Ask An Expert: How to motivate twirlers to practice outside of classes (Part 3)

QUESTION

“We have several twirlers who are very dedicated and love baton twirling who practice all the time, but there are others who like baton and don’t practice outside of class. What is a good way to teach and inspire our twirlers to practice more outside of class? We have tried practice charts to earn rewards and prizes, we have routine checks, even all-star of the month.”

Annonymous

 


 

ANSWER

by Cheryl Wimberley (COACH)

One successful strategy I use to help twirlers become both excited and motivated to practice on their own is to give them short-term goals.

Many times, I find twirlers want to practice but they become overwhelmed with the amount of material they are expected to cover.

Another problem I find is that kids do not think they are able to master the trick or tricks given to them. Because of this fear of failure, their responses are to procrastinate.

I have found these strategies to be successful:

  1. Provide the twirler with realistic expectations.
  2. Break the trick down for them into smaller levels.
    (This way they feel successful by mastering each level and are more likely to be motivated to practice)
  3. Success is not only fun, it is also motivating.
    Most of us are excited when we know we are succeeding. Therefore, by giving twirlers small pieces of the puzzle, they become more confident and eager to work on the twirling routine because they can experience success more quickly. Otherwise, they may become overwhelmed, frustrated and possibly move on to another activity.
  4. Help the twirler construct a practice schedule.
    Many times they do not see how much can be accomplished in 5, 10 or even 15 minutes. Small increments work wonders. When twirlers realize they have time to work on one particular skill for a small amount of time, they will be more inclined to utilize that small amount of time instead of dreading hours and hours of “work” as they see it.
  5. Have twirlers write down (record) their daily schedule and try to help them organize a mini-goal sheet.
  6. Next discuss a pacing guide to help them achieve these goals.
  7. When twirlers experience progress, they become excited and willing to work at the next level of practice. Quite often the problem is to help them find the time in their active lives for quality practice. Try to help them design a realistic schedule.
  8. Positive progress equals motivation to continue. My students love stickers regardless of age. I have no problem giving tons and tons of stickers. Make it fun!

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