You might be tempted to think of uncontested rounds as a waste. You might think they don’t count and that the first place win isn’t real. I want to push back on that. There are ways to think about uncontested rounds that will serve you much better.
First, consider that if you are dancing uncontested that it means no one else you age, at your level was willing to show up and do the hard thing of competing. This makes you a rarity in this case. If another team doesn’t show up for a match, and you did, they forfeit and you win. You get the win. Your first place counts. It counts because you still practiced and prepared and showed up when no one else did. You still danced as well as you would have otherwise, did you not? Did you dance less? Did you try less hard? Doubtful.
Uncontested rounds are valuable. Every time you compete, you get better at competing. Every time you step on that floor under the pressure of spectators watching and judges judging, you get better at competing. In the case of uncontested rounds, this is a good time to focus on your performance quality. You get to focus on your presentation, your smile, your partnering, etc, without the same pressure as trying to be perfect in your technique and try to beat other competitors. It’s an opportunity to dance a little more relaxed and show your brain it is possible to dance and compete and feel a little pressure about it. At times you may even find yourself as the only couple on the floor. This is akin to a showcase and is excellent practice at having all eyes on you.
When you discount uncontested wins, it’s part of a bigger problem–diminishing your successes. Many of us were conditioned by a motivation source that included fear, anxiety, and low self worth. We were raised with the idea that we need to feel we are bad in order to motivate us to be good. That is one way to do it. Buy when you diminish your successes, you make them less desirable. You create a situation where no success will be enough. This will make your successes unsatisfying.
When success feels good, you will want more of it. It IS possible to celebrate and think you’re awesome AND still get better. It doesn’t always lead to complacency. Celebrate more. Take every win you can get. You earn each one. Learn all you can from uncontested rounds and use them to your benefit. Whether they are a waste or not is totally up to you.