Shane Godliman Interview | Fear, Flips and Finding your own style | Episode #002

This is Episode #2 of the new Off The Pole Podcast, featuring flips master and fellow podcaster Mr Shane Godliman!

Shane travels around the UK teaching workshops and is known for his dynamic style on the pole and getting people who are scared of flips (like me) to give them a go!

Really hope you guys enjoy the 2nd episode in the podcast series - you can subscribe to our pole podcast on iTunes to keep updated with all the latest episodes and it would mean the world to me if you could leave a review!

Hit play above or read the transcript below. You can also check out the video version at the Off The Pole Youtube channel.

Sarah: Welcome, Shane. Thanks for coming on my podcast.

Shane: Thanks for having me.

Sarah: Just for the people who might not know who you are. Madness if they don't know who you are...but maybe tell us a little bit about yourself, a bit about your background?

Shane: Yeah. Okay. I'm Shane, and I'm 26. I've been poling for about four years now, I think. I started, I guess, getting into pole was quite random for me. I was doing a lot of personal training. My background was I started off personal training. I got into calisthenics and was teaching a lot of handstands and gymnastic strength based stuff and this, that, and the other. I was doing a PT session with a girl who wanted to learn about handstands, and she said, "Oh. You should come down to pole, you should come to this place. You'll love it. You'll love the instructor.", this and that, which was Trixters in Bradford. I went up there to an open session, and just had a little play and did a couple spins and that was it.

Sarah: And you were probably irritatingly good at it...

Shane: A little bit.

Sarah: Everyone was giving you evil eyes?

Shane: I think I caught a few evil eyes, but I'd already been doing ... I was trying to learn a flag already so I kind of had a rubbish Iron-X kind of already down and stuff. But you know me, I stick to what I'm good at.

Sarah: Don't we all!. Don't we all...Okay. Cool. So how have you found it since then? Have you found that your tricks have changed? Have you found that your development has changed? Did you start going to class or did you teach yourself? Sort of a mix?

Shane: Yeah. When I started, it was more of like an open session vibe. I haven't spent a lot of time in classes per se. I've done workshops, and I've done ... you know, you go to jams and people help you out. Go to open sessions and there's people kind of shadowing as it were. It's kind of a mix of a lot of things in terms of how I've learned. I don't know if my style has changed. I guess coming in I didn't know what my style was. I think that's what drew me to pole was it seemed like there was scope for me to kind of learn a lot more about, kind of who I was and the way I wanted to move and stuff. It just seemed a little bit more versatile. At the time, I was doing a lot more street workout stuff, and it got a bit stagnant for me. It seemed like everyone was doing the same thing the same way without really much care for how it went down, whereas, with pole, it was a lot different. Yeah, I think I've just been kind of exploring, to be honest, in terms of my style.

I was very inspired by the Russians and stuff when I started. Obviously coming in everyone was kind of like, watch Felix Cane and Sarah Scott. And was like, I can't do any of that stuff. Sorry.

Sarah: You can do everything I can do! I post something and you're just like, "Oh yeah, and I can do it with straight legs and straight arms. Add a flip on the end."

I'm like, Shane. Stop it! Keep it simple. Stop making me look bad! No. It's fine. I'm only joking...

Sarah: In a general pole training session, how would you prepare for it? Do you have a plan? Do you lay it out beforehand or is it more kind of a creative kind of exploring as you say?

Shane: I massively alternate between the two actually, which is not a particularly useful answer. I think I prefer exploring. I don't think I enjoy feeling like I'm stuck in this ... "Oh, I have to do this certain set of exercises". But at the same time, I noticed that if I just spend all my time just messing around and playing, the results start to sort of taper off a little bit. I might kind of find a new little element or angle as it were that I want to kind of play with. But if I really want to make improvements in terms of results in my training, in terms of strength and things like that, I have to be understructure. But then if I spend too long understructure, I get really bored at training. I tend to vaguely probably sort of eight weeks on eight weeks off(ish).

Sarah: Yeah. Kind of alternate between the two.

Shane: Yeah.

Sarah: Do you feel like you ever have a loss of motivation? Do you feel like you have to really push yourself to go training or do you always pretty much feel like you have that drive to keep kind of setting goals and smashing them?

Shane: No. Definitely. I definitely hit all kinds of ruts, every rut imaginable. Yeah. I guess it depends on sort of where that energy is coming from. You know, a lot of people like to do competitions and things like that because they feel like it gives them something to train for. I guess sometimes if I've got something to train for in terms of I've got a trick that I'm working towards specifically or a combo that I'm trying to get Instagram worthy or whatever.

Sarah: Shh. That just happens naturally. Remember? You do it the first time, and then you just post it. No editing occurs, it's all fine...*wink*

Shane: Yeah. Sometimes I do find myself kind of thinking, why am I kind of doing this. I definitely struggle with dips and motivation and things. Well, I guess there's loads of different reasons, different times in your life and stuff. No, it's definitely not a consistent thing. And even if it does become consistent it will fade out eventually, just got to ride it long enough.

Sarah: Have you found that you've had any specific challenges that you've had to overcome in your training journey?

Shane: Yeah. I guess kind of like we talked about earlier where you've got to find the kind of style and structure that works for you. Because I think when you start something new, especially when it's as complex as pole, you kind of start to just look to the left look to the right and just do whatever everyone else is doing. That's been a struggle, kind of finding out what actually does work best for me. And just what we were talking about, then having that kind of base motivation to create a really consistent routine and things. I think that's probably one of the things I have to really pay attention to is I think trying to build as much consistency as I can. And then all the normal mental blocks like doing flips and things. Everyone assumes I'm sort of high functioning sociopath that doesn't register any level of fear, but that is not the case. I deal with that.

Sarah: And we had a few questions in the group when I posted that you were coming on. And a few people did ask about the fear of flips and whether it does ever go away. Are there steps that you take beforehand or is it just something that you've learned to deal with?

Shane: Both. I do have a bit of a routine in terms of ... Well, not a routine but I try and be kind of conscious of my physiology and how I kind of feel and what my breathing is like and how I'm standing and things like that before I'm about to go and do something. I like to try and create a bit of consistency in that sense. I think that come from a basketball background when you do free throws you always have a routine, it's the same shot. I create this similar little ... it might just be "take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, shake your arms out a little", or just whatever it is that makes me feel good. As well, it does just kind of get better, or over time I think it's more about relative context. A backflip for me isn't scary, because I've done thousands of them, but a split drop is because I don't do any of those. Right?

Fear is quite a crude word in a lot of senses, I think. It helps to be a bit more specific. But generally speaking, yeah definitely, everyone deals with it, I definitely deal with it in relation to some of the flips and things I-

Sarah: I've done a private with you myself and I'm terrified of flips. You're very calming. You put up with me very well. I think knowing the mechanics of what you're doing rather than just throwing yourself into it or going for it. I think people think they need more energy to make the flip feel easier, but actually if you break down the mechanics of it, it's very precise, and when you know how to do it properly that actually takes a lot of the fear away, because you know the control of it, and that I found that very helpful with your teaching.

Shane: Thank you. That's a really good point. That is really important. That awareness of ... I think in terms of when I'm coaching, I try and think about instilling a level of awareness of accountability with what I'm doing. Say, if you don't know the ins and outs, the techniques of what you're doing, there's just no scope for you being able to adjust or understand the movement and things. And then you also got to kind of understand it is still you that's doing it ... you talk about me being calming in this, but that's my impact on you as opposed to what a lot of people expect is for me to just put one hand here, one hand here just kind of fling you over or you just kind of shut your eyes and go for it, which may be alright for one or two, but it's not going to give you much to kind of build on say ... That's a very good point.

Sarah: You say you came from a calisthenics background or you were kind of getting into that, and obviously you said you came from basketball as well, which is very dynamic. Is there any of that, that's sort of in regards to transferring skills? Is there anything that you can recommend to pole dancers that they can do to help train to do that. Obviously, we don't necessarily come from calisthenics and basketball, but those skills obviously have helped you along the way. Is there anything that you could recommend?

Shane: Yeah. I guess from the basketball standpoint, I guess I haven't really thought about it in terms of movement too much. I think I bring some of the philosophy of coaching stuff that I've learnt from playing basketball over into my teaching. But, actually, as I say that, I guess broadly speaking anything where you're kind of doing a lot of agility work and a lot of quick movements is going to help you with any other movements, that way you're moving sort of faster than you're generally used to. It's another common thing that I've come across, especially with flips and things it seems like you're just moving so fast, I can't register anything, which is true to a certain extent, but realistically again fast is a relative term. You're moving faster than you usually do, and you have plenty of systems and processes in your body that are working millions of times faster than you can ever do a backflip. There's plenty of stuff in there to be aware of, but if you've never been exposed to it you're not going to be able to kind of tap into that. I think from the basketball side of things, I like using some of the speed, some of the footwork, some of the kind of body placement stuff.

And then from the calisthenics obviously that was more strength based. I use a lot of the techniques from that, but it's nothing interesting. You know? All the best stuff is so boring.

Sarah: It's always the small muscles, and the small tiny exercises that don't actually let you know you're doing anything and they're the key to unlock everything. Yeah. I do know where you're coming from with that. Do you train just pole now? I know we see you ... quite a lot of you doing kind of flips and things and gymnastics into foam pits and ninja warrior stuff. Do you go to a gym? Do you do any weights? Do you do any specific body weight sessions or do you find that it comes naturally from your other training regimes?

Shane: I don't have a specific answer to this, which kind of ties into what we were talking about earlier where I'm kind of in and out, eight weeks on, eight weeks off, type thing. It depends on when you catch me. I think I wouldn't have the kind of base abilities that I have now without following a structure. But having said that, since I've started pole, I have been doing less kind of structured specific body weight workouts. Before I was doing sort of three sessions a week, 4-5 hour sessions a week, and that was my whole focus. And I guess as I started getting into pole, and started advancing my skills and stuff I was applying all of it anyway. It's kind of hard not to be strong in pole anyway. Even if you're not trying to, you're going to get a bit stronger anyway. I was using it all. Even though I haven't necessarily progressed a tonne, I've been able to at least maintain what I built through the structure. Like I said earlier, I think if I'm serious about making strength gains then I have to go in for structure. I would like to think that I could just mess about and do a little pole, and I would just be massive and strong, but it just doesn't really work that. And I'll be really lopsided because I can't flag on the other side. It's too hard.

Sarah: Shh. Don't tell people that. Just be like, you choose not to, but you could if you wanted...

Shane:  I could if I would really like to.

Sarah: Yeah. If your life depended on it, you probably could do a better flag than most of us. God damn you, Shane... But we'll pretend like you're going to be bad on your bad side. If you couldn't do pole ever again, is there one exercise that you would go to? Or is there one exercise that you're like, I love doing that alongside pole?

Shane: No, not one. It's too hard for me to pick one. Again, you could interview me once a month and get twelve different answers. Just with where I'm at in my life, to be honest, I'm just exploring, I'm having fun, and just kind of working out what does and doesn't ... Yeah. I'm trying all kinds of different movement styles and dance styles and strength training, this, that, and the other. I'll just kind of mess about with things. I think I'd struggle to pick one unless I just went gymnastics, and I feel like that's cheating because it's a bit of everything in there.

Sarah: Do you do mobility work or flexibility work? Do you really put aside any time to do rest or active recovery? Anything like that or do you feel like your body recovers quite well? You don't have to spend too much time on it. Is this not a good question, because you're smirking already like, you probably should do more but you don't do a lot so you don't want me to bring it up." Shh. Sarah. Shh. I stretch all the time. My splits are amazing!" *laughs*

Shane: I'm thinking. I know. I'm thinking, yeah, you're going to post this in your Off the Pole group with a mobility video attached to it.

Sarah: I will post it there. Yes. It's completely what I'm going to do *laughs* But, you know, there's no judgement. I'm just interested.

Shane: Well, I don't do as much mobility as I should. I do more mobility than I do normal classic stretching. I think the stretching thing for me is that it's just boring and it hurts and it's just hard to motivate myself to do it.

Sarah: Well, that's honest. That's honest. I appreciate that.

Shane: Yeah. It's honest. Not a particularly good excuse, but that is just how I feel. I think with mobility stuff I tend to build it into warm-ups and things. Even though I do like to kind of run into a pole studio and act like a six-year-old child, I know that I don't benefit from that, get little tweaks and stuff. I'm creeping up toward the mysterious age, and I think I'm starting to be a bit more aware of that. I kind of build stuff in, but again it kind of changes, I don't have specific exercises. I do what feels like I'm supposed to be doing. I'll have something sort of shoulder opening and something sort of spine opening in a broad sense.

Sarah: Last question. Is there anything, final words of advice you could give to the Off the Pole Facebook Group, as you know that I'm going to be posting it there.

The motto that I'm trying to bring to the Off the Pole community now is that we're trying to 'train smarter so that we can dance more'; the whole point of pole is that we enjoy it and we love it and we want to spend more time on the pole, but if there are a few things we could chuck into our training that's going to help us do that like bring longevity to our training. If there's a couple of things that ... it doesn't have to be one thing, put pressure on you, if it is one thing that's fine. If there is one thing that you could either maybe tell yourself when you first started pole or something that you really like to include into your training now that ensures that you'll be able to train for longer. Something like that.

Shane: Yeah. I think that my answer probably wouldn't be sort of exercise based. As you're saying that, it reminded me of what my basketball coach used to say all the time. He's like, "Get comfortable being uncomfortable." And he meant it in terms of running suicides, but also-

Sarah: I don't know what that is... It sounds horrible.

Shane: It's awful. Just line drills back forth, back forth. Anyway. Yeah. I think that the idea of that holds you've got to fall in love with the process and like what you said about before, most of the important stuff is really boring. If longevity is the biggest key, then you've got to have the mindset for it really. The excitable buzz that you get from starting out something is rarely going to carry you through to long-term success. I think the sooner that you can get kind of stuck into some of the more boring stuff and just kind of square yourself of the idea that more than anything you have to get stuff done consistently rather than needing it to be perfect all the time and this and that.

Sarah: No. That's good. That's a good piece of advice.

Shane: Yeah.

Sarah: That's very good. Awesome. Well, thank you for coming on and answering some of our questions. Much appreciated.

Shane: Thank you for having me.

Sarah: I will link down to where everyone can find you and stuff like that.

Shane: Thank you very much!


That wraps up this week's podcast! Join us again in 2 weeks for episode #3.

In the meantime Merry Christmas! Hope Santa has some pole goodies in store for us ^^

As always, I'd love to hear your feedback - share and comment away, and check out Shane's podcast too.




Facebook: Shane Godliman

Podcast: The Shane Godliman Show