One thing I’ve learned since becoming an indoor cycling instructor is how much work and thought goes into this job. The number of things to focus on is well above what I would have imagined. But I love learning and am a detail-oriented (OK, slightly OCD!) person, so it’s perfect for me. With that in mind, taking other instructors’ classes is something I try do regularly, to stay on top of all these details. This allows me to reflect on myself as an instructor and see where I can improve.
I’ve put together some comments about a class I took today at a new club (new to me, that is). With all due respect and appreciation for the things the instructor did well—I actually mostly liked the class—here I’m focusing only on areas that didn’t work for me:
- Introduce yourself. Super simple. Do it every class.
- Notice (or ask!) if anyone is new. Not to put them on the spot, but to make them feel welcome and give them any tips that could be helpful.
- Don’t tell me over and over before we even start how “awful/painful/crazy/hard/terrible/you’ll wish you’d stayed at home” the workout is going to be. Positive motivation is much more effective than fear.
- Don’t brag and say that “no instructor has ever done these intervals before.”
- Make sure your mic is loud enough. I was frustrated during the intervals since I couldn’t hear if we are “on” or “off.”
- The member in front of you is pedaling at a cadence I estimate to be around 40 rpm with a TON of resistance. Maybe she’s a regular and this is her “thing,” but it’s to the point that I’m worried about her safety.
- You just told me to engage and tighten my core muscles/keep them tight/work those abs…and now you are telling me that my muscles should be relaxed and settled in to the work. I’m confused.
- You are using the term “threshold watts” over and over (which I like and happen to know about), but you didn’t explain at all what you mean. I’m hoping those around me are not new to class also!
- “Woo hoo”s are OK one, maybe two times, but after that I’m left wanting some more substance…how about some mind-body cues to motivate instead??
Recently a fellow instructor took my class and afterward gave me some feedback (she asked first if I was open to it). I listened, took notes, and knew everything she said was spot-on. I love that kind of help. I want to continue to learn and grow as an instructor and hope if any of you come to one of my classes you’ll give me constructive feedback. My advice is to make a plan to regularly take other cycle classes and see what you learn, both from what they do well and where there’s room for improvement. Reflect, learn, grow…pass it on, and repeat!
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Excellent article. Whenever I take another instructor’s class, I always try to take away at least 3 things from it. As you eloquently stated, they may be things to do in my classes or not to do in my classes. I was just commenting to my wife this week that I’ve taken classes from almost all of the instructors in my main gym but I haven’t had any of them take one of my classes ever. They may be missing an opportunity to learn from me (both what to do and what not to do).
Great Article.. It is so important to get out there and see what other instructors are doing..good and not so good, Thank you
Good thoughts, Aprl!
Thank you so for writing this much Apryl!