Ask the Expert: How Much Coaching in Class is Too Much?

Aisha asked me this question:

Hi Jennifer, hope all is well at your end. I have learned a lot from your cycling studio forum and cycling instructors groups on Facebook. Here is a question that maybe you can answer through your experience. How much cueing is too much cueing in a spin class? Thanks.

My response:

First, I want to differentiate between “talking” and “coaching” the workout. While there is a time and place for general chitchat, I will cover that in more depth in another post (although I briefly address it below). In this response, I will stick to the question of when an instructor might be coaching too much in class, and how to tell the difference between essential and non-essential cueing. I will also briefly address the question as it relates to subbing.

Can someone talk too much? Absolutely. But if it’s needed in the moment, then it’s appropriate.

Here is a case in point. I teach periodized winter training clinics (8- to 12-week, depending on the situation). The first few classes take a lot more cueing. I have to explain power (wattage), lactate threshold, pedal stroke, RPE, and more. As we move through the weeks, I talk a LOT less. In fact, I love it when my riders are educated and all I need to do is say a few words and they get it.

BUT…that takes work. That takes time.

In a typical class where you have your regulars but also see a steady stream of new people, there are other things to consider.

So the answer is…it depends!

It depends on many factors, but specifically the following 9 things:


  1. Thanks For answering my concern about over coaching in this post. You have gone in detail about different scenarios and how to coach .It will definitely help me as a guide to stay focused on the ride.

  2. The more experienced we become we tend to kind of know when we are talking too much. In my ride profile preparation and the actual ride itself I frequently ask my self Why are you talking?????

  3. I’ve been guilty of over-verbalizing in classes, so reviewed by riders particularly in my earliest days. Thus I’ve been seeking ways to minimize talking and saying what I feel will best help riders in the most efficient and effective way. I greatly appreciate this post and am looking forward to some bedtime reading now in prep for tomorrow’s ride! 🙂

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