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      Written by Arloa Reston         Why Keep A Pole Journal? At the beginning of my pole journey, the thought of keeping a journal never crossed my mind. We learned some fun things, but we would repeat them week after week and build on them. With all that repetition there wasn’t a big chance I would forget what I learned. Also, pole wasn’t something I did that often-maybe two to four times a month so why would I start logging anything? I never envisioned pole taking on the importance in my life that it has since. Nowadays, it seems like everyone is in a rush to learn the latest move (more on that in my next blog post!) Every class I take, there’s something new. Over the course of the past 5 years, I would venture to say I’ve learned upwards of a thousand moves and combos! Some of them became favorites and I do them all the time. Some of them just didn’t work all that well with my body so I consciously chose not to spend more time with them. And some of them I loved when I learned them, but I didn’t go back and work on them and they’ve now become faded or forgotten memories. This is where journaling can help. A pole journal is a place where you log all those moves that you learned. You can keep detailed notes of how to get into the move, what the grip points are if they are confusing, whether or not you mastered it, whether or not you love it and want to keep working on it, etc. This comes in super handy when you are in open pole and unsure of what to work on, or when you are creating a new routine and you don’t want to keep rehashing the same moves over and over. How to Keep A Pole Journal? When I first started keeping a pole journal, I used the paper and pen method. I carried a book with me and wrote in it every time I went to a class and worked on something. I drew lots of stick figures illustrating whatever it was that we worked on that day.     I also had a section for those moves I saw on YouTube or in a performance or competition that I wanted to work on. This was a great start as I now began to retain some of the pole vocabulary I had been learning! But it had some drawbacks. It wasn’t easy to search for a move and sometimes my descriptions and stick figures left me super confused. That’s when I started taking videos. Videos are great! And pretty much everyone has a phone with them at all times that can take care of this task. (Now before you take videos in class, find out what the studio policy is. There are some students and instructors who are camera shy. Always ask for permission to film and if anyone around you does not want to be on film, find an out of the way corner so that only you are in the frame.) So the videos were much more useful than my stick figures! I took videos of everything! Everything I learned in class or on my own and every combo I put together. I got cloud storage space on Dropbox and threw them all in a “Pole Journal” folder on my computer. Unfortunately, I neglected to organize them or delete the bad videos. After a while, I realized I had thousands of videos with no way to search through them other than the date.   This became incredibly frustrating when I wanted to work on a move that I remembered loving from a few months back. It would sometimes take me an hour or more to find that video! It was time to come up with an actual system that I could use… Enter OneNote (or Evernote or whatever note-taking, notebook system you may love and have on your computer). I’m a PC gal so OneNote works great for me. It’s free, I can access it from my phone and it’s easy to use. I set up a “Pole Journal” notebook with tabs for “Spin Combos”, “Static Combos”, “Prone Moves”, “Supine Moves”, “Neutral Moves”, “Floor Work” and “To Work On”. You can set up whatever tabs work for you!   Then I went through my videos. For each move or combo, I’d set up a page under the appropriate tab (i.e. “Spin Combos”) and named it with something that would job my memory (i.e. Sandy-“Oona Yogini Machine Gun Remy” for a spin combo I learned with Sandy May). On the page, I put links to any videos associated with that move as well as notes on level of difficulty, if I love it (indicated by my star rating), if I’ve mastered it, if there is anything else I need to master before coming back to it, if I want to keep working on it, if I’ve used it in a routine, etc. Those notes make it easy to search for what I’m looking for at any given moment.   For anything I really want to keep working on or refresh, I simply copy that page to the “To Work On” tab and keep it there until I’ve mastered it.   How to Use Your Pole Journal? So now that I have this great system, how do I use it? Say there’s a show coming up and I don’t have a lot of time to prepare. I can easily go to my journal and find some moves or combos that I’ve mastered, but haven’t overused in my routines and start to refresh those. Or maybe I can’t make it to classes this week, but I can do open pole or practice at home. I go to my “To Work On” tab and work on 3-4 of those. Or there’s a competition six months down the road and I want to step it up. I search for some of the more difficult moves that I love but haven’t mastered yet and bring those over to the “To Work On” tab. As an instructor, I use my journal quite often to find moves for my students so the material doesn’t get stale. Since I have difficulty level notes on each move or combo, I can quickly search for something appropriate for any class that I teach and bring that in. That may sound like a lot of work! And it was considering I waited until I had thousands of videos before I began organizing them. Now that the system is in place, I will not allow it to get out of control again. I take a few minutes (not much time at all!) at the end of each week to log my videos. The time I spent was well worth it! Building a performance or competition piece is so much easier! As is finding material to teach to my classes! And I can access my journal and my videos no matter where I am because it’s all in the cloud. So whether you’re new to pole or you’ve been poling for decades, I highly recommend using a pole journal and taking it to the cloud!   About Arloa Reston:

Arloa Reston

Arloa Reston

Arloa Reston is a pole performer, competitor and instructor. She is currently on staff at The Choreography House and Luscious Maven, is a Master Trainer with Pole Moves and a cast member of Kelly Yvonne’s Girl Next Door show. Instagram: YouTube: Facebook: Website:    

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