TU Speaks to Character
Self-discipline: the control of one’s actions or feelings
Regardless of their twirling level or eventual achievement in the competitive twirling world, most twirlers, when asked “What did you learn from twirling?”, will include ‘self-discipline’ in their answer.
Certainly time management is a part of what they mean. Competition twirlers are often involved in bands or twirling corps, and attending those practices and performances, along with their own individual practice and school commitments, requires efficiency and good planning.
But there’s more to self-discipline than just time management skills. Setting a goal—and striving for it. Making practice time count—and making practice time focus on one (or more) of the goals set. Performing for your own self-improvement. Demanding premium effort. All of these things are part of self-discipline.
Controlling emotions is a different aspect of self-discipline. Refraining from displays of anger or disappointment until you are out of the public eye is one example. (How many mothers have said “No crying until you are in the locker room”?). Smiling as you congratulate an opponent requires self-discipline when you are disappointed in your own placement. Even dealing with the disappointment of an injury—and being able to look ahead to the next competition—requires a form of self-discipline.
Because placement in a twirling competition is subject to the judge’s opinion, a twirler can’t control the outcome of a contest. But he/she CAN control their own effort and set goals for something that IS within their control.
Action Plans for Teachers and Parents By Karen Moretti
"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that is your own self."
1) Set realistic amounts of practice time for your twirler. It is often better to define practice sessions in terms of routines completed, rather than time - such as: Practice 3 times a week and do 3 solos each time. Obviously different goals are appropriate for different age levels and different levels of ability, but this helps to develop goal-oriented practicing.
2) Set specific goals for each practice. These could focus on specific sections - or specific skills. One week the focus could be on speed. Each practice session could be devoted to cutting one or two seconds off a specific section of the routine. Another week could focus on free hand - with perhaps each day concentrating on the free hand in a specific section or two.
3) Emphasize the importance of "maintaining" previously mastered accomplishments. For example, when the focus shifts to improving the free hand, maintain the previous improvements in speed. Obviously, cumulative improvement becomes more difficult.
4) Ask your twirler the following question... What is one thing you are willing to do to become a better twirler? That answer is a goal! Follow with a discussion about how he/she will accomplish that goal and make a step-by-step action plan. Where? When? What time? Who will help you?
5) Ask your twirler to keep track of how he/she spends free time. It takes self-discipline to define a practice time in lieu of another activity like (watching television) but the time is often there!
6) Teach your twirler to think before they speak! As we mentioned with the action plans for RESPECT, twirlers need to accept that judges’ decisions are final and learn to interact positively with other people. Twirling helps to teach us to be gracious and poised at ALL times...even when things don't for as desired! Sometimes, finding quiet time and counting to ten may be in order to collect oneself!
7) Use the term "self-discipline" and comment positively when you see it in action. For example, if a group is practicing before class officially starts, say..."Good job! You are working on your own without being told. You are really showing self-discipline today!"
8) Teach twirlers to honor commitments. It takes self-discipline to attend a practice or lesson when friends invite your twirler to do another activity—but attending the practice or lesson is the right thing to do. Being reliable is an important quality we can teach!
9) Finally, teach your twirlers that we cannot control everything. We can only control our own actions, reactions, and words. That, in itself, is a valuable lesson for all of us!
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