Back in the day when I first started to pole, there were no expectations. You would go along, learn some cool moves and that would be that. As you would expect, some moves come easier than others, but that’s why you go back the following week and try again.
While it’s great to be able to share all of our pole adventures on websites and in particular on social media, I think it also sets quite unrealistic goals for most of us.
When you go along to a class, you are taught from some sort of syllabus with a clear progression in mind. You have an idea of what kind of moves you will be learning in the different levels. Nowadays there are so many new moves, it can be difficult to figure out whether they are super hard or super easy (unless you throw yourself in to that move of course!) and how long it should take to learn it.
If someone is showing you a move that they can do, of course they will make it look easy – they can do it, it should look easy! So for those of us who can’t do it, we can be fooled into thinking we will nail it within the hour, when this usually isn’t the case.
In very general terms, spins are usually relatively easy to learn (weeks not months). Now if you try a Pixie Spin on your first time on the pole it is unlikely you will get it (and dangerous to try) but if you’re learning at a sensible progression rate ie starting with the basics, you should be able to get the spins to a comfortable point within the first couple of lessons trying it. Comfortable doesn’t mean perfect! 😀
When it comes to anything else, this is not the case. Climbs and seats take longer to get than spins – I would say that this is partly because it takes us a little while to get used to the pain, as well as of course needing strength and to learn the technique.
Inverts of course take longer to get. There are some inverted moves that you may be able to get the first time you try, but most take a lot longer to nail and feel confident with. It took me so long just to do a basic invert, that I remember thinking I would never, ever get it.
There are always exceptions to the rules – if you’ve got a great level of strength, or a dance back ground, you may find it easier to pick things up. Most of us don’t – and that’s fine.
Know If You’re Ready
More and more frequently, I see pictures and videos of people saying ‘I’ve been poling for a week and here’s my first invert’ and it makes me worried. Of course there is that tendency to find the hardest move you can and then try it. I certainly do it – but I do have 8 years of pole experience to help me figure out if I’m ready for that move BEFORE I even try it.
I don’t know everyone’s background – if you do another aerial discipline, you may be able to invert after only a week of pole. But again, most of us aren’t ready and shouldn’t try it.
Pole shouldn’t be a race. I don’t care how long it takes you to nail moves, as long as you’re being safe… and it’s unlikely that after a week of pole, you are being safe. You need to make sure that you’re looking after your body. Make sure you are ready for each move before you try it.
It can be hard to know if you’re ready for certain moves – especially if you’re poling by yourself. Of course it depends on how often you pole, and your fitness background to an extent as well. While you can start to do two handed spins almost on your first lesson (we learn one), it usually takes months of poling before you should even try to go upside down.
Keep It Slow
Don’t judge yourself on others. I find it silly when people feel the need to show us how quickly they have learnt each move – no one cares, and it’s just dangerous for others who think they can get that move in the same, ridiculously short amount of time.
I see people who have been poling for a week – yes, just an actual week – who ask why they can’t invert… Erm probably because you have only been poling for a week? It’s normal not to be able to go upside down in just 7 days!! Why do we need to rush it? There are so many other cool moves that we can try before we go upside down, so that we know we are strong enough and ready.
Go At Your Own Pace
So if you see people telling the world that they should be advancing really quickly, ignore them. Keep yourself safe. Enjoy the journey that pole brings – the feeling each week that the older spins are getting easier, and the new ones are still a challenge.
At some point you will be working on much harder moves, but you’ll find them easier to do (and safer) if your body is ready for them.
So let’s go back to the basics. They set the foundation of pole. Spins: Here we come! 😀