Balancing Game Day and Competition

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Dance team season is in full swing! As coach, we know you are juggling a lot. From game day preparation, to competition choreography and fundraiser planning, do you feel overwhelmed by the schedule? Has your game preparation taken a backseat due to competition cleaning or vice versa? Do you fear that your new routine is being overlooked because of your many upcoming game day commitments? We have good news, we are here with some tips that will help you manage it all!

Being Organized is Being in Control

Something that can assist with organization is creating a calendar that represents all major events including practices, games, choreography, competition, community events and fundraisers to distribute to your team and parents. Athletes will feel better prepared seeing the season laid out in its entirety and this will help you to plan accordingly for each individual event. You can also go digital. BAND is a free Group Communications App designed with dance teams in mind. Share all your game schedules, reminders and practice videos right on the app. The “read by” feature is particularly great because #NoExcuses! Check out more information about BAND here:

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Whether your team practices one day a week or every day, productivity in practice is essential. Come to every practice with an outline of what needs to be accomplished and give yourself time checkpoints so that you know when to move on to something else. Allow time for warm-up and stretching, technique, staging formations for the upcoming game and also review and cleaning of your competition routine. Focus on the immediate needs first. If you have back-to-back weekend games, tackle those first! The more time there is to digest material, the more prepared your dancers will feel come game time.

It is helpful to continue to practice the team skills in your competition routines during technique time at practice. Delegating time to master the technical skill outside of the routine will help to create endurance for that skill within the routine. Cleaning in smaller sections versus the routine as a whole allows you to be more focused and detail oriented, it also will assist the dancers to focus on specific changes or corrections. When cleaning the routine, utilizing video feedback will help dancers see what they need to change. Remember a routine is never going to look competition ready after just one practice, take things day by day and celebrate the small progressions!

Utilize Camp Material

Camp is not only a great way to enhance your team’s technique and make lasting team relationships, but it also provides routines for you to take home and perform for your fans! In a time crunch, creating choreography can be overwhelming, so rely on the choreography from camp that the team members already know. This can be a great leadership opportunity for a dancer to teach rest of the team one of the routines they learned at camp. Use the suggested formations, ripples and levels to help enhance the routine. Camp routines help provide great choreography that will entertain your crowd at games and make your game day responsibilities a little less stressful!

Keeping Routines Fresh & Fun!

If you find you are needing more game day routines, use this as an opportunity to grow your dancers’ abilities! Hold choreography auditions within the team to give opportunities to dancers who would like to contribute their own routines. Ask an alumni in the area to visit and provide new a halftime dance. An additional way to challenge your dancers and keep things fresh is to choreograph a high-energy routine outside of your competition style. Maybe you compete in kick, so instead, you create a hip-hop halftime to music that your team loves. Your dancers will appreciate working on something a little different and this freshness will help to continue to build morale within the team.

The Steady Climb until Competition

Competition dates may seem far away, but they always seem to arrive faster than we anticipate. Whether it’s a local event or a national championship, all coaches want their dancers to be successful and leave it all on the floor. Increased preparation can relieve that performance anxiety and allow them to dance their best. Some practices may show more growth than others, but dedication to the routine’s progress is key. With your attention to detail and organization for game days and competitions, you can help to set your team up for a successful season from start to finish!


I can’t wait to see you at an NDA Competition this season! Always remember, #theworkisworthit.

– NDA Ashley

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