It’s fun to have a little group of hotshot acrobats – they’re young and ready for a challenge, and YOU’RE ready to show them off at competition! However, even with these superstar students, it’s still so important not to push them too fast too soon.
Well, there are a few reasons:
- Long-Term Dysfunction: Remember that your students are still growing, and pushing them ahead too soon (think: hard-impact tumbling skills or overstretching) can cause physical problems for the rest of their training careers and, potentially, the rest of their lives.
- Technique: When you fast-track a student in their tricks, technique often suffers in the attempt to get them progressing as quickly as possible. In our opinion, a cartwheel with beautiful straight legs is much nicer to watch onstage than an aerial that’s low to the ground with bent legs and a running preparation (ie. The “scaerial”).
- Burn-out: You can only sprint for so long. If you train your superstar students to be pushing ahead all the time, they will eventually get tired, frustrated, and maybe even drop out of acro. This means less years of student enrolment at your studio!
So, what’s the solution? What do I work on with my students that want more?
The answer: Variations
There are so many ways to “spice up” a basic acro trick to keep your students excited and engaged.
For example, instead of an elbow-stand with the legs in a straight-up position, challenge your students to balance with legs in a split, stag, or double-attitude.
Or, for your students with a beautiful back walkover, have them try Back Walkover from a Leg Grab, or One-arm Back Walkover.
By using variations, your students are still continuously learning and being challenged, but not pushing ahead to tricks that they are not physically or developmentally ready for.
Good luck teachers, and have fun making up your own variations!