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Over-training; less days dancing or less dancing overall?


Katymac
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DD's teacher has brought up the possibility of over-training; which is something I've been concerned about for some months.  Which is better? reducing the total amount of class of dancing the same amount over less days

 

DD does:

Mon 4-6 & 6:30-7:00 helping teach 7-9:15 class

Tues 3:45-5:45 helping teach 8-9 class

Wed off

Thurs 5:45-6:30 helping teach 6:30-7:15 class

Fri 4-6:45 class

Sat 5 hours class (1.25 hr of which is MT)

Sun 4.5 hrs class

 

So we think we need to cut down; we could reduce the work load on Tues & Thurs quite easily (by 2:45 a week by not helping in class). Mon's helping pays for lots of Ballet so I'd like to keep it going but I could cut the middle 30 minutes but I'm not sure it would help.

 

I guess losing a weekend day would be the most use but it would cause the most heartache

 

 

I guess overtraining is quite serious

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Speaking from a personal point of view only!! What is the reason the teacher thinks your DD might be overtraining? Between the ages of 14 & 16 I think my DD was dancing a similar amount including attending CAT and Central School of ballet exam class on Saturday and Sunday and weekly youth dance company. When she was 16 she went to college to do BTEC dance, stopped dancing at her local dance school for various reasons, continued in London all weekend and youth dance company and was doing many more hours dancing than previously. There would have been an overtraining issue if she had continued with the local dance school. We were advised by her CAT regarding the training. Do all this boils down to why there might be an issue?

 

 

Taximom aka Heather

Edited to add signature!!

 

And edited again to make some sense where predictive text didn't make sense!!

Edited by taximom
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She did her audition piece as a run through at the end  of class & we were all amazed at how good it was compared to last term & losing the 'sparkle' can be a sign of overtraining (apparently) & certainly towards Christmas she was exhausted - then we started to wonder why....

 

She had a big show, then a smaller show & then the Audition prep started, then GCSE Mocks, then the Auditions

 

This is her last audition (unless she gets any call backs) so we were trying to balance any future potential over-training risks against what she wants to do - if that makes sense

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I think the answer would depend on both on what your DD's goals are (what sort of vocational school is she after), how she feels about the amount she's doing and whether it's affected her dancing progress in anyway. For example, are there some days where she would finish school feeling tired before starting class? Does she have a long travel to get to class? Are there any particular days your DD feels it's difficult to fit helping classes and doing classes along with homework, etc? Would she like more time not doing or helping class?

 

It might be worth having a chat with her teacher as well. Are there days/classes where she feels your DD seems less 'on form'? As dancers - all levels - there are always classes where we don't feel 'on form' but if your DD's teacher has noticed a pattern maybe those are the classes to think about stopping?

 

I hope this has helped.

Edited by Dancer Sugar Plum
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It's tricky isn't it; we knew she was tired before Christmas but assumed it was just that she had so much on, it was the end of term, the auditions, the mocks etc

 

She like to give up school & do all dance but.....only 5.5 months to go.  She is hoping to MT but has only had Pre-voc/foundation offers so far (plus BTECs)

 

Travel is more of an issue at the weekends but she chills in the car normally but last term she was rehearsing monologues & songs in the car& on the train

 

I think Friday is a difficult day (according to her teacher) & oddly enough it's better on the days she gets up early rather than when she has arranged to go into school for a later start - maybe it's the change in routine (a later start) rather than anything else

 

Her teacher brought up the subject so it must be something she is concerned about

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Overtraining syndrome/ burnout is quite an issue in dancers. Athletes have overcome this issue by introducing something called 'periodisation' into their training. Basically it means mixing it up a bit, and including rest days. The trouble with ballet is that a ballet class attempts to train everything in one class; strength in slow movements, skill in turns/intricate footwork, power in grande allegro. A footballer (for example) would do strength work one day, then power/speed work the next, then short skill based drills the next, then maybe a short match combining cardio and skills followed by a rest day.

 

It's not always the volume of training that needs to change, but the type. Can your DD vary the type of dance she does? Also bear in mind that the Christmas term is the longest and there are a lot of emotional factors involved eg mocks, coursework, etc. Burnout is basically a build up of physical and emotional stress but can lead to complete lack of interest, or illness or injury, staleness in performance etc.

 

It's interesting you say she seems better when there's a change in the routine.... That's the answer. Monotony or routine can cause staleness leading to overtraining symptoms. Mix it up a bit, make things fun, take out a class or two - if she finds it's a problem you can always pick it back up again.

 

Also worth remembering that the body can only embed the results of training during rest periods. Without the rest, there's no point in actually doing the training.

 

Please feel free to PM me if you want any more info or details.

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It seems the key might be - why is the teacher suggesting this?  What is she seeing?

 

Then - when you find out what she has in mind balance that with what your daughter would like to focus on.  

 

Burn out is a real issue.  The buildup can occur slowly but manifest rather quickly.  Perhaps a one-on-one between you and with the teacher, then a one-on-one with your daughter and then all three of you.

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On top of working hard, your daughter on top of everything else will be having to deal with some rejections from auditions. This is deflating and can leave the child feeling very low. This is a really tough year coupled with major academic exams. Physically and mentally on a fifteen year old it is a lot.

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On top of working hard, your daughter on top of everything else will be having to deal with some rejections from auditions. This is deflating and can leave the child feeling very low. This is a really tough year coupled with major academic exams. Physically and mentally on a fifteen year old it is a lot.

I was going to say the exact same thing.

I think that sometimes one can underestimate how these setbacks can affect our youngsters.

My youngest dd reacts with a I'm not bothered ,didn't want to go anyway etc and is in a thoroughly bad mood and this is only for a summer school so I'm dreading when I have to go through Upper School auditions with her.

It isn't unusual to become a bit disheartened from time to time ,so if there is nothing else bothering her maybe sit her down and look at her schedule together.

Hope she gets her Sparkle back soon.

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Sorry i think I've mis-stated somehow; I think the teacher was worried that last term there might have been a problem with over-training and that after the break DD looks and dances so much better - she has her sparkle back already iyswim;

 

http://wlv.openrepository.com/wlv/bitstream/2436/7196/1/The%20Dancer%20as%20%20Performing%20Athlete%20.pdf  Page 6 of this would suggest that the time off she has had will have helped initiate recovery from any over training

 

We need to think about how we prevent it happening again - which I think DrDance has it right - her life is so regimented & we need to mix it up a bit rather than cut stuff out.  So if there is a one off Salsa evening we cut class & go, or the cinema/theatre or something unusual

 

& I agree the rejections combined with the sheer scale of what she was doing will have played a factor - I though the up & down of audition spaced out would have been bad for DD - but I have to consider (for next year) how much she 'does' with more emphasis.  Saying that the auditions with weeks in between might be better physically but I still the emotionally they would be tricky.

 

I've just thought in addition to everything else that was going on she had her 16th birthday which much have been a 'hit' emotionally again

 

& (as an edited after thought) she missed loads of her African dance classes last term - which is always a complete break

Edited by Katymac
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If your DD is happy with what she is doing I would be inclined not to worry too much.  Have a chat with her and emphasize the need to listen to her body and that missing a few classes on nights she is tired or has a lot of work/revision doesn't matter in the long term.  Last term she basically had an exceptional term - physically and emotionally and it was the long winter term to boot.  Most kids are flagging by the end of the winter term, even without your DDs dance, audition, school, exam etc commitments.  If you want to make a 'cut' in hours, I would suggest the helping in classes on the Tuesday & Thursday evenings but let her have the time either to cope with the extra demands of school or simply as 'down time' to relax, don't try and fill it with something else.  My DD used to help at her dance school and stopped at the February half term.  The dance teachers expect their year 11 helpers to stop helping because they know they have so much on.  Pressure will build on your DD as this term goes on, from school as the GCSEs get ever closer so keep an eye on her and be prepared to be flexible with attending/missing dance classes.  Good luck.  Year 11 is definitely the worst school year.

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I agree with 2dancersmum. I recommend that your dd cut down on the classes which she helps at. She needs to prioritise her GCSEs now. Once her auditions are over (perhaps they are already) she should not feel bad about missing classes if she is tired or under the weather or if she is under pressure from school work. It's important that she keep healthy so that she can do herself justice in her GCSEs which are gruelling.

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I agree, unless your dd is seriously thinking about the possibility of becoming a dance teacher at some stage in the future, then perhaps it might be a good idea for her to stop helping in other classes for the time being and concentrate on her GCSE's and her own dance training this term.

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She can always go back to helping in classes in the future if she wants, and, from a CV/ personal statement point of view, she has 'done this' and can put it down. If she finds it impractical to help in weekly classes in the future she could offer to help with holiday workshops or shows as they are time limited and, certainly in the case of the former, would not clash with term-time academic and dance/MT training commitments.

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She does want to teach - but I agree cutting at least the Tuesday night class might be good & we can watch Thursday & cut it if it seems necessary.

 

She loves what she does - but she does see it as 'work' and as important as her GCSEs if that makes sense.

 

I think what 2Dancersmum says about last term being an exceptional term is right - the circumstances are unlikely to ever be like that again & we now have the knowledge to pre-empt any suggestion that it might get that busy again.

 

She has one last audition (tomorrow - she just left) & then I guess things will calm down quite a bit

 

Thanks everyone for talking it through with me........you know how I worry

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I know exactly what you are saying Katymac as my DD was exactly the same at that age.  But to be honest I would have suggested cutting out all helping teach classes, had you not said Monday helped pay for ballet lessons - giving a few weeks notice to the teacher of those classes of course.  At this stage her own dance training and her GCSEs are the most important and even if she wants to teach at a later date missing helping out at classes for 4-5 months will not hurt. GCSEs are the time dependent element of it all for DD at the moment.  Regardless of academic ability, you do not want her looking at her results in August and feeling she could have done more.  She gets one shot at doing her GCSEs and it is what she has to show for all those hours she has had to spend at school instead of dancing.  I think it is important to remember too that whilst you do not yet know what DD will be doing in September, you do know that her life and daily routine will have changed and she may not be able to take any of her current classes or help in any classes so that 'goodbye' is on the horizon in any case.  Also remember, that a teacher will welcome back a good reliable helper and stopping helping for a time due to school is not burning your bridges. oh and good luck to DD for her audition tomorrow.

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Katymac: don't ever feel bad for worrying! Sadly in my line of work (not the dance related type) I hear of parents who don't worry. At all.

 

Yiannis' article is excellent (He was one of my supervisors on my PhD) - he's also written an excellent one on burnout in dance Try this link: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/32116250_Burnout_in_Dance_the_physiological_viewpoint/file/d912f512fe33758168.pdf or http://wlv.openrepository.com/wlv/handle/2436/7612

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