This is Adam; I was brought on board in April as PSCA’s Head Coach. Part of my job coming in was to help guide PSCA through a time of transformation and growth, and help usher this community towards its goals.
The adult programs are undergoing a massive change!
- We are trying a class card system that allows you to access any class at the school
- We’re moving away from multi-apparatus classes and offering tons of single apparatus ones
- We’re making classes 60min and introducing on apparatus warm-ups.
- The make-up class policy is much simpler; just drop yourself out of a class reservation with 48-hrs notice and it goes back on your class card.
There are a few reasons why we think this will be an improvement on the old system. We may be wrong, but it’s important that everyone understand a few key ideas:
1) How we acquire physical skills
There is a key concept in learning called “time on task.” One of the things I’ve noticed about the multi-apparatus system is that it reduces the “time on task” for any particular skill on an apparatus. To introduce, analyze, attempt and master a new skill takes time, and when you’re moving from apparatus to apparatus in only :30 it can be hard to really absorb key skills and concepts about aerial arts. By switching to a single apparatus system we’re allowing more time in a single class to really learn and master the skill of the class…you’ll be better at remembering the names of tricks, and you’ll get stronger and more coordinated in fewer weeks than before. And with the new system, you’ll either be able to focus on your favorites or jump around to everything however you like!
If you really love all the apparatuses, the schedule is arranged so that you can take 2 classes in a row at your level…and with the class card system, classes are less expensive per class!
2) The relationship of fitness to skill acquisition
The truth is that not all aerial apparatuses have the same motor skill requirements, either at the beginning or advanced stages of development. Trapeze is more accessible for beginners than Fabric because you can SIT; but at higher levels, Trapeze becomes more difficult because it requires guts, power and split second timing.
One of the things that is great about PSCA is how accessible the classes are, and how much you can learn regardless of your fitness level or age! The flip side is, at a certain point, the relationship of fitness to skill-acquisition has to come back in to play, both for safety and to accomplish the goal of staying in shape. By actually lengthening the amount of time we spend on each apparatus, we’re allowing more time for conditioning and strength building on each apparatus.
Circus is hard! It’s hard on your body, especially as an adult, and learning skills that you’re not physically prepared for is not only dangerous…it’s just not much fun. By allowing more time for conditioning within each class, and making all the classes easier to attend, we’re expanding our ability to make sure that you have the fitness level you need to execute your skills safely, with less risk of chronic or acute injury.
3) How we warm up and why
The :15 we’re losing is our “warm-up” time. This doesn’t mean you won’t get a warm up, it just means that the shape of warm-ups will have to change!
Here’s article about why we warm up, and how to make it most effective, from WebMD.
You’ll notice that static stretching is a pretty bad idea in this article. Recent studies have shown that static stretching can actually decrease power and increase the chance of injury. So we’ll be using a more modern warm-up idea: lots of cardio and joint mobility, followed by an on apparatus warm-up that wakes up the muscles you’re actually about to use. The coaches are still working out the details of this, but it’ll be fun and exciting, get your blood moving, and you’ll be partially responsible for it.
4) Your participation in your own growth
Your job is to TAKE RECURRING CLASSES and/or take 2-classes in a row. The great thing about the old system was that it forced everyone to take the same class for 8-12 weeks, which is a great way to learn. We need you to keep that discipline! Signing up for a bunch of single classes with different teachers at random times is NOT the way to go if you actually want to learn.
Best to pick a few class times that work for you, really focus, and take that class for the whole 12-week session. Trust me, an hour of dedicated work on one apparatus will have you learning more and faster than you have before, with better retention and better fitness gains! But only if you really commit.
We need YOU to be smart about coming to the same class for weeks in a row; we’re giving you the freedom to do what you want and need, but with the trust and understanding that you will still be consistent with your training. Jumping around to all different classes each week is not the best way to go.
That being said, this new system does allow you to cross-pollinate a bit more! Always wanted to try handstands or stretching, but didn’t want to commit to 8-weeks? Now you can give it a try, and if it’s for you, come every week. If it’s not for you, you haven’t committed to the whole session, and so no loss.
This is a big grand experiment. We’re committed to it for the whole Fall Session, and we really think you’re going to love it…but if you don’t, we want you to let us know! If you have questions, check out our FAQ page. If you have ideas or thoughts you want to share feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.