Coaching Advice from the SADTA KZN Chairman - Neville Letard.
Some of our competition dancers have developed a trend of switching coaches whenever they don’t do well at an event. This does not always improve the performance, and can be confusing to the individual.
I have learned from experience, and it might be an idea to pass on some of the following which I have gleaned over the years.
Each coach has their own way of getting you to the top. No coach is ever going to hold you down. Whatever I say to one pupil (or couple), I might put it a different way to the next. I personally feel that most dancers do not have the maturity or experience to take the best from a host of different coaches when they start swopping. It simply confuses them more.
Maybe when a competitor has reached the top sections, they can go to different coaches for different aspects e.g. choreography, technique, arms etc, but at lower levels it’s far better to stay with one coach. Remember, a coach will be careful about putting you on the dance floor to compete because at a comp, people (spectators) see you as a number, and will ask: “Who trains that dancer / couple?” rather than what is their name. You won’t be put on the floor to embarrass yourself, because your coach’s name is at stake, not yours.
My advice is to trust in your regular coach and go with what they tell you. Don’t always listen to everyone around you, because most do not have the knowledge, and are also still being coached themselves. Taking advice from members of the audience is not too clever either, especially when they do not know the finer points of the particular styles being danced.
If you are coaching yourself, remember, just because it feels good, does not necessarily mean it looks good.
Chopping and changing doesn’t help. I competed for about 25 years, and during that time I don’t think I had more than 3 coaches. If I had a lesson with a visiting professional, my coach was always in on the lesson. If you are going to move coaches or have a lesson with another coach, the proper etiquette is to let your present coach know, not for them to find out via the grapevine.