One of the best parts about baton twirling is that you can compete both individually and with teams. Improve your experience by following these simple suggestions.
1. Focus on yourself. Be your best, try your best and do your best. If you are easily distracted or worried about your competition, avoid watching your competition. Stay busy practicing in the practice area until it is your turn. Your parents or coach can tell you when to come over to your lane.
2. Avoid stretching at the back of the lane. As a judge, I have sat a table while a competitor is doing a straddle stretch and it is an unflattering view. Stretch in the practice area or if you have to stretch at the lane then face the opposite way.
3. Occasionally, competitors will want to "jockey" for position to improve their chances of scoring high. There is a belief that judges reserve higher scores for those that compete later in the event. Again, as a judge, I can tell you this is inaccurate. Your performance dictates your score not your position in the event. While at a local competition, it might be courteous of you to let someone go ahead of you at a larger competition, you may want to maintain your assigned position as there are other conflicts that may be caused if you go out of order. Also, if you are allowing someone to bump you then when will you get to go? The hurry up and wait game can be stressful for kids.
4. While waiting for your judge to watch you, practice! Avoid standing in a pose for 2 or 3 minutes. Thumb flips in both hands are a great drill to do while waiting. Full routines or your most dropped tricks are probably not the best idea. Most competitors need to build confidence and ease nerves while waiting.
5. Reduce distractions. Competitions can have a lot of stimulation - loud music, loud lights and if you are on a multiple day competition (like nationals), it can be overwhelming for some competitors. Find ways for them to decompress from all of the stimulation. It will help with their performance and their attitude!
We hope these tips help you as you head into the end of the 2022 season!