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How to set goals for dancers

Goal setting can be challenging. Even worse, it can derail progress if a dancer sets too high of a goal for themselves leaving them with a bitter taste in their mouths.


So, as a dancer, how can we achieve big while still being realistic and kind to ourselves?


1. Set REALISTIC goals


First, the dancer must know their body type and joint limitations before creating goals that may not be physiologically possible for their body to meet. If the dancer as a flat foot, a poor choice in goals may be to say they want a high arch as a goal. One cannot change the structure of their bones but, they may be able to improve their feet through strengthening interventions.



A more realistic goal for this type of dancer would be to say that "I want to have stronger feet, use my point, and have an improved classical line."


2. Goal timeframe


Having a realistic timeframe is also a huge part of dancers meeting goals. Often dancers want results RIGHT NOW but, the musculoskeletal system cannot work safely that way.



American College of Sports Medicine, physical therapists, and personal trainers all agree that reasonable muscle growth or improvements in strength happen after 6-8 weeks of consistent training. This doesn't mean your goal will be met in 6-8 weeks, it just means you will start noticing improvement. Even though there are programs that will make claims to give you faster results, their methods may not be safe or approved by dance medicine professionals.


For example:

"I want to have stronger feet," is a pretty broad statement with no timeline but, let's change this goal to be more specific...



"I want to show better articulation with my feet at the barre in 8 weeks. Then I want to work toward improving my classical lines of my foot and ankle by week 10."


This gives the dancer both very specific goals to meet that are attainable to their body and now a timeframe to check in on results.


3. Make a plan and stick to it!


For the body, training more will not equal faster results. It can actually lead to an overuse injury and damage. Going back to our goal of having "better feet," what's your plan for making the goal happen? Are you simply going to just go into class with a mindset switch, no. You need to draw out a specific & relevant plan.



Often dancers put too much pressure on themselves with planning out goals. In reality, a dancer only needs to train in addition to normal class 2-3x a week and will make safe progress toward their goal.



For example, I have laid out my foot and ankle course into 5 weeks of progressions followed by maintenance routine and relief interventions. This gives a dancer structure to follow and progress toward their goal of better feet.


4. Track your progress


Taking before and after pictures are great but, not always reliable if you're not taking them from the correct angle.


Other ways to track progress include:

  1. Journaling after class about things you struggled with and comparing whether you struggled with them similarly or improved next class

  2. Videos - this will tell you more about your dancing than still photos

  3. Asking the teacher for input - letting them know you're working toward a goal

  4. Taking range of motion measurements



Overall, I think the most important take away from this article is that dancers understand that their body will have specific goals. You cannot compare yourself to the dancer next to you and simply say "I want to look like her." That's unrealistic and can do a lot of damage on your self esteem.


Goal setting should feel empowering. You don't need to set huge goals to make progress in dance either. Start small and work your way up to bigger goals.


If you have no idea where to start with your goals, I'm here to help. Let's work together for 45 minutes, go through a full body analysis, and determine exactly what goals you need to work on. This evaluation will show you your strength and weaknesses and help you realize what is a healthy and unhealthy goal to accomplish.


To book your evaluation click here and use code "VKBLOG" for $5 off your private evaluation! Limit one coupon use per customer for first evaluation 45 minute session only.













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