winner, she did it through the act of humility.
If you are feeling burned, do something about it. Start by looking again at the score sheets. Go back to the dance floor, and don’t forget to shake the hand of your competition – it’s redemptive. Who knows you may make a new friend. I did!
Mindy helped guide me in my early years, to build a foundation based on humility when working with younger students ( and their parents) in dance. Mindy also inspired me to conquer education and complete my associate degree while in high school, as did she. While others degrees have followed for both of us, that initial inspiration has carried me into adulthood. That is a sure sign of a good teacher! Care about the individual first.
Mindy was truly an inspirational teacher in my formative years growing up in the dance competition world. Her training with me was not easy! I loved to goof off! Carpet rides in the Fellowship Hall at Community…. Ha Ha….. Thanks Mindy!
The big day is almost upon you – graduation! Everyone is talking about what their plans are for college, military, marriage, couch sitting, and just visiting the back of their eye balls. For some it’s an over seas trip, or road trip across country, state competitions, etc.
No body dreams that the world outside these hollowed halls will be anything but wonderful – not once the tassel is flipped to the other side.
For the last four years you have lived, ate, and breathed high school. Your parents are in the preparation stages of becoming unemployed. Unemployed as in, they won’t be sitting on the benches each week, watching this person they helped bring into the world, play sports, debate, or dance, year after year. They lived, ate, and breathed high school as well. Their days of helping you are coming to an end.
Some parents will be putting their children on the payroll, as they dole out thousands of dollars a year for their little darlings to sit snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug at a major university or four year community college. Those parents who live close enough to their students school will still get to eat and breath a little of that 3. world. But their time too, is limited.
A lot of parents are now limited to the “hey mom – hey dad, glad you guys could travel up here for this”. It’s love at a distance. However, the number of college students who still live at home, while taking classes, would surprise you. It’s a huge number!
While you stretch your wings to soar for the first time, you may be thinking that you won’t fall down along the route. Well, let me give you some words for your journey. You will fall, and you will fall hard at times. But this time, what is different, is you have to pick yourself back up.
When things turn out differently than you imagined – know that things are as they should be. Things are how you have made them, yourself. Better yet, lack of preparation on your part does not mean action on someone else’s part. Deal with it!
I want to give you some simple advice. Some advice from a friend:
– Explore the world that is before you. Explore it all.
– Finishing college is a must!
– Drinking, drugs and sex are not the answer. Instead, that route will rob you of your dreams.
– Losing the trust of your family will only break your heart, and your families.
– You can’t fix your friend’s problems. That is what AA is for.
– You can’t hang with the high schoolers anymore.
– If you are partying – stop. Instead go take a hike, swim, bike, vacation over seas, jog, write a song, play softball, etc.
– Spring break is for college age students only. NO HIGH SCHOOLERS ALLOWED, Unless you like the feel of a jail cell, irate parents, public humiliation, and drama.
– If you dance at college, and you have to be at the”in scene” – never go anywhere alone.
– Get a BIG @#$ dog and train it to bite. If not, then a little mutt with a big attitude will work. Your space is private – keep it that way.
– Men/women will leave you, and older men/women are not the answer.
– When you have to pay for your own car insurance and cell phone, maybe you won’t be so smug.
– When you see your friends drop out of school because they refused to stop partying, or ended up pregnant, and unmarried – don’t follow their lead.
– Sometimes you have to let go of bad relationships (even when it hurts for a while), so your life can get better.
Go try out those wings now. I really do wish you all success.
Have a girl or guy night out. Dance together, go dirt biking, ride horses, or go mountain biking. Take a raft trip! Don’t let anyone pull you away from the JOY that you CAN have in this life.
Did I mention not parking in the University President’s parking spot?
So, I guess the real reason behind this post is to let you know, that sometimes – the answer is no. The person who has to tell you “no” will be you.