The Value of a Hooper’s Training Journal … (and how to keep one)

August 27, 2012 Caroleeena hoopdanceHoopingUncategorized


Training Journals are great for learning, fun to peruse and full of insight. I love mine and I recommend keeping one. Bring it to classes, workshops, jams, and playdates. A Training Journal helps us cultivate and direct our growth. It serves as inspiration and aspiration, a collection of our epiphanies, a history of our hoop journey, a reminder of things we have learned and of the things we want to learn, and a catalogue of our successes. It is a shining reflection of our intentions and achievements. I value mine very much.

My Training Journal includes my hoop aspirations, my monthly goals, things I’d like to learn over the course of the year, things I practice regularly and the insights I have about them, notes from classes I’ve taken, and lots more. Below, I’ve detailed how my Training Journal is laid out.

Grand Hoop Aspirations: This is the very first page of my journal. These are large goals, bigger than just learning moves. These might include things like
– Choreograph a hoop number
– Do a service project
– Perform for someone
– Fire hoop
– Go to a hoop retreat
– Teach a class
– Start a troupe
– Start a hoop jam
– Learn to do splits

Monthly Hoop Practice Goals: Each month I pick one move and practice it at least once every time I pick up the hoop. No matter what, I choose a new goal every month, even if I did not attain the one last month. Move on. At the beginning of the year, I list every month for the year on a blank sheet in my notebook (one line each, enough space for one, and only one, goal) and I leave the goal itself blank, to be filled in later. Sometimes I set this goal at the beginning of the month but, if I don’t, at the end of the month, I look back and figure out what I spent the most time on and I record that.

Here is a sample from 2011:
Jan: Duck-outs
Feb: Barrel Rolls
Mar: Palm Spins
Apr: Peacock Circles
May: Backward Opposite Side Tosses (aka Khan)
June: Three Eagle Roll with Squat and Traveling Step
Jul: Shoulder Hooping with Squats
Aug: Vertical Inside Circles (Break and Reverse with Beat Punctuation and Alternation)
Sep: Shoulder Hooping with Knee Spins
Oct: Step-out w/ half beam-me-up (free hand to thigh)
Nov: Contact Palm Flips
Dec: Egg Beater

Hoop Tricks and Training Goals for the Year: This is where I go crazy with wishful thinking, daydreaming and visualization. List any things you would like to learn or practice and improve upon in the coming 12 months. I’d leave some space in this one. Stuff will continue to come to you as you move through the year.

Notes from Classes and Playshops: I usually try to list the names of new moves I learned or saw and any training tips or understandings I had about them. I also note the teacher’s name so I can follow up if I have questions later. Plus that’s more context to = help me remember. I make notes as soon as possible. I find if I try to come back later and do it, a lot of information is already gone. Don’t procrastinate.

Notes to Self: This section is for other ideas that I want to remember. Things like:
– Costume ideas
– Music
– Performance ideas
– Future class information
– Websites or videos to check out later
– Contact Info for people you meet
– Inspiration you pick up along the way (quotes, encouragement, etc.)
– Nutritional information
– Injury treatment, prevention, or homeopathic remedies

Successes: Record your Successes! This is one of the most fun parts of a Training Journal. And leave space to note drill accomplishments later. When I got the pizza toss, I recorded it. When I got 10 pizza tosses, I recorded it. When I got 27 consecutive pizza tosses, dang right I recorded it!

Categories of Moves in your Toolbox – This not only helps us learn moves, if you teach, it can help you organize your curricula.

Here are some of mine:   
– Types of Lifts
– Types of Tosses
– Thread the Needle Variations
– Behind the Back
– Partner Hoop Moves
– Contact Moves
– Circus Tricks
– Moves with Flair
– Ta-Da Poses
– Gestures
– Handwork
– Footwork
– Combinations
– Dance Moves
– Stretches

The Journal: Write about anything and everything. Doodle or sketch if you want, there is no right or wrong here! Here is what I wrote in mine today, “Brushing my teeth with my non-dominant hand is giving me epiphanies about hooping. For example, it’s helping me learn to observe my dominant hand and then consciously mirror the grip and push points with my non-dominant hand.” If you choose, take note of special hoop occasions, any highlights in your journey, experiences with other hoopers, things that made you proud, or anything else you might write in a diary or a journal. If you’re going through a trying time, let the thoughts run down your arm and onto the page. Express without filter. We learn that way. We purge that way. We remember that way. We release that way.

Qualities of a good Training Notebook

It has to be with you when you need it! That means it has to be small, portable, easy to transport and you must have a pen. I recommend a small composition notebook with a saddleback, not the wire circles, which catch on everything.

I prefer unlined pages. This allows me to sketch and make drawings and charts and doesn’t make me feel like I’m messing up my journal if I stray wildly (as I will) from the rigid lines on the page.

You also have to be able to put your hands on it! Keep up with it and have it accessible. I keep mine in my purse so it’s always with me. Remember to take it to classes, jams, playdates, or any time you’re hooping. Use it to record ideas and epiphanies as they come up or use it to give you ideas if you’re feeling creatively blocked. Just keep it with you. Inspiration can strike anywhere.

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3 Responses to “The Value of a Hooper’s Training Journal … (and how to keep one)”

  • […] was recently inspired by this post to create my own hoop journal. I had actually begun one back in May, but I got stuck after a […]

  • Valentina says:

    Caroleeena, you are an inspiration to me and my first teacher (via YouTube.)

    Do you have any tips or techniques regarding describing hoop moves in words? It’s quite a challenge!

  • Martha Forsyth says:

    This is lovely! And the photo of Comfort………. AND I like the idea of “a separate book for each thing”. I get so lost in my own organization sometimes…..
    I’m leaving the same comment everywhere, because I don’t know “what counts for what”!!!)

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