Drill Obsession.com | helping drill and dance teams perform at their best

Jul/08

17

Splits in 3 weeks: FAQs

I want to first thank everyone for visiting this website, seeking advice, and leaving comments. You certainly aren’t alone in your journey to getting the splits down!

I want to take some time to address some of your questions that have been brought up in this post. Feel free to leave comments and ask more questions.

Some FAQs:

Am I stretching correctly if I feel pain?
Can you help me on cartwheels?
Do both your legs have to be straight?
I’m a freshman. What are tryouts like? Can freshman be on the drill team?
How do I maintain flexibility? I feel like after waking up, I’m just as inflexible as I was before I started stretching.
Is this post for all splits? Right, left, and center?
Is there a video to go with this post? Or pictures for each stretch?
Am I too old to start dancing?
What kind of stretches am I supposed to do in each session? Can I do all of them?
I’m not a dancer, but I want to do the splits. Is this site for me?
Are there other ways to warm up other than jogging?
How can I get my splits down even faster? Can tall people or guys do the splits?
feel like I’m not getting anywhere, and my legs are really painful from all the stretching. Is this program not for me?

Am I stretching correctly if I feel pain? No. If you feel that a stretch is painful, then you have gone too far (or haven’t warmed up enough). Back it up a little and try to take it step by step. You will get to your splits eventually, but not on day 1. Just be patient, and stretch to your limits (that is, to the point before you feel pain). Eventually, your limits will one day become the splits. It’s quite difficult to describe what a stretch feels like–if you’re having trouble with this, a great person to ask for help is a fitness instructor.

Can you help me on cartwheels? Sorry. In my drill experience, I’ve never seen anyone do cartwheels. Of course, drill is different from state to state, so if anyone could provide some good advice on this topic, I’d be happy to post it on the site and give you credit!

Do both your legs have to be straight? Generally, yes. However, some girls have a lot of difficulty straightening out their back leg. I’d say that if your legs are almost straight, then no one will notice any minor bending. A skirt can usually hide these little things.

I’m a freshman. What are tryouts like? Can freshman be on the drill team? Are they easier on you? I don’t have the answer to this question because all schools are different. This is a good question to ask your team’s coach or captain.

How do I maintain flexibility? I feel like after waking up, I’m just as inflexible as I was before I started stretching. This is a common problem, and it usually happens when either:
1. Your stretching session wasn’t long enough, or
2. You don’t stretch frequently enough
Try to lengthen your stretching sessions, or increasing the number of stretching sessions you have each day.

Is this post for all splits? Right, left, and center? Yes.

Is there a video to go with this post? Or pictures for each stretch? Unfortunately, no. However, if anyone would like to make a video of the stretches or post pictures, feel free to do so or email them to me. I could post these to help everyone else, and I will definitely give you credit.

Am I too old to start dancing? Absolutely not! Though it will probably be more difficult to get started when you get older, you can definitely start at any time.

What kind of stretches am I supposed to do in each session? Can I do all of them? This is up to you, but it’s important to pick a variety of stretches so that you are stretching different muscle areas. Doing all the stretches is fine.

I’m not a dancer, but I want to do the splits. Is this site for me? This site is for people who want to do the splits, but it’s mainly targeted to dancers. If you are looking to improve your flexibility, I think this is a fit for you. If you’re looking more towards leg training for martial arts, then this is probably not suited for you.

Are there other ways to warm up other than jogging?
Yes! Whatever gets your muscles warm and makes you sweat is good, even if it’s jumping on a trampoline.

How can I get my splits down even faster? Splits take time, and 3 weeks is already quite a short time. I wouldn’t recommend trying to further accelerate this process.

Can tall people or guys do the splits? Usually, yes.

I feel like I’m not getting anywhere, and my legs are really painful from all the stretching. Is this program not for me? Not necessarily. If you are feeling painful from stretching, that’s not a good sign because it means you have strained your muscles. Thus, the reason you’re not getting anywhere is probably because you are stretching incorrectly. You may feel some soreness from stretching, but if you are feeling painful, try to ease back and not go so far. Be aware of your limits, and don’t go past them.

Ok, that’s it for now. To everyone who has gotten down to the splits: Congratulations! I’m proud of your commitment and dedication to your goal. To those of you still working on them: good luck and stay motivated.

Use the wiki page to keep me posted on your progress!

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Aug/07

23

Ways to Improve Your Flexibility

You can always improve your flexibility. But sometimes you just don’t know how!

I didn’t explain actual stretches to you in how to become more flexible. So, here are some stretches that might work for you:

The Simple Stretches
That’s right. Just the normal old v-sit will help a lot! You just need to focus when you stretch. If you truly want to be more flexible, then work on being more flexible. Stretch and think of stretching that extra inch as your goal. You won’t become flexible if you don’t genuinely want it. Stretching requires focus.

The Split
Sit in your splits for a minute or two and feel the stretch. If you don’t feel any stretch, elevate one leg on a stair, step, or phonebook. You can also try to split against a doorway. Hold the sides of the wall to keep your balance.
On the other hand, if you cannot do the splits, then go as close as you can and stay in this position for at least a minute. Don’t estimate, either. Use a clock, or else you might think it’s been one minute when it’s only been 20 seconds. Pain impairs your estimation!

Spread Eagle
There are a lot of names for this one. Basically, sit in a v-sit near a wall. Spread your legs out as far as possible and pull yourself into the wall as far as you can. This helps a lot in doing the middle splits.

Stretch with a Friend!
There’s lots of stretches you can do with a partner! Lay on your back–legs straight; point both toes. Have a partner elevate one leg as far to your nose as possible. Try resisting your partner’s push for ten seconds, relaxing and pulling your leg in for ten seconds, resisting, etc. You can also do this by yourself by simply pulling your own leg in.
Here’s another one. Place your leg on a friend’s shoulder (be careful!). If that is too high for you, tell your partner to lower it. Your partner can then hold your leg and raise it up as you get used to the stretch. You should lean on a wall so you don’t lose your balance!

These stretches all work, but the best way to stretch is to use a mixture of everything. Stretch every muscle in your body.
The most important thing to know when stretching is to focus. You can’t just stretch without focusing and expect to become more flexible. When you stretch, think about stretching and nothing else. This focus is really what is going to help you.

Comment and tell me if this helps!

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Since my post about stretching splits in three weeks has been so popular, I’m writing a follow-up.

Thanks to everyone who read the article and started getting those splits down! I’m very happy for all of you, and glad that you already have the splits. Thank you for everyone who commented, also. See, three weeks wasn’t so long after all!

If you don’t have the splits already, you should read the article posted above and work on them! Trust me, three weeks will zip by.

This article is mainly about how you can further improve your leg flexiblity–get those kicks high, split when you’re in the air, hold your leg to your nose, whatever it is, you can do it!

Flexibility is just step one to getting high kicks. Leg strength comes next. So many people have perfect splits, but low kicks. It doesn’t make sense, but when you think about it, you’re using different muscles and need strength.

For kick flexibility, stretch your splits vertically on a wall (doorways make it easiest for balance). This is your kick position, so it will help most.

For kick strength, keep kicking! Don’t kill yourself, but practice some good kicks everyday. I’d recommend three sets a day of two eight-counts of high kicks (bounce, kick, bounce, etc.), meaning eight kicks each set (don’t worry too much about staying in line, but do keep it in mind–at this moment, just worry about getting your kicks up). Running also strengthens those leg muscles, so a short jog a day will really help. Encourage your team to jog daily (for at least ten minutes) to warm up. Of course, jogging right after school doesn’t seem too enticing, but after a few minutes, it feels really nice. Building muslces in your thigh help keep your kicks high. Combining all your leg muscles help keep your legs straight.

Remember, remember, remember: do not hunch into your kicks. Sometimes when you bring your body into your kick it feels like it’s higher because your face is closer to your knee, but it gives you bad posture and does not elevate your kicks.

I’ve heard that stretching in the pool or in a warm bath might help, but I’ve never tried this myself. If you’re interested, you could try it out (tell me how it goes!).

This is just a general article about leg strength. If you are truly interested, I will be posting a follow-up to this one including a specific schedule/strengthening routine that you can use to help you out.

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Aug/07

17

Redesigned category and monthly archive view

I’ve redesigned the category and monthly archive pages so that you can easily scan through the articles. Now instead of listing full articles, it lists the title and a short description so you can see more without scrolling. Check it out!

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I recently launched a forum on this site. I feel that the blog and forum combination creates a site where you can come to read and learn and then further the discussion and start new discussions. Here are 4 reasons why you should join the forum.

Meet others who share your passion for dance and creativity. Everyone who comes here is passionate about dance and the arts. We are excited about performance, competition, and self-improvement. This online energy needs a place where everyone can interact and further enjoyment, discovery, and learning in dance.

    Give and receive advice from others. Everyone’s an expert at something and we can all learn from each other. The forum is a great place for sharing tips. Start a topic about something and just wait for a response. Or if you know a particular user, you can private message them.

      Talk about regional events. I’ve created a Washington and Oregon state forum to start with because I know those states have pretty active drill and dance programs. But correct me if I left you out! Comment here if you would like me to add your state so you can bring your friends on.

      Talk about topics not already written about on this site. I’m sure there are a lot of questions out there and a whole lot more ideas and answers.

        It’s quick and easy to join! It’s a little quiet right now because it was just launched, but just sign up and give a shout out in the introduction forum to let everyone else know you’re here. Click here to join.

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Jul/07

1

Choosing successful team members

Promote. The first step in choosing great team members is to get a lot of people to tryout so that you have a variety of people to choose from. Find ways to promote the team and show people that tryout season is coming up at least a few weeks beforehand so that people can make plans to attend practices. Here are some ways that you can promote the team.

1) Make nice posters around your school to show people that tryouts are coming up soon.

2) Put in announcements. Many schools have announcements or a daily bulletin. Somehow convey the information across the school so that people know.

3) Participate in school events to gain recognition. It helps to announce immediately after a pep assembly performance that tryouts are coming up; leave a signup sheet in various places of your school so that you have people’s names and phone numbers. You can then contact them with more information.

4) Tell all current team members to find five new people to try out for the team.

5) Pretty much anything else you can think of will work! Leave comments if you have suggestions.

Examine willingness to learn. There is a lot to learn once someone makes the team. Examine how willing someone is to learn all this material.

Examine work ethic. In addition to being willing to learn, people must be willing to practice. You must examine how hard a person works and how much they will practice. You can make notes of how people are improving from day to day of the tryout process. Those who practiced the most will be noticeably better than those who did not practice at all.

Examine potential. It’s not necessarily about how good the person is during tryouts; in fact, it’s about how good a person can be once competition/performance season arrives. Thus, it is important to examine how “good” a person will be by this time.

Examine flexibility. Many teams will examine how flexible people are at the time of tryouts (for example, if they are able to do the splits or not). I don’t think that this is absolutely necessary because flexibility can be developed if a person has a good work ethic, stretches a lot, and practices frequently.

Things to consider beforehand

Team size. How big do you want your team to be? There are advantages to having a small, medium, or large team.

Team type. Many teams will change what type of dance they are performing. For instance, a drill team may switch to becoming a pom team or visa versa. You must consider this before the tryout process.

Team cost. Potential team members must know how much it will cost to be on the team, in terms of time and money. They will need to know the commitment that needs to be made. At least have an estimate on how much team uniforms will cost as they are not cheap.

Suggestions.

Have a parent meeting. Let parents know what their children are doing. Most parents will be paying for uniforms, so be ready to tell them what the financial cost is.

Make it easy to get to the tryout process. This doesn’t mean that making the team should be easy. It means that if a person wants to try out, all she needs to do is fill out a few forms. If you add too much paperwork, less people will be willing to try out. Who wants to fill out lots of paperwork without knowing for certain that they will make the team?

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Jun/07

23

What do you do when it’s over?

The school drill & dance season is over. For some states, it ends around March or April. So, what are you supposed to do until June (when school gets out)? What do you do in the summer? If you currently just sit there and wait until next year, I have some suggestions.

Do tryouts/auditions before the school year ends. This knocks out a few weeks between March and September. It also gives you a chance to get to know the new team for awhile instead of waiting until September.

Practice with the new team. Obviously, you’ll have to do tryouts before you have a new team to practice with. Summer practices are generally easy, fun, and not required; however, they are encouraged and most people will go to them because they still have that new excitement (more…)

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Jun/07

20

New forum for drillobsession.com

I have added a forum/message board to the site. Feel free to register for an account and talk to other dancers or anyone interested in dance. Everyone is welcome.

The forum is meant to be a place for asking questions and receiving responses; however, you can add comments and talk about pretty much whatever you want. Have fun & enjoy.

Click here to register for an account

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May/07

25

Creating a new routine

Need help with choreography? Feeling thoughtless as to what moves you want to put in your routine?
Whether it’s hip-hop or lyrical, every kind of dance needs choreography. The hardest part of choreographing a dance is getting started.

It’s OK to feel lost when you start creating a new routine. Here are some methods and tips to get you started.

STEP ONE
Listen to the music. An important part of choreography is making sure the moves match the song. Listen to the music several times and imagine what you could be doing. In a way, you’re seeing what the music “tells” you to do. It’s hard to understand the concept if you don’t try it yourself. Turn on the music, and let your imagination flow. Write down any ideas you get. If it’s hard for you to put the dance in your head, stand up and do the moves. It might also be helpful to listen to the song, maintain the mood of the song in your head, and then try to think of moves. This way, you can ensure that the mood of your choreography matches the mood of the song. Keeping the mood of the song consistent to that of the dance is important for engaging the audience.
Don’t stress over “bad” ideas. Generate ideas and don’t worry about whether they’re good or bad, at least not now. Write down a list of moves that you like. You can eliminate any ideas that you don’t like later. (more…)

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May/07

5

How to create stunning formations

When it comes to formations, many teams like to keep it safe. The typical, easy formations are usually boring lines and boxes. Although it’s easier to make these formations perfect, it is dull and unappealing to the audience.

Audiences like to see teams take risks. That includes using new and interesting formations. Go ahead, brainstorm. Here are some tips for formations:

Find something that takes up the entire floor. If you are performing in a gym, utilize the entire space. Although it is good to stay tight and close together, move away from each other every once in awhile. It creates contrast and makes the performance more interesting.

Don’t play it safe. The easy formations may look nice, but aren’t very impressive. Take a risk by doing something new. Instead of a box formation, try something with harder with curves. Of course, if I offered any suggestions, then the formations wouldn’t be unique to you. Try to make formations that express your team, the music, and the dance. Spend some time drawing formations on paper.

Make formations mathematically workable. Before you start working on a formation, make sure it’s possible to even do it. Work out the spacing in between people beforehand. Once you begin working with the team, there should be little confusion. Making formations “mathematically workable” means that no rules of geometry are violated. This may sound ridiculous, but I have had this problem once. (more…)

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