After I judge a show I am often asked for feedback, but there are lots of aspects that competitors commonly get wrong that can easily be fixed with some research, preparation and practice! So here's my top feedback tips
The Walk on .....the World is your stage, enjoy the moment, breath in the atmosphere, relax and take control, focus your mind and don't waste 12 months in the gym by rushing on and off the stage in a few seconds! make eye contact, Smile, Be happy- you earned your moment to shine. The first impression you make as you set foot on stage can make you memorable or fade into the background. SO make sure as soon as you hit the stage until you walk back behind the curtain, remain focussed.
When judging physiques, the importance of different criteria does depend on the category- some are more focused on the muscle size, shape, tone, level of body fat but other elements common across the category's are symmetry, shape and proportion. Does your front match your back, does your upper body match your lower body. Does your physique flow, or does one body part dominate? Competitions are not won because of crazy abs or shoulders, the whole physique needs to be impressive. Have a look at your photos, you should be able to see if you have weaker areas to work on, so focus on those elements in your training, everyone has their favourite workouts, we are all guilty of focussing on the things we like most, so really try and balance your training to work more on weaker areas.
Each competition has its own regulations, as does each class. So make sure you know what is required. You may need to learn compulsory poses, comparison quarter turns, t walks or routines. Learn the poses initially with a mirror but then practice posing without a mirror, into a video or camera, so you can learn how to feel a pose so that when on stage, so when you hit the stage you aren't lost without your visual feedback. The best form of feedback is to wait for your professional shots or video footage- If you rushed your T-walk... you may not have so many pics, if you didn't hold the pose long enough for the photographer to get his shots then its unlikely the judges got a good look at you either! So make sure you take your time and hold poses long enough so the judges don't miss it. Look at the poses, if you have a choice of poses, check, do they really show off your best bits, choose poses you can do that shows your physique off to your best. If in doubt hire a coach or go to a workshop organised by the federation you are competing with to learn what is required. In a close competition, placings could be determined on posing and someone with a better physique may miss out just because they cant display it properly. Also, have a set pose to use back of stage - do not switch off! The number of times I've wanted to have another look at an athlete at the back of stage while another judges call out is on and they have lost their posture, have relaxed, are messing with tan / costume - you are being judged all the time you are on stage!
Getting your personality across to the judges is really important. In a large line up, you need to catch their attention! Some competitions and categories are looking at more than just a physique marking you for stage presence, confidence, marketability, the 'full package'.
Common mistakes are forgetting to smile, looking at the floor and not engaging with the judges. You don't need to stare at x marks during a T Walk, your peripheral Vision should allow you to head roughly for a marker without looking directly at the floor- you know roughly where to walk, so keep your head held high and engage with your audience while walking across stage. Were you smiling, happy, smouldering, pouting, being sexy... or looking scared or bored lol ... The image you portray can make you look like a pro competitor or a scared first timer. Fake it til you make it!
Does your outfit fit criteria. Some federations have rules on costume type, shoe type etc. So its important to check this out! Presentation is key especially in model and bikini and mens physique, so many hours of hard Work training in the gym can be let down by the things some may not put the same amount of thought into presentation
Shoes ....are they a correct fit? Can you walk in them? Really walk elegantly? .... Not march or hobble along or stomp like a baby elephant?
Does your choice of makeup suit your complexion, your eye colour, do your eye lash extensions accentuate your eyes?
Length, colour, cut and styling - do they compliment you?
fitness wear, evening wear, do they suit you, show off your physique and style? Does the colour and material work well under harsh stage lighting. Can you walk and pose comfortably? Ive seen dresses that go transparent, dresses where you can see VPL and padding, dresses too tight to walk in, ill fitting gowns.... if you have an amazing dress but it doesn't fit properly... get a seamstress to alter it for you! Even an beautiful expensive dress can look terrible if its ill-fitting!
Whether you apply your own tan or use a professional show tan service, make sure you are dark enough. Make sure you did your skin prep, tan can go patchy and green if the skin has not been prepped. If unsure what tan to use, check with the federation or use a company like www.showtimetan.co.uk who can advise you on what the best tan for your category and competition are and then you can buy it online.
Jewellery / accessories and props
Some federations have rules on what can be worn / used. But make sure they don't distract or hide your physique and compliment your appearance.
So these are the most common mistakes and things to consider, so if you have just competed, see if theres anything you can already see that you can improve from and if you haven't competed yet, you could look at these points and maybe help avoid commonly made mistakes!