For over 10 years I have heard pole dancers use the phrase “weak side” and “bad side” – and I would like to propose that going forward we start reframing weakness by using the term “switch”.

Language matters. The words we use shape our perceptions of ourselves and our abilities. Language has the power to influence how we approach challenges and celebrate successes. Yet, within this community, there’s a prevalent dichotomy often used to describe our dominant and non-dominant sides: the “strong side” and the “weak side”/”bad side.”

When we label one side as “strong” and the other as “weak,” we inadvertently perpetuate a harmful mindset that diminishes the value of our so-called “weak” side. We internalize the notion that it’s somehow inferior or inadequate, leading to frustration and self-doubt.

Reframing Weakness

But what if we could reframe this narrative?

What if we could replace these limiting terms with something more empowering, more inclusive?

Reframing our language involves consciously altering the way one perceives and interprets challenges.  By reframing, we can shift from a negative to a more positive outlook, finding opportunities within obstacles.

It’s about embracing a mindset that fosters growth, resilience, and optimism, allowing one to navigate with greater adaptability and confidence.

Reframing empowers individuals to see setbacks as opportunities for learning and personal development, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and enriching journey.

Skaters Learn Tricks “Switch”

Skaters use the word “switch” when attempting a trick in their non-dominant stance. When I was skating and learning new tricks, I was encouraged early on to also learn that same trick “switch”, and it was some of the best advice I received when learning to skate.  Sometimes in the process of trying a trick switch, I would actually find that the switch trick was easier than the regular trick.

Switch terminology doesn’t imply weakness or deficiency; instead, it acknowledges the diversity of movement and skill required to learn the same trick on the other side.

Similarly, in pole dancing, we can adopt this language to embrace the versatility and adaptability of our bodies to execute a trick, but on the other side of the pole. By embracing the switch trick, we shift the focus from judgment to exploration, from limitation to a growth mindset, while doubling the number of tricks we can execute.

Regular and Switch Tricks in Pole

Our “regular” side represents familiarity and comfort, where movements flow more easily and muscles engage a bit more naturally. It’s our foundation, our starting point. And while still challenging and difficult, learning comes easier and faster.

Conversely, our “switch” side invites us to venture into uncharted territory, to challenge ourselves and expand our boundaries. It’s where growth happens, where resilience is cultivated. And sometimes we may even discover with great surprise that a switch trick is easier!

By reframing our perspective, we can transform our pole practice into a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Rather than viewing our “switch” side as a hindrance, we can celebrate it as an opportunity for growth, and even count it as a whole new trick. Every time we step into our switch stance, we defy expectations and our own limitations. We reclaim ownership of our bodies and redefine what it means to be strong.

Moreover, embracing the language of “regular” and “switch” fosters inclusivity, not only within our own body, but within the pole dancing community. It acknowledges that everyone’s journey is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all definition of strength. Whether we’re mastering a new spin or perfecting a challenging transition, we’re all united by our passion for movement and our commitment to self-improvement and self-acceptance.

So, the next time you step up to the pole, I encourage you to embrace both your “regular” and “switch” sides. Remember that words are powerful, and by choosing language that uplifts and empowers, you can rewrite the narrative of strength and redefine what it means to learn tricks on the “other” side.

Because when we change the way we talk about our bodies, we change the way we feel about ourselves. And that’s where true strength lies.

If you hear the skater in me say, “now do it switch!” at pole class, you will understand!


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