By Sabrina Fairchild, Spinning® Master Instructor | California, United States
Great Spinning® instructors have a variety of qualities that encompass the Spinning philosophy. The traditional philosophy has been to provide a safe, non-competitive experience with a well-planned profile connected to authentic music that allows all levels of participants to experience being champions. Instructors who remain true to these ideals stand out among the others and should be commended for their standards.
Create a Safe Environment
Safety is one of the most important elements of the Spinning program. Instructors who take it seriously spend time every class attending to safety procedures:
- First, walk the room and check bike setup. This should be done whether an instructor has new riders or not. It is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure all the bikes in the room are set up properly and that everyone has appropriate footwear, a water bottle and a sweat towel.
- Second, give the safety speech, which details the fact that the bikes are fixed gear and the gear doubles as a break system, as well as how to properly place the feet into the cages.
- Third, respect the program guidelines and use only the movements described in the Spinning Instructor Manual.
- And finally, instructors should make it a point to teach a portion of the class from the floor. This moderates the competitive spirit by giving one on one coaching at each rider’s individual level.
Remember, providing a safe environment increases participant trust and that is an important step in building a great reputation.
Prepare for Class
The next step in creating rapport with participants is to provide well-planned profiles with music that connects the rider to the terrain and stimulates positive emotions. Since the inception of the Spinning program, hundreds of profiles have been published through the Spinning Ridebooks, monthly profiles, workshops and conferences.
An instructor can easily access class plans, but the challenging part is finding authentic music and pairing it with the terrain. It is vitally important to not only listen to the music from beginning to end, but also to ride to it and take notes before using it on a class. Good instructors focus on the musical elements like chorus, verses, breakdowns, crescendos or particular instruments that draw one’s attention and they consider how to manipulate the terrain in the profile to connect with the music.
Choosing the right phrases to guide the participants through their journey is just as important as the music and the profile — think beyond “good job” or “keep pedaling.” Reading a motivating quote, a line from a poem or inspirational song is a great way to start if you are uncertain about how to insert language that will create a unique ride. All of this together emotionally complements the experiences of the participants and they will return for more of what has been offered.
Create a Non-Competitive Environment
Students also benefit when they are allowed to work at their own level and do not feel as though they must compete with the instructor or the other riders. Instructors who are able to provide an atmosphere that promotes the champion within do so through positive coaching techniques. Great instructors use affirmative language even when making corrections by focusing on what riders are doing well.
Drawing out the champion within begins during the warm-up by encouraging everyone in the room to set their intentions for what is needed physically and emotionally for that single class. During the middle of class the instructor cues students to work at their own best for a song, hill or time period.
Toward the end of class, inspiring instructors congratulate their riders for accomplishing the goals set and rejoice in the successful completion of the ride. Finding the champion within is simply a matter of following through on a previously determined plan. Spinning participants need not be athletes to experience this as it is fundamental to the Spinning program and needs only to be tapped into by the instructor.
Be Inspired and Inspire Others
The Spinning program has been part of the fitness industry for more than 20 years and is beloved around the world. It is important that all Certified Spinning Instructors be well grounded in the ideals that have made and continue to make the program so strong and desirable.
Every Certified Spinning Instructor is an ambassador for the program and those instructors that embody the ideals of safety, creativity, and authenticity become the most sought after and respected in the industry. These are the instructors by whom everyone can be inspired.