Archive for the ‘Team Troubles’ Category

I know this is a huge issue in drill. Who will mix the music if I can’t do it? If it needs to be done professionally, how will we raise the money? Well, don’t be discouraged to mix music. Really, it’s very simple.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Get a music cutting program
I’d recommend Adobe Audition, as this is very simple and the only one that I’ve used. It has more than enough functions to mix any dance routine.

2. Play with it
Really! Just press the buttons and see what your program is capable of. To edit a music file, import that file from your computer or CD (remember where you saved it!) and view in under the single track view. It’s pretty self explanatory, in Adobe at least. When you play the music, it starts from the yellow line and goes till the end. The white line will indicate which part of the music it is currently playing. Listen to it, and cut off the parts you don’t want by highlighting and deleting (ctrl+X). You can zoom in and out to be more accurate. When you’re ready for the next song, go into the multitrack view. Drag the first song into one of the rectangles starting from time 0. This will be the start of your mix. Once you’re done cutting the second song, add the right next to the first or even overlap it and create fade effects. I’m not going to go in-depth, because I’m sure you can figure it out. It’s very simple. If you want to slow the music down, just find that option in the menu. It’s all written there for you! If you can’t figure something out, comment and I’d be happy to help.

3. Find a tutorial
There are many people who have websites dedicated to teaching you something. Some examples might be how to edit pictures in photoshop and how to create 3-D pictures in Rhino. Whatever it is, I’m sure that someone has written about it. Search for one in google (or yahoo, msn, etc.)

See, it’s not so hard. Now you can go mix your own music 🙂

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I know I write about consistent schedules a lot, and I can’t stress how important it is!

Lots of dancers never have time for anything, and this is a somewhat true statement. Mostly the problem with scheduling is in high school, where it can sometimes be hard to find places to practice all the time (though this is only an excuse to not have practice–read Finding Places to Practice). With a consistent schedule, this won’t be the case. The reason that dancers don’t have the time for anything is because of inconsistency in their schedules. Dancers have problems finding jobs when they don’t know when they’re busy with dance! You can’t tell your manager that you are sometimes busy Mondays-Saturdays. Dancers also have hard times joining organizations as there is never a clear indication of when exactly they are busy. If you have an inconsistent schedule, you can never know if you’ll be able to make the club meetings after school on Monday. Why not keep your schedules consistent? Jobs and school are mostly consistent, right? Imagine your school starting at different times everyday, and your job also starting at different times everyday. It just doesn’t work out that way. When a dance schedule is inconsistent, there is almost no time for other activities besides school. I strongly encourage your team to keep a consistent schedule! It makes life so much easier.

If you do change to a consistent schedule (which I hope you do!), tell me about it! Leave a comment! Trust me, it will change your life, and you and your team will be much less stressed.

You’re having some trouble finding places to practice. The gym is always booked because other sports need it. Especially if you keep a consistent schedule, it’s hard to have a place booked everytime you practice (ex: if you practice Mondays to Thursdays, it’s hard to always have a place to practice).

Do you always think that you need a facility to practice in?

That’s an error in thinking. You don’t always need a place–not a facility at least. If you’re always scheduling practice according to when something is available, you’re wasting time. You’re also making members frustrated because you’re probably keeping an inconsistent schedule.

Captains and coaches are so focused on “we need the gym” that they fail to see what they need to work on. Mainly the gym is helpful for formations/entrance/exit. There’s lots more to the drill curriculum than that! You don’t need a gym to work on your posture, angles, flexibility, or sharpness. So stop trying to hard to book the gym! You don’t need it all the time. For the times that it is available, take advantage of it, but don’t spend your time trying to get every practice at the gym.

You can practice your posture, angles, and sharpness basically anywhere. If you think there’s nowhere to practice, just walk outside. If it’s raining, you can practice in the hall or commons. You just need to plan practices correctly. Book the gym whenever available, and that will be for working on formations, entering, and exiting the gym. Whenever not available, plan other things. Work on your marching and technique. Don’t be so focused on just one area, either. You might impress the judge with your angles but make them wince at your formations. Just work on the areas that need work and do a good job planning.

Remember, you don’t need a facility all the time. Just plan accordingly!

Drama is tough. Drama is stupid. But regardless of what it is, it’s there. And you’re going to have to deal with it one way or another.

Whether it’s problems between individual members, problems with other teams, bad grades, alcohol & drugs, depression in certain members, or just any other cause of drama, you have to get rid of it. And don’t wait! Do it now.

Look at the big picture in drama. It doesn’t improve; it just gets worse. Here’s some misconceptions about drama and the wrong way to deal with it:

1. If I let it wait, it’ll go away
Sorry, but not gonna happen. How long have you waited for those two members to settle their daily arguments about formations? How long have you waited for the girl with the abusive boyfriend to stop missing practice because she’s sad? Waiting just doesn’t work. You need to take action from the moment you sense any drama. If you deny that it’s there or think it’ll go away, well, it’s there and it’s going to stay until you do something about it! Might as well act now.

2. This isn’t a big deal
Wrong! If it’s been going on and it’s conflicting with your ability to be productive and practice efficiently, then it’s a big deal. Isn’t that little stain on your drill outfit a big deal? Yes. It’s always a big deal. Don’t underrate.

3. This isn’t affecting the team . . . so I don’t have to do anything about it
If it’s in the team, then it’s affecting the team. Take alcohol for example. There’s just this one girl on your team that has a problem with alcohol. That’s not a problem–it’s just one person, right? Wrong. Remember telling your team that every person counts? Well, if you think this person doesn’t count, then that’s hypocrisy. This one person could be messing up formations, coming to practice drunk, etc. This affects the team. It can also possibly influence the team. I’ve seen people on the team become influenced by other people to such an extent. One alcoholic can lead to 10 alcoholics. That one person affects the team.

4. All high schools have drama. This is just part of high school.
When you’ve put this thought into your mind, you’ve just convinced yourself of a false statement. Remember when you said drama was stupid? Well, it is. So why are you trying to make it “okay” by telling yourself that it’s normal? In the United States, being obese is pretty normal. So should you be obese and not do anything about it? No. Don’t go with the normal because it’s not always right. Don’t tell yourself that bad things are okay, because they’re not. You have your own thoughts–don’t let the statistics fool you.

5. I don’t know what to do; therefore, I won’t do anything
This is both a thought that arises from fear and simple laziness. You’re scared to talk the the girl whose father abuses her because you don’t want to make her sad. You’re scared to talk to the administrator of your school about suicidal problems on the team because you don’t want team members to get angry and have their privacies invaded. You’re too lazy to deal with this. You’re too lazy to take time out of your day to fix this team. At first, you might not know what to do, but that’s always how it is. When you look at a math problem and have no idea how to do it, you think about it. Well, do the same. Think about what you’re going to do to prevent drama. You have to take action, but how? Well, think of a solution. Don’t tell yourself you don’t know what to do. You wouldn’t turn in a test blank because you didn’t know what to do. Well, this is the same. Turning in a blank test is just going to result in failure. Not dealing with the team = failure.

6. It’s getting better, so I should leave it alone and let things settle
So, she finally broke up with that abusive boyfriend and is happier. I shouldn’t mess with her becasue she’s probably adjusting. Besides, it’s getting better now . . .
This might be the case every once in awhile, but drama is usually periodic. It repeats over and over again. So, that just makes things better, because if you’ve prevented it once, then you’ve prevented it forever. High school relationships are tough. People don’t know what they want in life, who they want, why they want. I know a person who was seriously depressed at a competition because of relationship problems. This impaired her ability to perform. So shortly afterwards she broke up with him. You know, they had fights and the usual. She had the usual after-relationship sadness. But then they got back together. She found out that she “LOVED” him. So she loves the guy that likes to abuse her and influence her in bad ways . . . hmm. Don’t rely on the fact that it’s “getting better”. If it’s been getting better for a few months and it’s not better, then it’s not getting better. So why wait?

Now you know when the drama should be stopped. Of course there are sudden surges of sadness (funerals, for instance) but these are things that will just settle. Something periodic should be dealt with immediately. Any negative emotions will impair the drill performance.

So how exactly do you deal with it?

1. See what’s wrong and evaluate
Find out what’s wrong and what’s affecting your team in a negative way. Ask yourself: Is this something that I cannot prevent? Examples of this would be funerals, illness, family problems, etc. If it is something that will not last long (illness, for instance) then you can just leave it alone. If it’s something, like family problems, that’s troubling a particular member, then you can’t prevent it. What you need to do is talk to this person and see if it’s getting better or if she can no longer deal with drill. Ask her if she’d be better off without drill so she can spend time trying to deal with her problems.

2. If it’s something you can prevent, then find a solution
How are you going to deal with this? Usually your best bet is to talk to the person/people involved. Get the details and see what they want. They’ll probably give you a response like: “I’ll deal with it”. Well, don’t trust them. They’ve been trying to deal with it all year, and they still haven’t dealt with it. Since they aren’t going to do anything, it’s your turn to do something. If it’s a serious problem (drugs, violence, severe depression), then report it. Don’t be scared of the outcome. It’ll usually be a better choice. If you’re afraid, then leave it anonymous. Don’t worry about what they will think of you. If they’re depressed, then it’s their problem, and you’re dealing with it, so they should thank you. If it’s something that’s less severe, but still affecting your team (problems between members), then work it out. Who is causing the problem? Practice requires teamwork and collaboration, and with people arguing all the time, you can’t do anything. Why is there a problem? If it’s a simple drill issue, like who’s in the right spot for a formation, then you need to deal with it. Don’t provide an immediate answer. Think about who’s right. No favoritism. By the way, learn your formations. Don’t be telling people where to go when you don’t even know where they go! Settle any disputes fairly.
On the other hand, if it’s a relationship problem (as you can tell, I’m not very fond of these ones because they have caused so much trouble in all areas of high school), you need to talk to her. See what’s wrong and tell her it can’t go on if she’s going to continually be depresed at practice. Don’t be afraid to talk. That’s what you’re here for.

3. Once you find a solution, execute it
Again, don’t wait. When you’ve found that the solution is to talk to the person, then do it immediately. Procrastination is bad, so don’t wait until the problem gets worse.

This may seem like a simple process, but the main problem is waiting and thinking that the problem will get better over time. About 99% of the time it won’t get better. Remember to not be afraid to execute your decision. Your job is to make this team work and you need to prevent drama if you want this to happen.

And if it’s really bad and keeps going on, you may want to read my article about taking her off the team.

Go take action. Prevent the drama on your team and become more productive at practice. Now!

You know that girl that hasn’t improved for–how long has she been on this team? Three weeks? Three months?

In my drill experience, there was always someone who was on the team and didn’t deserve to be.

One thing you have to realize immediately is that these kind of people are letting the whole team down. So, you probably know this already, but you have to think through it. Why haven’t you done anything with this person? Why is she still here? Your answer is probably something like this: “What can I do? It’s already halfway through the year, and I can’t take her off the team”. Bad reasoning.

So basically what you’ve just said when you’ve provided such a rejoinder is that you are going to continue to let “frustrating driller” let the team down the rest of the year. This is what you need to realize before you can take action and do something. Instead of telling yourself why you can’t do something, like take this person off the team, ask yourself why not. So here’s the breakdown:

Why to NOT take this person off the team:
We already have formations made out… with one less person it won’t work out
This person already made the team, I can’t tell her that she’s not qualified when she was in the beginning
It’s already been half a year–we cannot do anything now; too much time has passed
I’d feel guilty if I took her off the team

Why to take this person off the team:
She’s going to continue to let the team down for the next few months, weeks, etc.
If we take her off, we can create new formations with dedicated drillers and have time to perfect these without anyone letting us down
So what if it’s been half a year? There’s still half a year left! There’s still a competition left. We can’t have someone perform if she can’t do the routine as well as everyone else can
This person does not care for this team and has a negative attitude. One negative attitude leads to a whole team of negative attitudes

If this list goes on, the “Why to let this person off the team” has many more benefits than the converse. So don’t be afraid to do something that you’re afraid to do. You have guts, right? Just tell this person that she is letting the team down and give a second chance for her to get better. If there is no improvement within 2 weeks, stop yourself from those feelings of fear. You’re not scared to kick someone off the team. If you are, don’t be. This person is also probably prone to those “but… I was so busy this week, I had to babysit, work, study…” blah blah blah. Whatever. This person is too busy for drill, then, since she’s been busy like this all year. Too bad.

The most important part about this is to stay confident. You won’t regret this if this person is truly letting down the team. This person creates a negative attitude, messes up formations, has bad angles, doesn’t attend practice, etc. Whatever it is, she is letting down the team and this cannot happen if you want to succeed. Take this person off the team, keep a positive team mood and work ethic, and don’t let anyone like this person stop your team progress.

Another way to prevent this is to ask for teacher recommendations (not long essays; maybe a fill-out form or a short paragraph–teachers don’t need too much stress, especially at a school where many are interested in trying out for drill!) during tryouts. Teachers have a good idea of who the lazy students are. This will eliminate those annoying complainers and lazy people that “never have time” to practice. Don’t believe these lies unless there is a plausible reason. Either way, if someone “never has time”, why is she on this team? Drill requires time!

Also, I found that with increased grade point average, productivity at practices increase. People with higher GPA’s work hard in school and will likely work hard in drill. Of course there are some exceptions to this theory, but I find that it is a safe route. It’s always a good idea to set a high GPA as a requirement. Make sure that no one is just barely border-line on the grades, either! For instance, if you set the minimal GPA to be 2.5 and someone has a 2.501, then you should be very observant of this person and talk to her. Make sure that she is working hard in school and will work hard in drill also. If you’re worried that you’ll exclude a driller with a lower GPA but high potential, then lower the GPA. Just make sure you’re observant. In high school, your grades are highly based on if you did your homework or not. Not doing homework = laziness. Not a good trait. Also keep in mind that at many schools, drill is considered a sport, and there are GPA requirements here.

Lastly, if someone is having a problem, talk about it and listen for a plausible excuse. Maybe this person is simply so worried about drill that she’s depressed! You never know. Make sure everyone’s okay.
Remember, you’re here to work with your team members!