How to Perform at Your Best

The nerves always ruin our performances. How do we get rid of that nervous feeling before we perform? How are we going to stop thinking about forgetting the routine while we’re performing–or tripping, falling, doing the wrong move. We always worry about what can go wrong, and often, one thing does go wrong because we’re thinking about it so hard.


Know the Routine
If you don’t know it–I won’t lie to you–you will mess up unless you’re lucky. Know it. You should have known it for months!

Simple, but helpful. Take deep breaths. It really helps you calm down.

Have everything ready long before the performance
That means making sure everything is perfect. Your hair, uniform, makeup, tied shoelaces, intact nylons, etc. You need to triple check everything so that you won’t worry about it while you perform.

Competitions are long, and sometimes we might forget to eat. Can’t perform without energy! Eat at least 1.5 hours before the performance.

Get a good night’s sleep, but an early start
Don’t wake up at 1pm (not that competitions start that late anyways), but don’t stay up until 1am. I’d say to wake up when you normally wake up (whenever school starts, probably around 8). If you sleep in, you’ll be sluggish.

No team parties the night before
Unless you can manage to all go home and get enough sleep (not likely), you shouldn’t have a team party. It sounds motivational so that you can bond and talk about the next day, but usually it leads to late nights and everyone tired the day after. If you do have a party, I’d say that it must end before dark and no junk food.

Get hair done ASAP
Drill hair (if you use curlers) takes a long time. My team used to take from 1-3 hours per person. Of course, if you use fake hair or something else, it’s not too big of a deal. If you are using curlers, get it done before dark so that everyone can go home and sleep.

Don’t practice the day before
It’ll just stress you out. Naturally, you will probably forget some moves, then be extremely nervous the next day because of your bad practice. Of course, running through the routine once is okay. Don’t stay up until three practicing (or learning the routine).

Have confidence
No harm in being confident. Lots of people say, “well, if I think I’m going to get 10th place, then I won’t feel so bad afterwards . . . if I think I’ll get first place and I don’t get it, then I’ll feel horrible”. Bad thinking. Be confident. It shows in your face. You want to win. Go win it!

Listen to the music! Sometimes people don’t and are so focused on moves, moves, moves. When they turn their ears on again, they realize that they are way off and will be lost. Sometimes the music sounds different because of the different speakers in the performing area. Be prepared. If the music skips, you can’t do anything about it. Breathe, don’t look stupid, and smile bright and confident. One time, I watched a team that wasn’t even that great, but their music skipped. They remained still, and ended up placing. That shows your confidence.

Don’t talk about how nervous you are
If you talk about it, it will spread. Don’t make it evident that you’re nervous. Keep it to yourself. Think about other things.
If you’ve known the routine, you won’t forget it
I always go crazy when someone, right before the performance, says, “how does that part go again? I forgot!” This makes everyone nervous, as well as yourself. You won’t forget it. Stop thinking about it. You’ve never forgotten it at practice.

Don’t let the audience intimidate you
Your audience is just people. You see them everyday. What’s the big deal? You won’t mess up and to them, you’re probably just a little face off in the distance.

Just perform. Perform like you do at practice. No nerves there. You know that you look way better though, because you should be confident in yourself and, hey, you’re wearing your drill outfit! You didn’t buy it for nothing. You bought that expensive customized outfit to win. And that’s exactly what you’ll do.

And of course . . . Smile!


  1. joey_g

    good post – filled my coffee break

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