Do you have aerial a.d.d.?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 12:12 AM

Even though you attend classes regularly, do you have a growing list of goals you want to achieve? A slew of skills you want to learn? Tons of tricks you have yet to nail down? Do you find yourself unable to decide which of your favorite moves you want to put in your next performance? You may be suffering from Aerial Attention Deficit Disorder. If you are lucky enough to have access to multiple types of apparatus, you may have the most severe form of Aerial A.D.D. (Legal Disclaimer! Insert fast talking-monotone-lawyer type voice here: “Aerial A.D.D. is not an actual medical diagnosis. It will not require medication, nor should you seek medical attention for this obviously fake syndrome. The coaches of Air Born Aerial Fitness, the performers of Air Born Aerial Arts and the writer of this blog do not hold any type of medical degrees and therefore should not be relied upon for anything other than aerial related awesomeness.”)

OK, back to the blog...

So what exactly do we mean by Aerial A.D.D.? As many aerialists know, we develop favorites among apparatus. Each new thing you learn on that apparatus is pure joy. These skills take practice, practice, practice! So we write the notes down. We watch others. We film ourselves as we’re practicing and we add it to our list of things to keep working on, to get better at it and to ‘clean it up’.

But wait! Whats that new move that they’re learning over there? Oooh! I want to learn that too! So the process repeats itself.... Aerial A.D.D.

When you take that same syndrome and multiply it, because you take classes on silks, trapeze, hammock and more.... SEVERE Aerial A.D.D.!!

Is it healthy and fun to learn a wide variety of skills? Absolutely. Sometimes when a particular skill is giving us a hard time or we have hit a plateau with it, putting it on the back burner is a great idea. But we never want to be Jack. You know who Jack is don’t you?  Jack of all trades, Master of none.

Remember our Mastery blog about levels of proficiency? It ties in with your Aerial A.D.D, I promise! Read it again by clicking here:

So how do we overcome this syndrome? While you may not ever be completely cured, here are a few tips that can help keep your Aerial A.D.D. under control:

  1. 1.Open yourself up to trying different apparatus. Yes, this sounds like a sure fire way to make the symptoms worse! But here is why we suggest this:  Until you’ve given different apparatus a chance to win your heart, you may not have found your true love just yet. Also, making the connection on certain moves from one apparatus to another will help your body and brain understand it better.

  2. 2.Write down everything you learn. Hmmm...Heard this before, ABAF students? It works!

  3. 3.Make a list of goals and put an “Achieve by” date on them.

  4. 4.When you are working on a particular skill put it into every training session. Practice, Practice, Practice! Make it a part of your warm up routine (Discuss this with your aerial coach first, as NO aerial coach likes to look over at students who are supposed to be doing warm up exercises to see them doing a drop!)

  5. 5.Take the new skill you are working on and put it in a short improv sequence to challenge yourself. Example: Put together 5 ‘tricks’, and 1 of them has to be the skill you are currently working on, the other 4 would be tricks you already have at the competent or mastery level (Again, refer to that proficiency blog)

  6. 6.When you are working on a performance piece, DO NOT get distracted by the new things you are learning in class. Once you have set your choreography, build that! If you keep adding new tricks or changing your mind, you aren''t giving yourself a chance to really perfect the performance. It will show, I promise. Mastery of a ‘basic’ trick is much more impressive than a semi-competent struggle of a more ‘advanced’ one.

  7. 7.Revisit the basics, or your earlier lessons. Sometimes going back through your notebooks and footage of things you learned long ago will re-ignite the passion. Getting back to the basics is NEVER a bad idea. It helps you become a better aerialist, it can remind you of goals or choreography you once had planned and may help you focus instead of constantly wanting to learn ‘what they are doing’.

  8. 8.Have patience. When we are addicted to aerials (and really, who isn''t?!?), we want to soak up as much as we can, as fast as we can. Everyone wants to post themselves doing the latest move thats trending on Instagram. But have patience. Aerials will be there. That skill will be there, waiting on you to master the one you are working on now, before you get to it.

  9. 9.Set a schedule for yourself. Example: If your latest goal is to have a great star drop: Work on that solid for the next 10 training sessions. Learn it, feel it, understand it. Put your own ‘signature’ on it. Practicing something once does not qualify as practicing! A famous quote by infamous fighter Bruce Lee: “ I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”

We all suffer from Aerial A.D.D., just in varying degrees of severity. But with a little self control, patience and discipline, we can recover!!