I used to worry that’d never be good enough to go along to workshop with some of the best polers out there. Now I’ve decided that no matter what happens, I’ll always get something out of it – even if it’s just inspiration to train or a new move to work towards.
Obviously there’s no point booking onto an advanced workshop if you can’t invert, but most of the time there will be variations or even just strength and conditioning work for you to try.
What To Take
The simple answer is: everything!
You never know what moves are going to be thrown at you so take anything and everything you usually use.
I take two pairs of shorts (in case one rips – this is just me being obsessive though.) Tops for every occasion – some tops I love to shoulder mount in and others I prefer to invert normally in – one gives good shoulder grip and the other good stomach grip.
You also never know how cold it will be so take trousers you can wear over your shorts to be able to quickly take them off and put them on again – leg warmers are good for this as well. Jumpers, hoodies you name it! You don’t have to wear everything you take but it’s important to have the option!
Take your own cleaning supplies!
I love the cloths I use to clean the pole. Other venues will have cloths for you to use and others won’t, so it’s best to be prepared just in case. Obviously I’d ask before using any funky new cleaning products or grips if I’m on someone else’s poles but cloths are all good. I take grips along too – even ones I don’t usually use. The most frustrating thing is going to a workshop and not being able to do anything due to lack of grip. Again, I’d ask before using anything on the poles, especially to the person you’re poling with – they might not want you to smother the pole in grip, but it’s up to you what you put on your body.
Some venues will have bits and pieces to eat or buy and sometimes there will be something next door. More and more frequently I go to venues in warehouse spaces (I still dream of my future studio every time I visit someone else’s) so you never know how far it is to the closest shop. Take plenty of water and food with you – if you all decide to have lunch out as a group then you can save the food you bought for tomorrow.
Film, film, film. I find this so unbelievably helpful. At workshops you’ll go over so many new moves and tricks, so it’s so important to film them so you can watch back and try them again. It’s very hard and time consuming to write down every part of the move so filming is key.
Ask your pole buddy to film you and I’m sure they will want the same as well. I practice each move and then film once when I think I’ve got it. It doesn’t matter if you are nowhere near perfect, this just needs to be a reference for you to come back to.
Filming the instructor – this really depends on the instructor. Sometimes they will tell you can film them (as long as you don’t share or post it anywhere) and others won’t mention it.
Always ask. I tend to only film the instructor (after asking) if they are doing a move that I can not get in the workshop but want to try again later. Always ask for a pic with them at the end though 🙂
Sometimes I’ll be the only one taking notes, but other times I’ll find a pole friend just as obsessive as me at taking notes. I use this to write down bits and bobs I can’t film. For example, this could be a transition I want to try, strength work and conditioning exercises or combinations mentioned but not tried in the workshop.
I also write little tips – you know some moves you need to squeeze a certain part or push in a certain way which is not always obvious when watching. These are often essential in nailing your move.
Can Do Attitude
If you go into a workshop thinking negatively and worrying, it’s a lot harder to get out of that mind set.
Don’t worry if you can’t do the moves – at least you’re learning new moves to try in the future and you’ll often have an idea of the strength that you need to build up. I never manage to nail all the moves in a workshop and wouldn’t want to – what the point?
I want moves to work on, achieve and eventually tick off my to do list.
Every time you try a move you get closer to perfecting it!