For all the high school rhetoric that goes into sports vs arts, it turns out actors and athletes are not so different. They both have coaches, representation, get cast in TVCs and have extended family asking them what their “real job” is until they get that big break and suddenly Auntie Paula and your second cousins all want a photo with you.
Athletes are constantly working to be the best at what they do, to master their craft, their skill, their passion and to be fighting fit to compete at the drop of a hat. So if there are so many similarities between us as actors and the Serenas or Thorpedos of the world, don’t you think it’s time we started training like athletes too?
Let’s break down just how that might look!
Strive for constant improvement
No matter how successful an athlete may be, there’s always going to be that certain skill they’ve yet to master and will continue to work at; whether it’s pulling off the treacherous Quadruple Axel in figure skating, perfecting the Diagonal Cruyff on the soccer pitch or simply hitting a new personal best. So too with acting it’s important we continue to build up our toolbelt. Be sure to keep refining your standard American, evolving your script analysis skills, working on drama if you’ve been typecast in comedy. This commitment to keep learning and improving is what sets the professionals apart from the hobbyists so give yourself the best shot at success by chipping away at the gaps in your toolbelt one by one.
Be ready to compete at all times
Athletes who have made their sport their life’s work do not rest. They’re the ones who are up at 5am every morning training, improving, getting stronger so that they are ready to compete with the best at any moment. Similarly, it’s important as actors to minimise the downtime as much as possible. Don’t let the months between jobs or classes go by without continuing to train. Be sure to keep the acting muscles warm with regular workouts, because you never know when the next big call’s going to come in!
Take the initiative and be proactive
While teachers and coaches are an incredibly important aspect to the development of any skill, it’s a well known fact that professional athletes won’t have their coaches with them every single time they train and certainly when it comes to the big race it’s just me, myself and I! In addition to regular gym sessions, athletes will take the skills they learn throughout their professional coaching and proactively strengthen them through practice and repetition both on and off field. As an actor, it’s important to have that space and time to train yourself, volley with your peers, practise the skills you’ve already learned and build and strengthen those acting muscles outside of work or classes.
Get yourself a team/squad
Training on your own just isn’t as fun. Even solo athletes like swimmers, gymnasts or climbers will join a team/squad to train with. A group of like minded individuals with the same goals is so important as it provides an opportunity to push each other, teach and learn from one another and simply feel a sense of belonging. Just like a professional boxer isn’t going to improve if they step into the ring with their mother or boyfriend it’s so important that, as actors, we are training with other professionals who are at a similar level to us to ensure we continually improve.
Stay motivated and maintain momentum
We all know the best athletes have faced some huge setbacks prior to achieving their success. The one thing they didn’t do in these times was throw in the towel. Much like athletes, actors will face a lot of rejection and failure in their career, but always keep the momentum going because these are the moments success is built in! The passionate pros see these junctures as opportunities to fuel their desire to do better, so keep up the momentum and make sure you’re always focusing on your “next play”!
At SceneWorkout we run regular training sessions for experienced actors to work out the acting muscles and strengthen their performance between jobs.
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