Let's start with my definition of showboating, I think of it as showing off and letting your ego roam free.
Innovation, on the other hand, is the demonstration of something original and more effective, involving the practical application of something that has a meaningful impact on the industry.
The difference between the two is one is about the practitioner while the other is about the client.
Innovation works from a solid foundation and the general principles of how to work are not forgotten. Working ergonomically, keeping both yourself and the client safe, reacting to what you are feeling, moving fluidly and staying connected, these are the things to remember. True innovation comes from the internal, rather than trying to show how cool this move might look externally.
You can demonstrate amazing work, ideas that flow one into the other, ideas that can be felt and enjoyed by the practiced eye but more importantly experienced by your client. Plan your session keeping in mind some of the basics that make your touch great. As a judge in previous competitions, I often saw therapists working too hard, they were sweating, their faces flushed and muscles bulging, the body language just screamed 'this is bl**dy hard work!'. This, in turn, created stiffness and hardness in their touch. You have to learn how to use your body. It might be hot and you might be suffering from nerves but there are other telltale signs that will be evident and give away the fact that you are working too hard and that your body is under stress instead of coming from a place of balance and ease.
Ask yourself, if you can do this move in a way that you can work with ease. Can you position yourself in a way that allows you to maintain a relaxed connection? Also, consider whether you can make it easier for yourself by making your couch lower, straightening your arms, using your body more and generating the power from your legs. Remember to work as a whole, not in isolation, try to avoid using just your unprotected thumbs or generating the power just from your shoulders. Avoid hinging at the hips and slouching over your client, these are all faults that will get you deductions and not the desired points.
In previous competitions, I have witnessed prancing, dancing, flipping, twirling and jumping around, so much so that I thought the circus was in town. The 'performers' demonstrated none of the ideals I value as a professional in this business. You must remember that the purpose of these UK competitions is to demonstrate to the public what each of the different modalities can do, to show the possibilities and most importantly to move our profession forward. I want to reiterate that it is not a form of entertainment, it is a profession and you have a moral obligation to treat it as such. So while you might think your stuff is cool, ask yourself honestly if it is of benefit to anyone or is it just showing off your latest cool move?