North Shore Dance Society just came across this amazing article for why dance goals in the ballroom world are so important.
By now, you hopefully know that dancers need to be training mentally and physically. One way that you can combine your physical and mental preparation is through the process of goal-setting. Dancers need to be clear on their dance goals, not only for the big picture like winning at Nationals or booking a show, but also for your training and your ongoing performances or competitions.
It’s normal as a dancer to want to win, get a certain score, or be cast in a role but these are what we call outcome goals. These are goals that are focused on the result (or the outcome). They’re usually very motivating and exciting when you’ve accomplished them, but a big drawback is that they’re not in your control. You could have an amazing day at a competition and someone else gets a higher score. If your only goal is to win, you’re probably pretty bummed out. That’s the problem with outcome goals- you, as a performer aren’t the one deciding in the end result. So does that mean you shouldn’t want to win? No! You can absolutely want to win, and even have that as a goal, but you want to be sure to also set performance goals.
Performance goals are goals that you set based on your previous performance. These could be goals such as getting your leaps higher or to have more extension. Performance goals can also be related to your training such as spending more time on flexibility or getting more sleep if you tend to stay up too late at night. Typically, performance goals are much more in your control. However, you could set a performance goal to improve your score at the upcoming competition. It is a performance goal because you’re trying to improve on what you’ve done in the past, but the judges are the ones assigning the score. So, it’s still not 100% in your control. So, you want to focus even more on the performance goals that you do have control over that would help your score improve.
As a dancer, it’s so easy to focus on the outcome: the score, the win, and even the perception that the audience has. But, you need to remember that you don’t have control over any of that. Instead, put your energy into what you do have control over: your training, your technique, your attitude, and your mental skills. You can still want certain outcomes, like wins, and you can still work toward those, but you need to be focused on goals in your control to give yourself the best chance of reaching those outcomes.
By Sara Robinson