Remember back in the day when we began our dance season in August?! Football games and fundraising folding into the competitive season. Do you remember why fall season went away? I do, I remember it like it was yesterday…well, OK, maybe I don’t remember the “why” so clearly but I do remember every coach I knew talking about it and everyone of them had a VERY strong opinion on it. I think it all started because some teams couldn’t have a fall season, you know, school budgets or limited number of student participants. All for good reasons, we wanted to level the playing field. We wanted to make dance team fair.
Back then many coaches were, dare I say, well, they were upset at this idea of the fall season being gone. It was all that was talked about and here we are, some odd number of years later and we have not only lost our fall season, but we have also flourished! Dance team talent has increased at breakneck speeds and teams are better funded now than they have ever been. It is a rare day you see a team compete in the same costume 2 years in a row and the sheer number of turns one dancer can do consecutively on the state floor is absolutely amazing. Hate to say it, but what exactly were we so worried about?! Ok, now I can hear it, you are reading this saying, “Yeah, but tons of schools still have a “fall” program at their school, students are still training and dancing in August”!
Yeah, I know that…still, it is not the same. Dancers are not just allowed to do something else in the fall, perhaps they are even encouraged. They can honestly do fall dance season “for fun”. How amazing! New students who have never danced in their life get this opportunity! We likely have increased the number of dancers in our sport overall.
And just think of all we KNOW now. We know over training is a serious problem in teenage athletes today. In every sport, not just dance. Research has been done showing the dangers of young athletes becoming “single sport athletes” at too young an age. For years we have been working on being looked at as a sport, having 2 seasons certainly wouldn’t help us in that fight…let’s face it, not sure what will help us in that fight, but anyways, that topic needs another day.
For those that lived through it, we are stronger now and better! For those that don’t remember it, we hope you are around for the next big change, whatever it may be. Coaches, let’s allow our dancers to learn from someone else for a while and take time off for YOU! You can’t be your best coaching self without some time off to gain a little perspective. So in the words of a very wise coach,
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” – Coach John Wooden
Don’t be afraid of change, embrace it, challenge yourself to welcome it with open arms and in the process, learn to do things differently. It is good for us (coaches) and it is certainly good for our dancers.
MADT Student Convention Director