one step forward, two steps backI get frustrated quite often on my pole journey, either at how long it takes for me to build the strength to be able to do a trick, or at how easily I ‘lose’ my tricks.

For example, it took me ages to get the straddle invert, which was the missing piece of the puzzle that held me back from progressing to Level 4 from Level 3. Then in Level 4, I was struggling to get my aerial invert and aerial straddle invert, which was a precondition of progressing to Level 5 (notice a recurring theme?). My poor core strength is a real limiting factor which I need to work on improving.

I have many of the same problems with the moves in Level 5: some moves which I have learnt, if I haven’t practised them in a while, I forget how to get into them or hold the position safely (e.g. inverted swan), or I lose the ability to do moves that I’ve managed to achieve before – albeit these are moves that I’ve managed to achieve but not necessarily been able to replicate every single time (e.g. half-flag and aerial half-flag, cupid, bird, pencil mount, shoulder mount, superman).

I’m frustrated by the fact that I could do the aerial straddle invert before (albeit ungracefully), but this past weekend when I tried inverting, I couldn’t do a clean aerial straddle invert, and instead had to swing my right leg up to hook my foot onto the pole ungracefully, and haul myself up, like I was hauling up a tonne of bricks – shockingly clumsy and graceless!

I’m frustrated by the fact that I could a half-flag quite well on the floor (I could hold it for several counts, with good form), and just about do it aerially last summer, then found that I can barely keep it on the floor, and not at all aerially at the end of 2011.

I’m frustrated by the fact that during last summer, I was able to hold a pencil mount quite confidently (post pencil mount, although my mount was patchy), but unable to hold my pencil once I get into it from a hangback (hangback into pencil is something that I struggle with in any case). And then, to find, at the end of last year, that even my pencil mount has gone AWOL.

I’m frustrated by the fact that I struggled for months to get the superman. Finally managed to do it before Christmas on my better side, then went on a 3-week break, then haven’t been able to replicate it since. Partly perhaps because I’m afraid to try and really go for it.

I’m frustrated by the disappearing act of my shoulder mount: sometimes almost strong and confident, others lame and requiring a colossal hook and heave (hooking of the foot, and heaving of the body).

I guess the fact that my tricks come and go mean that I have yet to properly build up the fundamental strength /  technique to flawlessly execute the trick consistently, time and again. After all, even though I struggled with performing inversions and inside / outside angels consistently when I was learning them last year – they were often touch and go – now, there’s no doubt or hesitation when I execute these moves. So I just need to work hard and practice practice practice, until everything becomes perfect.