Saturday, June 11, 2016

Top 5 Tips for New Spinning® Instructors

In a world that loves lists, I thought I'd contribute by providing the Top 5 Tips that were given to me when I first became a Spinning® instructor.  I'm sure that when the individuals that gave me this advice they weren't even thinking about the lasting impact it might have on me, and in turn on the 100's of people that I've instructed over the years, and maybe even the few folks that follow my blog and Facebook.

I'm sure you have your own favorite tips, so please add them to the comments section of this post and see if we can help a budding instructor.

"You'll get tired of your music
before everyone else."

 Raquel Rezara Schmidt, Spinning M.I.

A common question that pops up in Facebook groups, blogs, and just about anytime more than 2 instructors get together is, "How often do you change your play lists?"  The fact of the matter is that unless you dominate a time slot, or participants only come to your class then participants are likely hearing a variety of play lists.  One word of caution, is that if you only use Top 40 music then participants are likely hearing those songs every 30-90 minutes on the radio too.

"Stop making shit up."
Ellen, Star3 - Spinning Instructor

This was probably my most favorite piece of advice because she was so sincere.  Ellen was my first Group X coordinator and I did my first audition with her.  Having participated in a variety of classes prior to becoming certified, I had picked up on a completely legal routine of movements, that I still use today for core warm up.  The issue was that the instructor I picked that up from called it "Around the World", which is exactly how I cued it.  The audition went fine and I got the job, but Ellen's words resonated with me, and that term died that day.

"Fake it 'til you make it."
Heather (Pilate's / Yoga Instructor)

Still a great friend today, Heather recommended that I,
 "Fake it [confidence] 'til [I] make it" with my confidence.  She wasn't talking about faking the class profile, movements, or instructions, simply my personal presentation.

All of this reminds me of the old Dry Idea commercials saying to Never Let Them See You Sweat.  Hiding the buckets of sweat I produce is not an option, but the nerves is.

"Keep it Real."
Jennifer Sage, ICA M.I.

Three little words changed my cuing and ultimately lead me to another new hobby, Outdoor Cycling. I had started researching real cycling to bring that into my class for my first Race Day ride, and that's when I started to learn what things like Pace lines, Switchbacks, and Rollers were.  Now if you participate in one of my classes, you'll hear these terms all the time.  I wasn't making stuff up.  I was still using the core movements that we all learn during certification class, but now I knew how that related to the "real" world.

A special thanks to someone that was visiting my blog that challenged learned about all the real world terms without ever leaving the studio.  An outdoor cyclist that followed my blog at the time didn't even realize that I didn't own a bike.  I wish I could credit him, but I don't remember his name, but thanks Mr. Anonymous, I love cycling now.

"Get off the Bike."  
Ellen, Star3 - Spinning Instructor

Yet, another thing that I have to attribute to a great mentor.  Ellen charged all the instructors that worked for her with getting off the bike to force us to connect with the participants.  Many of the instructors never really got comfortable with this, getting off the bike fist bumping participants and retreating to the safety of their bike as soon as possible, but I still get off the bike and make the rounds.  This skill has served me well multiple times as I was successfully able to coach off the bike when I injured with a broken leg, and then again a couple of years later with broken ribs.

To all this advice I offer the one piece that I give all new instructors...

"Don't Puke! Slow Down to Enjoy the Ride" 
Spinning Freak™

No I'm not actually talking about a hurling your lunch, but that too, I would strongly encourage you to avoid.  New instructors have so much they want to share that they've learned during their certification class.  They're full of excitement, nerves and adrenaline and they want to try to put all that knowledge and enthusiasm in their very first class.  If you do this, you'll literally be talking (and puking up all that knowledge) the entire class.  Slow down.

If you're good, and I'm sure you will be, save something for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and classes beyond. Don't try to be clever and combine too many moves, too much information, too much talking in each and every profile.  That will come later and naturally to you as you become more comfortable at the front of the room,

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