No matter your love for poi or any other talent you’re learning, the urge to practice will come and go.
Often your skills will develop a lot at first and then hit a plateau where it feels like you are doing the same stuff over and over. If this goes on for too long it tends to eat away at the drive to continue practicing.
Sometimes you get interrupted by something out of your control, and are forced to take days/weeks/months off. Getting back in the swing of things can seem so difficult when you’ve been out of it for a while, and it becomes far too easy to push off starting up again to increasingly further dates.
Whatever the cause of your practice stagnating, the end result is the same; less drive to do what you love. So before, during, or after this happens it’s a good idea to equipped yourself with some ways to keep yourself excited about picking up your poi.
Here’s a list of ideas that I’ve compiled, some being my ideas and others I’ve picked up from other teachers and mentors. All these tactics I will be trying my best to follow and implement myself, and I encourage everyone to do the same.
Get The Right Poi
If you’re just starting out, it’s hard to know what you like in your poi. One thing that I guarantee you will like, however, is soft poi. You will never stop nailing yourself with the heads, but when you’re starting out you will do it a rather frustrating amount.
Soft poi heads will save you the extra frustration of adding physical pain to your emotional pain of learning new difficult tricks. Put a bean bag in a long sock and learn the ropes that way.
After getting in the groove a bit, it’s a good idea to try out a range of different poi to see what you like and what you don’t. Do you like long or short ropes? Heavy or light heads? Sock or rope poi? Play around and see what you’re drawn to.
Leave Your Poi In Plain View
What I’ve found works great for me is simply leaving my poi lying around the house. Whenever I see them, I tend to want to pick them up and start playing with them, if only for a few minutes.
I can’t say it doesn’t bug the hell out of my girlfriend when she finds them strewn on the couch after sitting on them, so do your best to keep them out of people’s way. Just don’t put them in a closet, because they will be forgotten much easier.
Bring Them Everywhere
If you’re leaving the house, bring your poi. It might be that you don’t always use them, in fact more often than not I find that I don’t, but you will never have to say, “I wish I had my poi with me.”
This is also a really good way to get over being nervous of people watching you. The more you poi to a crowd, the less you think about it.
Find Songs To Poi To
This is a little tough when you’re starting out, as you need to be able to spin somewhat freely and to a beat. When you feel ready, try spinning to songs with a range of BPM, and select songs that don’t strain your limits.
Keep in mind that slower certainly doesn’t mean easier. Spinning slowly and under control is just as difficult as spinning really fast. Beginners should look for something mid-tempo, and work outwards from there.
Always Workshop Something
I can’t stress this one enough. Our brains love seeing progress, it’s why video games are so addictive. Each level gets a little harder, so when you beat it your brain gives you that feeling of accomplishment that’s oh-so-nice.
Treat poi the same way; always have a couple new moves to work on so you can progress. The feeling you get when you notice a new trick start clicking is far superior to winning a Battlefield match, with a lot less unused adrenaline coursing through your body.
Teach Your Friends
I’ve taught a few moves to almost all my friends and, honestly, not one of them kept going with it. But it’s fun to teach people stuff and it reminds you of what it was like to be new to the skill. And if someone likes it enough to stick with it, then you have a friend to spin with!
Go To Flow Festivals
I admit, as of writing this article I haven’t actually done this. I’d love to, and aim to this summer, but until then I just have to assume that they would be great events to meet new practice partners and scope some killer talent.
Watch YouTube Videos
Not only lessons, but check out the raw talent that’s out there. If you don’t find it inspiring then find another prop to mess around with.
There are so many skilled people sharing their progress and their performances, and I’ve always found this to be one of the quickest ways to inspire myself to go grab my poi. Sometimes I’ll even pick a move from a video I watched and try to learn it.
Now you’ve got some tools to keep your interest high, so go pick up your poi and try a couple out.