by Clair Ching
Learning hoop moves can be fun! Well, not all the time. There are moments when it feels like you’re stuck and there’s almost no way of getting that trick down. A terrible feeling, I swear. I get that feeling too and I honestly almost gave up on one-legged hooping because of my frustrations with it. But you know what? I can finally do it! I had to break through those feelings of frustration and anxiety and in the end. In fact, here are a few things I’ve learned recently from spinning my way through such moments.
1. Hooping is fun no matter how many moves you know. Whether you know one move or a hundred, hooping is and is meant to be fun! If one move you’ve been trying to learn is still not coming to you and it’s starting to hijack your happiness, don’t let it get in the way of having a good time. You and your hoop probably just need a bit more personal bonding time, so don’t worry too much about it. When you’re trying to study and force that move and your hoop has hit you one time too many, stop for a while. Set the move aside and just enjoy the feeling of your hoop around your waist again. Get in the center of your hoop and feel the good vibes.
2. The diminishing returns of intense practice. Sometimes I get too intense about practice and it doesn’t help me much, but thankfully I’ve learned about the diminishing returns of intense practice. When I do my drills and I still don’t get it, it’s time to take a break. Sometimes I get tired of doing the same things over and over anyway. Emotionally, the break helps me detach from any negative feelings, while physically, my body gets some likely needed rest. When I still couldn’t get one legged hooping, for example, my hoop had been hitting my knee repeatedly. It felt abused after awhile. I had to take time away from knee hooping, in order to learn it later on.
3. Change your music, change your pace. There’s nothing quite like good music to put you in a great mood to practice. Something I learned recently, however, is that one legged hooping has a rhythm that I couldn’t quite get because I couldn’t seem to make my leg do that pulsing motion fast enough. I’d been mostly hooping to slow songs, and in this case faster beats helped me get into the proper pulsing rate and ultimately helped me achieve that move. For other moves slowing things down might do the trick.
4. Visualization can be a powerful tool. Want to learn that hoop move? Sometimes the first step is changing our mind from “I can’t” to “I can.” Visualization can really help, seeing ourselves being able to do it first, can help us bring that into reality. In my case, when I was learning one legged hooping, I got around to thinking about how I could be like a flamingo. For vertical chest hooping in the downwards direction, it helped to imagine I was doing CPR while standing up. Each of us have different images we can associate with certain hoop moves and it won’t hurt to try it and to spend some time seeing ourselves getting there first.
5. Be open to asking for help. Hooping with friends is a pretty fun, and it’s an opportunity to ask for help. Some of mine were more familiar with one-legged hooping than I was, so I asked for their advice. They were able to give me tips on how to position my feet and they were also able to observe me while trying it out. Their feedback really helped me figure it out and, at the same time, I was able to help them as well and give them feedback. Sometimes my friends even mirror each other to help one another learn a move.
Learning new hooping moves can surely be difficult on us at times, but it’s worth the journey because in the end we will not have only learned a new trick to add to our hoop dance in the future, we are likely to learn some important new things about ourselves and life and learning along the way. Not only did I recently get to experience the joy of successfully hooping on one leg, adding new elements to my flow, hooping taught me how to balance the discipline involved in learning, with having a great time getting there. I hope these tips prove useful to you in your hooping practice. Observing the many possibilities for us to learn on this journey is proving to be a very exciting thing.
Columnist Clair Ching is from Manila and she is an active member of Hoopnation Philippines. She found hooping in 2012 as a great way to keep herself active and physically fit. She blogs about hooping, crafting and food on Being a Crafty Cat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for quick updates on her hooping life.