Photo Finish

I’m baaaaack! Did you miss me?

During my blogging hiatus I succumbed to peer pressure and acquired an Instagram account (its here. Like, follow me ect). This has led inspired to write about the pros and cons of Instagramming your aerial class.

A Guide to the Journey of One's Mind 6Most of my students are crazy for Instagram. And I can appreciate why. As well as having an outlet for your narcissistic side (all performers have one, admit it. Some are bigger than others. Mine is huge) photographing and/or videoing your training allows you to have visual reference for tracking progress, particularly useful for monitoring flexibility ect, and it can be a useful tool for self-diagnosing flaws in your moves. This is not to say that Instagram can replace your actual coach, and you should absolutely not try something that you’ve seen on any website, be it Instagram, Youtube ect without being taught it by a a coach who knows how the trick works (a lengthy rant for another time, I promise). However, those photographs and videos can provide a useful visual reference as to what you are dong wrong, or could be doing better. I can tell a student till the cows come home to straighten their knees/point their toes/relax their shoulders or any other common form correction, but often they won’t understand just how bad such things look up in the air until they see themselves doing such actions for themselves. You can use videos to look over with your coach to analyse as to why a certain trick is not working for you in terms of form or timing, and you can video your performance rehearsals to work out what parts aren’t working, such as a section or choreography that just looks bad.

However its easy to become carried away with photographing your fabulous self. Here are some “Don’ts” dot points when it comes to Instagramming your class (bet you missed all my dot points).

-Don’t constantly harangue your coach to take photos of you.Lyra Inferno 2004 3

As a coach with a number of students in any given class, I endeavour to spend equal time with each of you. I am happy to use your phone-video to help you fix a move, but I’m not your personal photographer.

-Don’t constantly harangue your classmates to take photos of you.

Remember, they’re paying for a class too, and are also not you personal photographers. Let them work on their own moves.

-Don’t hog all the time on the apparatus chasing that perfect shot.

Your classmates want time of the apparatus too. Don’t be greedy!

-Don’t try anything you see on Instagram without being instructed by a coach

Yes, it had to be said again. And again, and again. Whilst you can set a good example by not doing this yourself, once you have posted a video on social media you have no control over who views it, or what they do once they have. To discourage people from trying tricks without formal instruction, it have become policy in my classes at Zigzag Circus that set ups for dangerous moves such as drops not be shown, merely the trick itself. This also helps protect you from the legal grey area of you being responsible for someone hurting themselves trying a trick that you posted online.

A large Instagram following does not make someone an “expert”

Net Ginnett 2011 6This is an assumption that I see all the time, particularly with fitness-related profiles. I also often see people asking for coaching, and worse, the owners of these accounts offering coaching advice to their followers over the internet. Without ever having seen, or met in person, the person they are offering advice to. This kind of behaviour is irresponsible, as there are many factors that can’t be determined by a 15 second video clip, such as correct muscle engagement, strength and/or flexibility limitations, contraindications due to injury, adjustment for body shape ect. Even the fact that they can only see one angle in a video means that they can’t give you a clear picture of your training technique.

And you know what? Most of the techniques of these “instaexperts” is pretty shocking anyway. For, example, we can all agree that a booty looks nice, but it shouldn’t be sticking up when you do a plank.

There is a multitude of reasons why someone could have a large instagram following: maybe they recklessly throw themselves into impressive looking tricks or train wearing not many clothes, or maybe they just have big families and lots of friends, but that does not translate into them either knowing what they are doing or being a good recourse for coaching information. Anyone can film their workout or training session. Find a suitably experienced live coach to guide you through tricks and techniques instead.

Happy Training! (and Instagramming)

dedicated to Natalie, undisputed queen of Instagram

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