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8 Great Ways to Keep Your Students Coming Back! Guest Blogger

By Jennifer Sage On April 13, 2012 Under Business of Coaching/Teaching

Today’s Guest Blog is Jennifer Lynn of Studio S in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“The journey of thousand miles begins with a single revolution..”

Isn’t that how the saying goes?

The first day to the 524,600th day….where do I begin?

I was so excited to reminisce about the first day of my life as a spinning instructor. I distinctly remember walking into a class full of curious and excited members! The class was slated for 9:30am MWF and I was taking on a group of dedicated folks…who had expectations….

I prepare to teach class: set up the stereo, my bike, student bikes, and try to keep my heart rate in check…adrenaline is pumping…and so are my nerves. The clock strikes 9:30am and away we go…little did I know that my MWF class would become a group of folks with whom I would spend the next 6 years of my life teaching and befriending. How amazing!

How did I do it? How did I retain a class full of students 3x a week? The answer is fairly simple. I am dedicated to my class and all the nuances that go along with building a community. If it is your first day of teaching or if you are teaching a class that has low numbers, here are a few tips to help you along the way:

1. Always be prepared….DO NOT WING IT! Every class needs a plan that includes the idea of periodization. Integrate all aspects of training into your classes.

2. Educate and empower your students. Explain the purpose behind drills and the benefits. Members of your gym are intelligent and curious people. They want to know, ”Why do we pedal at 70RPM?” or “Why is the talk test important?” or “Why do we need to do endurance?”

3. Stay current on your education. I often hear instructors say, “I got certified 15 years ago…and spinning is still the same so I don’t need to do continuing education classes. This is just a hobby and it’s too expensive.” Well….would you want your doctor to say,”This surgery could be performed using state of the art lasers and cutting edge technology, but I never wasted my time learning about it because the old way works just fine”? (The best source for overall education? The Indoor Cycling Association of course! It’s very reasonably priced with tons of current information each month including science, profiles, music, tips on coaching and cueing and much more.)

4. Take a personal interest in your members by learning as many names as you can and always taking time to recognize and thank them for taking your class. Many people are lonely or shy and it really means a lot to be recognized as a person. Make sure to point out how strong they are becoming or how they have improved technique. Any kind of affirmation is helpful to building rapport.

5. Marketing is key. There are many great instructors so why should they take your class? Run promotions and contests to incentivize not just your current students, but also new/potential students. Everyone loves to play games and win prizes! Why not post a FB message saying,”Bring a friend to class and win a Starbucks giftcard”. Spend money to make money….it’s worth it to spend a little money to yield a 6+ year return of income, friendship, and job security.

6. Play games during class to encourage camaraderie among members while also creating an environment of joyfulness! For example, I will teach a music theme and give a small prize to the first person to guess the theme (Ex. All music in class was played in a movie or All music in class mentions the word “dance”).

7. Change your music ALL THE TIME! Often I have heard instructors say,”Nobody notices if you play the same songs in class.” That is completely untrue. It shows a lack of preparedness and it can make you appear lazy or apathetic. Music is part of the total experience. Would you teach the same profile 6 times in a row? I hope not….

8. “Above all else, to thine own self be true” — The Bard, William Shakespeare

If you are sincere and committed to creating your own authentic style of teaching combined with an artillery of knowledge and true caring, it is impossible to fail!

Good luck, trailblazers! Your bike is waiting….

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Shari
    April 15, 2012
    1:58 am #comment-1

    Loved this! Thank you! 🙂

  2. JP
    April 15, 2012
    7:58 pm #comment-2

    Thank you! Great Great Great!

  3. monsterquads
    April 16, 2012
    5:20 pm #comment-3

    All of this is great and oh so true. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Trish
    May 30, 2012
    4:11 am #comment-4

    Great tips! I’ve been struggling with a small class for a few months and decided to change things up by coming in with a lesson or goal for each ride and giving my students two classes to try and ‘master’ the goals in a different way. The class is growing slowly and my regulars come back each week asking ‘so what’s the goal this week?’ Don’t underestimate your students’ curiosity and willingness to learn!

  5. Jennifer Sage
    May 30, 2012
    8:06 pm #comment-5

    Trish,
    Your comment is so true: “Don

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